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Toy Run #5:
Transformers Temptation

You know the drill. You get up thinking today could be the day. You hop in the car and head for your luckiest place. You arrive with giddy anticipation. It’s now or never, you tell yourself as you round that last corner. What waits? Will it be great joy or intense dissatisfaction? Anything can happen on a Toy Run…

I know it’s been awhile since we did our last Toy Run. Mattel has been overwhelming my toy budget with their DCUC & MOTUC, both of which I buy online. I’ve still been in stores, but other than Toy Story 3 overwhelming nearly every store’s toy section, I haven’t been finding anything that noteworthy in my travels. 2009 DCUCs and MUs are happily keeping the pegs warm. GI Joe sounds like it’s finally, finally starting to come out of its post-movie slumber, but I haven’t seen anything new yet. I can’t believe all the cool stuff I saw at JoeCon 2009 is still in limbo. Iron Man 2 toys have been fun, but I waited weeks for seven new figures and am now looking at weeks until the next few. I’m sure something new is hitting the shelves in the toy collecting world, but I haven’t seen it. Until this weekend. Our local TRU got a truck in – a truck that changed the landscape of one particular aisle. It’s an aisle that I’m only loosely affiliated with, despite it containing one of my favorite childhood properties: Transformers.

I can chart my childhood in phases based on which toys I had as a kid. 85-87 were my big Transformers years. The Insecticons. Tracks. The ’85 mini-vehicles. Defensor & Bruticus. Reflector. Hot Rod & the Movie characters. The Throttlebots. Yep, Throttlebots. I had a fair share of bigger Transformers, but I had a ton of the little ones. The Throttlebots weren’t the best bots, but I had fun with them as a kid.

Despite my love of Transformers, it’s not gotten much representation in my “adult” collection and, as such, not much coverage here at IAT. I’ve had my bouts over the years: RID, Alternators, Universe/Classics, Animated. I wasn’t completist with any of them – I just bought the ones I liked or had a childhood connection too. And I’ve found some that I really love: Masterpiece Optimus, Alternators Tracks, Henkei Hot Rod, Animated Swindle & Bulkhead (Leader Class), Universe Treadbolt. And there’s plenty of other Transformers characters that I enjoy, that I’m just waiting to see them receive a good toy.

Though I haven’t felt the need to immerse myself in Transformers, I still keep an eye on the news that rolls out of the various conventions and have an idea what to expect in the aisles. I’d been looking forward to seeing some of this new stuff.

When I found this cache of new Transformers, the first thing that caught my attention was the new, distinctive yellow packaging. But it turned out that what I wanted to see was still in red: Transformers: Generations. I was disappointed that I didn’t see any Drifts or Thrusts among the fives pegs of War for Cybertron Bumblebee and Optimus, so I’m still having to keep an eye out for those.

I’ve been on the fence about picking up the WFC figures. Bumblebee looks like a TF I could love, particularly when paired with the inevitable Cliffjumper. But Optimus doesn’t seem that intriguing. I was able to pass this time, but that may change as the ranks of the WFC get filled out. Personally, if we can see a bigger, better Optimus in a larger size later, I could get into this incarnation of Transformers. In this size, I’m hoping to see WFC versions of Ratchet/Ironhide and Hot Rod (Hot Shot) make the cut. Vault, however, loves the new WFC and happily snapped up these first offerings. Look for that review later this week.

Also in the red packaging were the new Powercore Combiners. I didn’t totally understand what these guys were until I got a chance to look at them in the store. Pictured at right is Huffer. I picked him up mainly due to the B1G1 50% off, but also because I have a soft spot for Pipes (who reused the mold of the orignal Huffer toy backwhen). In addition to his truck and bot modes, Huffer can serve as a Power Core Combiner torso. This actually helped me to like him a bit better. I wasn’t a big fan of the small head that’s his own, but the larger combiner head ends up in the same spot and I’ve been using that for Huffer’s regular head.

Anyway, it’s easier to see what Power Core Combiners are about in the picture of Skyburst below. Skyburst is simply the guy in the middle and the four smaller vehicles are drones that, when plugged into him, spring out into limbs. In theory, those same four drones could be attached to a torso-configured Huffer and make him into a “scramble city” type bot.

I like Huffer well enough (and his minicon Caliburst is a nice clear blue) and I like the idea of Power Core Combiners, but there are things I don’t like too. Mainly, that the limbs are spring-loaded drones. The use of the springs makes it seem like they wouldn’t be too stable and the lack of a robot mode just feels wrong. I’m not saying they need to be full-fledged minicons, but, as it is, it seems like it’s just a scout size Transformer with four really big accessories. And some of my favorite characters were among the Protectobots and Combaticons. I’d be disappointed if Swindle and Streetwise were just vehicles drones with no alt-modes.

PCC could turn out to be cool, the TF Wiki makes a reference that the designers were “able to create a gestalt consisting of thirty-two prototyped toys.” That sounds promising, even if they’re just spring-loaded drones. I may not buy it, but I hope to see that someday.

Remember that yellow packaging? It seems like everything I’m talking about wasn’t in it. But there were some nice items in the new packaging, in fact, the one Transformer I had to have was in a yellow box.

For the most part, the yellow packaging seems to be the continuation of ROTF product. Movie versions of Bumblebee, Ratchet, and Ironhide were joined by a new jet, Jetblade. There was a Leader Class Optimus Prime and a new wave of Voyager Class figures: Night Ops Ratchet, Payload, & Seaspray. Night Ops Ratchet is simply a black deco of the movie Ratchet.

Long Haul (the green dump truck) was one of the Transformers I wanted to pick up and never did. This wave gave me another opportunity in the form of Payload, a yellow redeco of the same toy. I ended up passing on it because his bot mode is just ugly. If I bought him, I know I’d keep him as a dump truck all the time and that’s not worth $23. Plus, his tires are a solid brown. I could try and convince myself they’re completely covered in mud, but I doubt it. He was a letdown, but I had to have the third figure in this assortment: Seaspray.

As I said, the ’85 Mini-vehicles are some of my favorites. The Ultra Class Power Glide from last year is a favorite of mine and I was excited to pick up a Seaspray to go with him. I’ll take a look at him in more detail here.

I do have to admit, I had some trouble choosing a second Transformer for TRU’s B1G1 50% sale, so I’m not ready to jump back into Transformers just yet. While it would have been an easy decision if Drift had simply been there, I’m not too excited by this particular wave of product. It’s what’s coming up that has me excited. Some of it we’ve seen like Darkmount, Red Alert (a redeco of Universe Sideswipe), Tomahawk, Blurr (a redeco of Drift), Axor (a redeco of Lockdown), but a some of it is stuff that may be a ways out: Grapple (a redeco/remold of Universe Inferno), a new mold to be used for Perceptor & Reflector, a new Scourge, and a new Tracks (!!) just to name a few. If those figures look as good as they sound, it looks like there could be plenty of Transformers in my future.

Well, I jump back in with both feet? That’s doubtful, but Transformers is such a huge property with so many toys, stories, and worlds, that it feels like every collector probably has or has had at least a few TFs in their collection. If Hasbro is going in a direction where they intend to homage more G1 stuff, then they’ll at least get my attention and have a better chance at my money. I imagine that’s true for a lot of the collectors from my generation.

Continue to Seaspray’s Review.

26 comments to Toy Run #5:
Transformers Temptation

  • […] much different and yet, somehow, this figure conveys a sort of charm just like his namesake. When I found him, I had to have […]

  • Lt. Clutch

    Great to see some love for the Throttlebots! They were awesome as a kid and I still dig ’em today. I read an issue of Transformers: Spotlight the other day where Goldbug, Searchlight, Chase, Freeway, Rollbar, and Wide Load make their IDW debut. If Hasbro updates these guys, it’s gotta be as a team! That’s how they rock best.

    • The Metroplex issue? I want to pick up some of those spotlights! I’m just getting into it and sorting out what comics are part of the shared universe.

      I really like the new mainbook with the classic looks wrapped around somewhat movie designs. I think I need to go back and start with All Hail Megatron and work forward from there.

      • Lt. Clutch

        Yep, the Metroplex issue. He’s more like a guest star since it reads like the Throttlebots are the actual leads. And Goldbug is a separate character from Bumblebee now! It works for me since I love both of them. Check out the Ironhide mini as well, it is awesome!

  • LeBron

    All Transformers has to do to get me back is release more Classics. I was having a great time with that toyline until we lost it for the movie stuff. From the looks of Botcon, they’re going back to it and I’ll be along for the ride.

    Now, if they’d just do the same to Joes I’d be all set.

    • Yep, I’m ready to leave movie product behind and get back to the good, nostalgia stuff (along with what the companies learned with the movie stuff).

  • Whitehead

    My Toys R Us doesn’t have any of the new stuff yet, but one thing both of ours have in common is the mountain of Animated Ratchets. I really hope that doesn’t mess up the release of Ironhide and Hot Rod. I’ve gotta have those too. I still want Blackout, but I think animated would have to make a bigger comeback to get him.

  • Nik

    Can’t wait for the new Jazz…

  • Yso

    “looking for Masterpiece Grimlock? Me Grimlock delayed until after SDCC.”

  • Bettes

    I hadn’t heard about the new Grapple, or most of the new stuff you mention, but I didn’t check the news coming out of Botcon.

    Will Grapple be a universe toy I wonder? Just swapping out the ladder on Inferno for a crane?

    • The crane and a few new pieces I imagine.

      It’s interesting because Generations isn’t planning to have anything more than deluxes and Grapple (who uses a univere/classics) mold will be in the basic yellow like Seaspray. That’s odd for branding.

  • Martel

    Are there bigger shots of the little pictures?

    My TRU doesn’t really bother with new product. I keep thinkIng they’re going to shutdown but they never do.

  • Charlie F.

    I buy a couple of the toys every few years, but they just aren’t my thing. I buy Motu for sculpts and articulation and those two things will always be slaves to the transforming feature.

  • Mark

    I’ve never seen a TRU aisle that full.

  • wesitron

    @Bettes
    I seem to remember reading they’re swapping out the ladder for a crane and also giving him a new head. Pretty excited about that guy since I love the Inferno mold.

    • That’s what think I read. I wish I would’ve just run across an Inferno last year. I never saw one and have never gone back to pick it up. I really need to.

  • wesitron

    oh and i think theyre doing something with his arm cannon too

  • orionpax636

    Yeah, there was literally an EXPLOSION of Transformer heaven at many TRUs after Botcon. I lucked into Drift and Thrust for the B1G1 deal, and scored leader Starscream and Seaspray online.

    It was an odd culmination of sorts at TRU with this TF deluge. Not only did I almost happily land myself in the poorhouse, but I also discovered that the district manager of my local TRU likely took some welcome anti-scalper action. I’ve seen a known scalper not as active in my neighborhood store, and came to discover that my store now limits figure buys to one of each character per purchase.

    Saves me a trip to jail, I damn near went homicidal on his cocky a$$ when he walked past me with four Arcees one morning when I was trying to score ONE for my 6 year-old goddaughter. (I got one eventually…never count out Uncle ‘Pax.)

  • Ebonhorn

    I love this magical TRU with these new toys….it must be awesome having toys that haven’t set on the shelf for like two years taking up space of newer stuff you never saw.

  • I went to TRU last night and found Classics Generations Thrust, but I passed on him, I donno why. I just couldn’t do it.