Transformers Report: Dinobot Striker

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I’ve been wanting to get the Dinobots spark crystal in one of these.

It’s time for the last Dinobot from this series in my collection. I think. I have this box of Transformers I went through a long time ago and pulled out that I need to get around to going over again for a final purge. I probably should have done it years ago.

Striker is a redeco of the Beast Wars Neo figure Saberback. Frankly it’s here that the problem I have with the Takara-produced formerly Japanese exclusive molds of the period make their first appearance. It’s one think for the Alternators to be a bit complex. That was a toyline for adult collectors and some of them like to treat the Transformers like a Rubik’s Cube. I am not one of those people and it can be more frustrating when the toy was supposedly designed with kids in mind. For one thing, while transforming it for the first time in years for this review part of it broke off, and it’s not in a spot the engineer planned for. So here’s a review of a broken toy. Joy.

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Transformers Dinobots Airraptor (Beast Machines period)

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Now it’s time to get into the few Dinobots I have (from the Beast Machines period) that were originally part of the Beast Wars Neo line. Some of them were altered modes of previous Beast Wars dinosaur modes but there were a few originals and I only picked up a small number of those. Airraptor was based on the Neo figure Archadis. The alternate mode of choice is an archaeopteryx, which is not one of the more well-known dinosaurs but one that was always considered more bird like even when the consensus was still that dinosaurs were reptiles. How do you turn one of these into a robot?

This is also when a few other details were added. As a later Beast Wars toy Archadis and thus Airraptor has a “spark crystal”, which I can’t really show you in these pictures but I’ll show with the next figure. The Dinobot spark crystals replaced the Predacon symbol with an original Dinobots faction symbol, although the Dinobots were referred to as Maximals in the bios and instructions. They never showed up in the television shows but did appear in the convention comics and more recently in the IDW comics where their origins are completely different from the original concept, but that’s another conversation. Let’s take a look at the toy.

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Transformers Report: Dinobots T-Wrecks

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While the Dinobots were a popular team from the original years of the Transformers toyline (referred to by fans as “G1”, short for “Generation One”, as opposed to the later “Generation Two”) they are not the only ones to bear the name. In Beast Wars you had Dinobot, one character, and during the time of Beast Machines another toyline came out called Dinobots. These were also original characters, but using molds from the Beast Wars and Japan-exclusive Beast Wars Neo figures. While not appearing on any of the shows they did appear in convention-exclusive comics, which told of their being formatted into dinosaurs because reasons. Or maybe I’m just forgetting the reason.

The leader of this band of Dinobots was T-Wrecks, a redeco of Beast Wars Megatron’s first dinosaur mode, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Having never had Megatron’s toy in this mold (although I do have the original alligator and his other dinosaur and dragon forms, I was really looking forward to this version. Was it worth the wait?

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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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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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