Thursday, 12 January 2012

TFPrime toy reviews part 2

Got through four of the eight sets before I had to go to work... now for the other four.

Finishing off the single-packed Deluxes - Arcee.
First off, I'm not much of a fan of motorcycle transformers (because they are usually end up as scrawny robots & are such a condensed mess in bike mode, it gets very fiddly to convert... especially recent ones from the movie and Animated - but as some have been mentioning on the Ozformers fan forum, Hasbro/Tomy are getting better, as this one was a lot better than previous Bike-formers). And I'm also not a fan of the recent trend of Arcee being a motorcycle.  Being a fan from the original 1980s series, Arcee was always a car. Then from about 2003 with the Energon series, the character was given a new Motorcycle form, and has pretty much been that type of vehicle ever since.
This one works well as a toy, and resembles the Arcee character form on the cartoon, but it still feels like there are some design flaws to it. The chest halves in robot mode just hang loosely, which ruins the whole front of the toy. While the shoulder joints have a very limited range of motion. The wheel on the back is designed to sit in nicely, but there is still a bit of kibble right behind the head. The arm-blades also make the motorcycle look fat. Still better than Bumblebee. 2.5/5

Deluxe 2-pack "Entertainment Pack" - Optimus Prime Vs Megatron + DVD & 3 Human figurines.

I think Megatron would have looked better in jet mode if the head was hidden, as it would have been done fairly easily, even if it looks that way in the cartoon.
The front of the jet mode looked wrong to me when I first saw pics, but then when I got the toy, it sucked even more. Those left and right bits hanging off the front, just sit loose there. They don't even lock into anything.
The rest of the toy has locking tabs all over it, which act as a nice guide to where the limbs go in jet mode (if not following instructions)... but that front section is noticeably absent of any.
The colours are nice, and despite it not being an earthen mode or vehicle, I was eventually able to work out how to form the jet mode by looking at the box pics and going by all the tabs on the toy.
(2-pack version Vs SDCC version)
The Optimus toy I already had from the SDCC version (in the first part of this review), and the only difference with this one is a few minor colour differences (silver on the head, blue chest instead of grey, silver stripes on top of truck mode). The Robot mode looks good, with minimal backpack & kibble - the big square chest and backpack is the letdown though. The transformation was a little fiddly, but easy enough to eventually figure out. Getting it into truck mode was the more fiddly conversion, trying to get some of the parts to line up exactly.

Having human cast character (Jack, Miko, Raf) figurines is good, as it doesn't happen often. It's just a pity that these ones aren't articulated "action figures", because we don't often get that in the Transformers toyline.
I still haven't played the DVD yet, as it is just one episode... and isn't even the "Premiere" (first) episode as the packaging claims. (it's actually episode 6)

Probably worth getting, if you don't have the SDCC Optimus, or don't want to wait about 6-8 months for an eventual large-sized Megatron toy (this is still the largest one so far announced for Megatron, which would take us until June next year at the earliest for anything new to be released that we don't already know about).
Megatron - 2/5. Optimus - 2/5. The entire Entertainment Pack - 3/5.

Voyager Optimus Prime
Transforming this one to robot mode was a lot easier, but since it is packaged as a robot form, you have to convert it to the more frustrating form first. I had a lot of trouble getting everything locking together properly. Even still, the front end of the truck halves won't close up completely. The back end of this version isn't as "hollow" as the Deluxe version, but still has a lot of gaps because of how rounded the legs are. At least the blocky looking Original Series toys from the 80s didn't have the problem of gaps or interlocking parts struggling to clip or hold together. Folding all the arm bits in together under the truck shell was really annoying on this figure.
This one comes with two weapons (the Deluxe version only has a gun), and they both attach at the back in vehicle mode. It appears to be a feature, or gimmick with the Prime toys, as weapons appear to be storeable on their alt-modes (loose accessories are easier to lose).
I'd say this one is about the same as the Deluxe version, and Hasbro/Tomy could easily reproduce the same figure into different sizes. It would free up funds for a toy of a new character instead, and make it easier for kids & parents to just pick one character toy, based on their budget - as the only people who would really buy more than one size of a character toy, would be the dedicated fans/collectors... which only account for like 10% of their sales apparently. So why waste resources, when it could be better spent on padding out the toyline with new moulds and characters instead. 2/5

Voyager Bulkhead
If the Voyager sized Optimus was annoying, this one had me almost throwing it at a wall while trying to convert it to vehicle mode.  The front "engine" section has the entire legs & hips all tucked in... and even though this one has proportionately small legs, it is not a fun toy trying to cram everything in perfectly, in a precise order. Even the arms at the back of the vehicle were a bit annoying.
The vehicle mode looks nice (except the weapon storage gimmick), and the robot mode manages to capture the cartoon character... but the transformation on this one really ruins this as a "playable" toy. Definitely a carry-over of the Movie level of fiddly engineering.
This is another character that may be better off in a smaller, funner size... or even a larger size with a gimmick that "neuters" the complex transformation (as this is a character that needs a bigger toy than other cast characters). 2/5

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