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Old 2017-01-25, 04:33 AM   #5651
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Wave three of Titans Return finally showed up here, and I grabbed...Hot Rod and Optimus? Blah. I'd figured they were something I might be interested in, but way down the priority list after I'd gotten the stuff I really wanted like Triggerhappy, Doublecross, Kickback, etc. So of course these two were the only figures from the wave on the shelf when I was at Walmart getting groceries. I'm glad I got them, but I do hope that wave three gets saturated around here so that I can get the others. Otherwise, every time I look at these two I'll be kicking myself for not going the night before like I usually do.

But grumbling aside, neither one is great but neither one is a disaster either. Hot Rod -- and it actually is Hot Rod again, not Rodimus, which is a bit of a surprise and something I almost didn't notice -- isn't really what I want in a Hot Rod toy, but modern figures never are. They usually wind up with a chest the size of a postage stamp or a torso that's as deep as it is tall. And it wasn't until I looked closely at this guy that I realized why all the modern Hot Rod toys are doing it so wrong: they're all emulating the transformation of the G1 Rodimus Prime toy, not the much better-engineered Hot Rod. The chest winds up being thicker than I'd like because the "hood" section is solid, not just a plate. And the chest is so thin because it doesn't include the entire hood. About half of the car's front end winds up on the arms, which just pull out from the sides of the vehicle rather than flipping the fenders 90 degrees to provide bulk. Now that I realize what's going on it's kind of baffling, because you'd think the 80s toys would prove pretty clearly which is the better approach -- Hot Rod had classicly heroic proportions and Rodimus Prime was a twiggy piece of shit.

This new Hot Rod suffers from both of the proportion problems I talked about, but it definitely scores more points in robot mode than the Classics figure, and honestly is probably about even with the disappointing new MP. But better doesn't mean good and at the end of the day it's still an anorexic with monkey arms and a spoiler you can barely see. Hot Rod's head design is also one of the worst you could have tried to make into a Headmaster, considering how round it is, and the end result looks like Highbrow or someone is wearing a Hot Rod mask. That's a lot more scathing than I'd expected to be when I started writing, and I wouldn't blame you if you think I hate the thing, but the car mode saves it! (Which is what I usually say about the Classics toy too.) It's slick and curvy like the show model, but with a less swooshy spoiler. Being able to mount the gun on the engine just feels right, as illogical as it is, and I've wanted an opening cockpit for his little buddy to sit in since I had the Targetmaster as a kid. I don't think it's a good toy at all, definitely the weakest of the TR stuff I've bought so far, but I can't deny that it scratches an itch for me.

And then there's Optimus. I'm not sure what to think of Optimus. I've commented more than once that I don't think that G1 Prime has ever gotten a good modern mass-market toy. The Masterpiece figures are great, and there's been some great retail figures of other Optimuses (Primal and Movie Prime have both done really well for themselves). But G1 Optimus (and Megatron, for that matter) has been getting new figures made pretty often over the last decade and none of them are any good. The Classics Voyager is a kibbly mess. The Classics Deluxe is a gimmicky mess. FoC Optimus is an overcomplicated mess. RTS Laser Prime is a runty mess. Same for FoC Prime. Combiner Wars Prime has the worst proportions I've ever seen. The new Powermaster Prime manages to be uglier than the original in every mode. The only one that's any good at all is the tiny little Legends figure. But is the new triplechanging Prime the one to finally break the streak? Unfortunately, not really. It's a fun toy to mess around with, but not particularly good.

The robot mode is a good start, at least. I'm not a fan of the chest -- the weird zigzaggy windows clash with the very G1 chest and neither look much like the actual cab of the truck he turns into. But the way the figure is designed, there's a ton of different options when it comes to how to configure him. You can pop up his shoulder towers for a G2 look, or leave them folded down for a more G1 outline. His alt-mode wings can be tucked away, or folded out to give him a "flight mode". You can also pop out some extra head antennae to bulk up his silhouette, or hide them for a more traditional look. With all the extras put away he has a convincing G1esque Optimus look, albeit a bit smaller than the average Voyager. With everything folded out he's definitely more imposing, but looks a fair bit more like Prime Optimus. The fact that there's such a variety of different possible configurations is a bit plus. Accessories are cool, especially the rifle that's designed to homage the original Laser Prime one. Articulation isn't bad, but loose joints are an issue -- he's a lot more fun to mess with now that I've slapped some polish on the ankles and hips to tighten them up. Aside from that I can't find much more than minor niggles to complain about, like how Prime would look better if his TM's arms were blue.

But the alt modes don't work nearly as well. The truck mode is very basic, with the cab and tanker molded in a single block -- not only is there no joint where truck meets trailer, there's not even and space between them! On a smaller figure it wouldn't be so noticeable, but on a Voyager it's pretty unsightly. Even more unsightly is the fact that the rear two-thirds of the tanker are painted silver while the front third is bare plastic. Either would have looked fine if the entire trailer was that colour, but mixed and matched? Nah. Having Diac drive the vehicle from a hatch inside the tanker trailer is a bit silly too.

Plane mode gets a lot of flak online, since Optimus doesn't usually have one and it's only shoehorned in here so the mold can (presumably) be used for Octane later. People have even gone so far as to remove it by detaching his wings and tail fins. But I honestly think that it's the stronger vehicle mode by a wide margin. The cargo plane's got a nice silhouette, and it's nice to see a flying alt-mode that isn't strictly meant for combat for once. The big downside is that, obviously, the front end of a truck is split in half and dangling under the wings. But you can make it look a bit better by folding the window sections back. It still looks like he's got arms under his wings, but that's better than half a truck, and honestly if I was okay with Classics Astrotrain this isn't going to bug me that much. But the fact that this mode is better than the truck is really a statement on how bad the truck is.

Tallied all up, he's a nice action figure but not a very good triplechanger. But then, how many good triplechangers are there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
Yeah, Predacon is awesome.
Told you.

Between the Armada beasts and the Universe redecos, there's a whole other world of Beast Wars figures that a lot of collectors don't know about. It's almost like a Beast Wars version of G2, wild colours and all. Didn't understand the hate that they got at the time, and I certainly don't now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
I notice that waist joint on Predacon is much more solid and ratchety than on BW TM Megs, which suggests that the waist mechanism on that earlier toy wasn't as durable as needed to be.
I've never had the original, simply because I don't think I'd like it as much as Predacon, but I suspect you're right. Considering how it's prone to snapping there, I'd guess that the plastic they used simply wasn't up to the task, and even ones that didn't break probably wore down pretty quick to loose their "snap".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendocon 2.0 View Post
GUYS! GUYS! GUYS!

Badcube's version of Gears comes packed in robot mode! Which means if you just want a MP-scale version of Gears to stick on your shelf in robot mode, you don't have to fight through their longwinded and annoying transformation.

Today's a good day.


I feel like saying something about buying toys you know you're not going to like, but then I just bought that Hot Rod, so...
 
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