Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My Opinions On The NYCC Transformers Reveals

A metric truck load of news came out of the New York Comic Convention, although the bits that interest me transform into robots. After a faintly disappointing set of reveals for Botcon 2015, the Hasbro and IDW panels had the fanbase collectively wet itself and fainted with excitement. Due to being poor and doing this as a hobby, I was unable to attend, but the collective buzz affects even me. So here is a selection of opinions on the new toys revealed, and a few other things, based on information culled from various Transformers news outlets. Buckle up.

The Titans Return Toys In General
So beyond being Headmasters with a cooler sounding name(1), TitanMaster seem to be designed along slightly different lines from Generations Brainstorm. There is still a balljoint, and an exposed face in robot form, but the connection is reportedly different. This is probably a good thing as Brainstorm really didn't work that well. The titanmasters will have little cockpits for them in the vehicle modes of bigger toys, and obviously are interchangeable, with some being sold separately from a “body”. There's also two minor gimmicks, larger toys being triple changers, if not especially convincing ones, and a “Cassette” gimmick, which we will first see in Combiner Wars wave 5, with Buzzsaw. These take also take the form of triplechangers, having a "data" mode, robot form, and slightly unconvincing vehicle mode.  With the hand painted prototypes seemingly being posable in manner of most Generations toys, we could be on to a winner here. And Fortress Maximus was teased again. We are also likely to see a lot of remoulds again, with gaps in their forearms.

The fiction side of this is however more of a concern to me, as there will be an IDW tie-in, and IDW has not done that well with such in the past. Furthermore, a lot of the characters we've had revealed so far are either A) Dead, B) Very Dead, C) not a 'master previously, and/or D) involved in the More Than Meets The Eye comic series which should be left alone to be awesome.

Blaster (Leader Class)
A case of gimmick rather than character dictating size, Blaster is a leader class to facilitate dudes like Rewind using his chest as a home. His titanmaster is called Twincast(2), and has an additional helmet piece like G1 Scorponok, but reminiscent of Blaster's own original toy.  He also has a dummy tape, which looks a bit like a DJ station in base mode and would therefore be awesome. One design flaw however not obvious from the CG renders is that the tape mechanism extends out of the back, a downer, but hopefully the only one present. Its basically a given at this point we will get a Soundwave out of this, due to Buzzsaw being in the same Legends format. Some people think this will also be made into Powermaster Prime due to the base mode, I doubt that. If not a new mould, I'd be looking at Ultra Magnus instead.

Galvatron (Voyager Class)
This guy had a very low bar to overcome. The 2008 vintage Galvatron is the rare toy I actively despise, and all this one had to be was mediocre. TR Galvy looks better than that, provisionally good, if somewhat messy around the arms and “Cybertronian” in altmodes. Like Blaster, he requires an additional bit for his titanmaster to complete the head, which is springloaded in the chest. Visually, he's very much IDW Galvatron, and his titanmaster is based off G1 Megatron, although called “Nucleon”. This makes him the biggest “HUH?!” in relation to the comic tie-in. In the comics for about a decade now, Galvatron is in no way Megatron, whom incidentally is trying to reform, at time of writing. Galvy has a murderous dislike of combiners too.

This pair are probably the only toys here not getting a retool of some kind to make a different character, but you never know.

Sentinal Prime (Voyager Class)
First opinion: looking very orange. Second opinion: Looking solid in 2 out of three modes. The land vehicle form is weak, but the shuttle and robot pass muster. He just doesn't look that exciting just now. What he does look like is an Astrotrain in waiting. Is also dead in the comics for at least 4 million or so years.

Hardhead (Deluxe Class)
Probably the lest immediately interesting Titans toy to me, as he's a G1 original whom doesn't seem to be doing anything unusual. The biggest shot is that he's got the faceplate fictional depictions ignore. While quite a hollow fellow, this may end up being pretty decent though, given his visual merits and apparent posability. Also a member of the IDW “is very dead” club.

Skullsmasher (Deluxe)
Ah, now an actual, pre-existing Decepticon headmaster. Also very alive in the comics, and is a stand up comedian. He just gained a slightly better name. CG renders and photography seem to indict a less gappy and reasonably posable toy, although the croc mode would seem to have limited articulation. The mouth opens though.

Rewind (Legends Class)
Please, please, please, PLEASE make a Chromedome to keep him company. Its not right that they are apart. Hell, do them as a boxset.  The tank mode is amusing

Stripes (Legends Class)
Surprisingly, this isn't a new guy whom presumably exists because RID has the Steeljaw name just now. Stripes is just extremely obscure. He's probably gonna be a bit of an Alpha Bravo though. You know, unpopular with GEEWUN crowd, and then retooled into someone famous. Like Ravage.

The Individual Titanmasters
These are apparently going to sell for $5 plus a little vehicle, and if so, would the first time I've ever taken an active interest that price bracket. What we have here are 4 of the 1988 headmasters, A.K.A the Headmaster Juniors, without bodies, but with little vehicles which they can combine with. This is actually a brilliant idea, and I am in full support of it. Shame one of them is dead, and three are trademark victims. Crash-Bash looks to be the pick of the litter, see the images, with Loudmouth looking a meh, but not without appeal.

The Combiner Wars Cartoon
There's no video yet, so nothing to say. The talent behind it is however promising, and they seem to be making the right noises.

The Few Robots In Disguise Releases
Finally, some actual Decepticons in a sensible size class. I'd probably buy Thunderhoof, which would raise my lifetime RID purchases to 1.

And finally, All Hail Optimus
So, yeah. As part of the run up to Titans Return, Optimus Prime is going to annex Earth into the Cybertronian Council of Worlds, to protect us against an invasion. Whether we want it or not. And he's going full space pope to do it. My initial thoughts were to make a joke about welcoming our robot overlords, but then I got a little pessimistic. They seem to be deliberately invoking the memory of All Hail Megatron, an era of the IDW comics not well-liked at the time, or well-remembered now. The idea of Optimus taking control for our own good also has some worrying implications for this future character development, not that I've necessarily found him interesting as a character in the past. This is probably just a publicity stunt.

Mind you, the last publicity stunt they did gave us co-Captain Megatron, and that seems to be working very well. I'll try optimism.

Sources Used

Hasbro for the CG renders, IDW for the comic images, the respective websites for photography and video.

Foot Notes
  1. And the implication that other 'master types might appear......
  2. I see what you did there.

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