Maketoys Buster Skywing Review

Look I’m not going to wank on about the character’s name changing origins, but I will say Jetfire has been one of my low-key fave Autobots for a while. I loved the Generations toy from 2006 and was very sad when I left it on a windowsill and forgot about it for months so it yellowed to all hell. I was very happy with the Thrilling 30 version even if he had lost some mass, though gained height. It also made me get two more versions of it when the seeker moulds came out.

I did not like the look of the new Siege one.

If you do, great! But to me, that wasn’t Jetfire. That was Skyfire. The boxy as fuck jet from the cartoon who existed only because of reasons that are hidden by a load of copyright law and legal jargon that I do not want to bother looking into. The idea of a character who changed from Con to Bot is a good concept and I like how that has carried over to the Jetfire name, but I could never get behind the design. I always liked the Macross Valkyrie design and one day I might get around to buying one. But the latest Jetfire didn’t scratch that quasi-anime itch I like.

However, Maketoys Buster Skywing is anime as fuck

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Buster Skywing comes from our good friends, Maketoys. Another one of their Cross Dimension line that gave us the sublime Rioter Despotron I reviewed a while back. Though he wasn’t my first choice. I originally intended to get the black repaint (that came out first) Buster Stealthwing and make him a Decepticon.  However, then Transbridge Omegalock put this guy on sale for £66 and my wife got him for me as an early birthday present. So, a) I LOVE HERE, and b) I’ve come to think the original Skyfire colours suit this guy far better. The bright white and red really make him seem more anime than the black and make him pop a lot more. I’m getting a Tallgeese from Gundam Wing vibe from him.

God, I’m such a weeb.

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Anyway, Skywing comes pack to the gills with articulation, including a visor that can fold over his face.  And he is BIG. The guy is only slightly shorter than the Thrilling 30 leader Jetfire but has far more mass. He’s made of good solid plastic and all his joints are tight…sometimes too tight, but we’ll get to that in a bit. One of my favourite bits or articulation is the wing tops. While I keep them folded up in bot mode to shave on shelf space, the proper way is to flip them out. It took me a while to decide on a look and I decided to fold them in when I couldn’t stop thinking of him as some kind of giant anime mecha-peacock.

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Accessories wise he doesn’t come with much, just his guns and backpack and boosters…but that’s because he is pretty much an accessory pack himself. You can take bits of him apart and stick them on any version of Maketoys Cross Dimension Optimus Prime mould…which I don’t own.

But I do own Legendary Toys KO version of their Striker Noir! Aka Nemesis Prime aka the guy I use as RiD 2001 Scourge. That should work right!?

It did not.

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So, the KO Striker Noir is a good toy on his own, good joints tolerances etc…but due to it being a KO all the ports required for this feature are either just a bit too big or not in quite the right place and it becomes a floppy mess. Hell, I couldn’t even get the shoulder pads to stay on. It’s a shame as looking at when it’s used with a legitimate copy it holds together far better. I didn’t buy it for the combined mode, so the KO Noir works fine for me. But if you want the interactivity, I would recommend you get the proper versions.

(If you’re wondering I bought the KO it’s the proper version mould was sold out everywhere at the time….and it was less than half the price. And don’t give me shit about buying a KO of a 3rd Party toy cos we’ll be here all day with me pointing out all 3rd Party toys infringe on the HasTak copyright. We good?)

Anyway, on to the jet mode! Which is easier said than done. The first time I transformer this guy it was terrifying. There are some loud noises being made from the ratchets and tabs…and that then turned to frustration with the back end. He’s one of those guys that you have to get 100% dead on and if one bit is out and you try to force it, it causes something else to pop out. I’ve got it mostly worked out now, but it can still be a faff.

The results though? Nice.

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It’s a Quin-Jet, with massive guns/rocket boosters on it and is lovely. Plus it has articulation! Not only do the wingtips move, but a good chunk of the jet intakes and exhausts can move independently, giving him pose-ability in vehicle mode, however minor. He can look very dynamic for a flying brick.

There are some small QC issues to be aware of, like how the rear landing struts/heels are screwed in on one side, but just slotted on the over with a small peg in place for rotation…which has been known to break off. It does not affect the toy at all when it does this and they stay in o place because of the slot anyway, but it happened to mine and I’ve seen others mention it as well so you should be aware. But overall, I think this is a brilliant stand-alone figure. Who knows? I might get the black version as well if I see him at a good price, but I think this guy looks a lot better in white. A great toy and a wonderful gift from my wife.

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War for Cybertron: Siege Deluxe Spinister

There was just something about the first volume of IDW comics wasn’t there? Sure, it took a while to get going, but when it did it made us look at established characters in a new way, introduced some wonderful relationships, and in the case of the Scavengers, introduced people to some characters for the first time. OK yes I mean you may have known Krok existed, but aside from the fact he was an Action Master could you tell me anything else about him pre IDW? Thought not.

For me, the Scavengers were a breath of fresh air. They weren’t big-name Decepticons trying to murder their way to peace, they were a bunch of nobodies who were just trying to survive and bumbling their way through life. I think a lot of first-generation millennials can identify with that. And then we got toys of the buggers to boot! First, we got Misfire and Krok in Titans Return and in Siege we got Skytread/Flywheels and the subject of today’s review, Spinister, the idiot savant (emphasis on the idiot) surgeon of the Scavengers. Able to repair brain damage that would give Ratchet chance to pause, and yet able to be distracted by a laser pointer.

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Spinister’s robot mode is gorgeous. Yeah, the colours are not your typical dark Con colours but the pink purple and blue make him pop. And that face sculpt is sublime, the eyes and blue-green faceplate really stand out against the black helmet. I’m glad they went with a yellow for the eyes as it makes them stand out more than his original toys blue and gives him another colour to the mix of beautiful bullshit this scheme is. That combined with Siege’s wonderful articulation make this one of my favourite deluxe toys of the line, and an improvement on this still rather good Botcon version he got of the TF2010 Tomahawk mould.

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He doesn’t have much in the way of accessories, coming with two guns that resemble his G1 target masters, which I prefer to double up. But he could have come with nothing and still be my fave. Before I get into the transformation, I gotta say I love the way they handled his rotors here. Most chopper-formers have them either hanging off an arm or just kinda there on their back. Using a bit of the alt-modes vehicle detail and a small hole in his back allows Spinister’s robot to stand proud and strong as Primus intended.

And that transformation, wow. Honestly, I feel Spinister’s conversion is to chopper-formers what Triggerhappy’s was to jets. There’s a lot more to it thank you think but it’s weirdly simple and effective at the same time. The funny thing about it was that when he was first revealed and everyone saw the double cockpit legs (a throwback to his original G1 toy) everyone, myself included, was like “Oh how the hell does that work? Where does the other cockpit go?”,

It goes underneath. Yeah, we should have figured that out.

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OK so since I was a kid, I have fucking LOVED the Apache attack helicopter. It’s an ugly piece of shit but that doesn’t matter. It is designed to do a job and that job is to blow things up. It’s why I also love the A-10 Warthog. I mean sure I like your hi-tech fighters like your Raptors and Typhoons, but there’s just something about military vehicles that look like blunt instruments that do it for me. So, for Spinister to give us my favourite brick of a helicopter and give it such wonderfully horrible colours is a weirdly specific dream. And it’s not actually that bad of a representation of an Apache either, with the arms becoming the turbines and the decently accurate back end, and the cockpit of course.  It’s just wonderful and brilliant and other positive adjectives.

I’m having a hard time thinking of negatives for this guy, aside from some minor issues getting the hidden cockpit tabbed in chopper mode, and how I’m fairly certain his left bot mode foot sits slightly higher than his right, but that could just me how I have him stood…multiple times. I suppose you could count how his hands are just kinda there in copter mode as well, but aside from that, there’s really nothing.

I suppose the worst part is that we still haven’t got a new official Crankcase yet and I doubt we’re gonna get a Fulcrum, so I fear my Scavengers crew will never be properly complete. But then again, I never thought we’d get Spinister to begin with so fingers crossed. I’m happy with Spinister and I’m sure his fellow losers will too.

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War for Cybertron Siege Leader Astrotrain.

So, Astrotrain then? He’s a weird guy. He’s one of those legacy characters who are popular despite not really doing much in the original pieces of media from the ’80s.  Yeah, he had an episode of the cartoon where he managed to convince a bunch of aliens he was a god, but I think I put that more down to their isolation and gullibility rather than his intelligence. I mean he also tried to take over the Decepticons with a bunch of trains. Not transforming trains. Just regular trains. So yeah, intelligence isn’t his strong suit.

After that his most notable accomplishment was Galvatron getting his name wrong in the IDW comics. But we love him regardless. Because he’s a Decepticon triple changer with the coolest alt-modes out of the lot of ‘em. A space shuttle AND a steam train? Yes please!

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For the longest time though he always seemed to get kinda shafted in toy form after his original toy. The concept was always compromised by size or design. The Classics mould had a decent shuttle mode but was happened by kibble in other modes. The Titans Return toy has a great robot mode…but the alt-modes suffered from weird design choices such as quashing the shuttle mode and stretching what you could convince people a train was. But it was decent enough in bot mode that people were mostly happy to say “Yeah that’ll do as my main Astrotrain even if the colours aren’t right unless I wanna fork out for the Japanese release.” Mainly cos he was a decent size.

But then along comes Siege with the best goddamn Astrotrain in years! In the right colours! And in the leader size class! And there is nothing wrong with him!

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So yeah, let’s get it out the way. Siege Astrotrain is another one of these “leaders” like Shockwave and Ultra Magnus where’s the main toy is a voyager and he gets extra bits. Ultra Magnus had his normal armour, Shockwave got a surfboard that became some actually cool armour in robot mode and turned his “totally not and laser-gun” alt-mode into a damn good-looking battleship.

Astrotrain gets a box that turns into boots and a backpack. Oh, and LOT of guns, that can also combine into one mean BFG.

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Yeah, this is where all that extra plastic went. You could have gotten a bigger one if say they only gave him one gun instead, but honestly, I don’t mind him at his normal size. He frankly looks so good, and as hinted at in the second image, due to how he’s constructed there’s almost no hollowness to him, making him solid as hell. He also has far more articulation than any other Astrotrain toy, including a waist swivel and ankle-tilts.  Plus, the box has other uses, but more on that later.

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I like the shuttle mode. It looks like his G1 toy/cartoon self, boxy fuselage and all, but beefier and mode robust.  Yeah, the back end is a little skeletal but you always gotta sacrifice something in a triple changer. And honestly, the transformation is pretty fun, with some nice intricacies like how the arms become the rear and connect to the boosters and keep the tail fin in place. It’s fun and looks like it’s cartoons elf, which I’m not usually needing but I’ll take it here. Like the bot mode, it features a whole load of ports so you can stick the guns all over him and make the world’s deadliest shuttle. Or you can store them in the box, which can also become a makeshift launchpad, but it looks a bit doofy so I didn’t bother taking any pics.

But honestly? The best mode is the train mode.

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I love the train mode. I love the detailing; I also love how this makes no goddamn sense as his Cybetronian mode. But it’s big, purple, and girthy. Yes, I know how that sounds and I don’t care. It just works so goddamn well. Plus, you know that box of his? It can be used as a goddamn tender!

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I have no idea why this excites me so much, but it just does. It looks fantastic. Plus, since this mode doesn’t feature as many weapon ports as the shuttle mode adding the tender means you have enough to make the DEATH TRAIN.

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So yeah, he’s short because he has a box, but I love this guy. He’s easily made it into my top ten figures of 2019 right at the buzzer. It’d be nice if he wasn’t so short but what we get in lieu of his size makes up for it. Buy him.

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Mastermind Creations Kultur, aka Big Tarn.

So, a while ago I did a review of Iron Factory’s Dubhe, their take on IDW’s Tarn. In it I mentioned that despite its flaws I was happy with it and satisfied I had an alternative to Mastermind Creations Kultur that didn’t cost the earth.

Then someone decided to sell their Kultur for £65, so here we are!

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So MMC Tarn then? Not gonna lie, he’s made my top five 3rd party figures already, though his final placing is still in flux at the moment. See, MMC tend to go their own way in terms of aesthetics for a lot of their figures. In theory, a lot of them tend to lean towards IDW Alex Milne era of comics, but I’ve not found that to be 100% the case. They tend to add a lot of detail that doesn’t always work. My Sixshot is nice, but their Cyclonus doesn’t carry it as well. However, with Tarn, they seem to have really toned it down. To the point where this guy doesn’t seem that out of place next to CHUG figures.

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It’s not that he’s lacking detail, it just seems to be used more effectively. I especially like the chest piece. With that said, he doesn’t quite match the design of the comics. It seems flatter, and less of a “living machine” aesthetic than Alex Milne managed to get across with his art. In that regard, Iron Factory does get that across a little better with its less blocky proportions and more dynamic colour palette. Though in fairness neither’s colour scheme is exactly spot one to the comics. MMC’s is more muted, but IF’S is a little too bright to be as accurate. One way to compare them is to compare the masks. While MMC’s is good, IF’s has the more angular and comic accurate sculpt. He’s perhaps not as dynamic as IF, but in fairness you had to swap Dubhe’s hands out to get him at his most expressive, so I can deal.

However, after saying all that I like both versions for different reasons, and they weirdly look good together.

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Honestly, though I think I prefer Big Tarn overall. Yes, a lot of this is due to his size. But he just works so well at this scale. He’s bigger than a Hasbro Voyager, so he can suitably loom over a lot of bots, but he doesn’t look half bad next to pretty much any design aesthetic, even the bigger Masterpiece bots. A favourite of mine to pose him with is Maketoys Rioter Despotron. Even though Tarn’s sculpting is more muted I think it works well with Despotron’s anime-inspired design.

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As above, Tarn’s “real” head is Roller. The guy everyone thought he was going to be because James Roberts likes to troll his fans. Is this MMC betting on the result early (as the toy was released before the reveal of his actual identity) or just using it because Tarn shares a lot of parts and engineering with their Roller. And their Thunderclash. And…you get the point.  That is still a minor bugbear since my review of their Cyclonus, making a mould that gets used a lot rather than being suitable for the character. But hey, this works well for Tarn. Plus, Hasbro has made an entire franchise that so it’s fair game.

Aside from the mask Tarn comes with his double fusion cannons, which can peg on the tank mode turret piece to rest on his farm or come apart to be handheld. They even swivel on their axis so you can position them to be more comic accurate.

He also has missiles in his feet.

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Articulation wise it’s what you would expect of a £90 3rd party toy, including a good ab crunch and toe bends. This means you can get some really good poses, though his shoulder does get in the way of his cannons and vice versa so it can be a bit of a faff to pose those right. Also, because of how solidly built he is, which surprised me due to how MMC’s Cyclonus is well known for breaking, he holds all of them well without much support. That’s another plus for him against Dubhe, who had a LOT of QC issues on his first release, still has others that hope up. I ended up having to get new arms from Iron Factory directed because the socket straight-up snapped making them loose as hell. I don’t see that happening with Kultur at all.

Another plus is the transformation, which is a lot simpler than I’ve come to expect from this level of 3rd party. Hell, it’s actually easier than Dubhe! And the results are good.

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So, this is not really that accurate to Tarn’s tank mode in the comic, again due to the fact that this mode is three other guys as well. If you want a more accurate tank mode, we gotta go to Iron factory again. But that said, Kultur doesn’t have his hands sticking out the back.

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As you can see, he also has some extra features. Those toe missiles make a lot more sense with how his feet end up in vehicle mode (and aren’t glued in so be careful when the hatches are open), and he also has some sculpted grenade/rocket launchers just under where you peg the fusion cannon/turret. If you want him to be a bit more comic accurate, you can angle the chest piece downwards but it makes the thing seem less cohesive. I mean, he’s a tank he should be a big solid block of steel and this gets that across.

So yeah, MMC Kultur is brilliant and definitely worth getting. I was very lucky to get him for the price I did, as unless MMC do another reissue, you’re not gonna get him for less than £100 on the secondary market, most likely more. Does he replace Iron Factory? To a degree, but I still like the Lil’ guy too. And frankly, it’s a lot easier to get the entire DJD from them instead of MMC. Plus they combine. However, if like me, you just wanted Tarn either is a good choice, but I’d have to go with the big guy overall.

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War for Cybertron Siege: Deluxe Impactor Review

So originally, I was going to do my next review on Siege Brunt who is definitely my fave of the weaponizers. Then Impactor turned up in the UK and quite frankly my thoughts haven’t been on another toy since then. Part of it is that we finally have a general retail version of one of the most famous characters from the UK Transformers Marvel comic. The other is that he is rather good.

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I was born the year after Transformers started so I was too young to get introduced to him properly in the comics, but being the leader of the legendary Wreckers before Springer meant he left an impact on young UK minds. To the point where Nick Roche and James Roberts brought him back to the public consciousness in the brilliant Last Stand of the Wreckers story. Here Impactor is portrayed as a violent “shoot first don’t bother asking questions” leader of the same group, to the point where he straight up committed war crimes. Since then he’s had a few toy appearances in con exclusive sets and one of the more sought after 3rd Party figures in MasterMind Creations Spartan, but now it feels like Hasbro is like “No give us your money” on a lot of characters 3rd parties have been providing fans for years. Hell, Impactor gets 2 releases, one as a Decepticon in a 3 pack with a clear blue Mirage, and Aragon (a repaint of Cog and not a Lord of the Rings character). That version has a more IDW head, but also costs 3 times as much and includes 2 characters I don’t want, so I went with the standard retail version, and I am not disappointed.

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Impactor looks fantastic in robot mode. The yellow and purple work really well, being complementary colours, and that head sculpt is fantastic. Yeah, I may have preferred the IDW one but this works a little better with the more block proportions of the toy. He’s broad, square, and feels like a wall came to life and wanted to start kicking people’s heads in. Well, several guns. Coming with his main cannon, which becomes his tank turret, and his pistol which doubles as his traditional harpoon.  You can flip either of his hands in and peg it on the stump as I do here, but it’s great to have the option. Combine those with his shoulder cannon and this guy looks ready to break things. Or wreck them, if you will.  His articulation is, as with most Siege toys, fantastic, featuring pretty damn near everything except wrist rotation. His “waist” articulation is technically absent, as he actually rotates at the chest, allowing the same movement, but slightly odd-looking when sued. However, there is a reason for that which I will get in to later.

One thing that put some people off the toy when he was initially revealed was the hollow legs. It’s something that we’ve seen more and more in Hasbro Transformers lately, thought Siege seemed to be doing well there. However, when I put Impactor next to other deluxe, the reasons become clear. Thanks to those gaps, Hasbro used the plastic it leaves over to make him bigger than most over deluxe toys. He’s roughly a head taller than his compatriots and gives some recent voyager sized toys a run for their money. Hell, he even doesn’t look that bad next to Thrilling 30 “Lanky Boy” Springer, appropriately.

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Transforming Impactor is fun and intuitive, and reveals one of the best tank modes for a while from a deluxe. Actually, make that for any size tank guy, as due to that odd chest articulation, he features a fully rotating turret and a gun that can aim up and down.  This is something I don’t think we’ve seen since any size class tank transformer since deluxe Warpath in 2011. Oh wait, no Brunt can do that too! OK yes for Impactor it is mainly because of his gun connects in tank mode, and Brunt is essentially a bunch of weapons and armour stuck together to vaguely resemble something that might be a tank if you squint, but still, good job Siege!

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Overall, I’d definitely recommend Impactor. He’s got a great presence, great articulation and a fun transformation, definitely one of Siege top 5 toys in my opinion.

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War for Cybertron: Siege Voyager Springer

So originally, I was going to do another comparison review like my recent Optimus Prime one, comparing this new Siege Springer toy to his previous Generations counterpart…but honestly, that’s a bit unfair to the new guy. To me, thrilling 30 Springer beats it in pretty much every category except one. Looking like the G1 toy version.

So while I will be occasionally referring to Thrilling 30 dude, I’m going to try and assess Siege Springer on his own merits.

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Anyway, so Springer gets only his third toy where he is actually a triple changer, and it hearkens back to his routes and is based on the original toy, which I had as a kid. This was my main drive in getting one. He was one of the few complete Transformers I had and I was fascinated by the triple changer concept…even if he was probably the worst example of its problems. I mean his car and helicopter modes were distinguished by one being longer than the other and having a sword attached to it or not.

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Speaking of which, Siege Springer manages to have far more articulation than the G1 toy or the T30 voyager (just).  He’s gotten pretty much everything we’ve come to expect from the Siege guys and can do all the poses…to a point.

While the rest of him can hold a pose fine, his ankle tilts are a bit hit and miss. They’re the main piece of articulation that the T30 guy did not have and it’s nice to have them, but these ankles seem to have a lot of trouble holding him up, even in a basic standing pose. You can balance him on them, but don’t be surprised if he tips forwards or backwards once or twice until you find the sweet spot.

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Accessories wise he comes with some nice guns, two swords…and a thingy. Described as a “turret” by the instructions, it’s the bit you shove the swords in to become the helicopter rotors. This is dumb and there must have been a way to do this better, even if you wanted to have two swords rather than the T30 guy’s brilliant splitting sword. He’s covered in ports so the guns have places to go, and there are even some tabs that you can (loosely) put the swords on his back, but this has nowhere to really hide it without it being a bit daft. Doesn’t help that the backpack doesn’t really tab in anywhere either so it can flop off and hang off his arse like some kind of heavily armed remora fish.  That said you can have him going with duels words which is always fun.

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Transformation to both modes is on the one hand, really fun, and on the other, terrifying. No matter which mode you go to there’s a lot of lining up tabs, and hoping said tabs don’t break because some of those fuckers are tight. In fact, when going to helicopter form you kinda have to try and line up everything as well as possible and just squeeze it all together and pray something doesn’t break.

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Chopper mode is my favourite for a lot of reasons. It looks great. If a flying box can look “great” everything fits together well and there’s a place for every one of his accessories to go. Hell, there’s even grooves on this wings/weapon mounts to allow the gun that has weapon tabs for the swords to sit flush (which I’m fairly sure I didn’t in the photo above but can’t be bothered taking it again). I mean yes I prefer the Thrilling 30 design which looks more like an actual helicopter (if you squint) but this is a really good modernised version of the G1 design.

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Joking aside, this is actually a pretty good Cybertronian car mode for Springer and there are more steps to get to this than you think. The legs pretty much flip horizontal and fold in and themselves and you reposition the shoulder and flip and push the weapon mounts in to make it more compact while moving the front wheels further forward. Works far better than the original did of convincing me that this is a third mode and not something the designers pulled out of their arse. Unfortunately, the weapon storage is just plain daft There are tabs for the swords and plenty of gun ports, yes. But there’s nowhere for the marine radar on it, or you stick the weapons together to form…well, take a look.

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Yeah, it ain’t great. I mean yes the Thrilling 30 guy had a similar thing with its friction missile launcher, but it didn’t spin freely and somehow looked far more cohesive than it should have done. You can improve the look of this by removing the spinning section and just plug it in with the rear guns 5mm peg. Though it means you’ve still got nowhere to put the rotor assembly, which is a big no-no. What can I say? Bad weapon storage is a turn off for me.

Overall, Siege Springer is a good toy but has some issues that might put some people off getting him. I can see arguments for not bothering with him if you prefer the Thrilling 30 version, but this one has plenty more positives than negatives, alongside the fact he is far closer to the G1 original. If I can have 20 plus G1 looking Megatrons sharing a shelf, I can have two Springers next to each other.

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Magic Square Space Skimming Review

So, after reviewing a 3rd Party Cyclonus, what should I review next? I ask twitter.

They said a different 3rd party Cyclonus so here we are.

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So as previously mentioned in my Iron Factory Dubhe/Tarn review, the Legends size class has become another battleground for companies to fight in, as people start running out of room for multiple versions of a Masterpiece Megatron. The main two I am aware of are, of course, Iron Factory, who dabble almost exclusively in the size class, and DX9 who are mainly known for their Masterpiece scale stuff. Magic Square is a relative newcomer on the scene, starting in the Legends before recently going in for the Masterpiece scale with their cartoon accurate Optimus Prime mould and making an impression. I wasn’t really aware of them previously, but then I saw their Cyclonus, or rather their “Space Skimming,” I jumped at it. And for his size, he (mostly) doesn’t disappoint. Especially in robot mode.

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Honestly, this guy has no business look as good as he does in bot mode. He seems to get the cartoon proportions right. His main purple plastic is a little bluer than I’d like, but it does seem fairly close to the movie and animation model they were going for. I like the face with its little painted goatee. In fact, most of the paint is done really well, and I can’t find a single smudge or buggered up bit anywhere.  In addition, he has some gorgeous red light piping for his eyes. Honestly, there’s not a lot to say apart from “he looks good.”

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He also trumps pretty much any non-Masterpiece Cyclonus (official or not) in terms of articulation as well. While his head is on a simple swivel, all the essential stuff is here. Arm swivel, (slightly loose) waist swivel, shoulders, elbows, thigh rotation etc. But he also manages to throw in slight ankle title and an ab crunch. What this means is that he can out-dab his contemporaries quite easily.

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He is rather lacking in accessories, only coming with a single gun, but you can tell the budget was well spent elsewhere for this guy.

Not really on the vehicle mode though…

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Well in fairness at this size there’s only so much you can do with a non-standard jet mode, but he does seem to have sacrificed a lot for the bot mode. DX9’s smaller legends class Cyclonus is technically a worse toy because it has less articulation, a less involved transformation and doesn’t look as close to the G1 character as this guy does, but the jet mode feels far better because it’s a lot more cohesive. I mean, look at these two and tell me which one is the more convincing jet?

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The weirdest thing for me though Is that the cockpit seems rather large and out of proportion with the rest of him. Aside from that, it’s a half-decent effort. Just unfortunate that there’s nowhere to store his gun. The transformation itself is fairly good, though his shoulders can be a bit of a fiddle sometimes if you’re not careful. But then again considering the range of motion they allow him in bot mode, I think it’s more than worth the extra one second of attention you might need to pay to them.

Overall if you want a good Legends sized Decepticon, Space Skimming is a good choice that won’t break the bank. I got him for £22 on eBay and I think he was very much worth it.

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Mastermind Creations Boreas Review

The last few reviews I’ve done have been focusing on characters I’ve liked since I first discovered the Transformers franchise, aka Megatron, Shockwave, Soundwave, and Starscream. Cyclonus is a somewhat more recent favourite. I’ve always like his design, but something about the James Roberts More Than Meets the Eye version of the character made me start going out of my way for Cyclonus toys. Even going so far as to order a 3rd party version of the character. As one of the breakout characters from the series, it’s great to have a representation of this version of Cyclonus.

Pity the toy ain’t that great of a representation.

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Boreas comes from Mastermind Creations and is there quasi-sorta Masterpiece interpretation of the character. And well, he’s kind of a weird one. See Mastermind Creations, instead of strictly adhering to a specific G1 aesthetic tries to put their own spin on characters. It sometimes works and doesn’t. Case in point, their Terminus Hexatron, aka Masterpiece-esque Sixshot, is a great figure. The over the top details works really well for that guy and he is one of my favourite figures.

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ANY WAY, here on Boreas…well it doesn’t really work with his normal head. See I modded figure because the default head has a very G1 head which also has two horns. And quite frankly it looks kinda plain and just doesn’t go with this arguably over-designed body. On the other hand, the alternative IDW V1 head looks better, but only comes with one horn, which makes it look just off. I know this was the look Cyclonus sported for a good while in the comics, but neither “normal” head looked right to me. Please see these images by Starcream’s Toast over at Gear4Geeks for his review on behalf of Kapow Toys for what I mean, cos I couldn’t be bothered digging out the normal head from the box.

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Essentially I had to disassemble the heads, cut some plastic away to allow me to replace the faces, and it works so much better like this for me. The samurai/daemon head works far better and should have been the default version if you ask me. Hell, his hands are even sculpted as claws like in the comics! Considering the amount of detailing and the bloody comics sword he comes with, I honestly feel this was designed to be an IDW Cyclonus and then they bunged the G1 head on for…reasons? He just looks so much better when modded.

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Now that we have his face sorted out, let’s talk about the rest of the figure. From the front, he looks good. He’s tall, lanky and slightly alien. I know the sci-fi greebles and detail won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it works for him. I just wish he was a deeper shade of purple. While the light blue/purple he has going on here is fine, I just prefer a slightly darker breed of resurrected Seeker/Insecticon corpse.

However, problems start at his shoulders, which are just badly designed. They move down the body during transformation, but they don’t actually lock in for robot mode, meaning they feel loose and can make posing a pain. They do have some nubs and recesses to help this, but they don’t work very well. The shoulders also have a tendency to be blocked by his head and backpack, depending on the angle. Speaking of which, I’m also not a fan of his back, mainly because there’s no way to have his wings folded outwards and not make it look kinda daft. The closest I can get is to have them like I do here, set out flat and pointing up. Meanwhile, the “official” way is to have them pointing down. You can also store the sword on his back thanks to magnets, which is nice.

To be blunt, the backpack reminds me of every single version of Silverbolt, aka a robot that wears a jet on his back. But without the excuse of being a combiner torso.

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Articulation wise he is very good, featuring everything from rotating wrist, double bends at his knees and elbows, (slight) ankle tilts, bicep swivels etc. Throw his included Sword int the mix and you can get some good sword fighting/fencing poses. Perfect for dated jokes.

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There is ONE big pitfall of one point of articulation, but we’ll get to that after we have a look at the jet mode which is beautiful but fraught with danger.

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The jet mode looks sleek and dangerous and is one of my favourite things about the toy. He takes the tall lanky nature of Boreas and kinda squashes it out to give him an impressive wingspan. The colours work and then you get stuff like his knees becoming jet boosters and it’s lovely.

However, despite it being one of my favourite things about the toy, I always have a knot in my stomach when transforming him, because THIS is where the fairly well-known problem with this toy and its other versions (Death’s Head and Lockdown) comes up.

His waist snaps like a Kit Kat.

This is actually my second toy. As the waist on mine broke within a day of owning it. The guys at Kapow swapped it with no hassle but this is where I found out this is a known issue with the toy. Basically, when you transform him the legs end up on top and tab into the fuselage. HOWEVER, if you don’t do it 100% correct you cause an issue where the legs pull on the tiny fucking waist joint and after maybe 5 transformations it’s just gonna snap the waist and then you have two halves of a Cyclonus and a dent in your bank account.

So, you have a few choices. Practice getting it 100% right, only for the thing to break anyway, never transform him, or miss-transform him slightly so that the legs don’t fold fully and don’t sit 100% flush with the fuselage and cause the boosters on his knee to point down slightly. The latter is the least bad option as seen in the pics.

This guy actually turned me off Mastermind Creations other stuff, as I don’t want to pay a large amount of cash for something to just break. He’s also kind of indicative of criticism of MMC I’ve seen pop up every now and then. They seem to focus on making a mould then making it into as many characters as possible, rather than making a good mould itself. That kind of philosophy can lead to things like missing these big problems with the waist. I mean, repaints are fine and all, but you gotta make sure the thing works.

Still, despite all the issues and having to do some work to get him looking “right,” I do find myself liking Boreas. But I must stress you gotta be careful with this bugger. That said he’s still easier to get a hold of than the Maketoys Tailgate that came with a kit that made your deluxe Generations Cyclonus an IDW one. And you can get him for roughly the same price. I got mine from Kapow Toys for less than £60 in a sale, but I wouldn’t say he’s worth more than that.  For those that have the extra cash you’ve also got FansToys Quietus with its accessories to make him the comics version if you so choose, but if your budget doesn’t stretch that far this guy could probably fill that space in your collection.

Basically, Boreas is for people who like Porsches but buy the Boxster cos they can’t afford or don’t want to put the money down for the 911.

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War For Cybertron Siege Starscream Review

Everyone loves a bastard. There’s just something so fun about watching an absolute manipulative git either winning or getting his comeuppance. It’s part of why Starscream is one of the many Decepticons who has permeated the cultural zeitgeist…

OK, I’m sorry for using that term. Let me rephrase it.

Do you think of a conniving little prick who’d sell his own mother for a new job title? If so there’s a good chance you’ll have an image of Starscream in your head.

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Way back in 2002 Transformers Armada got me back into the franchise, and Starscream was one of the standout characters and became one of my favourite Cons. Looking back at his depiction in said show, it’s a very atypical portrayal, what with the whole honour and dying in battle thing. Has a bit more in common with Beast Wars Dinobot than you’d think. After that, it seems most versions of him went back to his G1 roots. And I gotta say I prefer him that way.

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And for the longest time, we’ve never had a good voyager G1 Starscream toy. The old Generations/Classics deluxe is still a decent toy, if starting to show its age, and the recent Studio Series voyager is good, but the only G1 styled voyager we ever got was the Power of the Primes version, which …well I sold it on within a month of buying it so I really can’t be arsed going on about how bad thought it was. It appealed to some and the torso mode for the combiner mode was cool, but everything else was just garbage.

In lieu of being able to have the much better Siege Starscream beating up his POTP variant since I don’t own it anymore, here’s Grimlock singing part of “I Am” from the Shadow the Hedgehog game.

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In a lot of ways, Siegescream looks like he could have jumped off an animation cel. His colours are bright and vibrant, he has the classic seeker chest and the null rays which for the first time since Masterpiece MP11, if I am remembering correctly, can stay attached during transformation (more on that later) He does have a good amount of battle damage with silver and grey paint and I think it works better than on most of the other cons, along with the sci-fi greebles and has a total of eight weapons words. Two on each arm, though most likely one will be permanently fitted with his null rays one, one each leg and one on each wing. I don’t think filling up with guns works as well as say, Megatron, but he does look quite good with the Micromaster Sky Patrol’s combined sword form.

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His articulation is really good, having loads of swivels and tilts to pull off very nice poses. Hell, even his wings have articulation allowing you to angle them. The only place he is let down in comparison to other Siege guys is his waist, as the backpack only allows it to move about 20-25 degrees left or right at a maximum. Still better than we got on pretty much every other G1 Starscream, which have precisely zero (including the bleeding Masterpiece). And he looks fantastic in the air because of it.

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Transforming him to jet mode is fun…to a point. It is fun and fluid…but when you have to move his chest it IS going to pop off, as documented in every other review out there. It’s a widely known issue and has lead to some speculation about it being fixed in a running change, but that turned out to be nought but a rumour. It’s a shame as it’s the only bad bit of a decent transformation. I personally love how his shoulder pauldrons actually end up forming the nosecone of his lovely tetrajet mode.

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I love this mode, despite its…well “flaws” is a strong a word. Perhaps “issues?” Like almost every other jet Transformer ever you essentially fold up the robot underneath the wings. Some people think this guy is a very egregious example, but I don’t really see it. It’s got a much worse problem on the back.

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Yes, that is his chest on his back. I have no idea how else they could have accomplished this look otherwise, but it does look rather silly.

However, this is a very sleek re-imagining of the Cybertronian jet mode. While I do like the other versions that have come before, the Transformers Cybertron and War for Cybertron versions specifically, this looks so much sleeker than those it’s ridiculous.

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Overall Starscream is definitely a great toy and has convinced me to go in for Thundercracker, Skywarp and possibly even Red Wing. He’s got some flaws, but overall he’s another must buy from the Siege line. Lovely robot mode, decent transformation, and an alt-mode that is far better than other versions of the tetrajet

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War for Cybertron Siege Soundwave Review

If you had to push me to select my favourite Transformer of all time, it’d be between four. Megatron, Starscream, Shockwave, and Soundwave. If you really pushed me, I’d be choosing between latter two. Shockwave and Soundwave are those characters that are instantly recognisable in all their appearances. Soundwave, in particular, seems to have one the most enduring characterisations, as outside of some comic issues and the Cybertron anime, he’s one of the most competent and loyal Decepticon soldiers. And you get so few of those it’s no wonder Megatron keeps the guy around and is generally one of the few of his soldiers he won’t smack across the room when they forget his breakfast muffin.

Thus there has been a multitude of Soundwave toys over the years, and they’ve all been quite fun. Adding to this the additional play value of his chest minions, and you get one of the longest-lasting cultural icons in the Transformers franchise.

Which made the wait to get him from Hasbro UK INFURIATING. Especially considering I had his children here for a month waiting for him. But he’s here now, along with Siege Starscream who we’ll get to, but for now, let’s see if he was worth the wait.

The answer is yes.

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Soundwave’s robot mode is probably the best representation of his G1 form at a smaller size class ever. He’s easily recognisable in silly and with his signature square chest and tape deck with gold trim front and centre. There’s not much to dislike here, even if you’re not a fan of the battle damage as it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is Soundwave. The head sculpt is particularly nice, and while I personally like my Soundwaves with red eyes, the light piping here is brilliant. He really does look like an evolution of the original G1 toy, in terms of design if not materials.

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He’s got brilliant articulation as well, but then that does seem to be a staple of the line. As I think should be required of any Soundwave with a chest minions’ gimmick, his arms have enough articulation press his own eject button. And just like the War for Cybertron voyager before him, he has a finger sculpted specifically for this.

Yes, I know this is the War for Cybertron voyager, I meant the voyager from War for Cybertron.

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Accessories wise Soundwave comes with his G1 rifle and his shoulder cannon and as always they look great. But he also comes with a second-hand gun for cool dual-wielding shots. However, it also has another feature. It folds open and you can stick his other weapons on the ends!

It is exactly as stupid as it sounds.

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Speaking of accessories, let’s have a look at the new Micromaster Laserbeak and Ravage, for what is a Soundwave without his minions?

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They’re tiny and fun. Out of the two, Laserbeak is probably the most successful, but then again this is a guy who’s basically transformation hasn’t changed much in 30 years. Legs down, tail up, wings out, head up. The main difference this time around is his more robotic look from the first episode of the G1 cartoon rather than the stylised condor he usually comes as.  As such he’s got precisely four (useful) points of articulation, but as a bird, it works.

Brilliantly, Soundwave has some groves on his arm that allow Laserbeak’s feet to slot right in with a decent grip, allowing him to pose on the arm and this is my default pose for him on my shelf.

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Ravage is…OK. I mean it’s better than a lot of Ravage toys but considering the last couple were the terrible Titan’s Return one and the spring-loaded circular disk thing from the War for Cybertron game Soundwave design that isn’t hard. Due to the budget, he does end up a bit chunkier than your average Ravage, but it works well enough. I get the feeling he’ll end up being the chest filler for Soundwave for a lot of people, myself included

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I’m not going to bother to show their alt-modes because they turn in top rectangles. You can peg them on to Soundwave or other robots use as armour if you are a monster who thinks animals make acceptable meat shields.

Now on to the alt-mode…or the first one. As is well known by now Soundwave has a secret mode, an approximation of his lamp post mode from the first episode of the G1 cartoon. It is daft and I only include it here for this joke:

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Anywho, on to the actual alt-mode.

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Honestly? It’s fine. But it is pretty much a brick with some jet engines on it. I mean, it’s supposed to be a dropship to justify his deploying minion’s thing but I dunno. It’s not bad and certainly fun to swoosh, but it’s just kinda there. I mean the original Soundwave turns into to a rectangle, so I guess it works in that regard. There’s just not much to say about it.

Happily, there are a few fan modes out there that let you turn him into an approximation of a boombox. This is my favourite version.

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So, was he worth it? Honestly, yes. But I am very much a Soundwave fanboy. His robot mode is damn near perfect, he works well with his minions, and despite the alt-mode being rectangle with engines, it’s fun to transform. Worth the wait thanks to horrible distribution? Yes.

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