Transformers Toy Report: Mutant Beast Wars Razor Claw

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The other Mutant I can find is Razor Claw. A raptor/wolverine hybrid…allegedly but I’ll get to that in the review, Razor Claw is described as loyal and self-sacrificing, really enjoys fighting Predacons, but only tolerates the Maximals for their helpfulness. Also he secretly wishes he could take on a robot mode, which makes me question the whole “total organic” viewpoint the Mutants had, a tie-in to the backstory of Beast Machines, the main line at the time.

For those of you who missed the previous review, Mutant Beast Wars used leftover Animorphs figures with the gimmick of switching between two beast modes. I don’t know a lot about the lore of the books or the live-action TV show adapting it, which is where the line comes from. I do know that it’s about a group of kids given the ability to turn into any animal they touch, which they use to help a friendly alien halt an invasion by the Yeerks, slug-like aliens who take over other people Invasion Of The Body Snatchers style. There were aliens in the Animorphs toyline, and one of Razor Claw’s modes looks like it was designed with aliens in mind.

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Transformers Report: Mutant Beast Wars Icebird

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I’ll get more into the Animorphs toyline when I get to those toys, but what you need to know here is that they were based on the Nickelodeon adaptation of the book series in which kids can turn into animals. Because of the show, Hasbro was chosen to create toys based on the characters and their favorite animal forms due to their success with Transformers. The toys…well, let’s just say what works with robots doesn’t necessarily work with people and the line failed. One of the ideas created for the line were toys with two animal forms, which instead was brought into the Transformers.

Mutant Beast Wars was a bit of a shove-in to the Beast Wars timeframe as the toyline had already moved on to Beast Machines. The new premise was that the Mutants were Fuzors who, thanks to Megatron’s experiments, transformed from one animal to another rather than having a hybrid beast mode. They also gained strange, almost mystical powers and desire to get rid of technology altogether while being very dark and broody. In others they weren’t too fun at parties and wouldn’t party with the Maximals anyway. They may fight alongside them to stop Megatron but they didn’t care for their robotic allies anymore than they did their robotic enemies.

The only one that didn’t interest me in the line was Poison Bite, who turned from a barracuda to a scorpion. It just didn’t grab me…so to speak. I did pick up the other three but for some reason Soundwave (the bat/crocodile namesake of the famous Decepticon) has gone missing. So we’ll be looking at the other two. We begin this week with the leader and the one who can best showcase some of the quartet’s gimmicks, Icebird.

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Transforming Toy Report: Quick Change Military Team

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Remember when we went over a few figures from the first Robots In Disguise line? For those of you who missed that, it was taken from a formerly Japanese exclusive line called Car Robots. Well for the bad guys they made an odd decision, at least to me. While the Autobot* Combiner teams were all new the lone Decepticon* Combiner was a reissue…of a team from the original series. Sure, most of the Decepticons (except for the leader) were also reuses of old molds, but except for Scourge they came from a more recent line. (Scourge’s counterpart was from Generation Two but his articulation held up better than most original line toys.)

The figures they used were the “Combaticons”. I don’t know what the mold was prior to Transformers but in this incarnation they were also Decepticons, They got a new color scheme and some minor remolding but they really didn’t fit in with the advancement in transforming robot toy engineering. And then Hasbro gives them a whole new color scheme (at right) for some reason. I guess the added faction symbols wasn’t enough to set them apart from the Japanese toys (so that eBay sellers don’t claim they’re the more expensive Japanese import versions to scam people I think) so they got new colors. I just couldn’t justify the price for G1 toys at modern price points unless they were proper reissues or the original toys of the Combaticons. Plus they didn’t have the right colors and this was still during my “whomever is on the show or just looks cool” phase, which interestingly enough this line was one of the reasons I started to break from that.

Then I came upon the Quick Change Robot Fighter version. Now I don’t know what the set was actually named because I found nothing on this one compared to even the other Quick Change Combiners. But they were cheaper and in the right colors so this is the rare occasion where I chose the knockoff over the original. How did that turn out for me?

*To my fellow Transformers fans: yes, I know they’re called Cybertron and Destron in Japan. I don’t think most of the people reading this blog cares.

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Transformers Report: Quick Change’s Knockoff Aerialbots

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In the original Transformers toyline the Aerialbots was the first Combiner team for the Autobots, an attempt to counter the Decepticons’ Constructicons while said Decepticons were also working on their own ground-based team. Most Autobots by this point were based on cars and that left the heroes with little air support against the mostly flying vehicle villains. So their first team were aircraft. The toys use a style of combining fans refer to as “Scramble City”, based on a Japanese special that showcased the Combiners for a “Scramble City” subline (the US didn’t start using sublines for a long time…even the Headmasters and Targetmasters were considered part of the same line, just a different gimmick.)

I never had the Aerialbots as a kid so when I came across the Quick Change Robot Fighter knockoffs as an adult collector. As usual this series is hard to research but with a different group of knockoff robot aircraft from this company I couldn’t even tell you what the name of this group is. But that won’t stop me from reviewing it.

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Transforming Toy Report: Quick Change Toolbot

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Here’s another one in my early obsession with combiner teams from the knockoff series Quick Change Robot Fighter. This time it’s the Toolbot set, a series of tools that turn into robots and combine into a larger robot. I’ve seen these packed in sets like this. one just on a flimsy card, and individually. I’m pretty sure mine came in a package like the one above because I don’t remember seeing them on the card. This is also one I reviewed back in the alt.toys.transformers days but since I plan to basically plagiarize from myself (at least I’m honest about it and it’s from my own previous review) due to time (six robots that in the original review I grouped based on sharing transformations and similar alternate modes) and the fact that my opinions are pretty much the same, all you’re getting here is updated information, photos, hopefully less typos, and me not going on about a sneaker hunt or discussing sets I have yet to review for The Clutter Reports.

A few things I want to note before heading into this. If you have a habit of losing accessories, or your pets/kids eat them all, avoid this set, or at least this version, as the carded one I saw during research seems to lack individual weapons. This thing has more bits and pieces, including two I can’t see even being usable, than some entire lines in my collection, and that’s counting missiles separate from launchers! These guys are part re-configures and part reassemble. Thrown into the mix are swords, one for each one, and only a couple of them are obviously meant for a certain tool bot. Also, I’ll be reviewing these guys in teams, not just to save time, but because each limb transforms exactly the same ways. The two bodies, plus the two arms and two legs have their own style. Finally, because Quick Change didn’t come up with their bad renames, like the Animal Robot set, it’s up to me to give them something to put on their driver’s licenses.

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Toy Report: Quick Change Animal Robot

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I said last week I’d be reviewing this set this week and now it’s time. Quick Change (sometimes adding “changeable robot” or “transforming system” to the name) is a line of knockoffs of transforming robot toys from numerous lines and creators. There really isn’t a unifying theme because of how many toy lines they rip off. Some come from Transformers, some from Machine Robo (the line where the GoBots originally came from), some from Sentai/Power Rangers shows, and others I can’t even identify. I heard somewhere that this set I’m about to review came from the Brave franchise in Japan with the arm robot replaced but I haven’t confirmed that.

In addition to individual robots you can also find sets, both combining robot groups like the Animal Robot series I’ll be reviewing today and non-combining robots. You usually find them in pharmacy toy sections or closeout stores. I picked this one up from a store called Big Lots. I enjoy a good Combiner team but is this one? One thing I’ll note now that the names are terrible, and I came up my own renames of the figures the last time I reviewed them, for the newsgroup alt.toys.transformers. I’ll also be combining the robot and animal mode pictures to speed this up and to get a little artistic with them just for fun and practice. And so on with the review!

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Cluttered Schedule Week

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Sorry, folks but while I was able to get the photos ready to do another review this week I didn’t have time to write it. And it’s going to be a big one since I’m reviewing four robots and their combined form. Above is the teaser to next week’s review. I want to do it right, and not rush it through. It’s just that I have places to go for half the week and didn’t have time to write a good article. You’ll get it next week though.

I was hoping not to miss another week but I’m up against time. Hopefully it will be worth it.

Transformers Report: Alternators Wheeljack

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Wheeljack

Wheeljack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for the third and last of the Alternators. Wheeljack is the Autobots’ inventor. And he’s good at his job if the machine doesn’t blow up or something. Basically he’s a mad scientist for the forces of good. His original vehicle mode in the G1 days was based on the Lancia Stratos Turbo‘s “Group 5 Statos” race car. No, I don’t know what that means outside of knowing what a race car is.

It won’t be obvious why until the very end of the review but this was the last Alternator I ever picked up. This was the figure where I decided that this line just wasn’t making me happy, which is odd considering this is not the one I’ll be taking out of my collection. That part will be immediately obvious.

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Transformers Report: Alternators Side Swipe

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Sideswipe (Transformers)

Sideswipe (Transformers) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the original toyline Sideswipe was a Lamborghini Countach. Originally Hasbro & Takara couldn’t get that license for Tracks’ actual vehicle mode so they opted for something close, the Dodge Viper, model SRT-10 according to the instructions for his Japanese counterpart, Lambor (which kind of messes up his name in Japan). Then they were able to get a license and just shoved Sideswipe into this car, which would later be retooled for his brother Sunstreaker and the Decepticon Dead End. Also for some reason the name is written as two words, “Side Swipe”. I’m guessing that’s a license issue too. Sideswipe is one of the first group of Autobots so it makes sense that he would get a toy, although how one from the second group got one first I couldn’t tell you. Oddly this is the second Alternators figure released, and you’d think that considering how long they had to take in order to get such intricate figures out there they would start with the more popular characters first. Instead Alternators went backwards.

I also did something different with the photos. Instead of the photo box I opted to use those Block City toys to build a sort of warehouse inspired backdrop. I was inspired by some toy review videos who use “chain base” backgrounds but I can’t afford that and I can build things of my own. This is sort of a prototype design, not the final version, so advice is welcome. I think I need a more stable base so I don’t get the huge cracks when putting it together, so that one I noticed. I also want a second set of windows in the next design. With that, let’s get on with the review.

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Transformers Report: Alternators Smokescreen

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Mikko Hirvonen driving his Subaru Impreza WRC ...

Mikko Hirvonen driving his Subaru Impreza WRC during the shakedown of the 2004 Cyprus Rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back during my review of Alternity Bumblebee I mentioned the Binaltech/Alternators line. This toyline was intended for collectors to the point that they resemble model toy cars from their size to real working doors and molded interiors. However, the line wasn’t as popular as Takara and Hasbro wanted, plus there were licensing issues, including two different branches of Honda disagreeing about whether or not they wanted their representative carrying weapons (Honda US didn’t like it, Honda Japan didn’t mind). Ultimately the line failed. Japan’s Binaltech had a storyline that continued into Alternity but Alternators had no such story. Alternity probably wasn’t launched in the US and elsewhere after the hassles of Alternators.

One interesting choice is the character chosen for the first toy, Smokescreen. While he had his fans, appearing in later early G1 as the third repaint of Prowl and Bluestreak, he doesn’t carry the impact of those other two. That doesn’t make him a good or bad toy so let’s look at this thing.

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