So I had TONS of old G1 toys back in the day. I'm an Army-Brat and grew up moving all the time so we had regular yard sales to get rid of excess and I'd ALWAYS put my meager cash towards buying TFs from my older pals who were starting to outgrow them and/or had to consolidate their own stuff for moves and I'd usually just take the cash and run RIGHT down the street to buy THEIR crap, lol. Anyway. All my TFs have been packed away who-knows-where in my parents' many garages and basements for decades, though...so I guess I kinda dropped off with that myself. But when I saw how awesome the TF:RotF Ravage toy looked at Target one day I just HAD to get it. That kinda rekindled my interest but it's uselessness as an actual Transformer was pretty disappointing. That "space-pod" alt. mode was just a piece of crap, so that kinda killed it. He looks cool as a robo-puma on my shelf at least, I guess. But it wasn't until I got TF otM Barricade that I was FULLY engrossed again. O_O At first I was almost completely baffled by the new engineering. I was scared to break it since it was just cheap plastic instead of heavy-duty die-cast metal like most of my old faves. And the ball-and-socket joints and clips and snaps and panels and all that were just about 1,000% harder to figure out (at first) than I was used to also. You used to just pretty much stand up the car and flip out the limbs and BAM! Instant robot! The first couple hours I owned him I pretty much wanted to just smash him against the wall in frustration, lol. Haha, I even briefly contemplated just buying a second one to keep in his other mode and be DONE with it, ffs. But I eventually got comfortable with it and was just AMAZED at how much more sophisticated they'd gotten as toys. And they look just BRILLIANT, so I was officially hooked. So. Without further ado... Here's my rundown and reviews of the collection I've accumulated in the past two months! BARRICADE So this was the one that got it all started for me again. I just LOVED his design and awesomeness in the first film, and Prowl was always one of my favorite toys as a kid. That was back when "Police are your friend," though, and I know better now and thought making the cop car a bad guy was PERFECT. I even bought the Hot Topic black backpack that just had the Decepticon insignia and said nothing but "...to punish and enslave," lol. Great articulation, beautiful faithfulness to the crazy-complicated Bay designs. Pretty much a full-on win with great detail. Even his MechTech gun, which I generally don't care for, looks pretty cool as long as its retracted. Pretty much my only issue with him is his legs. He's too squat, but that can be corrected with some careful mistransforming. The real issue is their crappy ankle and knee hinges not holding poses very well because they buckle under his own weight. Add the ******edly oversized MechTech crap and it's hopeless. Pretty tricky to get them to fit into his car mode, too. But ho hum. He's still AWESOME and evil as hell. RATCHET Ratchet was always one of my favorite characters, so he was up next. Never got much love in the cartoon but he was a classic underdog pacifist up against a wall who took on Megatron and outsmarted him time after time, so he was always My Hero, haha. I was initially a bit turned off by his re-design for the movies but he was still awesome...and suddenly changed to the color of my favorite alcoholic beverage, Chartreuse!!! So that was a WIN/WIN for me, lol. His figure's pretty big and clunky in 'bot mode and has an alt. mode that's hopelessly out of scale with the rest, but at least his ridulous MechTech weapon is actually kinda cool and he actually holds himself (and it!) up pretty well. His transformation is pretty simple and fun, too. Except for his rotating chest/shoulder segment...that took FOREVER for me to figure out, lol. And, like his movie transformation, I just LOVE the way the worked his name into the sound of him rotating his upper body into place. "Ratchet," indeed! Clever. STARSCREAM Right off the bat I was annoyed with the obvious scale problem with his figure, but I absolutely LOVE his re-design for the movies and it was the last one in the store so I took the leap. Starscream pretty much gets short shrift here. His toy and (and all the repaints) were always some of the coolest G1 toys but this guy's pretty lame in comparison. He still looks great in jet-mode and they obviously had their hands full with his weird-ass robot-mode, though, so he gets points for that. Good articulation and solid joints, too. Another cool but ridiculously oversized MechTech weapon is kind of a mixed-feelings kinda thing. And that sums it up, really. He's cool for what he is, he just deserved more and better. Not bad overall, though. Meh. SIDESWIPE Now this guy looks pretty awesome in both modes. I just HAD to get him just to see how the hell they managed to hide everything with him being "topless" and how they got him to stand with his "rollerblade" feet. Pretty neat job on both points, but his wheel feet and his "backpack" are kind of a bad mix and require some fumbling around to work together. Very cool transformation, though...I like the way his panels snap together and even become his arm-blades. Very crafty considering how little "body" there is from the alt. mode to work with in his case. And the light-piping on his eyes is next-to-useless since it's mostly blocked by that damned "backpack," but no biggie. Still way cool. TOPSPIN Not a big fan of Nascar, but I thought the good ol' boy designs for The Wreckers were pretty hilarious and just thought I should have at least one. Plus, this figure's apparently a bit of a shelf-warmer so he's the only one I could find, lol. Overall he's a pretty cool toy but fairly unremarkable apart from his gangly shape and all. Glad I have him but he's just kinda there. Looks pretty great in both modes and the only real problem I have with him is that he's almost impossible to transform without those back-pieces popping right off at the drop of a hat. Ugh. Jolt Jolt is pretty interesting and weird, and not just the way transforms. His very existence in the TF otM line is a bit of headscratcher, lol. His is probably one of the harder Level 2 car transformations, but maybe that's 'cause I only just recently picked him up and haven't messed with him much yet. I still have NO idea how his legs finally fit into his alt. mode, I just know that if I wiggle them around and fuss with them they just eventually do. Gotta work on that, lol. I like the way they changed it up a LOT from the other car transformation patterns, though. It's VERY different from the others and pretty tight and compact, too. Pretty neat...glad I got him, I guess. SHOCKWAVE HELL, YES!!! Now THIS is a badass figure! His alt. mode is a bit meh, but not bad and hey...at least he HAS one, lol. I don't think I've even bothered transforming him into it even ONCE, actually. But not because it's lackluster, more because his robot-mode is SO AWESOME. Pretty much PERFECT and worth EVERY PENNY. Great light-piping on his eye, you can switch his gun to either arm depending on your cartoon vs. comics preference, plus he'll still have a hand on the OTHER arm, regardless. But mostly he just looks BIG and MEAN and every bit as intimidating as he should. And his bigass feet are a HUGE bonus. He can pretty much stand on his own no matter what. I have to add, too...as I was on my way up to the checkout line with my Shockwave toy, it really hit me; I WAS FINALLY ABOUT TO BUY A SHOCKWAVE TOY!!! Been trying to find one to buy for, oh, I don't know...almost THIRTY GODDAMNED YEARS. 'Bout time! I just had the HUGEST grin on my face the whole time, lol. TAKE MY MONEY, PLEASE!!! Anyway, I was generally sticking to the Deluxe Class figures since they're everywhere and you get a pretty good bang for your buck, plus it's just SO easy to just plop down another 10 bucks on a new one every time you get some groceries or whatever, but I just HAD to have this Voyager Class figure. He's pretty much perfectly to scale against my Barricade and the rest of them, so that was a BIG plus. Have I mentioned I love this figure yet? Haha. WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN. BUMBLEBEE So I'm only including a pic of the Nitro variant of Bumblebee because its pic was better than the ones I could find for the Normal and Cyberfire variants, but I actually own all three and like those better. Nitro Bumblebee has a neat look and it's interesting to see his slightly different transformation, I just like the Cyberfire design better and think the Normal toy is great. Bumblebee is obviously the focus of the movies and the toys, and rightly so. But unlike his old G1 toy, this figure is one of the true HOME RUNS of the line, imho. He's really sturdy, holds his own weight well, has a simple but cool transformation, and just has really cool and "heroic" proportions that, in conjunction with his articulation points, make him almost impossible to pose in a way that doesn't look awesome. EXCELLENT figure. I especially like the black-base-with-flames design for his Cyberfire repaint, too...it's a really cool look. And his bright orange eyes lit up with the light-piping are hard to miss against his darker frame. Like any franchise, the bad guys usually look cooler and its neat to see what Bumblebee might look like as a Decepticon, lol. If I can find one I might put a tiny Decepticon sticker over his Autobot insignia! And those evil, evil eyes!!! STOP LOOKING AT ME!!! Nitro's pretty cool, too. But most of the difference is slight and only really noticeable in his alt. mode. I'm planning on stocking up on a bunch of these Bumblebees when they inevitably wind up on super low markdown after warming the shelves forever. My pal's kids are gonna love 'em and these toys were definitely made tough with kids in mind. But now for the BIG guy... SENTINEL PRIME (LEADER CLASS) O_O Daaaaaaamn. Hands-down one of the most awesome Transformers I have EVER owned. I've gotta admit, after having a bit of a difficult time acclimating to the new style of engineering and transformation for these toys compared to the old G1 figures, I was MORE than a little intimidated by his Level 3 transformation-difficulty rating. Not to mention the $42 price tag! WORTH EVERY GODDAMNED PENNY. But, yeah...it took me over an HOUR to figure out how to get him into vehicle mode the first time, and he still wasn't quite there, lol. Definitely a hell of a good puzzle! He is just INCREDIBLE. The level of engineering involved in this guy is AMAZING. His arms fold INTO his legs, ffs! Pretty tricky, lol. For the hefty price the negatives are kind of an extra-big bummer, though. Mine has a pretty sloppy paintjob on the face so it's red in some parts that should be silver and vice-versa. Not cool. And part of what made him so awesome was Leonard Nimoy's voice work, but they cut corners and probably didn't wanna pay the licensing fees ior whatever for his ACTUAL voice, so he kinda sounds like crap when he says the few things he does. The siren is nice, although a bit awkwardly placed (keeps going off while transforming), and the "extra" sounds kinda suck, especially being of limited use. And his paneling and stuff could've been a bit tighter, but it's still very impressive. I also love his transforming shield and dual-bladed sword, but I was kinda pissed to discover he didn't have his signature rust gun. For 42 bucks I'd rather have all his weapons and none of the crappy voice, but ho-hum. It's pretty hard to hold any of that against him when you can just sit there staring at him looking awesome and wondering how in the hell they got all that figure compacted down into his alt. mode so tightly, lol. Plus, he's roughly to scale side-by-side with the Deluxe Class toys so he's a great companion to any collection of those figures. Now I just need a BIGASS Optimus to go head-to-head with him, lol. ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL FIGURE. SENTINEL PRIME (DELUXE CLASS) Now THIS guy is a PIECE OF CRAP. Don't get me wrong, if you want a tiny Sentinel that's the same size as the other Deluxe figures then he's not too bad. And he looks pretty good. It's just that he's got a GINORMOUS "backpack" and HE'S BARELY EVEN A TRANSFORMER, ffs. The way his "backpack" just kind of collapses around him in a firetruck-shaped shell makes all the kibble on his actual body a total fake-out and, in the end, he's almost more of a Pretender that happens to have a vehicle shell instead of an organic one. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting a Leader Class style transformation, but this SUCKS. But I knew that, I just bought him for his rust cannon so I could use it with my REAL Sentinel, the Leader Class. Of course that stupid MechTech crap means it won't hold its TRUE rust cannon shape, but with a little creative use of the clear rubber bands he's packaged with you can make it work. And THEN of course the other Sentinel can barely hold it, but if you twist his hand upside down so he's holding its peg with the BOTTOM of his hand then it kinda works, except you have to ratchet his arm JUST right to hold its weight, lol. Ugh. VERY frustrating purchase, even when you've bought it knowing it sucks. The less said about this cluster the better. Bleh. MUDFLAP Haha, I just LOVE the Twins...so I absolutely HAD to get this guy. He's goofy and ky00t just like he should be, I just wish to HELL that I could actually find Skids anywhere so I could have them both, especially since I really, REALLY wanna mock-up a half-decent photo-play and maybe even stop-motion recreation of their heroic sacrifice to save Bumblebee from Sentinel which sadly was cut from the final film. I've already got BIGASS Sentinel, a half-assed rust cannon, a Bumblebee, and now Mudflap...all I need NOW is a dead-ass Ironhide and crazy-ass Skids and I'm all set!!! Oh, well. For now Mudflap sure looks awesome on my shelf as he flinches away from Sentinel Prime looming over him threateningly with his rust cannon aimed at Mudflap's head, lol. Pretty much to scale, too! And it figures that there's finally a MechTech weapon that stays unfolded...except THIS one actually looks better retracted, lol. Argh. Anyway! That's my collection so far, such as it is. I'm only two months in and still have a list I'm chippin' away at, so I'm sure I'll be updating it soon but I thought it was a pretty good start so far. Plus, it's Valentine's Day and I really, really do love these toys, damnit. So here we are.