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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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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Transformers Report: Masterpiece Optimus Prime

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Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Optimus Prime is a name any toy fan should know by now. He has versions and namesakes all throughout the Transformers multiverse. Every generation has their own Optimus Prime. But for 80s kids the original is still the one they think of, to the point that Peter Cullen, the voice from the cartoon, still gets called upon to give the character a voice.

For the 20th anniversary of the Transformers toyline Takara produced a special edition of Optimus, redesigned to more closely match the cartoon. Floro Dery, who did the design work for the original cartoon, didn’t stick too closely to the look of the toys. Some are really different (like Ratchet and Ironhide) while others (Reflector comes to mind) bears little if any resemblance to the toy they were selling. (Lucky Reflector was a mail-in offer.)  It was this version that the Masterpiece figure was meant to represent, and kicked off the Masterpiece line. Since there’s so much to talk about with this figure let’s get on with it.

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Comic Re-Integration Finale + Bonus Projects

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There’s nothing more satisfying than a completed project, especially a big one that needed four weeks to complete. But complete it is. I wanted to sort my comics so they flow in a better order to properly go through them all, and I succeeded. I ended up finishing before the week was out so I took on some smaller project that I could only do once the comic re-integration project was complete. Let me take you on a short journey through my week and all I accomplished.

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Christmas Tree 2017

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I forgot to post these. This year the Autobots from the loose Transformers reviews plus the Mini-Con Assault Team helped decorate.

I just need to figure out what I’m doing with this area after Christmas. Do I put that comic stack back there until I can get the next phase of the comic organizing project done or put something else there and leave the comics where they are until said phase occurs.

Other Transformers in the display:

I didn’t have room to add the Decepticons reviewed.

Transformers Report: Cybertron Brakedown

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Megatron races Override

Megatron races Override (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for the last of loose ones that were in this pile, and just in time to set up my Transformers for the annual Christmas display. This one also comes from the Transformers Cybertron line.

Velocitron, the Speed Planet, is a culture that revolves around racing. Even the monster truck is built for speed. They love to race around all day, and the leader is chose by who wins the race. It also feels like all the Autobots have that annoying gimmick that Hardtop had, where the key unlocks a weapon that’s part of something they carry, but it’s worse because without the Cyber Key in use it’s just some box they’re carrying or some other bonus part rather than popping a new weapon out of their structure like the Decepticons. Except for Hot Shot but his Cyber Key power is just two fins that help with aerodynamics or something. Of all the Cyber Key gimmicks the Speed Planet Autobots have the weakest.

And that holds true for Brakedown, the wise old racer who trains the excitable young Clocker and first befriends the Autobot envoy. His toy is…kind of mixed. I’ve kind of gone back and forth whether or not I want to keep this one but I have come to a decision. First we need to give him a proper examination.

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