Monday, April 25, 2016

Hasbro Transformers Combiner Wars Skylynx Video version

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mattel MOTUC Filmation Trap Jaw

Club Grayskull is back again and this month it has brought us the walking Swiss army knife himself, Trap Jaw. This actually surprised me a bit as I was expecting Matty to release Beastman as the first villain of the subline. It’s a nice treat since I’m fonder of ol’ Trappy than I am of Beast man. It also has been quite a while since Trap Jaw has been seen in the line, only having one figure beforehand, so this is a fine opportunity for new fans to get a hold of this classic character.
Much like He-Man before him, Trap Jaw has a very simple sculpt. Plenty of flat surfaces all over his armor and robotic arm, which works for the more cartoonish aesthetic of the toy. Colors are also quite simple with a bright blue body, and a mix of red, green and black for the armor and mecha arm. It is an accurate look to the old cartoon, yet fans only familiar with the toys or more modern media may be a little perplexed with the red arm and shin guards. Most of, if not all of Trap Jaws previous toys had a black robot arm and legs, while the 80’s cartoon added the red to make him more colorful. I personally like this variation as it helps him pop a little more.
The head sculpt is also well done. He still has that awesome green face and those beady eyes, but now has thicker eyebrows. The jaw is once again hinged so it can open and close, but the inside of the mouth is painted black, again to better represent the cartoon. Sorry if you were expecting a gory mess like on the normal Classics toy, but this is for the better.
For articulation, Trap Jaw basically has the same points as He-man, except for the robot arm, ball jointed head, universal left shoulder, left bicep swivel, left elbow, left wrist with a hinge on the left hand, ab crunch, waist swivel, universal hips, thigh swivel, knee bends, hinged ankles and ankle pivots. The robot arm on the right just has a universal shoulder and a swivel where the weapons plug in. It’s not bad and you can get some nice action poses with it.
Trap Jaw has three accessories, which all relate to the weapon swap gimmick that has been a staple for the character. He has a blaster, a bow, and a flyswatter, and as crazy as this mix seems, these are all items he used in the show. Each weapon can plug or unplug from the robotic arm quite easily, giving you even more posing options. If you happen to have the previous Trap Jaw, Roboto, or Hurricane Hordak, you can use any of their weapons with this Trap Jaw as well, or vice versa. It’s a nice feature, that adds a wide variety of possibilities.
The only real downside I can find to Trap Jaw is the fact that none of his armor can be removed, not even his belt. It’s not a big deal, but I normally enjoy the ability to mix and match the accessories the figures have so this is a bit of a bummer.

All in all, Trap Jaw is a very cool figure and a worthy addition to any He-Man fan’s collection. I’m really fond of the filmation look and can’t wait until the next figure is released. Sadly, this one is sold out at Mattycollector, so if you didn’t subscribe, you may need to search ebay or amazon for him. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hasbro Transformers Combiner Wars Skylynx

The Combiner Wars are coming to a close and rather than releasing one more famous Combiner in the retail line, Hasbro has chosen to instead to finish the line with some well-known characters from G1, and the final Voyager is one other than Skylynx.  This figure has been hyped up by fans for a while. We were all surprised that he was even getting a new figure since his G1 incarnation was reissued in Takara’s Encore line and holds up well to this very day. Still, a new take on Skylynx is quite welcome, although this one doesn’t quite live up to the hype it was given.
Starting off with the Shuttle mode, which happens to be his strongest form, Skylynx does look good here. The Shuttle is quite accurate to his G1 self with some nice updates to modernize him a bit. The sculpt is well done with plenty of details to gush over. A very sleek and stylish shuttle with that G1 accurate cargo box on the bottom. Sadly, the box does not remove, eliminating the split robot mode gimmick of the old toy. There are some extra tailfins on the back that weren’t on the old toy, but if they bother you, you can pop them off easily. The majority of the color scheme come from the plastic colors as there is very little paint on this toy, just gold details on the shuttle with big Autobot badges on the wings. The colors are just right though and I think they were chosen well.
Skylynx’s robot mode is the combined robot form of the G1 toy, and the characters most iconic. Robot mode looks good as well, but it’s here we begin to see problems coming up for the toy. As I mentioned, the cargo box can’t come off so he can’t split into the bird and lynx modes he had in G1. This is the sad result of the voyager size as well as the combiner gimmick he was instead saddled with. That said the robot mode is nice, and a fine representation of Skylynx for the Voyager price point. Colors are spot on and I like the gold inside the mouth. The wings actually flip over to form more birdlike wings which is an honest improvement over the old toy.
What isn’t an improvement, however, is how the midsection is so blatantly hollow that it’s way too easy to find an angle where you can see right through him. It’s his biggest problem and a huge detraction for the toy, but he has others. The tail is rather short, but the sword weapons can be used to extend it, which is a nice touch. Sadly, there is no cure for the incorrectly digit-graded hind legs, which look pretty bad, what’s worse is the designers did this intentionally for the sake of the combined mode. It’s a bothersome flaw that can be a bit distracting from the wrong angle.
Skylynx does have some good articulation. His neck has 3 hinges as well as a swivel to look all around with. Front legs have ratcheted universal shoulders, bicep swivels, ratcheted elbows, and toe movement. The wings can flap and the tips swivel for good posing options. The hind legs are a bit more limited though, with only forward and backward movement at the hip, thigh swivel, ratcheted elbows and toe movement. And lastly the tail has a couple hinges to move up and down with.  You can get some good poses out of Skylynx and I do appreciate that.
Now it’s time to meet Skyreign. You know, it’s real sad that all the sacrifices Skylynx made to get a combined form resulted in the worst torso mode in the line. I know most say that Prime/Motormaster had the worst torso, but Skylynx beats them by a mile and a half. The hollow midsection is still present and glaring. There is an attempt to hide it behind an abdominal panel, but it doesn’t quite work. Skylynx also suffers from loose joints. They are tight enough for robot mode, but when combined into Skyreign, they flop all about. This is a real problem when posing him, as you tend to move Skylynx’s joints instead of the combiner’s. At least Motormaster had an implied locking point for his shoulder connections, Skylynx doesn’t even have that. There is a detent where Skyreign’s shoulders are supposed to lock, but they don’t lock and there is nothing even implied to keep them in place. The look is ok, but im not fond of how the shuttle is pretty much just hanging off the back. You can adjust Skylynx’s neck joints to make a beefy tail for Skyreign, which works better in my opinion. Best part about this form is the head sculpt, which homages the lynx mode head from the original toy, it looks awesome. The weapons can combine to form a sword for Skyreign, and it looks like a decent weapon. All in all, this is a figure you get for the individual robot, not the combiner.

Skylynx on his own is an ok figure to have. Both vehicle and robot modes look good enough to fit just fine on a Classics shelf. Just don’t bother combining it, that can only bring disappointment. Still, I can’t help but to wonder what he’d be like if got a fully tricked out Leader class figure instead of this Voyager class one. Would a Leader class Skylynx with no combiner gimmick do better? This is a question I’d like to find the answer to.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mattel MOTUC Point Dread with Talon Fighter and Teela

When Masters of the Universe Classics first came out, it was uncertain if not doubtful that we would ever see vehicles in the line, and then the Windraider came along and changed everything. Now it seems like vehicles are becoming a yearly thing for the line and in 2014, we were given not just a vehicle, but a playset as well, as the Talon Fighter and its perch, Point Dread, made their modern day debut.

The first thing that needs to be noted on this set is the packaging, because it is gorgeous. The front of the box features a beautiful artwork of the Talon fighter with battles going on all around it. It’s truly a breathtaking sight. The back has some simple line art of not only what’s in the box, but of other figures in the line as well. It is a nice nod to the packaging of the original MOTU toy line, while also providing a much more interesting delivery of the cross-buys.

Before we look at either Point Dread or the Talon fighter, let’s look at the included Teela figure. Yeah you are getting a figure as well. This is as complete of a package as it gets.  This version of Teela is based on her appearances in the Filmation cartoon, which is oddly appropriate given how a new Filmation based line was released this year. Now despite what many reviewers and fans have said, I honestly like this Teela. While the lips do seem a little thicker than they should be, the head sculpt is not nearly as bad as it was made out to be. I’ll admit that it is easy to find a bad angle for it, some even make her look like she played Marsha Brady for the football scene. You can get good angles for her as well. The body is pretty much Teela’s outfit from the cartoons, and it looks pretty good. Much like Filmation He-man, it has a very simple vibe, but not quite as simple as He-man is. Teela really does look her best with Filmation He-man. Having them together makes all her flaws seem far lass noticeable.
For accessories, Teela has a sword and shield. Very simple in design, again going with that Filmation vibe. Still, it’s nice to be able to arm her up and have her able to go into battle. She also includes an alternate head with pilot’s helmet. The face on this head is very pretty, better than the normal head’s face, although it’s hard to say why. The helmet looks like a standard royal guard helmet with wing designs sculpted in. It also has a removable visor. It’s a fitting add on and I’m glad to have it.
The Talon fighter is gigantic. This may be the biggest vehicle we have gotten in the MOTUC line to date. It’s a big fat fighter jet that probably wouldn’t stand a chance of getting off the ground in real life. I’d say it would have a better shot of being a Thanksgiving turkey than a jet. But the fiction says it works, so I guess it works for He-man and Teela. All joking aside the sculpt is pretty good. Many bird like details in the wings, head and feet. I really do like the bird head on the front, very fierce. This thing is armed too, four guns ready to take out enemy aircraft or ground troops. There is also a satellite dish on top which makes me wonder if Man-at-arms was drunk when he designed this thing. I mean, is it supposed to be a radar dish or an air-break? You can rotate the dish a full 360 if you desire, but it’s still a weird place for it. Inside is amazing. Just about everything is sculpted in and painted. Lot of control panels on the front seat while the back has tools and a first aid kit sculpted in. I kinda wish these were removable, but that would be asking a lot. There are also some decals on the sides of the back seat for more control panels, and you get a choice of three more for a monitor in the front. I like having the option, but I’m also sad that I can only choose once. Again asking a lot, but swappable panels would have been awesome.
The Talon fighter is typically a two seater, although there are ways to get 3 in there. The back seat is actually quite spacious, giving you plenty of room for two female figures, or if you wish have a male and female figure get cozy in the back. Honeymoon scene anyone?
Last but not least let’s have a look at Point Dread. It looks like a small fort that’s meant to be on a mountaintop, which is how I think it’s supposed to look so good job there. There are stairs sculpted on the front but they are completely superfluous because good luck getting anybody to stand on them. They are too thin and too small to be used which is a shame but with how much went into the Talon Fighter I can let that slide. The interior is quite simple, a single room with a wooden floor, with the only piece of furniture being a computer control panel. Still get a nice couch and decent satellite service in here and He-man has a man-cave away from home.
On top is a perch for the Talon Fighter. It’s a nice perch which can rotate freely, making it easy to take off in any direction. The Talon Fighter actually clips into the perch and you need to pull a small release lever to get it off. This is a great feature given how heavy the Talon fighter is. Without that clip I could easily see the bird taking a nosedive in a moment’s notice.
Point Dread can actually split into two parts, with the top half able to clip onto castle Grayskull. It fits on snugly, but doesn’t clip in as solidly as it does onto its other half. The castle also looks quite ridiculous with Point Dread and the Talon fighter on top of it, given how big the fighter is.

All in all, this set is quite nice, if a little odd. The Talon Fighter does look cool, Point Dread makes for a good small base, and this may be the best chance newcomers to the line have at getting a Teela. It does come at a steep price, but I do feel it’s worth it, and if you’re a fan of the line, this will be a great addition to your collection.