Transformers Report: Universe Micromaster Aerialbots

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Returning to the Micromaster Combiners from the Transformers Universe line we have the Aerialbots. Personally I go with “Skybots” since these aren’t the classic Aerialbots (mine are actually a knockoff so I still in a way have them) and since one of them is actually a space shuttle I’m surprisingly limited in team renames. Plus those characters will show up again and I still wanted to flex my Transformer name-making skills. I have a bunch left but the next choice was given to me right quickly when I saw that these guys were on the list of the Gold Plastic Syndrome I mentioned last week in the Snarl review. Specifically the gun, lower body, and for some reason the hands were made of the same plastic with areas painted white. Why the arms weren’t molded with the feet I really don’t know. I wasn’t there. So I wanted to make sure I reviewed this in case it was a GPS sufferer. Instead we have a tight joint issue on some of these and since I don’t know if Beast Machine Snarl’s damage came from tightness, GPS, or a bit of both I wanted to go over this one while I still had it in one piece. The TF Wiki claims it was the last figure thus far to have this kind of plastic and I hope that remains the case if these are turning to powder.

So…toy history. From the “Operation Combination” line of (formerly) Japanese-exclusive Transformers, this mold began life as Sixwing, a six-team Combiner that has been both Decepticon and Autobot. Given that there is only one Decepticon among the Micromaster Combiners in Universe I wonder if they should have gone with the former. Sure they end up still shorter than the Deluxe class of the time but more enemies to fight is good for bedroom battles. In Europe these weren’t released under the Universe title but Cybertron despite lacking cyber-keys, so for any international readers (I’m sure clutter organizing is universal) there’s your confusion. Here in the US these were KB Toys exclusives but soon ended up in CVS and Big Lots and I think that’s how I got mine.

Oh look, a shorter backstory than the Universe reviews have had thus far. Let’s get to the review!



Transformers Report: Snarl–Beast Machines Versus Universe


Art of Universe Snarl by Dan Khanna, published in an issue of Universe.

I’m not going to go into the full backstory of the Beast Machines line. I’ll save that for when I get to those actual toys. The short version is the Maximals of the Beast Wars line are now technorganic and fighting Megatron’s drone-like Vehicons on a conquered Cybertron. The technorganic designs were intended to be a mix of organic and technological designs and thanks to the cartoon I see their transformations a bit differently that I do the usual Transformer transformation, but how much of that is due to the design I can’t say.

Snarl was never featured in the cartoon and his part in comics is a bit sparse. However, when I first saw the original Beast Machines version I picked him up and very much enjoyed him. Back when I had more money and room than sense I picked up recolor from the Universe line, also called Snarl, because I liked the mold that much. Since then my collection has gotten huge to the point of not being fun which is why I do these sets of Transformers Reports. The question is whether or not I’ll have two Snarls, just one, or none at all.


Transformers Report: Universe Micromaster Railbots


And here’s another one with a backstory. I’ll try to keep this one brief too.

In the latter days of the original toyline (known as G1) another line of toys were making a huge splash on the scene. Micro Machines started a new craze of really small cars that you could carry easier in your pocket, and may arguably be responsible for the micro-playsets that started up not soon after. I admittedly haven’t done the research so call that a theory. Wanting to get in on that craze like they did the other toy cars, the Transformers creators introduced the idea of Micromasters, smaller Transformers that also came with bases, could in some cases link together to form new vehicles, but mainly worked in teams based around a central theme. In many ways they’re the precursor to the Mini-Cons. They’re even about the same size.

After Hasbro stopped making Transformers in the US for a time their Japanese partners at Takara kept going. This included a group of Micromasters that adopted the longtime Transformer gimmick (the longest obviously being transforming) of combination. The result was Sixliner, introduced in the Battlestars series and the connected manga. This would be remade into Sixtrain, which would be recolored in 2003, which is the version used in the Universe line we discussed last week to create this week’s subject, the Railbots. The Railbots were the third in a group of Micromaster Combiners brought out for the Universe line according to the Transformers fanwiki, and I’ll be going back and forth in this set of reviews between the larger robots and the Micromaster Combiners.

This line came out so close to the first Robots In Disguise line of the early 2000s but were used to hold on to some of the names Hasbro thought they might want to use again. Since there was already a “Rail Racer” so close to the last one I gave him and his components all new names. I will be showing off my cleverness (or lack thereof, you be the judge) but otherwise I will use their official names for the review. With all that out of the way, let’s get on with it. Since it’s a Combiner team I have a lot of toys to show off before the review gets boring.


Transformers Report: Autobot Whirl & His Mini-Con Friends


(l to r) Gunbarrel, Whirl, & Makeshift

Okay, there are a few different backstories to go over here so I’ll summarize as much as I can. Transformers Universe 1.0 was a line of repaints and redecos of fan favorite molds from the past and molds that never made it to the US until this line, or did so in limited release. The “plot” was that a version of Unicron dragged Transformers from across the multiverse to fight for his amusement. The comics added in him feeding off of the battle…somehow. It didn’t make any more sense to me in Armada, frankly.

One of the lines tapped was from the UK. While the original line ended in the US, the UK continued making figures and comics along different lines from what Japan was still doing. (I don’t think a year has past since their debut that Transformers never had at least one official toyline and media in at least one country on Earth.) They created their own teams, each with their own gimmick. Some of them did make it to the US as the KB Toy Works exclusive Machine Wars figures. The ones we care about in this review are the Turbomasters, The gimmick for the toys was that the engine could transform into their weapon. Considering the fact that mounted and hidden weaponry are rather normal these days that might not stand out as much but back then the weapons were just set aside in vehicle mode more often than not, so I guess the idea of integrated weapons starts here.

Finally we get to the figures for this review. Whirl (I’m not even going to try to go into that history here and it might not be the same guy) is an Autobot from the 2004 period of the line, based on the Turbomaster Rotorstorm. His figure did get redecoed into Sandstorm for the 1997 Machine Wars line, making Whirl the third use of the mold. He comes with two Mini-Cons, Gunbuster and Makeshift. These two were part of the Armada line and are just recolors. Since I had the original and you don’t name both twins Steve I gave them new names–Skyport and Chopperhand respectively. The convention comics felt the same way I did apparently, but gave them the names Thunderstick and Skyscyle respectively. I will stick to their toy names for the sake of convenience. Now that we’re all up to speed let’s get the review started already.


Redoing The Project List

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This is my old list. Since I first made this list of clutter projects I need to do I have actually completed some of these projects. Not all of them, but most of them. I did end up redoing the list before, but this week I decided to remake the list from the bottom up, including some of the outstanding projects while listing new ones, including a couple of returning projects. I didn’t stop there though. This week was a real list fest, but since that’s only interesting for so long, let’s talk about the benefits and negatives of making one of these lists. The goal is to be a master of the clutter, not trading “clutter slave” for “project slave”.