Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Superquad7, Jan 15, 2012.
Excellent birthday haul was had along with a good few beers last 2 days.
My abiding memory of Windcharger is the scene in Dinobot Hunt where he pulls Gears out the swamp only for them both to fall flat on thier arses and have Cliffjumper laugh at them. That's literally it. I know he had a big part in 'Raiders of the Last Ark' but I didn't get a chance to read that until broadband was a household norm. Wasn't he the only Autobot without a line of dialogue in More Than Meets The Eye? Poor neglected lad.
I don't think I have any particularly strong memories of the toy either. Huffer aside, I didn't have any great connection with the '84 Minibots. I may have played with Windcharger? I definitely played with Tailgate and remember him well, but Windcharger? Sorry dude. You're kind of forgettable.
I do think the original toy is one of the weakest of the '84 Minibot line up. Maybe only Brawn comes close, but at least he has some quirks. Windcharger is just a bit bland. Not even the fact he's based on the same car as K.I.T.T. from Knightrider can save this dude.
He did wind up getting a pretty sweet update with the Scout Class Reveal the Shield toy from 2010, but it takes some pretty big liberties with the classic design by giving him a hood chest. No bad thing at all. Looking at him now he really feels a lot more like a bay-verse toy then current Generations figures.
Which brings us to the PotP update of Windcharger. It gets so many things right. Like Seaspray before him, Windcharger's faithfulness to his G1 animation model almost makes him like a discount Masterpiece figure. The vehicle mode is incredibly simplified but still makes for a fun wee car to push around. The bot mode is an excellent, dynamic wee figure with great articulation, satisfying proportions and oodles of character.
The real problem with the toy is one of it's strengths; toon accuracy! The drive towards this in the Masterpiece line has put me off collecting MP so much that I've actually sold most of my MP scale collection. Windcharger wears it well apart from that one painful detail. The headsculpt is ugly as sin. I know, some of you will already be saying that Hasbro can't win for losing and are damned if they do and damned if they don't and so forth. And I'd agree if the RTS headsculpt didn't find a near perfect compromise between being faithful to the animation model and designing a toy that feels right in hand.
Yeah, poor Windcharger always gets the shaft.
In the toon, he doesn't even get a speaking part until SOS Dinobots. If the MTMTE/Arrival from Cybertron 3-parter had not been successful and no ongoing toon made, he would have been the only character to never have a speaking voice (though those awesome studio tapes posted on Youtube show he did have lines, but they were cut).
And, I have to agree he's the most bland out of the original 6 Minibots. Gears' transformation is identical, but IMO he at least had a "cuteness" factor going for him Windy is just kinda...there.
Sorry for double post, but this is unrelated to my previous one...
After moving (again) this past summer, it’s taken until now to figure out how my new collection room would be laid out. So I’m finally getting out my G1s again and in the process of setting them up. It’s a mess now, but hopefully it will look better soon...
EDIT: I’ll fix the pics once I figure out how to orient them the right way
EDIT 2: Got it, I think
Just got in a complete G1 Downshift.
Wow you got a nice display set up there! I wish I had that much space, all I have is my hand-built bookcase
Thanks for saying so, but there's really not that much room. I couldn't take the pictures straight-on because there's not enough room to back up far enough
The big issue I had was I bought the tall Billys for our old house, but they're too tall to fit along the walls of this new house due to the slanting ceiling. We figured out a way to set them up in the middle of the floor without being unstable and liable to fall over.
I covet the wings on your Grotusque!
Ah! The final update to my precious Cybertron Seven. And just to jump ahead, he's is fucking wonderful!
And ok, let's jump back. I have a funny memory of Beachcomber. Which is good because, other than Don Perlin drawing him with Kup's alt mode while Beachcomber was on Cybertron, there's not much to say about him.
So it's a friend's birthday and my Mum takes me out to buy him a present. It was either '85 or '86 and she's not spending more than we need to so a minibot it is. Like any toy loving kid I assume that my friend is going to love the same things I do so I get him the minibot I think looks coolest. Beachcomber it is. Of course that meant that as soon as he put it down to open his next present I was reaching over for Beachcomber and barely let go of him until it was time to leave the birthday party. i still had him in my hand as I was putting my shoes on.
And when I picked him back up again in 2013 I can see why I was so hypnotised by him. Beachcomber might be the perfect minibot. It's a super simple toy, but just gets it so right. From the proportions and modelling on the robot mode to all the fine detail in the buggy mode, like the headlamps, seats, engine, and those little rubber wheels. I love them! If I was going to try and convince anyone why minibots are brilliant Beachcomber would be the object I’d put in their hand.
I'd been waiting on an update for Beachcomber for quite some time. With Outback on the way it's only a decent version of Huffer that I'm really crying out for, as far as minibots go. Though I wouldn't turn my nose up at a good Hubcap! And maybe I'm drunk on the pure joy of finally getting him and that's what's making me think he's the best Legends class figure I've seen so far?
But maybe not. This really is an impressively chunky and substantial figure. I just put him in my hand alongside TR Brawn and feels so much heftier and solid. He gets the look just right. I always think Beachcomber is an easy one to get right. It’s a very simple, but distinctive design. None the less, kudos for resisting the temptation in needlessly updating the design for the sake of it. His face mold has the perfect 'sad hippy sunglasses' look that we all know and kind of love.
The buggy mode is just super. It's amazing that this has a better class of tire than most Deluxe class cars, but fitting for a dune buggy. The transformation borrows a little from the old TR Scourge/Highbrow trick, which always delights; a simple but effective trick, well deployed. And like the old G1 version the detail on the altmode is excellent. The thing that it does so much better than, say, Brawn, Wheelie, Chase, or Windcharger is it lets you see the Titan Master actually riding it. Personally I lose a little bit of the joy of the 'Titan Master rides Legends vehicle' gimmick if the TM is hidden.
Now can I please have a huffer of similar quality?
Retook my Cassette pic, and did a modified version as well.
Jazz was the coolest. There's no doubt in my mind about that at all. As iconic as Prime or Grimlock but he turned into a Porsche. I've talked about the old adverts we used to get in British magazines, usually on the back cover of LookIn or something.
I was obsessed with those adverts. I saw them long before I owned a Transfomers toy or read a Transformers comic. Maybe before I even saw the cartoon? The characters, as they appeared in these toy accurate designs, were so mysterious and unknowable back then. The Man of Iron story in the early UK comics really captured that. The Autobots were not relatable in that whatsoever. In fact they were intensely threatening.
But anyway, Jazz was the poster boy for all that early stuff. Whether it was the above ads or the comics covers (such as TF:UK#2). Perhaps even more than Optimus Jazz was the 'must have' figure of the early line. Or at least it seemed that way to me.
And fair do's because he was, and still is, an incredibly well designed and striking toy. I'd probably go as far to say his transformation sequence is perfect, like a little puzzle box that, once you get it going, every step falls into place with perfect logic. The headsculpt is one of the all-time classics with the first instance of the 'benign smile'. And that Visor! Yeah, he looks like he's wearing shades. What could be more 80's? And, with his door wings and hood chest Jazz helped define the classic Autobot look. He's got next to no articulation, though his arms aren't too bad. But who goes to Dialcone era G1 for articulation?
And the vehicle mode was fantastic. Maybe the only thing more 80's than a robot with sunglasses is a robot that turns into a Porsche. More than the Lambos or Corvettes, The Porsche was the car I fantasized about as a kid. I got to ride in one once when I was about five or six. This was a Porsche 959 though, not the 935. Still thrilling though!
Jazz had already got a very, very good and animation model faithful figure back in the 'Reveal the Shield' subline. So it was hardly surprising when many of us saw this kinda basic looking combiner limb Jazz in those early reveals and went "...meh...” I mean, it didn't look bad or anything, or at least I didn't think so, but it wasn't going to blow anyone's mind.
Fast forward a few months to early December and I'm eagerly opening up 'Power of the Primes' boxes left, right, and centre. Jazz was probably last. Yeah, he was fine. But then I went back to him and started looking him over more closely, transforming him back and forth and checking out his alt mode. Ha! It's based on a Porsche 962! There's some lovely detail in the car mode, not least the windshield and headlights. I’d say this is probably the best car 'bot I've seen since maybe Thrilling 30? And it's a combiner limb? Hang on a second.
This is actually a pretty incredible evolution of the combiner limb carbot, actually that's doing it an injustice; this is a major evolution of the combiner limb. In both vehicle mode and bot mode the compromises that have been made to make this a limb are very discrete, and there's some clever engineering solutions to hide the combiner port in bot mode.
His bot mode is nicely detailed. Compare those legs to anything you saw in Combiner Wars. They're so much more detailed. The headsculpt is simple but smooth and does the job well. The weak spot is probably the arms, but even then he's got a little bit of a wrist swivel.
Part of me wonders if this mold would have been better received if it hadn't been Jazz. The most common response to seeing this guy is "I've got the Reveal the Shield version, why do I need this?", but what if it had been Jackpot, Hurricane, Backstreet or even Crasher? i think people would view the mold a lot more favourably.
And that's a pity, because I think this is such a classy and impressive Deluxe class figure. I really hope they do give us some sort of repaint/retool/re-whatever with the mold. It would be so weird if the Deadend mold got used what, five times, and this only got used once. A combiner limb with a hood chest. I kind of wish they'd held back Prowl and Smokescreen from Combiner Wars for this mold. Maybe we'll get Bluestreak?
Due to the UK comics I pretty much always considered Dreadwind a comedy character. From his surly tenure on the letters page to the issue with him and Darkwing getting drunk and moaning while Quickswitch fights Mechanibals. And that's a bit of a pity; despite some dodgy late 80's colour scheme, Dreadwind is a very mean and moody looking Decepticon.
By the time Powermasters were a thing I was losing some of my enthusiasm for Transformers, or at least the toyline. I'd already been let down by the Pretenders so was wary about Powermasters. My friend had Powermaster Optimus and it seemed...a bit lame to me. So I don't remember even trying to grab a look at any of the Powermasters in the shops. Thus I didn't see this guy until I was in my mid 30's.
While I like him, you only have to look at him in profile to see how poor the designs were becoming. That said, he does look kind of cool, as long as you look at him straight on. I think most of the charm comes from that headsculpt. It's got the same sinister appeal as Soundwave. Can't beat a mouthplate and some glowing yellow eyes. Jet mode is good, if a bit 'kidified'. The '87 crew got away with a lot by having Cybertronian alt modes.
So here's a funny thing. I remember when I got CW Skydive I was super excited. I played with him for ages, posing him, transforming him back and forth, and just generally marvelling at how great he was. Halfway through Titans Return I started looking at him and only seeing the flaws, like that crappy waist and kind of characterless, bland chest.
So here I am, with PotP Dreadwind - a figure heavily adapted from Skydive- and I'm completely in love with him. He doesn't even look like that much like the original. No cockpit chest and his wings are on his legs? Come on! You're not even trying!
But he's weirdly wonderful! Where they have homage the G1 toy, they've really got it right, that facesculpt has all the moody menace of the original and suddenly that weird 80's colour scheme really sings. The jet mode has some modifications to the old Skydive sequence and it’s very satisfying. It's still got the old 'arms are right there mate' problem, but hey ho. It's just fun enough for me to forgive such sins. And I've definitely gone from being "well, I suppose it'll be good to have the character represented" to "this is great!” It's an incredible confidence trick that seems to be becoming something of a signature move for Power of the Primes.
I haven't bought anything from the new department store lines for a couple years, but that Dreadwind is tempting. I like the new Swoop a lot too, but some of the other Dinobots don't really do it for me.
I've really enjoyed PotP so far. I think Beachcomber is a real stand out and, in terms of looking like the G1 animation model, is pretty much perfect.
Power of the Primes has ticked off boxes for some pretty big characters in its first wave. Characters, real poster boys for the early years of the G1 line. Throw in Bumblebee, Soundwave and Megatron and you'd have a full house. It almost feels like they're getting some of the obvious things out the way so they can have fun with more obscure things like Elita-1's crew and the Terrorcons.
Ah Starscream. Defined by Chris Latta's batshit voice in the cartoon. The treacherous lieutenant and arguably the biggest character in the Decepticon ranks. There were a few key stories that really burned Starscream into my brain. The old, early Furman, Enemy Within and Target:2006 itself.
He was one of the first Transformers toys I ever got. My uncle got him for me. He was so cool when you were a little geek kid. A grown up that had read the Transformers comics himself and was into the idea of cool toys. I discovered 2000ad through a pile of comics he'd left round at my gran's house. He was also kind of an irresponsible arsehole that used to blow all his money gambling and would steal my Grandad's cheque book and forge his signature to top up his funds. He died about twenty years ago after he got hit by a car when he was running across a busy road in Glasgow. I can't look at the toy of Starscream without thinking about him. Considering that Starscream was another arsehole that I loved, it feels quite appropriate.
Starscream is a pretty frustrating toy. The seeker mold is the original partsformer. Only the most fastidious of kids would have managed to keep all the various accessories, most of which were crucial to the look of the robot. I mean what are you left with if you lose the fists and wings? Anyway, I was not a fastidious kid and would up with something that looked like a missile with a cockpit.
The robot looks kind of awful. Nothing at all like the mean and powerful character we were used to in the cartoons and comics. In terms of disappointing a child that loved the cartoon/comic, the Seeker mold is only second to Ratchet/Ironhide. Beyond the prominence of the character, you can see why the MP designers were keen to take a crack and designing a better Starscream.
Goofy and cumbersome as the bot mode looks, the jet really did look incredibly good. Up until G.I.Joe really took off in the UK, renamed as Action Force, the original '84 and '85 were the most authentic looking war vehicles I'd seen.
We've had some pretty good CHUG Starscreams over the years, from the good old fashioned 'Classics' and 'Thrilling 30' Deluxe versions to the Combiner Wars Leader class version. And while they've all had their charms, none of them felt quite right scale wise. Many of us were crying out for a Voyager scale Seeker mold. Careful what you wish for, right?
So with the main gimmick of Power of the Primes being combiners, at least as far as the Deluxe and Voyager figures goes, it's inevitable that characters that were never originally combiners are going to suffer. Aside from maybe Grimlock, the Dinobots have weathered this quite well. Starscream less well. His combiner ports have wound up giving him weirdly swollen and bloated forearms, shins, and feet. What's weird is that his head and chest look pretty good, but they just feel like they belong to a much smaller bot. Almost somewhere between a Voyager and Deluxe, which wouldn't be such a bad look for yer Seeker.
And it's not just the hands and feet that are the problem. Those null rays are puny! Even if you attach them to the 'Bucklers'/combiner feet and attach them like that to beef 'em out a little. It's a fake cockpit, naturally and the wings are pretty...kibbley and panely. Sure he's a 'pre-tool' for Elita-1 but it's not just that he doesn't look right as 'Starscream', it's that it's that the whole design of the mold is really quite messy.
The jetmode fares no better. I'm not sure it need the horrid big silver stickers. They really work hard to make the toy look cheap. I understand that it's a way for the design team to get extra detail in within the limits of the budget, but it really doesn't work on this figure. Ultimately though, the real problem is that the jet looks as weirdly bloated as the bot mode.
And it's such a shame. If you're a scale nut like I am then the prospect of having a good Voyager scale Seeker to sit in your shelf is such a satisfying prospect, and to see it fumbled so badly is a big disappointment. I don't imagine we're going to get another crack at Voyager seeker in the Generations line for quite some time!
That was a lovely story about your uncle, Barry. But.. but... how can you say those awful things about G1 Starscream?! The Seeker mold is on of my all time favourites! Admittedly, I think Starscream is probably the weakest colour scheme of the lot, but that mold is pure CLASSIC! I don’t know Barry... I mean, I’m not angry or anything... I’m just disappointed...
But yeah, lose those accessories and what you’re left with is...well, not good!
I'm sorry man. I'm a thoughtless swine sometimes!
Hasbro will take another swing at the Seekers at some point, whether it's Voyager class or not. I'm a bit of a Seeker nut, so I'll get POTP Screamer, despite my reservations. Skywarp and Thundercracker colors might look better on the mold; the dull gray plastic (and of course the stickers) on Starscream doesn't do it any favors. I still love the Classics Deluxe mold, despite its size. It's a shame that the Classics mold didn't come out now, when the KO companies are churning out OSKOs like crazy. An oversized Classics seeker would be awesome.
And put my vote down as the G1 Seeker mold being a thing of beauty!
Classics Starscream is still the only version of that character I own. He’s getting outdated looking, but that size class and the cleaner jet mode just work for me. I’d love to see a Dreadwind remold of all the seekers, though.
Classic: at least MOSC
Takara: MISB apart from Landcross Excellent/Complete in box
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