Transformers Report: Buzzworthy Bumblebee Origin

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In the first episode of the original Transformers cartoon, we get to see Cybertron, including some of the Transformers in Cybertronian mode. However, not all of them were so rather than design new robot modes that looked like they turned into Cybertronian rather than Earth vehicles (not that the show’s designs really matched the toys that well in the first place) they just used the same old robot character models. This includes Bumblebee above. Dreamwave comics and a fan convention toy did attempt to give Bumblebee a design based on his Cybertronian mode, but no toy tried to make his Cybertronian vehicle turn into his Earth robot design. Until now.

Target stores in the US have released an exclusive line called Buzzworthy Bumblebee, a set of new and remolded/redecoed toys based on the greatest Autobot of them all! Granted, longtime readers know I’m so heavily biased that I have a shelf dedicated to Bumblebee, so your mileage may vary. With still no income and recent purchase needs draining my stimulus checks (at least they came at the right time for me…just wish I could replace some of those funds (he said while pointing to the Clutter For Sale section)) I’m not making an effort to get as much from that collection as I would like, but with all the medical issues this year, including the surgery and later kidney stone that caused the latest hiatus, I think I earned both a pity Transformer and finally getting to see Transformers: The Movie on the big screen after 35 years. So both have occurred. The movie I’ve seen so many times that it was more a bucket list since some of the excitement is gone. Still enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, one of the original molds for Buzzworthy Bumblebee is an attempt to reconcile his cartoon model’s robot and Cybertronian vehicle modes. It’s not perfect and I’d be surprised if it would have come out clean, but it’s still not a bad job.

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GoBots Toy Review: Crasher

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Well, I didn’t get a chance to pick up what I wanted to. For some reason I was tired all week and one night I didn’t sleep well. We’ll see what happens in the next week or two but for now I said I would review something so review something I shall. I’ve noticed that there are really long stretches between reviews of my GoBots (while my Transformers get reviewed in batches) and that I haven’t reviewed any of the bad guy GoBots (also I’ve only reviewed two GoBots) so this time I broke out Crasher, one of Cy-Kill’s top agents.

The backstory of the GoBots is that they are humans turned into robots to save themselves from a major catastrophe or in the original promo booklet just to replace “worn out parts of their body” but I like the cartoon version better. The cartoon, Challenge Of The GoBots, took the opportunity to add female characters to the heroes, which as a race of former humans made sense whatever your opinion of Transformers having genders are. Since Crasher wasn’t in the promo booklet there was no assigned gender so she became a she. Others would appear in the pilot miniseries like Pathfinder, and would later include more on both sides, but that may not have been the intention for the original Machine Robo figure or what Tonka was thinking, since this was a toyline for boys. So give Hanna-Barbera credit for that.

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Transformers Report: Air Attack Optimus Primal

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It’s the last Transformer in the Universe box and the other one that isn’t from the first Transformers Universe line. It’s not even from the line it was created for. I’ll get into it when I start reviewing actual Beast Machines toys but the short version is fans wanted a show-accurate Optimus Primal and the first two toys they released did not suffice. Air Attack Optimus Primal was the final depiction of Primal from that series and improved on the show accurate depiction. However it was not released in the Beast Machines line but the first Robots In Disguise line, and even then as a Toys R Us exclusive. I do now know why, but that’s how it happened. When my collection was smaller and I had more money I really wanted him, but it didn’t seem a good fit for the other RID figures, or even the Beast Machines figures because this sucker is rather huge. Not as huge as “supreme” Cheetor from Beast Machines (which I do not have and I don’t mind because I hear few good things about it) but a bit larger than he needed to be.

Also the toy has plenty of sound effects, including voice clips from Garry Chalk, the voice of Optimus Primal. This is rather unusual for toys, with the voices provided by cheaper voice actors. You’ll have to look up some video reviews to hear them all. I couldn’t find a video of just the voices and sounds, which is fine because I don’t have the batteries in to review that anyway. Instead this is just about the toy itself.

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Transformers Report: Universe Skywarp

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This year I had the Transformers Universe figures I’m keeping around the tree, but there are a few left I haven’t reviewed. We’ll be returning to the project/review formula next week but this toy’s been sitting here a few weeks waiting to be reviewed, and it’s time to do that. As a reminder, Transformers Universe was originally a series of recolored molds of the past, some being the same character and some being a new character. The plot was that a version of Unicron dragged Transformers from across the multiverse to fight each other because he fed off of the fighting…somehow. I don’t get it either, but it did allow some of us to get molds we didn’t have before since they were exclusive to other countries.

This isn’t the case for Skywarp, however. This Skywarp uses the mold of Jetstorm from the Beast Machines line, another reminder I should have gone through that box first. The mold would be used for other figures as well but these two are the only versions I picked up. This one is a Decepticon, the only other one I have in the Universe line besides the Micromaster Construction Combiners. I’ll review Jetstorm in the future, so let’s look at Skywarp.

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Transformers Report: Universe (1.0) Inferno

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I think I’m done with team reviews for this line. Inferno came alone. He was intended to be a Universe incarnation of the G1 character Red Alert but someone screwed up the name with his old pal Inferno, who was a fire truck while Red Alert was a fire chief’s car. (I thought the chief went with the other firefighters but I only know firefighters, I wasn’t one myself.) The good was caught too late and so the Red Alert homage got Inferno’s name. The Universe 2.0 line would bring about a proper update for Inferno.

However, the 1.0 line was all reissues and recolors and redecos, and this Inferno is no different. The original mold was the Prowl of Robots In Disguise (the one based on Mach Alert from the Car Robots toyline and TV show). Prowl’s brother, X-Brawn, received a Ratchet recolor and both figures were give a subline name, Machine Robot Rescue, which was a jerk move on Hasbro’s part. For the initiated Tonka, the company that produced the 80s rival transforming robot line GoBots, got most of their figures from a line in Japan called Machine Robo. Hasbro later bought Tonka but by then the company that created Machine Robo, BanDai, had started releasing toys in the US, and had brought some of their Machine Robo characters into a new line called Machine Robo Rescue, so we’re all pretty sure this was just another attempt by Hasbro to keep their old rivals from ever returning to the US toy shelves, although there was no evidence BanDai planned to anyway. DinoZaurs didn’t do very well for them after all. But enough history, let’s get into Inferno.

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Transformers Report: Universe Stockade & Magna Stampede (with Mini-Cons)

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Sorry for the washed out images. Sadly I goofed in editing.

Our next set of Transformers Universe figures were sold together so that’s how I’ll be reviewing them, if only to move things along. They share an instruction sheet, which is how I know they came together. And yes, it’s another set including Mini-Cons with figures who can’t use Mini-Cons. As you’ll see it’s worse this time though.

I’m not sure why these four were sold together. There’s no connecting theme. At least Whirl’s Mini-Con pals were some kind of aircraft. Magna Stampede and Stockade are original characters based on molds from the Beast Machines line while Terradive and Prowl weren’t even on the same Mini-Con team, yet share a feature their friends are unable to use. I get the feeling the Mini-Cons of this group are pretending to be Micromasters to not be used as power boosters in the Universe arena, like it’s their chance to just be seen as any other Transformer. At least that’s the canon in my head since Universe is about dragging Transformers from across the multiverse. I’m going to limit photos to robot and alt mode and will give my thoughts individually. Of course we know the Mini-Cons are safe but what about the other two?

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Transformers Report: Universe Micromaster Protectobots

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Since I’m going back and forth between further going through the Transformers Universe (1.0) figures and other clutter organizing project I’m going to zip through the Micromaster Combiners. This is the last of our Autobots, originally seeing life in Japan as Sixturbo before ending up at KB in America as the Protectobots, an homage to my favorite G1 Combiner team. However, this version really only has three rescue vehicles, the other three being a race car, a sports car, and a cruising motorcycle. It makes for an odd choice for an homage but since the others were homages or namesakes I guess it fits. It’s really just a reason to use names for copyright purposes when you get down to it.

I’m going to be a bit off with the usual renames in the captions. This was the first released set in the Universe line and I only wrote the names on the card back I kept rather than the instructions. Over time the ink has faded a bit. However, some of the names were such odd choices for an homage that they may be the most justified name changes I did for these little guys. Apparently Sears was also carrying them for their Christmas only toy shelves (remember when they did that for Christmas and had barely anything the rest of the year?) while being available in Europe under the Energon banner. So how does this set fare?

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Transformers Report: Universe Night Slash Cheetor

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Cheetor didn’t fare too well in the Beast Machines series. His original toy has standing issues but many fans complained that he didn’t quite look like he did on the show. Of course the toys are usually designed first (except for maybe the Michael Bay movies and Transformers Animated) so that didn’t bother me and I could work around a lot of the legs issues so I actually like him. Still Hasbro decided to try again in the Battle For The Spark subline, where pressing the spark crystal activated certain gimmicks with each figure. For this subline Cheetor got his “Night Slash” version, a ground-up redesign in a smaller size class. (The original was a “Mega”, with a terrible “Supreme” size made that I never got and I hear I’m better off for it. The thing was as big as a house cat. Now that would take up a lot of space.)

For the Universe line Night Slash Cheetor was brought back and given a less nighttime color scheme, something closer to the colors of an actual cheetah. This is the version I own since I already had a Beast Machines Cheetor and even then I was starting to scale back slightly in my collecting. So how does this version fare?

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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!

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Transformers Report: Snarl–Beast Machines Versus Universe

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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.

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