Masterpiece Soundwave VS Titans Return Soundwave – Review

INTRODUCTiON

It’s all about me!

It’s time to review one of my favourite Transformers, and that is everyone’s favourite Decepticon intelligence officer – Soundwave. Having recently acquired one of my grails in the way of Transformers Masterpiece Soundwave, I figured it would be a good opportunity to compare what is arguably the best incarnation of Soundwave with a pretty good runner up.  That runner up being Titans Return Soundwave (with Titan Master Soundblaster).  If you’re unable to get your hands on Masterpiece Soundwave, is the Titans Return offering a worthy substitute? Well, he may not be a worthy “substitute” as such, but he definitely has enough going on to tide you over until you can acquire the Masterpiece version (and some tapes 😉 )

Side by side

“Soundblaster is a master of cyber infiltration. He drops a backdoor code into the systems of any bot he unites with, giving Soundwave a way in. With that access, Soundwave raids their processors – completely undetected – and steals a constant stream of information.” With a name like “Soundblaster” he doesn’t exactly sound like a covert operative, and what bots is he uniting with to get any worthwhile information (unless he’s spying on his fellow Decepticons)? It’s not like he can run up and attach himself to any old Autobot. He even looks like a mini Soundwave.

Soundblaster… totally not Soundwave

For simplicity’s sake, I will be using MP and TR to refer to Masterpiece and Titans Return respectively.

FIRST IMPRESSIONs

The Masterpiece line prides itself on bringing us Transformers that are as show-accurate as possible, featuring flawless alt-modes and robot modes that look like they stepped right out of the screen and into our hands. MP Soundwave’s robot mode certainly fits that description. His appearance is definitely what you would expect to see in a Masterpiece. He’s very show-accurate and the design has been tweaked to give him more poseability over his G1 counterpart.

The Titans Return version also definitely looks the part. All the familiar design cues are there so you can instantly tell that this is Soundwave, although in a slightly lighter shade of blue. The tell-tale chest window is ever present and his face retains all his usual features. In true TR fashion, he has that “classic, but updated” feel. However, what the TR version lacks in cartoon/G1 accuracy, he makes up for in playability with an extra “base” mode.

ACCESSORIES

This is where all (most?) incarnations of Soundwave most certainly shine as a Transformer. In this case – it’s all about the “tapes”. Ever since he started out as a micro-cassette recorder in his G1 days, Soundwave has always had an arsenal of tapes (discs, objects, etc.) that can be called upon to do his bidding or to provide additional firepower on the battlefield.

At present I only have the one tape for MP Soundwave (Laserbeak), but it is possible to buy separate packs that have multiple tapes in them to fill out the ranks.  MP Laserbeak is very true to form in that he’s a very good representation of the character in both modes.

Laserbeak, prepare to launch

What is also great about this Laserbeak is that his weapons/boosters are incorporated into the transformation. They’re not separate and removable like in his original form.  It’s really very clever how they got that to work.

Scanning mode

The TR version is also no slouch in the tapes department. This time around the tapes are replaced with different portable electronic devices (tablets, phones, etc.) and each of these is a triple-changer in its own right.

Laserbeak and Ravage could have been handled better in this regard as each figure suffers in some way by becoming a triple-changer when it really isn’t necessary. The TR “tapes” would have fared much better if they had just retained their original forms, but with the modern twist that the TR line is known for. As much as I like the TR line, I’m not a fan of the tacked-on 3rd mode that some of the figures suffer from (Galvatron, looking at you).

My, what a big bird you have

Both Soundwaves come with the customary shoulder-mounted rocket pod.  The TR version’s rocket pod can be detached while the MP version has it fixed to his shoulder.  It can be stowed away in alt-mode form, but it can’t be removed.

Curse these closed fists!

MP Soundwave comes with his usual gun with its familiar cylindrical shape (that turns into a “battery” that can be stowed away in his alt-mode), whereas TR Soundwave comes with the same rifle that comes with TR Blaster, only a different colour.

While the MP version comes with one of his minions included in the package, the TR version comes with a “placeholder” that can be used to store the Titan Master Soundblaster when in alt-mode.

This placeholder piece can also be used in his “base” mode as a weapons platform/deck of sorts. MP Soundwave comes with a little box that connects to his chest to replicate the “energon cube creation” effect (and it has a “lid” so you can seal it up), and an alt-mode Megatron (because why not?).

ARTICULATION

While the MP version wins out in this regard (articulated fingers, anyone?), the TR version is certainly no slouch. The TR version is a tad bulkier than the MP version and is also slightly taller. There’s even a decent amount of solid ratcheting going on in both figures that enables both of them to hold some dynamic poses.

Soundblaster unmasked

Starting with the TR version, without the “mask” on, since the head borrows Soundblaster’s neck joint it can rotate fully but only has a very minimal tilt left and right as well as up and down.  However, once the mask is in place, the head can only rotate. At least it can rotate fully which is something.

The shoulders can rotate fully and the arms can only raise up to 90 degrees. The hinge at each elbow gives a 90 degree bend and the swivel allows for full rotation. Disappointingly, there’s no swivel at the wrists and the hands can only turn in due to the transformation.  There’s no movement in the waist area, but the hips have a fairly decent range of movement which is helped by the movable hip covers.  The thighs have a swivel in them and the knees can only bend to 90 degrees. The ankles can tilt left and right as well as up and down which really helps with stability. Despite his limitations, TR Soundwave can pull off some nice dynamic posing.

En Garde!

Now on with the MP version. The head can rotate fully, but can only tilt up and down. The shoulders have a good range of movement – they can rotate fully and the arms can raise up to around 180 degrees, although it looks kind of disjointed when he does that due to the nature of the shoulder joint. There’s a swivel in the bicep and the elbows can bend to a full curl which is pretty cool. And speaking of pretty cool – the aforementioned articulated fingers!

Each finger is jointed as you would expect which means you can open and close the hands at each finger.  While the fingers can open and curl like normal, they can’t spread out/splay. As cool as it is to have these articulated fingers, it makes it near impossible for Soundwave to maintain a proper grip on his gun.  The gun itself has a tab on the grip that slots into his palms, but it can be tricky getting it to stay in there. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, it’s just something to look out for when you’re working with the hands. Oh, and there’s wrist swivels.

Unlike the TR version, there’s a waist swivel. The hips have a very good range of movement, helped along with some sturdy ratcheting. There are swivels at the hips and just above the knees. The knees themselves have some very strong ratchets, even though they can only bend to 90 degrees. There’s some funky engineering going on in the ankles and they have a combination of hinges to allow the ankles to tilt left and right as well as up and down to some degree.

There’s not a lot going on for both versions in alt-mode, it’s pretty much just the tape/device storage windows.  The MP version has some buttons that you can press, a slide switch and a dial that only slightly moves.

These little hatches open and I have no idea why…

One area where the MP version falls down in alt-mode is the back side of his tape deck mode. Since the back area is not closed in, it looks kind of untidy and not really convincing at all (and not what you’d expect from a “Masterpiece”). The front and sides are as well done as you would expect, but that messy back end is a bit of a let-down. It seems funny that the TR version makes for a slightly more convincing audio device overall – even if it looks a bit more “toy-ish”.

How do you do that?
Am I doing it right?

TR version’s base mode makes for an interesting option. The Titans Return range comes with lots of little Transformer figures and additional Titan Masters that can interact with all the new base modes that are being released.  You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get the larger city/base transformers like Metroplex, Fortress Maximus or even Trypticon (awesome as they are) when you can get a few Voyager/Leader class figures together and create your own bases. Transformers fans are even creating base modes from figures that don’t even have an official base mode.

CONCLUSION

If you absolutely have to choose between the two, then the MP is definitely the one to go for.  Especially if you’re a Soundwave fan. But that doesn’t mean that the TR version is worth completely passing up. While the MP brings the G1 accuracy with modern engineering, it’s clearly aimed at the more adult end of the collector’s market. The TR version on the other hand, offers a G1-esque flavour with the added benefit of a 3rd mode that can actually be quite fun. Even more so if you have other TR figures that have base modes which means that you can create quite the miniature city with enough figures. The size and heft of the TR version means its more suited for fans of all ages, plus it’s a lot cheaper than the MP version so there is that.

Titans Return and Masterpiece Soundwave can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Transformers range.


 


 

There’s only one way to settle this…
Dance off, bro!
You there! Music!
You got it!
“You got the touch”
“You got the power~~”
“Yeah!!”
Stand back. I got this.
How’s this?
Or this?
And…
How you like me now?
If only more disputes could be settled with an epic dance-off…

Transformers Titans Return Quake – Review

Introduction:

The Titans Return line has hit the shelves in a big way and it’s good to see a lot of the old G1 characters have another go around, with updated designs and modern engineering. This time around it’s Quake’s turn to receive the Titans Return treatment. Quake has turned out to be a bit of a surprise for me since I wasn’t aware that he originally was a Targetmaster that was released in 1988.

Box front – and yes, his head has come loose inside the package.

Quake’s character is that of a berserker, where once he hits the battlefield, he won’t stop until everyone and everything is reduced to ashes. Now that he’s been paired with Titanmaster Chasm (who can create portals), we have the extremely dangerous combination of an unstoppable force of destruction with the ability to teleport enemies and objects around at will.

First Impressions:

Quake – unarmed

Quake shares a mold with Titans Return Hardhead (with Titanmaster Furos), and while he still retains his tank vehicle mode, he’s now adopted Hardhead’s “H-tank” format where the left and right treads are split into 2 separate sections. Like most Titans Return figures, his colour scheme is reminiscent of his G1 days, but now he’s sporting a slightly darker blue. Once out of the package, his robot mode feels sturdy despite all the hollow sections around his body. It’s understandable that some sections need to be hollow in order to facilitate the transformation but to see them on display is a bit jarring.

Sassy.

He’s quite detailed for a Deluxe class figure and his colour scheme consists of dark-blue, grey, and maroon, broken up with a large black piece that is the main cannon. There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of paint apps here with only a few touches of silver on some vents, and his Decepticon badges with yellow lightning strikes. I like how the main cannon can be positioned over his shoulder, but the way that the tank’s cockpit hangs off his back can be slightly distracting. Like a lot of the new Transformers being released lately, he has that “action figure that also happens to transform” vibe going on which is nice.

Accessories:

Aside from his rifle, his main cannon can also be removed and used as a hand gun. The main cannon also has a neat feature where the back end can open up and form a seat for Chasm or another Titanmaster to ride in. There are not a lot of accessories here, but it works. Kind of like a “less is more” sort of arrangement.

Loaded up and ready for battle

Articulation:

In keeping with the “action figure” vibe, just about everything moves how you would expect it to. The joints are sturdy enough and he feels like he could hold some dynamic poses. There’s no waist articulation which for me isn’t really a deal-breaker, but it would have been nice. When Chasm becomes Quake’s head in robot mode, they share the same mini ball joint which makes the head feel a bit loose at times. It can still hold its position well enough but the whole thing feels a bit fragile to me. Chasm’s head mode can rotate fully but can only manage a slight tilt back and forth, and left and right.

Chasm himself has the standard Titanmaster range of movement. The ball joint in the neck offers full rotation and a slight tilt back and forth, and left and right. The joints in the arms give a decent rotation which is often hindered by the face hanging off his back. The legs have hinges in the knees and hips, but the lower legs are molded into a single piece. So basically all he can do is sit, stand, or fold up into a head.

The shoulders have a good range of movement due to the combination of the hinge and ball joint present there. The hinge allows the arms to be raised up at the shoulders past 90 degrees and the ball joint allows for full rotation and some twisting/tilting. At the elbows there is a double joint due to the transformation which helps the elbows bend to just past 90 degrees. There is also a swivel there to turn the forearms in and out which is handy. I was pleasantly surprised to find a swivel at the wrist. Too often I’ve come across a figure that could have really used a wrist swivel only to find out that there isn’t any. The wrists can turn in for the transformation, and it’s a simple thing, but the swivel really helps out with posing.

There’s no articulation at the waist, but the ball joints in the hips offer a decent range of movement. Good enough that he can do the splits in both directions. You’ll find a swivel in the thighs and a hinge at the knees that only gets about a 90 degree bend. The toes have a hinge but it’s mainly for transforming. Like some Transformers now, there are no ankle rockers. Instead the bases of the feet have been cut on an angle to facilitate a wider, or more natural stance.

In vehicle/tank mode, there’s not a whole lot of movement going on. Since the treads aren’t the functioning kind, we have to settle for little rollers underneath. With the way that it’s been designed, there’s no turret to speak of. The main cannon plugs in next to the cockpit, but there are a couple of hinges that can allow the cannon to tilt up and down. You can then pivot the cannon where it connects with the base. It’s not really a turret in the typical sense, but it’s still poseable.

“See that thing over there? Blow that up.”
Doomshot can’t resist a shiny new tank to play with.
“Can’t see a damn thing with this rifle in the way!”
“Wanna see me shoot down an Autobot plane with this cannon?”

Conclusion:

I’m quite pleased with how everything moves with Quake. He feels like one of those Transformers that you just want to pick up and play with. His joints are sturdy and he’s capable of some dynamic poses. The transformation is quite easy and everything tabs in nicely where you would expect it to. I missed out on Hardhead and Furos the first time around, so having Quake and Chasm in my collection make for an ideal replacement. With each new wave of Titans Return figures, it’s interesting to see which classic characters are given a modern update.

Also, like most Titans Return figures these days, it’s fun to try and find out hidden/alternate modes for your Transformers.  Here are some that I’ve figured out from messing around with Quake:

Gerwalk, because why not?
UFO Mode
UFO Mode
Alternate Vehicle Mode
Alternate Vehicle Mode

Quake and Chasm can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Titans Return range.

“Hey Warpath, I noticed that there’s not a lot of Autobot tanks.”
“As you can see, I have a small army behind me.”
“Well Quake, I don’t need an army when I have a…”
“…Hulk.”
“Would love to stay and chat Warpath, but I think I left an oven on somewhere…”

Transformers Titans Return Triggerhappy – Review

Introduction:

Titans Return Triggerhappy

Triggerhappy first appeared back in the G1 days in the “Targetmaster” range (circa 1987) with his Targetmaster partner Blowpipe. I’ve heard some pretty good things about Transformers Titans Return Triggerhappy and now that I finally have him in hand I can honestly say that he lives up to the hype. It’s not very often that I come across a figure that I just can’t help but pick up and play with.

First Impressions:

Triggerhappy still retains much of his G1 design cues and while in typical Titans Return fashion, has a more detailed/updated look. His colour scheme is mostly blue and light-grey with some silver accents here and there. He also retains the metallic gold that features on the thrusters. His new fighter mode is quite comparable to his original fighter mode. He still has those forward-swept wings and the long double-barreled blasters, only now he’s more streamlined and sleek. His new fighter mode wouldn’t be out of place in an old-school arcade shoot-em-up game.

In flight
Classic colours with a modern twist
Ready for takeoff

His new robot mode is also reminiscent of his G1 days. I like how the long blasters fold up in pretty much the same way as in the original. One major difference however, is that instead of the fighter’s canopy taking up the whole front side of his chest/torso area, it now splits so that he has half the canopy making up his chest area while the other half hangs off his back like a hood. I’m definitely liking the articulation upgrade. It gives him that “action figure that just happens to be a transformer” vibe.

Accessories:

Triggerhappy’s gear

Blowpipe changes his role from Targetmaster weapon to Titanmaster (or Headmaster) here as he transforms from robot to Triggerhappy’s head. Blowpipe’s robot mode can also act as a pilot in Triggerhappy’s fighter mode.

My name is Blowpipe and I’ll be your Captain for this flight

There’s not a lot in the way of accessories here, and in this case I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bad thing (I think he has enough guns to go around). Triggerhappy comes with two additional blasters that he can hold in each hand or in the ports under his fighter wings or mounted on his shoulders. The handheld blasters can also combine to form a vehicle/weapons platform for Blowpipe to ride on. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere for the combined blasters to attach to fighter or robot mode which is a bit odd.

2 guns… not bad…
Now we’re getting somewhere
That’s more like it!

Articulation:

Triggerhappy’s head borrows the ball-joint in Blowpipe’s neck which allows for full rotation, but only a slight tilt left/right and forward/back. There are double swivels in the shoulders that offer a decent range of movement but some angles are hindered by the thrusters that stick out from the top of his shoulders. Unfortunately, he’s unable to swing his arms outwards when they’re in the forward position which can make some poses quite frustrating.  There are bicep swivels but their range is limited as long as the blasters are folded up. The wings can often get in the way when trying to move his forearms outward.  His elbows have a hinge and he can only bend them just past 90 degrees. Disappointingly, there is no swivel in the wrists.

I can shoot AND punch (but I’d much rather shoot)

Given the nature of the joint and its purpose in the transformation, they could have easily applied some sort of ball-joint to that area, or even some sort of double swivel arrangement. They’ve gone to all the trouble of upgrading/updating the articulation from the original release only to skimp out on a wrist swivel. It seems like a minor thing, but it’s something that can mean the difference between “pretty good” and “perfect”, much like the slightly disappointing shoulder movement.

Hii~

There’s not so much of a waist swivel, it’s more like a hip swivel (due to the transformation). The hips have a fairly good range of movement. The ball joints move freely and they feel like they’ll be able to hold some dynamic poses. His knees can bend to about 135 degrees (due to the transformation), and there’s a hinge in the ankles that allows the toes and heels to fold up but that’s it really. The base of the feet are cut on an angle to allow for wide stances.

Yaa!

As with all the Titanmasters, Blowpipe’s articulation is pretty limited. He has small ball-joints in his neck and shoulders which allow for some movement and hinges in his hips and knees. His legs are one piece from the knees down, so all he can do is sit (or fold up into a head).

Conclusion:

Triggerhappy and Blowpipe make for an excellent team. I’ve been really impressed with the fighter and robot modes and it seems like I’m finding out little things each time I pick him up and fiddle around a bit. I’m also hearing about all the interesting things that others are doing with their Triggerhappys like finding new modes or even doing custom paint jobs. I myself have stumbled upon a few modes within a short time of having him. He’s certainly proven himself to be a whole lot of fun for a Deluxe size Transformer.

Sassy
375mL Drink can for scale

Triggerhappy and Blowpipe can be found at the links below along with other Transformers in the Titans Return range.


 

Wings slightly folded
Wings folded down make for an alternate landing mode
“Chicken” mode
“Gerwalk” mode
“Armed Gerwalk” mode
“Fully Armed Gerwalk” mode
And here we have the Triggerhappy bird, perched high above the surrounding terrain.

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime – Review

With Transformers Titans Return hitting the shelves in a big way, it’s time for me to review one of the more recent additions to my collection. It’s time to review (deep breath) Transformers Titans Return Autobot Apex and Powermaster Optimus Prime (whew!). Like a lot of the new Transformers in the Titans Return range, Optimus here comes to us in the form of a triple-changer, much like his G1 counterpart (Powermaster Optimus Prime). Apart from his usual truck and robot modes, he also has a “city” mode in which Optimus can turn into a mini city/base of sorts, ala Metroplex or Fortress Maximus only on a much (much!) smaller scale. Does the extra mode bring anything worthwhile to the table? Let’s see shall we?

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime

First Impressions:

Looking at Optimus through the packaging window, we can see that he follows the current trend of retaining most of his original style while becoming a lot more detailed. The red and blue colours with the silver accents are typical Optimus, but the flat light-grey that makes up most of the trailer now becomes incorporated into his robot mode.

Box front
Box back

In fact, this particular figure is a re-tooling of Transformers Legends Ultra Magnus. The way that the guns are mounted at the front of the trailer is a carry-over from his G1 days, also the way in which his trailer becomes part of his robot mode is reminiscent of Ultra Magnus. The panels definitely add a bit of bulk to his lower legs. With all the new bells and whistles that the new designs bring, you can certainly tell at a glance that this is Optimus.

Optimus Prime, upgraded.

He has his usual (but updated) face that acts as a “mask” that slips over the Titan Master head and funnily enough, Apex’s head mode resembles Orion Pax. It is Orion Pax that eventually becomes Optimus Prime so that makes this particular figure a real trip down memory lane.

Orion Pax

Accessories:

As with all the Titans Return transformers with detachable heads, would you consider the Titan Master head an accessory even though it’s an essential piece of the figure? You can still swap the heads around with other figures, but at the end of the day you still need a head for your bot.

Titan Master Apex

It’s not like a weapon or similar accessory that you can completely leave off if you want. Apart from the head figure, Optimus comes with 2 double barrelled guns that can each hold a ‘Master and 2 other guns that he can hold in his hands. His hands seem to be designed to only hold his hand guns. They can open and close, but don’t seem able to maintain a solid grip on other weapons. Still, the 4 guns are a lot more than what some figures are getting (looking at you, Galvatron).

Optimus doesn’t need weapons to kick ass.

Articulation:

With the mask on, his head can only turn left and right. There’s no tilt in any direction, but at least he has a full mask and not just a “faceplate” (looking at you again, Galvatron). The mask can be pulled back to reveal Apex, but he looks disproportionately small compared to the rest of the body.

Slightly disproportionate…

There’s a swivel and hinge at the shoulders which gives a good range of motion, and the swivel has a slight ratchet to it that helps with posing. At the elbows there’s a hinge and a swivel at the biceps. His wrists have no movement but his hands can open and close to hold his hand guns. It’s possible that they could hold other items/accessories but they might not be able to maintain a solid grip.


His hips offer a good range of movement and have a solid ratchet to them. He has a thigh swivel and a hinge at the knees. The knees also have a solid ratchet, and like the elbows, can only bend to about 90 degrees. There’s a hinge at the ankles so the feet can tilt forward and back, but sadly there’s no sort of ankle rocker so the feet can’t tilt left and right. Instead, his feet are cut on an angle in a poor attempt to offer some stability. It works when his legs are together (as close as they can get anyway) but apart from that it can be difficult to position his feet nicely when posing. His bulky lower legs can be a bit of a hindrance at times. It could be tricky trying to get him into some of the more dynamic poses.

Ground punch, because why not, that’s why!
Sassy.

Transformations:

The truck mode is still typically Optimus only this time the trailer doesn’t detach. His guns can be mounted in various locations over the trailer, and it can open at the back. It’s possible to carry another smaller vehicle inside (like Titans Return Blurr for example 😉 ).

Blurr inside

I don’t know if it’s a quality control or design issue, but the door at the rear of the trailer doesn’t quite tab together properly. Everything else comes together nicely apart from the rear door.


City/base mode is a bit of a pleasant surprise. Not having any experience with the G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime, I didn’t really know what to expect with this mode, but it’s actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

Base mode – tiny but mighty.

The Titans Return range now comes with lots of little Transformer figures and additional Titan Masters that can interact with all the new base modes that are being released. You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get the larger city/base transformers like Metroplex or Fortress Maximus (awesome as they are) when you can get a few Voyager class figures together and create your own bases.

Alternate base mode.
Titans Return Galvatron laying down the siege.

Conclusion:

You can transport a Blurr
Or an Arcee
Or even a Jazz.
ComeonOptimusIcanwalkfasterthanthis. Let’sgolet’sgolet’sgo!

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime (and Apex) is a welcome addition to my Transformers ranks. Apart from a few niggling issues, he has an excellent robot and truck mode. The city/base mode has been a pleasant surprise for me, not having experienced the G1 version. There are a few Titans Return figures out there that have an extra city/base mode and one that has an extra galactic battleship mode, so it’s possible to play out some epic battle scenarios with just a few figures. There are also smaller Titans Return figures and additional Titan Masters that you can get that are fairly inexpensive, so you can really fill out your ranks.
Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Transformers Titans Return range.

 

What happened to all your guns, Galvatron?
Quality over quantity, Prime. Quality over quantity.

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia – Review

Coming up we have Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia. Beast Machines is the follow up series that takes place after the events of Beast Wars.  I never really got into the two shows, but since the release of the first Blackarachnia I’ve come to consider her as an interesting choice to add to my collection.  Apart from the original Beast Wars and Beast Machines versions, there’s also a Transformers Animated version.  I recently acquired Blackarachnia at a local Pop Culture Expo and have been meaning to do a review since then.  So here we go!

Package front
Package front
Paackage back
Package back

First Impressions:

The Beast Machines cartoon aired in the late 90s/early 2000s and I think it shows here.  For an expert saboteur she’s pretty bright and colourful.  There’s a lot of purple and green going on with some black here and there, and some clear green plastic covering some of her bio-mechanical workings.  I really like the paint work they’ve done here.  She’s a deluxe size, but with her leg span and posture in beast mode she could possibly be slightly bigger than that.  Even in robot mode she stands a bit taller than what would pass for a deluxe these days.  Her spider/beast mode is as spindly and creepy-crawly as you would expect, and her robot mode has that “dangerously feminine” style to it.

Beast Machines Blackarachnia
Beast Machines Blackarachnia
Come Get Some
Come get some

Accessories:

Sadly, she doesn’t come with any accessories.  Given how they’ve designed her “hands” it makes it a bit tricky for her to hold any sort of weapon.  She has two “claws” towards the end of each arm that can swivel in, so she might be able to hold on to something, but then it looks a bit weird with one massive appendage hanging out the end.  You could probably pretend that they’re some sort of scythes and call it a day.  Beast Wars Blackarachnia comes with a grappling hook and launcher that can be deployed in robot and beast modes, but unfortunately her Beast Machines version misses out.

Ready to Pounce
Ready to pounce

Articulation:

She moves pretty well in both modes.  In beast mode she has enough joints in her limbs to create most “spidery” poses.  She also has a neat feature in her spider head where if you pull the green and purple pedipalps apart, the mouth pieces move up and down.  It’s equal parts cool from an engineering viewpoint and creepy if you’re not a big fan of spiders.  The transformation process is pretty straightforward and it’s quite easy to repeat the steps.  There’s no instruction sheet here, instead the instructions are printed on the packaging.  Another neat feature is her “visor” that can move up and down to cover her eyes as well as reveal additional eyes on her forehead.

Laying in Wait
Laying in wait
On the Move
On the move

In robot mode she has a decent range of movement, apart from her head that is.  She does have a double swivel in her neck that allows for turning and tilting up and down.  However, due to her “hair” being a solid piece of plastic, she is unable to tilt her head back at all.  She can only look down slightly though.  She has ball joints in the shoulders and elbows that allow for a decent range of movement, and just past the elbows is a swivel so you can turn her forearms.  The aforementioned “claws” can turn in for grasping things (or create a massive “flipping the bird” effect).

Yeah, well, same to you, buddy!
Yeah, well, same to you, buddy!

She has a swivel at the waist and ball joints at the hips as well as hinges in the knees and ankles.  The elbows and knees can only manage a 90 degree bend though.  The legs tab together nicely in robot mode, but then she’s left with some overly long feet.  It would have been nice to have some sort of lateral swivel in the legs, but I guess it would have been too difficult to do due to the transformation process.  The really long feet do make her pretty stable though (her spider abdomen makes her a bit back-heavy).

Does this make my abdomen look big?
Does this make my abdomen look big?

You could try to pose her en pointe (with the “toes” of the feet separated slightly to give more surface contact points), but that requires a whole lot of patience to get her to balance right.  Even then there’s not a lot you can do from there.

Tippy toes
Tippy toes
Find you inner balance
Find your inner balance…
Or try a 3-point stance
…Or try a 3-point stance

Conclusion:

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia is a bit of an odd duck in my collection.  I don’t have any other transformers from Beast Machines or Beast Wars, and I don’t have a lot of other insectoids/arachnids for her to hang with.  That aside, she’s proven to be quite an interesting figure.  I often find scenarios for her that I normally wouldn’t consider for other transformers or other figures in general for that manner.  Fans of the shows should be sure to pick her up if they haven’t already.  The lack of accessories and the issue with her head are just minor things really.

There are variations to her modes that can also make things a bit more interesting.  Her robot mode arms can be moved forward under her body in spider mode so that they face the front.

Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode

It’s also possible to have a sort of half-transformation where you can have her robot torso on top of her spider legs.

Half and half mode
Half and half mode

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia can be found at the link below along with other transformers in the Beast Machines and Beast Wars range (and be sure to keep an eye out for the Transformers Animated version as well).

Excuse me, have you seen any giant spiders around here?
Excuse me, have you seen any giant spiders around here?
I think I saw one over there.
I think I saw one over there.
Keep looking~~
Keep looking~~
Boo!!
Boo!!
Byee~~ See you next time, Antman~~
Byee~~ See you next time, Antman~~

Transformers: Titans Return – Galvatron – Review

Straight off the shelf and on to the table we have Transformers: Titans Return – Galvatron.  Galvatron first appeared in Transformers: The Movie in 1986 and since then has had only a few figures made. The quality of which has been debatable.  Looking back, I’m glad I missed out on the Universe version.  His Titans Return outing looks promising at least, so here we go.

Box Front
Box Front
Box Back
Box Back

First Impressions

Galvatron appears this time in the Voyager scale which makes for a fairly decent size.  His colour scheme matches his original appearance and he has that recent “classic but new” feel about him.  He still looks like Galvatron but with more fine details and modern design cues.

The Mighty Galvatron
The Mighty Galvatron

Accessories

You don’t get a lot of accessories with this figure.  Do they even count as accessories if they’re an integral part of the character?  Apart from the base figure, included in the package are his Particle Cannon and a removable head that goes by the name of Nucleon.  “Nucleon gives Galvatron a universal systems upgrade with powerful but unstable results.”  That sounds like Galvatron alright – overwhelming power at any cost.  It’s interesting to see Hasbro bring back the old Headmaster line that first appeared back in the G1 days.

The head/Nucleon can transform into a little robot mode that looks a lot like a tiny G1 Megatron.  So like the original Headmasters, the heads are interchangeable with other Titans Return figures.  There’s very minimal paint apps on Nucleon which is a bit disappointing, even though it is a very tiny figure.  At the end of the day, you only really get the important stuff with no extras, apart from the instruction sheet and a collector’s card.

Nucleon Installed
Nucleon Installed
Nucleon (or Not-Megatron)
Nucleon (or Not-Megatron)

Articulation

Galvatron moves quite well given his size.  The head can turn left and right well enough but can only offer a slight tilt in the left, right, up and down directions.  The blue faceplate doesn’t move at all so it looks silly if you turn the head while the faceplate is up.  The shoulders can rotate all the way around and have a bit of ratchet to them.  There’s a bicep swivel and the double joint in the elbows allows for a decent curl.  The wrists can turn in due the transformation, but sadly there’s no swivel there.

There’s a swivel at the waist and thighs and the hips have a wide range of movement.  The knees can only bend just past 90˚ and the joints in the ankles help Galvatron to plant his feet on the ground more securely.

Fire!
Fire!

All this adds up to make Galvatron fairly poseable so you won’t have any trouble getting him into some dynamic poses.  Although not being able to really turn the head with the faceplate up complicates things.

Crouching Cannon
Crouching Cannon

Not-Megatron has very limited articulation due to his tiny size.  He has ball joints at the head and shoulders as well as hinges at the hips and knees.  His legs are moulded together so all he can do is sit really.

Transformations

This time around Galvatron appears as a triple changer.  There are the usual cannon and robot modes, and this time they’ve added a spaceship mode (because why not, that’s why).  Once you get through the transformations the first time, it’s pretty easy to repeat the process.

Cannon mode looks fairly decent.  What you’d expect from Galvatron really.  It’s nice to have him get back to his original alt mode and not have him be some sort of truck, or tank, or something.  The massive Particle Cannon plugs in to complete the iconic look.  The cockpit/nose kibble folds away underneath, just barely clearing surface level.  The tracks are moulded and there aren’t even any little wheels to roll on – love them or hate them.

Cannon Mode
Cannon Mode
Cannon Mode
Cannon Mode

There is a spaceship mode, but it feels kind of unnecessary.  The only part that makes it look like a spaceship is some tacked on cockpit and nose assembly.  I would have preferred to have had just the cannon and robot modes done well than to have 2.5 modes in a triple changer.  But hey, the spaceship mode does have that retro arcade shoot-em-up feel to it.  Suitable for a character that originated in the 1980’s when you think about it.

Spaceship!!
Spaceship!!

How do you like your arcade shoot-em-ups?

Side Scrolling
Side Scrolling

Or

Top-Down
Top-Down

Conclusion

Transformers Titans Return Galvatron is a pretty solid figure in its own right.  Fans of the original Transformers Movie should be sure to pick him up.  He certainly looks the part, and will make for a decent addition for those looking to fill a Galvatron sized hole in their collections.  I will add that Hasbro really missed an opportunity here to do something worthwhile with the Particle Cannon.  It’s quite a large single piece, but there’s no firing mechanism or light-up gimmick to it.  Even one of the more recent Grimlocks has a light-up chest area.  To have a large gun that doesn’t fire or light up is a bit of a disappointment.

Galvatron and War for Cybertron Megatron
Galvatron and War for Cybertron Megatron

This particular version of Galvatron is a lot like the new movies – it’s new and updated and retains a lot of its original charms, but it’s not without its flaws and could have been a whole lot better.  It also works as a much cheaper alternative to one of the recent Masterpiece versions which only appear to be made by 3rd party manufacturers.

Mix and Match with Titans Return Wolfwire and Monxo
Mix and Match with Titans Return Wolfwire and Monxo

Galvatron can be found at the link below along with other Transformers in the Titans Return range.

375mL Drink can for scale
375mL Drink can for scale
Give me back my head!!
Give me back my head!!
Look at me! I'm Galvatron! Hurr durr. You suck, Starscream!
Look at me! I’m Galvatron! Hurr durr. You suck, Starscream!

Transformers Generations Springer – Review

This time around, it’s time for a Transformers review!  Transformers have been a large part of my childhood and it’s great to see updated versions of classic characters through the Generations line.  The earlier versions (First Generation or G1), although pretty cool in their own right, often had limited articulation and were not very accurate to their on-screen portrayals (when you’re a kid, a little imagination goes a long way :D).  Nowadays, technology allows for more ambitious engineering and designing to get the toys to look closer to their on-screen counterparts.  The Transformers movies by Michael Bay (love them or hate them) created more opportunities to push the boundaries of Transformers designs by incorporating strange, new, alien features into the mix.  Whereas lines like Generations and Universe – even Masterpiece – use new techniques to create a “classic, but updated” feel.  Generations Springer definitely fits that “classic, but updated” style.  Springer was one of the first “Triple Changers” in that he can transform into robot, helicopter and ground vehicle/car mode.  It’ll be interesting to see his various modes with a newer/modern feel.

First Impressions:

Springer is a Voyager Class which means that he’s taller than the average Deluxe Class Transformer.  His colour scheme mostly consists of coloured plastic which is complemented with the odd paint app here and there.  His colours are reminiscent of his G1 days and he also has a few features that carry over from his original appearance.  He has a somewhat lean figure which can allow for some dynamic posing.  If it weren’t for the visible tyres, he could probably pass for some sort of robot action figure.

Transformers Generations Springer
Transformers Generations Springer
Freeze!
Freeze!

Accessories:

Compared to most action figures, Transformers don’t come with a whole lot of accessories.  They often only come with a gun or melee weapon of some sort.  Springer comes with a large double-barrelled missile launcher, and his helicopter blades can convert into a neat sword.  The missile launcher looks pretty cool, but the firing mechanism is not.  Rather than have the usual spring-loaded system, it uses some sort of “ball” that pops out when you push the slider forward on the top of the gun.  It’s pretty lame so don’t expect to hit any far away Decepticons any time soon (unless you want to just throw the missiles at them).  The launcher may be a bit of a dud, but it looks cool and at least I like how the helicopter blades convert into the sword.

Sword Stance
Sword Stance
Standby
Standby

Articulation:

Normally Transformers don’t have all the articulation that you would want due to limitations that can emerge through the transformation process.  Springer on the other hand, feels like an action figure that happens to have 2 other modes to transform into.  His head can turn left and right, as well as look up and down to a good degree, but there is no left or right tilt.  The shoulders move freely and hold their position well.  The elbows have a fairly solid ratchet but can only bend 90˚.  The wrists have a swivel and can bend inwards slightly, but that’s due to the transformation process.  There’s a swivel at the waist which I was not expecting and the hips have a very good range of movement.  He can do the splits in both ways if you want.  The knees have a solid ratchet to them and like the elbows, can only bend 90˚.  The toes can point, but like the wrists, it’s due to the transformation.  The base of the feet are set at an angle so that he can pose with a wide stance and still be stable.

Transformation is fairly straight-forward.  Beginners may have to refer to the instructions, whereas experienced collectors of Transformers will be able to judge what goes where and how.  I’ve lost my instruction sheet but I can still transform Springer with no issues.  It can be a bit confusing though because most things tab into one another while some things don’t.

Heli mode is not as aerodynamic as you might expect, with the end result looking more like some sort of gunship (a bit like G1 Springer really).  It all holds together quite well except for the side assemblies – they don’t seem to tab into the torso anywhere for added stability.  Heli mode reminds me of one of those old-school arcade shoot-em-up games with the top-down view.  I can picture Springer flying over a scrolling landscape laying waste to anything that moves or has the audacity to fire a shot in his general direction.

Heli Mode
Heli Mode
Flight Stand Not Included
Flight Stand Not Included

In car mode, everything seems to click and tab together a bit more securely.  Funnily enough, to me this mode also has an old-school arcade feel but with a road-warrior twist.  Although it seems I can never quite get all the panels to come together properly.  I could be missing something, or it could just be another case of iffy quality control.  I do like how you can store the sword underneath, but it makes a small ground clearance even smaller.

Ground Vehicle/Car Mode
Ground Vehicle/Car Mode
Missile Launcher Attached
Missile Launcher Attached

Conclusion:

Transformers Generations Springer (Voyager Class) is definitely a welcome addition to any toy collection.  He’s lots of fun in all modes, even though attaching the missile launcher to his vehicle modes makes it look kind of ridiculously oversized but hey, it’s an option.  It’s good to see the old Transformers crew get new versions to bring them into the modern age.  I find myself preferring to get them in either the Generations or Universe line as you can get pretty decent figures for a reasonable price.

Springer can be found at the link below along with other Transformers in the Generations range.

Arcee Couldn't Resist a Photo Op
Arcee Couldn’t Resist a Photo Op
Guns at the Ready
Guns at the Ready
375mL Drink Can for Scale
375mL Drink Can for Scale
Bad. Ass.
Bad. Ass.
How am I supposed to defeat Decepticons with this?!
How am I supposed to defeat Decepticons with this?!