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Warcry
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Post by Warcry » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:09 pm

Smolder's pics didn't get posted when you guys put the review up.

Oh, and you misspelled his name as "Smoler" in the header at the top of the page.

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Post by Warcry » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:22 pm

Blackjack wrote:Thundercracker? Probably not. The Starscream v2 I had seems like some parts are going to break, and I think that the mold is degrading. Presumably the Conehead retooled mold isn't degrading yet, which is why we got Thrust and Dirge.
It's not like they couldn't fix the molds if they wanted to. They've done repair work like that before (like fixing the face on G1 Jazz's mold), and with the way people gobble up seeker redecos I wouldn't be surprised if they fixed the mold so that they could keep using it for the forseeable future..

Then again, I wouldn't be surprised either if they didn't fix it and released a Thundercracker anyway.
Blackjack wrote:He looks better than Ramjet
LIES! :mad:

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Post by Catalyst Dragon » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:46 pm

Mines on the way from Hasbrotoyshop.com!

Can't wait! Soooo glad I didn't get the henkei Exclusive.
All that was needed was a catalyst and the machines of war are set in motion.

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Post by Blackjack » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:33 am

numbat wrote:Well, I did come across the line in a store in Glasgow today. Only WFC Bumblebee (what a misguided mess!) and Drift in stock - but both priced at £14.99!

If that's retail over here, I doubt I'll be buying any.
Hope for a clearout sale? Still, it's cheaper than importing a Henkei exclusive or the Botcon toy.
Warcry wrote:It's not like they couldn't fix the molds if they wanted to. They've done repair work like that before (like fixing the face on G1 Jazz's mold), and with the way people gobble up seeker redecos I wouldn't be surprised if they fixed the mold so that they could keep using it for the forseeable future..

Then again, I wouldn't be surprised either if they didn't fix it and released a Thundercracker anyway.
Hasbro's a little too lazy for that, I reckon. Didn't the excuse for not reissuing Mirage (or Wheeljack?) was 'we couldn't be bothered to find the mold, nyah!' However, the Classics Seeker mold seems to be going great. I was expecting something flimsy after Starscream v2, but Thrust's joints and whatnot were tight

Maybe (hopefully) they are doing Conehead redecoes while they repair the normal Seeker mold for a Thundercracker? Hasbro does seem to care more about quality now.

But I guess the fandom eat up Seeker redecoes faster than anything. Although it's a little bit funny how Thrust was sitting next to an Acid Storm when I picked him up. We've had, what- five mass reissues of the mold? And that's not counting the six done by Henkei. And Botcon.
LIES!
Thrust looks better than Ramjet! -throws rock-

Seriously, though... Just by the virtue of having his toy, Thrust is ten times better than Ramjet in my book. I like Dirge the best, though, for having an awesome name yet dying in stupid ways in every single continuity he appeared in bar Dreamwave. And the fact that no one seemed to care that he was dead, and he'll appear fine the next issue/episode.

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Post by Warcry » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:34 am

Blackjack wrote:Hasbro's a little too lazy for that, I reckon. Didn't the excuse for not reissuing Mirage (or Wheeljack?) was 'we couldn't be bothered to find the mold, nyah!'
Takara either lost or completely destroyed those molds -- not Hasbro's fault. At this point those two would have to be completely reverse-engineered. Even then that's not impossible -- didn't they do that for Soundwave? But either way, fixing up a few loose joints on an otherwise perfectly fine mold is lot easier than any of that, so it's not really the best comparison.
Blackjack wrote:However, the Classics Seeker mold seems to be going great. I was expecting something flimsy after Starscream v2, but Thrust's joints and whatnot were tight
I'm curious...do they cast entirely new molds for the entire figure when they do a remold like this, or do they just recreate the new parts and use the old molds for the parts that the new toy shares with the original? Thrust seems to mix and match pieces from both Ramjet (his head) and Starscream (his null rays) along with the new wings and the generic parts that all of the seekers share.

Blackjack wrote:But I guess the fandom eat up Seeker redecoes faster than anything. Although it's a little bit funny how Thrust was sitting next to an Acid Storm when I picked him up. We've had, what- five mass reissues of the mold? And that's not counting the six done by Henkei. And Botcon.
I'd love to see more generics, once they've done mass releases of all six of the main seekers. I know they'd never be mad enough to do mass releases of Actionmaster Thundercracker or G2 Ramjet, but I hope Sunstorm or Slipstream aren't out of the question.
Blackjack wrote:Thrust looks better than Ramjet! -throws rock-
LIES! RAMJET IS PERFECT AND CANNOT BE BESTED! DEATH TO THE INFIDEL!
Blackjack wrote:Seriously, though... Just by the virtue of having his toy, Thrust is ten times better than Ramjet in my book.
While I can understand that, I, uh, strongly suggest you get Ramjet so that you can realize just how wrong you are. ;)

Then again, he's probably a lot harder to track down for a decent price than he was when I eBayed him back in the day. He's worth it though, especially if you're planning to buy Dirge as well.

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Post by Blackjack » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:13 am

Warcry wrote:Takara either lost or completely destroyed those molds -- not Hasbro's fault. At this point those two would have to be completely reverse-engineered. Even then that's not impossible -- didn't they do that for Soundwave? But either way, fixing up a few loose joints on an otherwise perfectly fine mold is lot easier than any of that, so it's not really the best comparison.
I really hope so... at the very least, let them make a Thundercracker before they break the molds.

Mirage/Wheeljack is a bad example... Ah, I know. The Armada Minicons! Hasbro said we won't be seeing them again after the Cybertron line because the molds have been 'completely destroyed'. Considering each Minicon had been redecoed at least three times...
I'm curious...do they cast entirely new molds for the entire figure when they do a remold like this, or do they just recreate the new parts and use the old molds for the parts that the new toy shares with the original? Thrust seems to mix and match pieces from both Ramjet (his head) and Starscream (his null rays) along with the new wings and the generic parts that all of the seekers share.
AFAIK Gen. Thrust is a repaint of Henkei Thrust, which is why he has Starscream's missile launchers. Not really sure about the process of remolding or stuff, though. I think it's the second one, otherwise HasTak would have a surplus of Starscream heads and wings.
I'd love to see more generics, once they've done mass releases of all six of the main seekers. I know they'd never be mad enough to do mass releases of Actionmaster Thundercracker or G2 Ramjet, but I hope Sunstorm or Slipstream aren't out of the question.
Actionmaster Thundercracker is one of the redecoes that they planned to do for the Fun Publications G2 Redux thing. But Hasbro is using the mold to make Thrust, so it got changed. No, really.

A Sunstorm and a Slipstream would rock. And, um... do we have any more Seekers left other than those? Those purple generics, perhaps?
LIES! RAMJET IS PERFECT AND CANNOT BE BESTED! DEATH TO THE INFIDEL!
Ramjet is an idiot that flies into things! Thrust will always be better than him forevermore!

Even though he never did anything, and has the same amount of personality as Reflector.
While I can understand that, I, uh, strongly suggest you get Ramjet so that you can realize just how wrong you are. ;)

Then again, he's probably a lot harder to track down for a decent price than he was when I eBayed him back in the day. He's worth it though, especially if you're planning to buy Dirge as well.
Out of all the Seekers, Ramjet, Slipstream and Sunstorm are the ones I don't have in any form. Would love to hunt down Classics Ramjet and Skywarp, but my wallet says otherwise. -sigh- Hasbro isn't going to release them again, are they? :(

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Post by Blackjack » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:47 am

Warcry wrote:Smolder's pics didn't get posted when you guys put the review up.

Oh, and you misspelled his name as "Smoler" in the header at the top of the page.
Whoops.

I'll fix them up as soon as I get home. As for the pictures... they're in my computer, but I haven't uploaded them yet. Will do so today.

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Post by Transformer Kamen » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:25 am

Blackjack wrote:
Thrust's facial expression is identical to Ramjet's, that is a stern, sombre look. It's white instead of black, though. Again, like Ramjet, there are two ways that you could leave the wings. You could swing it up like the G1 toy, leading to a Thrust that really looks like his character model. This is the one that the Hasbro photographer uses, and it looks better. However, the wings are too high up, and the VTOL engines make it look a little too busy, though, especially if the cannons are attached onto the shoulders. The alternative way, if you follow the instructions, is to leave the wings as it is in jet mode (but attach the VTOL engines!), giving a closer look to the character model.
Hey, quick question. The two sentences above are a tad redundant. Otherwise, looks great. :up:

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Post by Blackjack » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:58 am

Transformer Kamen wrote:Hey, quick question. The two sentences above are a tad redundant. Otherwise, looks great. :up:
Whoops. That's what happens when you write a review at 2 am. Fixed. ;)

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Post by Warcry » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:37 pm

Blackjack wrote:Mirage/Wheeljack is a bad example... Ah, I know. The Armada Minicons! Hasbro said we won't be seeing them again after the Cybertron line because the molds have been 'completely destroyed'. Considering each Minicon had been redecoed at least three times...
Yeah, I think that's what happens when the people actually working in the factory don't give a shit, or when you decide ahead of time not to bother making the master molds robust enough to take the wear. I know Cliffy has gone on about this at great length in the past, so I'll just agree with him that it's a sign of total incompetence and leave it at that.
Blackjack wrote:Actionmaster Thundercracker is one of the redecoes that they planned to do for the Fun Publications G2 Redux thing. But Hasbro is using the mold to make Thrust, so it got changed. No, really.
Yeah, I know. I think they're still planning to do a G2 Ramjet, but no one other than a few dozen club members will ever own one.
Blackjack wrote:A Sunstorm and a Slipstream would rock. And, um... do we have any more Seekers left other than those? Those purple generics, perhaps?
Those are the last two named seekers, I think. Not that that stopped them with Acid Storm, though, and if the molds hold out I think there's a market for more generics.
Blackjack wrote:Ramjet is an idiot that flies into things! Thrust will always be better than him forevermore!
ONE MORE LIE AND YOU WILL SUFFER MY WRATH AND THE WRATH OF THE INVINCIBLE RAMJET!
Blackjack wrote:Out of all the Seekers, Ramjet, Slipstream and Sunstorm are the ones I don't have in any form. Would love to hunt down Classics Ramjet and Skywarp, but my wallet says otherwise. -sigh- Hasbro isn't going to release them again, are they? :(
Probably not, no. I'm really hoping for a non-exclusive Skywarp so that I can get one for under $100 or whatever ridiculous price he's going for, but I don't think it's going to happen.

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Post by Halfshell » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:54 pm

Blackjack wrote:Even though he never did anything
He headbutted a horse.

Have you ever headbutted a horse?

I didn't think so.

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Post by Cliffjumper » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:00 pm

He's also the only character in IDW's G1 universe. No, Last Stand of the Wreckers wasn't in IDW's G1 universe, it was set in an alternate future from the UK comic. Totally.

Encore is basically solid proof that a mould being knackered wouldn't stop TakaraTomy from issuing a figure. I seem to remember an Alternators Subara (Ricochet?) got put out that had degraded to the point of not really working for Hasbro's part too. Reverse-engineering with precision is, I gather, an expensive process, and thus loses out to doing something cheap like issuing Ironhide/Ratchet figures that can barely form their vehicle modes, or ****ing with Trailbreaker's optic colour for no good reason. We're talking about a company who don't have a quality control department here.

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Post by Blackjack » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:39 pm

Warcry wrote:ONE MORE LIE AND YOU WILL SUFFER MY WRATH AND THE WRATH OF THE INVINCIBLE RAMJET!
Ramjet is little more than a generic! :p

One of the ad banners on top of the site advertise conehead busts. There is a reason Thrust is the first and Ramjet is the last!
Probably not, no. I'm really hoping for a non-exclusive Skywarp so that I can get one for under $100 or whatever ridiculous price he's going for, but I don't think it's going to happen.
Ditto for this. But Skywarp was Walmart exclusive or something, right? It's waaaay too high a price for a Walmart exclusive. Thundercracker and the rest of the Classics Botcon Seeker fetch frankly ridiculous prices, too.
Halfshell wrote:He headbutted a horse.

Have you ever headbutted a horse?

I didn't think so.
Ah, the King Arthur episode thing. -insert lame Animal Rights joke here-

Didn't he become a horse's equivalent in that episode? Rumble holds a lance and everything, while Spike (or was that Hoist?) rode Warpath? One of the daftest scenes in the cartoon...
Cliffjumper wrote:He's also the only character in IDW's G1 universe. No, Last Stand of the Wreckers wasn't in IDW's G1 universe, it was set in an alternate future from the UK comic. Totally.
Um... yeah. Whatever helps you sleep at night. ;)

But how do you explain where Impactor came back from his second death? And the human?

I actually liked Ramjet's spotlight, despite what Warcry may say. Sure, Ramjet didn't ram anything in that issue, and he acted like a Starscream wannabe, but it was actually some solid stuff that the main IDW titles fail to deliver.
Reverse-engineering with precision is, I gather, an expensive process, and thus loses out to doing something cheap like issuing Ironhide/Ratchet figures that can barely form their vehicle modes, or ****ing with Trailbreaker's optic colour for no good reason.
But that didn't stop third-party chinese factories from reverse-engineering the G1 molds, IIRC.

Um, what did they do with Trailbreaker's optic colour?
We're talking about a company who don't have a quality control department here.
Seconded. Takara's toys might be all shiny and chrome-y, but the chrome fall off/scrape off easily, while some of the 'metallic' parts (like on MP Megs) oxidise. And I heard that the encore Bruticus was practically falling apart at the seams.

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G1 Grandslam & Raindance (Slamdance) -- [uploaded]

Post by The Reverend » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:12 pm

Allegiance: Autobot
Generation: One
Sub-Group: Cassettes

The combiner cassette duos first appeared in the 1988 toy catalogs, at a point when the animated series was gasping badly for its last breath. The Autobot representatives, Grand Slam and Raindance, would appear briefly in the Marvel comic (in cassette mode and displaying no sentience - either dead or offline), but that's as much as we saw of them at the time. Each cassette transformed into a vehicle (Grand Slam as a tank and Raindance as a jet), with no individual humanoid mode. They could combine, however, to form the bipedal Slamdance. Both served as a sort of a "press corps", with Grand Slam recording the audio and Raindance the video of the repeated Autobot-Decepticon battles. The playability and general usefulness of this function seems debatable to me, but you may see it differently. And, after all, just how many "Warrior" functions were there floating around at the time?

In 1988, I found Squawktalk & Beastbox more interesting, due to their primary beast modes. I obtained those a couple of years ago; the review is here on TFArchive for your reading pleasure. It was only more recently I was able to grab their Autobot counterparts, after a few years of looking for a good deal...

GRAND SLAM
Function: Audio Correspondent
"The sounds of war are history speaking."
War-weary veteran of ten thousand battles on a hundred worlds. Dedicated his life to recording the sounds of the Autobot-Decepticon conflict: the nervous laughter, the cries of pain, the blistering explosions, the chilling quiets. Hopes his work will one day serve as a grim reminder of the awful price of war. Can audio-record up to 20 years of sound. Armament is purely defensive: smoke discharger combines with dual repulsors. With his partner Raindance, combines to form Slamdance.


Alternate Mode:
Grand Slam is the red cassette of the pair. He bears yellow-gold labels, with obvious screw heads all over his cassette side. His tape reels are rendered in simple black (though they are molded three dimensional parts and not a simple sticker like some of his fellow cassettes), with stickers giving him black cassette teeth. As TF cassettes go, I suppose Grand Slam's not the best ambassador - his need to transform into both his tank mode and Slamdance's upper body leaves him with a lot of exposed joints and space between parts that make his resemblance to a mini-cassette more of a matter of imagination than anything. I don't know if he'll fit inside Blaster (my G1 Blaster has a bad tape-door mechanism), but he won't fit in G1 Soundwave. (This was true for Beastbox & Squawktalk as well. The combiner cassettes may very well fit inside Twincast or Soundblaster, I don't have either of those to try it with.)

"Robot" Mode:
With a few manipulations of his blocky cassette parts, Grand Slam becomes a very small, squat tank once his chrome repulsors (small upright "missile launcher"-like accessories) and smoke discharger (longer gun barrel) are fitted on his top. Most cassette TFs of the time tend to suffer from "flatness", but Grand Slam's transformation actually involves folding one part of the cassette over another, making him one of the very few to escape this problem. Although he doesn't have a rotating turret, I often leave off one of the repulsors so that the remaining one can be rotated in its mounting hole, bringing the attached smoke discharger along with it and giving him a look reminiscent of the the original Tron tanks. Whether you use one repulsor as I've described or both, the discharger does have some ability to tilt upwards if you like. He does have some molded detailing on his lower parts that simulates tank treads - although its subtle and not particularly good, it would probably be too obvious in cassette mode if they were as detailed as Blitzwing or Warpath's treads. He also has two small cannons or lights, one on each side of the elevated platform at his rear, which are to be rotated forward and give him a little more detail. Because he's also Slamdance's head and shoulders, the combiner face is visible from below the tank - notable, but not quite like Beastbox having Squawkbox's face in his rump. The tape reels are visible at the "hood" of the tank, but he still has a lot of molded detail elsewhere on his body - various vents, tubes, and raised detail that adds to the figure. Sure, it's not exactly a replica of any known tank, but having to transform into a cassette clearly had its limitations. There's also a tiny Autobot faction symbol visible at the junction between his "turret" and his lower body. On his own, I find him to be really kind of fascinating, but he's definitely an oddball among his fellows.


RAINDANCE
Function: Video Correspondent
"Every picture tells a story."
The death-defying daredevil of the skies. Willing to take any risk to record the best picture. With partner Grand Slam, he's covered thousands of battles. Entertains everyone with stories about each one of them. Witty and well-liked. Can video-record up to 20 years of pictures. Carries two self-defense air-to-air proton missiles. Combines with Grand Slam to form robot Slamdance.


Alternate Mode:
A blue cassette, featuring siver foil decals, black reels (these, however, are represented by a sticker) and black teeth on the reels (also stickers). Despite the fact that he's not as molded or ornate as some of the previous cassettes in the line, Raindance looks the part adequately, with little obvious space between his parts. Judging the realism of G1 cassettes usually means looking only at the flat, labeled cassette side of the toy, but in Raindance's case the molding on the edges of the cassette mode and the grey plastic that serves as his joints in transformation both look remarkably like their real-world counterparts.

"Robot" Mode:
Raindance transforms into a sort of miniature fighter jet, with tiny little "wings" at the rear of the fuselage, a plastic piece that folds over the top and makes a sort of twin-tail assembly, and a near-flat black cockpit perched behind a very tiny nosecone. Essentially, he looks weird, but the tapered appearance from nose to tail helps preserve what illusion he can muster. His solid blue color admittedly looks good on him. Dreamwave's description gave Raindance the ability to "hover" in his jet mode, so he can "stand" around and yak with other Autobots. His proton missiles can be placed either above or below his wings. The instructions have them below the wings in typical jet fighter style, but I've seen him pictured with them on top of the jet (a la Laserbeak) as well. You can pick which one you like better, although I'll point out that when they're installed below the wings, a long edge on each missile allows him to "stand" properly on your desk or table. He features some degree of molded detail, especially on his wings, although it doesn't add to the figure as much as it did with Grand Slam. (Most of the detailing actually adds more visual appeal to the combined form, but there are some paneling lines here and there that look nice on the jet.) There's an Autobot symbol just ahead of his tail. Because he suffers so badly from the "chunky pancake" look, its hard to imagine Raindance having a lot of play value, but kids do like planes. Bottom line, if he wasn't a combiner piece, he'd be worthless; the ugliest plane in the G1 line.

SLAMDANCE (Combined form)
(Slamdance came with no tech spec; the following text is edited together from Dreamwave's "More Than Meets The Eye" publications)
Function: Intelligence Coordinator
"Information is only as accurate as the being who gathers it."
The unified form of Grand Slam and Raindance was designed to make up for the awkwardness of the duo's individual robot forms. Slamdance's personality is a combination of the two's traits, he is both stuffy and vainglorious, but an expert at gathering and coordinating news and data. Slamdance takes great pride in his work, but his self-importance makes him want to announce everything personally; he'll stand up in the middle of his commander's briefings in order to make sure his message is relayed "correctly," meaning by him. Despite his quirks, Slamdance is absolutely dedicated to the Autobot cause and works hard to make sure their information is correct and unbiased. He is extremely intelligent. He is a highly skilled journalist and he's able to disseminate myriad streams of information to ascertain common threads and meanings. Has a talent for knowing when information is doctored or incorrect. He possesses all of his components' armaments, including Grand Slam's entirely defensive arsenal and Raindance's proton missile launchers. Has only average strength and is not a very sturdy warrior.


The massive sides of Raindance's fuselage expand to become Slamdance's legs, and adequately large feet flip out of the base of each leg. Grand Slam's treads become the arms, with small fists that rotate out of their ends, and his turret/upper platform is folded behind Slamdance's face. Now, inserting Raindance's tiny little nosecone into the squared-off hole under Slamdance's torso joins the robot together, but Raindance's grey tailpiece folds upwards to cover this awkward junction, creating the basic robot. Slamdance looks good in terms of proportions, with long arms and legs that don't look too gangly, some chrome detail on his chest, and the folded grey tailpiece on his torso bearing a large Autobot symbol. Although his head is square and has a large rectangular block behind it, it's well molded and features a yellow visor. Articulation is limited - although Slamdance stands well, he can only move at the knees (sideways) and the hips (likewise sideways), and the shoulders (likewise likewise sideways). Yes, that's right, he really has no useful articulation whatsoever. He can't raise his arms outside of a 45 degree angle to his body, and he can't point at his enemies. This is a real shame, because Slamdance has some interesting weapons options...

...which frankly it will take another paragraph for me to describe. There are lengthy notches in the sides of his arms that hold Raindance's proton missiles very nicely - these can be pointed up, down, or forwards if you like. Alternately, the holes from Raindance's cassette mode are just below his knees, and you can install the missiles there as an alternate configuration. Grand Slam's repulsors can be placed behind his head, but depending on which direction you point them in, you can use the holes in their sides to mount either the discharger (as an over-the-shoulder cannon or pointing straight up or down his back), or you could have the missiles sticking out forwards from either side of Slamdance's head. Or you could put the repulsors in his knees, or... look, there's a lot of combinations here, and one of them might look cool to you.

As far as judging Slamdance's robot mode in general, I find it helpful to compare/contrast him with his counterpart Squawkbox. Squawkbox does possess articulation at the shoulders, which Slamdance sorely lacks. However, Squawkbox has a large, wide torso that is very obviously two cassettes placed on top of one another - I'd describe him as "fat" if he weren't near-flat, he's just plain awkward - while Slamdance (viewed from the front) has a more triangular, tapered build that looks better. Overall, Slamdance LOOKS better as a combined robot, while Squawkbox has more play value. I hope that helps.

Transformation Design: 4/10. As G1 cassettes go in this area, both Grand Slam and Raindance are relatively satisfying. Visually, Grand Slam relies much heavier on having his weaponry attached than Raindance does.
Durability: 6/10. Grand Slam is relatively sturdy. Raindance has more flimsy parts due to his transformation. However, they should stand up well under normal play, even with chrome and sticker wear.
Fun: 4/10. The combining ability is a good idea. The combined figure may be lacking somewhat, but the weapons options are interesting. The individual tank and plane have debatable play value, though.
Aesthetics: 5/10. The components' individual appearance is plenty iffy, depending on how much imagination you possess. Slamdance himself makes a very nice display piece, especially when viewed from the front in a crowd of figures.
Articulation: There's so little of it, I may have to mark it N/A! Well, Grand Slam and Raindance don't have any in their "robot" modes, and Slamdance has so little useful articulation...
Value/Price: 5/10. I suspect the duo were somewhat unpopular and henceforth rarer on the secondary market, as finding them in good condition is quite a chore. They seem to go for about US $30-60 as a pair on the secondary market. It was two years before I finally picked them up, as I saw the high end of that range as being overpriced.
Overall: 3/10. I could take a big shortcut here and say "CASSET COMBINERS SUK DONT BUY THEMS", but I don't think that's fair. Let's put it this way: if you just looooooooooved the factions' communicators and their subordinates, you should add these to your collection.

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Post by Blackjack » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:29 am

A good read. Always loved the cassettes. :up:

But, um, if you don't mind, could you modify the scores section at the end of the review a little? We've updated our review format a little: http://www.tfarchive.com/community/show ... hp?t=33624

Thanks. ;)

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Post by Blackjack » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:41 am

Pictures!
Attachments
rotf_ezdevastator_compare.jpg
rotf_ezdevastator_robot2.jpg
rotf_ezdevastator_robot.jpg
rotf_ezdevastator_alt2.jpg
rotf_ezdevastator_alt.jpg

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Post by The Reverend » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:33 pm

Oh, the new one is on the SECOND post on that thread. heh.

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Alternity Starscream -- [uploaded]

Post by Detective Barricade » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:20 am

Name: Starscream
Function: ‘Questor’ (Seeker) Commander
Sub-Group: Alternity

Strength: 9 Intelligence: 9 Speed: 10 Endurance: 9 Rank: 9 Courage: 9 Firepower: 8 Skill: 8

I can’t read Japanese, so I’m going to skip his bio. But seeing as how this is Starscream, we can safely presume it has something about him being in charge of the ‘Questors’, which is a fancy name for the Seekers, and scheming to overthrow Megatron. It may also tell of how he got all of his crazy hyperdimensional powers such as his four ‘evil optics’ which can send a victim into stasis lock just by looking at them, and his Retroactive Nullifiers which can erase their target from history. No, I’m not making this up.

Anyway, Alternity Starscream is the fourth mold in the Alternity toyline, and the second Decepticon mold as well. While he’s very much unique compared to the other three, he’s not without some problems that make the price tag that much more discouraging...

Alternate Mode:

Alternity Starscream does not turn into a F-15 Eagle, or a F-22 Raptor, or any sort of fighter jet whatsoever. This time, he converts into the Mitsuoka Orochi. It is incredibly sleek and low to the ground, with lots of molded in details that are somewhat lost in the sea of white. It also has four headlights and four tail lights, a nicely detailed grill, and even has brake pads behind the wheels. The hood, doors, and trunk all open, however aside from the seats and steering wheel inside the interior, nothing special is really revealed. In particular, there wasn’t any attempt to hide the back of Starscream’s head under the hood. As far as colors are concerned, it’s almost entirely white with some silver, black, and grey highlights. I’m not sure if this is accurate to the car or not, but the outer headlights have black slits painted on like the eyes of a snake. And the only metal in this mode to be found is in the panels the doors are attached to.

‘Flight Form’:

Because Starscream is usually able to fly in both modes, TakaraTomy threw in designed a secondary vehicle mode! To get to it, just flip the fins to the outside, with the rear wheels tucking away. Yeah, it’s about as interesting as that sounds. And it also ends up scraping the tires and wheels as you straighten out the wings due to there just barely not being enough room.

Robot Mode:

The robot mode is very interesting. With the top of the car forming ‘wings’, (with the help of two wingtip panels if you can call it that) the front bumper evoking air intakes, and the fins sticking out of his shins, Starscream certainly has hints of his previous bodies built in. Transforming the toy for the first time can be confusing in places, particularly the legs. The knees slide in at an angle and click in place, then the wheels slide back and should tab into the slides if done right. The head is very creepy with the ‘four evil optics’, but at least the light piping is undeniably excellent, working very well even with minimal light. While there’s no double jointed elbows or knees, he only really lacks a waist, which isn’t possible due to the transformation. While still primarily white in this mode, there are a lot of midnight blue, dark blue, and red revealed to help break it up.

However, there’s a few problems. The door panels are on ball joints, and will pop off if you don’t convert the panels in just the right way. On my copy, the peg on which the ball stem rotates on is crooked, and thus the door panel will always pop off whenever I put it back into vehicle. The other problems are the tabs for the waist and shoulders. They don’t work particularly well. The waist may be more due to just how tight the ratchets for the hips are, but the shoulder clips basically just sit on top of the tabs. Granted, if the clips pin is tight enough, like on my copy’s right clip, they should be okay, but these issues do hurt the toy. And sadly, there’s nothing keeping the wings from being nudged out of alignment.

Marks out of ten for the following...

Transformation Design: 6 Once you get used to it, it’s not that hard. But things have to be done just right in order for it to work.
Durability: 7 The ‘Flight Form’ damages the rear wheels, the door panels don’t take much to pop off, and some locking tabs barely work. Everything else feels quite solid.
Fun: 6 Transforming him is fun, but he’s more of a collector’s item than anything. He rolls very well though.
Aesthetics: 7 The body is quite striking, and the vehicle is very accurate to the real thing. But the head, with its ‘four evil optics’, is definitely not for everyone.
Articulation: 9 Nothing really gets in the way, and can assume a wide range of poses. The lack of a waist hurts him slightly.
Value/Price: 5 His problems do add up, making the $50 price tag even less tempting. Best wait for a sale, as he’ll likely linger for awhile.
Overall: 8 If you’re really into the Alternity line, 6 otherwise. If you’re just getting into the Alternity line, there are better options for your first one than this particular mold. I compliment TakaraTomy for their effort to do something completely different, but a few more minutes in the design stage might have helped.

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The Reverend
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G1 Octopunch -- [uploaded]

Post by The Reverend » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:24 pm

Name: Octopunch
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Salvage
Subgroup: Pretenders

"Anything that can sink is worth sinking."

The terror of the deep. If he's not stealing sunken treasure or ancient artifacts, he amuses himself by smashing holes in submarines and cruise ships. Electrically-charged, razor-tipped harpoon gun momentarily short-circuits on contact. Also armed with vice-like tentacles that stick to any surface. So strong underwater that he can wrestle a whale to a standstill. Inner robot convers to metal-rending crab creature equipped with depth gauges, deep-sea radar and acetylene torch gun.


From the Tech Spec, it appears that Octopunch stomps around the ocean floor looking for useful bits of junk. He has the same role as the Seacon Nautilator, although the description leads me to believe that Octopunch is a little better at his job. Anyway, Octopunch had a tendency to pal around with Bludgeon as part of the Mayhem Attack Squad in the Marvel books, although his appearances there feature him carrying a trident that he doesn't actually have in his toy incarnation.

Oh yeah, and even though it was something of an accident, he did shoot Primus in the freaking face. That alone is worth a few bucks in his favor, right?

Octopunch comes packaged with the inner robot, two sets of attachable legs for his crab mode, two guns (one for the inner robot, one for the shell) and the shell itself.

Shell:
Octopunch's carapace is difficult to describe succinctly. He's a bipedal creature, sort of a cranberry-red hunchback crammed into part of a deep-sea diving suit. He's got a big, deformed-looking head with yellow eyes, protruding teeth, no real nose, veins outlined on his scalp, and a big flabby chin that hangs over his breastplate. This is probably why he comes with a big round helmet that clearly emulates the classic diver-wearing-metal-bowl look. His head is set pretty far forward on his body. Interestingly, this makes the helmet's oversizedness even more obvious, so it obscures much of his ugly face and makes him look even more like a monster, with eyes and (unpainted) tusks visible from the front angle. Also, because of his head's position, the seam that splits the shell apart when opened actually runs behind the head instead of through it, meaning that you don't have to pull off his helmet just to open the shell. Each arm is bent at a near-90-degree angle and features two tentacles coming out of each shoulder, which aren't flexible or poseable, sorry. But they do have textured detailing suggesting sucker-cups and a slimy surface. He doesn't have the extraneous clip-on belt that earlier Pretenders did, although a similar item is molded into the shell with a death's head on the front. He's also got two-toed feet and a blue backpack on his grotesquely large back. He comes with a white harpoon gun that fits his look, although the choice of white may not have been the best. Overall, he sort of looks like a deep-sea diver that suddenly mutated into a walrus/octopus hybrid thing and broke out of most of his suit in the process. Well, after the hybrid thing went out and got itself some shinguards and other sundry pieces of armor to wear.

So anyway, as Pretender shells go, it's distinctive and easily recognizable, which is more than can be said for some of them. I've even seen a couple of independent sellers making tridents for him, in case you really liked the look of it in the comics. Oh, and like all the basic, non-transforming Pretender shells, he only has shoulder articulation. However, he does have a couple of surprises in regards to the shell, which I'll describe as we go...

Robot Mode:
Opening the shell, we find Octopunch himself nestled neatly inside. He's TINY. Not much taller than a Mini-Spy. Shorter than Bludgeon, and shorter than Pretender Grimlock. Still, before we jump all over him too badly here, he's really not bad-looking at all. His torso, head and upper legs are a dark red, with his lower legs, arms and back picked out in a light orange that actually works. They've attempted to give his chest a tapered, detailed look. His masked face is generally featureless, but it's picked out in white underneath his nicely shaped red helmet.His arms are molded in another near-90 degree angle and only move at the shoulders, but there's no holes in his fists. His torch gun fits in a hole in his elbow, if you like those forearm-mounted weapons. Overall, while they could have used some labels to help disguise the screws obvious in his robot mode, he really looks pretty good for a Pretender.

It would seriously behoove me to mention also that not only does he fit snugly into his shell, but there's a small hole inside one of the shell's legs to hold his torch gun. Little things like this go a long way for the Pretenders line in my opinion, since so many of them are pretty much a waste of the money...

Alternate Mode:
Using the hidden tab in Octopunch's chest retracts his head. Lay him down on his belly and you'll realize that the backs of his legs are actually claws. Two purple sets of four legs each plug into his elbow sockets, and his small torch gun can be plugged into the hole on top. He's a widdle orange crab! Actually, given the limits of the era's TFs in general, he's really not that bad of a replica. He's almost entirely orange here, with red eyestalks and orange spikes sticking out of his carapace. His forelimbs have two joints each (I guess you'd say shoulder and elbow?), and little tabs on either side of the claws allow them to be opened or closed easily. He's even got little molded lines between the forelimbs (or is that the robot mode's butt?) to simulate a crab's mandibles. It's a simplistic transformation and requires accessories (the legs), but it's really not too bad.

Speaking of the crab legs, the shell's backpack has two holes that allow you to store the legs on the outside of the backpack. If you're very precise and careful, you CAN stuff them in the shell with Octopunch and his torch gun, but using the backpack mountings is easier.

Because the claws double as the robot mode's lower legs, there's a plastic piece on the underside of each claw that prevents them from carrying anything really big. The robot feet on the underside mean that the crab mode is better balanced on a flat surface, but admittedly the limitations do knock off some play value points for the crab mode. (I should point out, though, that he's small to begin with - not sure what you'd do with the claws in the first place, except have him run off with Pretender Grimlock's sword/gun like I just did!)

Transformation Design: 4/10. Simple, but relatively entertaining. The plug-in crab legs can be irritating, though, just because they may or may not fit snugly.
Durability: 7/10. Although it's a small inner robot, it doesn't seem particularly fragile, and of course the shell is good basharound fun.
Fun: 5/10. As the non-deluxe Pretenders go, I actually like Octopunch without making too many excuses for him. Good looking shell, good looking robot, doesn't come off as silly as many of the others do. And the crab mode is definitely unique.
Aesthetics: 6/10. The shell's big helmet makes it an eye-catching display piece, and the robot's colors help a lot as well.
Articulation: 7/10. Typical for G1, useful articulation is limited. However, none of it seems likely to make the figure fall over.
Value/Price: 6/10. It's a bit tricky to get one's hands on Octopunch with his accessories, but he still tends to run on the cheap side of the market.
Overall: 7/10. The Pretenders line is certainly debatable, but you could do worse.

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Blackjack
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Post by Blackjack » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:54 am

Nice review, thanks for sharing. Never thought that Octopunch's toy really had a face behind the diver's helm... I thought it was something that the artists added in.

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