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.



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.


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.


Transformers Report: Cybertron Hardtop

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Principal cast from Transformers: Cybertron.

Principal cast from Transformers: Cybertron. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During my time collecting Transformers I had this thing about collecting all show characters and whatever I thought was cool. However, I started collecting around late Beast Wars, when only a handful of toys were getting characters. Now the whole line gets represented while some of the show figures I didn’t care for. So it dropped to whatever I thought looked cool unless I was really into the character…which led to the Bumblebee Shelf of course. This started around the time of the “Unicron Trilogy”.

Hardtop is a Decepticon from the tail end of that group of Transformers line, Transformers Cybertron (known as Galaxy Force in Japan). The gimmick of this line was that each Transformer could call upon a “Cyber Key” to enhance their form, a semi-return to the Mini-Cons, only instead of Powerlinking to a fellow Transformer or Mini-Con you had this giant key shoved in your back to get an extra set of missile launchers or something. From a story perspective I found it kind of weak but from a play perspective the gimmicks worked better but Mini-Cons were more fun since they did something when not connected to a larger Transformers, as opposed to the Keys that sat there waiting to get lost. Luckily any key could unlock the gimmick.

There were five planets involved: Cybertron, Earth, and three Cybertronian colonies we’ll meet in later reviews. Hardtop is from Earth, and he has the Earth Cyber Key. There was also a code in the Hasbro series (not seen in Takara’s Japanese run) on the keys that would unlock bonus bios on Hasbro’s Transformers site, but you can only read those in fan site now. The question is how does he fair as a toy?


Transformers Report: Power Core Combiners Searchlight & Backwind

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I’ve noted in the past that I like Combiners. I blame that on growing up with Voltron and Mighty Orbots (anyone remember that show?) as well as seeing the Combiners in the original Transformers cartoon. So you’d think a line of Combiners would get me excited. It really depends on how good the Combiners are. The most recent line, Combiner Wars, was hit or miss with me depending on the figure. Some “cores” ended up with odd proportions in torso mode and the combination is usually clean but not always. There are still some groups I really want though.

But this is not the first time there has been a combination gimmick line. Energon had a two-robot combination feature among the Autobots, but I’m referring to Power Core Combiners, a line in which the “core” led not a group of other Transformers to combine with but non-robot mode drones that would “automorph” into the arms or legs (depending on the drone) to form a larger version of the core. That’s not really what I’m looking for in a Combiner team. I like having five or more robots that combine into one and have their own alternate modes. If you want to know more about them, this episode of Plastic Addict explains the many flaws this line had.

One of the gimmicks was having a core released not with the drones but a Mini-Con partner. And we all know my love of Mini-Cons by now. The team I picked up was the Autobot Searchlight and Mini-Con Backwind. While the duo have been released as part of store promotional sets these toys come from their stand-alone two-pack since I never owned any of the drones or other “Commanders” from the series. This is my lone appearance from Power Core Combiners. So how does this team-up work out?


Transformer Report: Transformers Classics Prowl

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Prowl discussing my clutter issues.

Transformers Universe Classics 2.0 Extra Cheese With A Soda…look, it’s the next release of Transformers Classics from the Optimus Prime I reviewed last week. All I know is it isn’t Reveal The Shield and that Hasbro gets confusing with the subline names at times. It’s G1 Prowl with an updated vehicle mode. That’s the important part here.

I feel sorry for Prowl. On the TV show he was part of Optimus’ command team. In the Budiansky-written G1 comics from Marvel he was the logical thinker and strategist, even leading the team for a time in Optimus’ absence. And then Simon Furman came along. If you read my other website, BW Media Spotlight, you know I have a questionable history with Furman’s Transformers stories. Some were really good, some were good in concept but not in execution, and some were just not very good at all, or at least not to my personal taste…and not very good at all. His Prowl was kind of a jerk, stuck to the rules, thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room when Furman’s pet character Grimlock always out thinks him, and IDW added in a willingness to do horrible things to protect the Autobots and Cybertron thinking it has to be the right thing. I grew up with a better Prowl when he didn’t have much of a personality.

I mean, the first toy’s tech spec catchphrase is ““Logic is the ultimate weapon.” Why is he not Shockwave’s arch rival? Being about logic is one of the universal personality traits of Shockwave!

So I picked up the updated version when it came out. How well does it hold up?


Transformers Christmas Tree 2015

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It’s time again to set up that green thing, put a bunch of colored lights and little balls on it, and put toy robots around it. It’s become a tradition to take the Transformers I have on the TV (where I put the Nativity set) and put them into a festive event around the tree. This year I thought I’d explain my little story. Just ignore Death Star Darth Vader. I just didn’t have anywhere else to put him. I did get a bit more space this year since at least one clutter-clearing project worked to my advantage. The TV tray is finally free of clutter and while that may change I can use it as a more stable tree display spot. This makes me happy.


Longbox Report: The Transformers #16

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I have a convention to prepare for, so let’s make this quick. You’ve seen my Bumblebee shelf and I’ve reviewed some of my newest acquisitions. If you’re at all curious as to why I like the little guy so much, here’s a review of the comic that got me into him, straight from my other site.

I’d make a joke about this pose, but I’m too biased towards this comic.

The Transformers #16

Marvel Comics (May, 1986)

also republished by IDW in Transformers: Generations #4 (June, 2006)

“Plight of the Bumblebee”
WRITER: Len Kaminski
PENCILER: Graham Nolan
INKER: Tom Morgan
LETTERER: Bill Oakley
COLORIST: Nelson Yomtov
EDITOR: Mike Carlin
COVER ART: Herbe Timpe (credited in the IDW version which doesn’t use that cover)
SELECTED IDW COVER (see end of article): Nick Roche
SPLASH PAGE: Eliot Brown


Toy Report: Rescue Bots Bumblebee


I didn’t get him in time for last week’s report, but I have him now. This is the Bumblebee for the younger kids, age 3-6. And he will be getting screen time. The cartoon for Transformers: Rescue Bots will air on the Hub on December 17th, 2011. I’m not as familiar with the storyline, since it obviously hasn’t aired yet. Some of the larger figures come with a storybook, but I haven’t gotten those.

From what I’ve heard, there won’t be any Decepticon opponents. Instead, the Autobots will team with humans to perform rescue missions. This is odd because the other two series of the “Playskool Heroes” line feature Star Wars and Marvel Universe characters, and both of them have bad guys for the heroes to fight, and they target the same age group.

This one isn’t as collectible as the Prime version for adults so we can’t torture the MISP guys as much. Still, let’s get this thing open.


The Bumblebee Shelf


There it is, the Bumblebee shelf. Or rather speaker. Long story short, Bumblebee is my favorite of the original Transformers characters. He got a resurgence thanks to the live-action movies, and now he’s everywhere. This means I have a lot of Bumblebee’s of the Multiverse to collect, although there are a couple of versions I may sadly never get to own. Granted, there are a few I don’t need. If it’s the same mold with some different colors, I don’t need it. I want new forms. Except for this one and this one, because they don’t feel like Bumblebee to me.

I also have a couple of official namesakes, from the movie and Transformers Animated. For all of the Bay films’ faults, even without a voicebox his Bumblebee is our Bee. Animated Bumblebee, however, was not a likable guy but that’s for the other blog. Still, they both get small places. There’s also some Bee-related merchandise like the McDonalds toy that looks like a key or something when folded up, and the Bumblebee finger board (skate board toys you can actually do tricks with using your fingers, I don’t really follow that type of toy but it IS a Bumblebee skateboard).

As you can see, the Bumblebee speaker is full. There’s no room for another Bumblebee and I can’t even display them as well as I would like. This is where finding an old figurine display stand in the basement comes in handy. It’s time for an official Bumblebee shelf!


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