Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#4: Transformers - Bruticus (G2)

When it was first announced that Hasbro would be making a new Bruticus with all the individual components being deluxe sized figures, I thought it was a great idea. Then I saw it and thought it looked kind of iffy and would probably be more than I was willing to pay for it. One of the interesting things about the release is that it would be available three different ways. There was a SDCC exclusive set that featured colors based on the appearance of Bruticus in the game Fall of Cybertron. That sold out and is super expensive in the secondary market. There is a mass retail release where each of the Combaticons can be purchased individually. The other version, which I got, is a shared online exclusive with colors inspired by the G2 release. Before Christmas, this was on sale on Amazon for a very reasonable price, but I wasn't really sure if I wanted it. Then I got Fall of Cybertron for Christmas, and being able to play as Air Raid, Swindle, and finally Bruticus sold me on picking up the set. Unfortunately, after Christmas, Amazon's toy prices went back up. I thought about ordering the individual robots from Hasbrotoyshop, but decided to wait and see if the Amazon price would go back down again. My waiting paid off, and the G2 Bruticus finally did go back down to its pre-Christmas price.

As pictured here, the limbs are assembled as they are in Fall of Cybertron. Each of the limbs can function as either an arm or a leg, so if I were so inclined, I could assemble them the way they were for the G2 toy, as would befit their color scheme. Overall, it's pretty cool looking, although the proportions are a bit wonky. I was okay with either the G2 color scheme or the mass release, but I can appreciate the insanity of the G2 version, which is growing on me. I was surprised at how light Bruticus feels. Each of the robots is fairly lightweight, probably to help it hold together in the gestalt form. Even so, I think they are particularly light, especially when compared to the Devastator that I have of a similar size. If I had bought all the robots separately, I would think they weren't the best value.

Onslaught forms the torso of Bruticus, and turns into some sort of Cybertronian truck. The alt mode is not the best. You can't tell from the picture, but the back half is mostly empty space. There's a huge gap of nothing between the rear wheels, and if you look at it from the side, you can see the Bruticus head. Fortunately, robot mode is better. Due to the transformation scheme, and the need to be strong support for the gestalt arms, the shoulders are only swivels.

Blast Off forms the right arm of Bruticus. Originally he was a space shuttle, but this version turns into a Cybertronian aircraft. I like the vehicle mode, it's an interesting look and doesn't really look like anything else. Robot mode is pretty cool too. With the giant shoulder armor, it kind of looks like a football player.

Air Raid is one of two individually playable Combaticons in the game, and turns into a helicopter. Not just any helicopter, a rocket helicopter! When you need to fly faster in the game, the rotors fold back, and the jets kick in. This is one of the shorter robots in the set, and it's got a good robot mode except that the rotors are just kind of there on the arm. The hand for Bruticus is stored in the nose, so you could have that sticking out instead of the gun.

I'm not sure what Swindle's alt mode is. Some sort of off road vehicle? It's a Cybertronian design, so it doesn't really need to anything analogous to Earth vehicles. Whatever it is, it works well enough. Swindle is the other Combaticon that you can play individually during Fall of Cybertron. Although he has a wheeled alt form, like all the other ground based robots in the game, it can hover as well. Why bother having wheels at all? The mysteries of life on Cybertron may never be fully resolved.

Brawl turns into a tank. A hover tank! Brawl is also one of the smaller robots in the set, but I think it's a pretty cool looking robot. This is actually the second Brawl in my collection, I've got the big (leader class?) version from the first Transformers movie. Both tanks.

Combaticons group shot!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

#3: Prometheus - Engineer (chair suit)

Before Prometheus came out, there was conflicting information on whether it would be a prequel to the classic Alien. It kind of is, but it's not the most direct prequel in terms of story. And there are a lot of unanswered questions raised, many of them that are more in the area of plot incoherencies than mysteries. Needless to say, Prometheus wasn't what everyone was hoping for, although I did enjoy it. But the good news is that NECA got the toy license, and we essentially get a figure of the space jockey from the original Alien. Neat! It's a NECA figure, so all the usual applies here. It's a great sculpt, and it's not a statue like they used to be. There's not a whole lot of paint here, but what there is helps bring out the details so that it's not a completely black figure. One of the most notable features here is the size.  NECA movie figures are in a scale of about 7 inches, and the engineers are really tall, so the toy follows suit. He's a whole head taller than Robocop, and about the same size as the xenomorph figure, as seen below.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#2: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Link

Not long after the Figma Samus, the next Nintendo character, Link, was announced for the Figma series. That was a no brainer for me to pre-order. I consider Super Mario, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda to be the trinity of important Nintendo titles (Pokémon came much later, so I never really got into it), and although my name is Mario, the Zelda series has always been my favorite. There have been Link toys before, but not necessarily what I was looking for in a toy. I pre-ordered Link way back in June, and back then he was supposed to show up around November. Then that got pushed back. Then it was announced that Link wouldn't be making it to the US at all because some legal issue came up. Finding this a bit worrying, I contacted the website I had placed my order through, and fortunately they import directly from Japan, so they would still be receiving their stock.

Starting with his original appearance in the first Legend of Zelda game for the NES, Link has been left-handed. As I am left-handed, that surely played a part in my appreciation for the series as it was cool to have a left-handed hero to identify with. Then the Wii screwed everything up. When they ported Twilight Princess to the Wii, they switched things around and Link became right-handed. Presumably this was because of the motion based controls used for sword movement, and apparently right-handed people might find it confusing. So all the promo shots for Link showed him holding his sword in his right hand. I was kind of disappointed, but it was something I could live with. When he arrived I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the handles on his shield could be repositioned to be held with either hand, and there were suitable hands on each side to hold his accessories. It's attention to details like that which really make these figures stand out.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

#1: Minecraft - Creeper

A while back, I pitched in on my first Kickstarter project. 2 Player Productions aimed to produce a documentary about Minecraft, which I was playing a lot of at the time. One of the possible backer rewards was this wind-up Creeper, which was too much for me to pass on. Now the movie has been released, and the backer rewards have arrived, so the Creeper is my first toy of the year. It's a basic wind-up toy, so you know how it works. Wind the key and the Creeper comes to life, ready to blow up anything in the vicinity. I don't remember the last time I had a wind-up toy, so it's a cool throwback. It may well be the toy in my collection with the most limited production run, which is kind of cool.
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