Transformers: The Cybertronian Enquirer 5/14/07

Opening Salvo

To Whom it may Concern,

I’ve ordered from Hasbro Toy Shop a total of four times now although the way my items were shipped and packaged it seems closer to ten or twelve. I’ve always believed, as well as several other people I’ve spoken to, that when you order two items at the same time, baring any unforeseen delays like an item being out of stock, you should receive them at the same time. This has never been the case with any of my orders. Each and every time I’ve placed an order I’ve received my items separately. Care for an example? Here’s a good one. Late last month I ordered two 6” Titanium Transformers thus making me eligible for the free car magnets. Not only did I receive each Titanium separate, in a box that was big enough to hold two, but also I received the FREE magnets in a separate shipment. Now I know that I wasn’t charged additional shipping but I did have to make additional trips to the local UPS store where I have things shipped. In the past week I ordered Star Wars/Transformers Sith Starfighter Darth Vader and Legends of Cybertron Sunstorm. I’ve received Darth Vader and fully expect to pick up Sunstorm, a figure no bigger than my finger, tomorrow when they easily could have been shipped together. I’ve spoken to one person already about this inconvenience and let me applaud you for keeping your customer service in the USA but I felt my words feel on deaf ears. Obviously I’m not going to say something foolish like “I’ll never order from you again” since I’ve grown tired of getting inappropriate stares from parents at my local toy shop like I belong on a Dateline NBC special. I hope that this e-mail will start a chain of events, which, in the long run, will only benefit you.

Until All Are one,

Char… err Mike Kaye

P.S. I have an issue with your sonic micro darts. Due to your suggestive advertising I was lead to believe that they would sound like death incarnate, which is necessary for me since I live with two women and need all the help I can get. Instead you almost need the ears of a dog to hear the high pitch tone which they produce.

Fix his ass for schooling me on the Transformers movie.

Greetings Trans Fans after an unexpectedly long delay this is a special edition of the Cybertronian Enquirer since it is a “FAN APRECIATION” column. After the written beating I got from Mike last week I felt doing something special, so we’re going to have some extra news, because I’m so freaking far behind on the headlines I don’t know what’s what. A rebuttal of sorts to last weeks’ online tongue-lashing, a special 60-second review, and some big news on non Transformers, Transformers that is a few weeks overdue. Speaking of the tongue lashing if you missed it here is Mike’s anniversary column. Speaking of Mike he’ll be gone a few weeks; or that could be a week since I missed last week. I’m so far behind it’s not even funny. Is the movie out yet?

Toys: What I got, what they got, and some news too

I’ve gotten a lot of stuff over the last few weeks; Titanium Starscream, Roddimus Prime, RID Optimus Prime, Soundwave, the latest wave of Classic Mini cons, I think; Commemorative Soundwave, the Ultra Magnus/Skywarp two pack, and something special I’ll reveal during my 60 second review. Still haven’t gotten Megs yet and I’m starting to worry; when you read the news you’ll understand why.

Lets’ get the movie news out of the way since that’s what everyone is into now. Get ready for the tie ins as it can now be confirmed that Optimus Prime will be featured in at least one Burger King ad, that’s a shame I really like their food, also Mikey Bay will be directing a few Mountain Dew commercials as part of the Pepsi “Transform Your Summer” advertising campaign. Speaking of which it is now all but confirmed that the Pepsi Prime that you can win during the promotion is the Takara Pepsi Convoy redo from a few years ago. There will probably be a few changes made so it’s a good idea to get your Pepsi Convoy now before prices shoot up. Optimus Lime has been revealed as an exclusive Starburst flavor in special Tropical assortments. There’s a joke in there somewhere I just can’t make it. Lunchables have launched their exclusive Transformers website. Unlike most websites worth viewing to visit this one you need to be 17 or YOUNGER. Several Transfans are lying about their age to get in and see what’s what. Chris Haris from Dateline NBC will be visiting you soon.

As if this wasn’t expected; Optimus Prime will have a mouth in the new Movie under his faceplate. A lot of fans are upset and just see this as changing something for the sake of changing it. I was under the impression that he was going to have a normal and battle mode like all the other bots in the movie so this isn’t shocking or surprising. If the designers can’t have Prime show emotion with his faceplate then that is a failing on their part and not the design of the character.

The Takara version of Leader Class Movie Prime will feature Die-Cast parts. Now collectors are going to have to decide which version of the figure they are going to get. The first images of Leader Class Megatron were accidentally leaked on the Hasbro Germany site. I couldn’t tell the difference between Leader and Voyager class except the Leader version has Pink highlights. Another video game exclusive figure has been revealed. Dreadwing is another drone type character and transforms into a jet. He bears more than a passing resemblance to Armada Thrust. Deluxe Scorponock and Voyager Blackout can combine, that feature is being used as a selling point for a TRU exclusive two pack. Bumblebee and Barricade will be featured in a Target exclusive two pack as well. Speaking of Barricade his little buddy Frenzy will have his own deluxe figure that transforms into a CD player. Speaking of the figures a TRU in Brandon, Florida will be having a “Midnight Madness” sale June 1st. This is the same TRU that does something special every year. Incase you were wondering this is the work of one dedicated Transfan.

Sometimes movies have what’s known as test screenings, selected viewings of an upcoming movie to get a “feel” of how it would do. Well recently the new TF movie had such a screening and did incredibly well. Michael Bay was quoted as saying that the scores were the highest he’s received since “Armageddon.” It’s ok really; I’ve always been 15 degrees off cool and of what’s popular.

Normally I don’t report on foreign DVD releases but this one is special. Metrodome over in the UK is doing their own special release of the Transformers: The Movie. Their Union laws aren’t as stringent so they can get interviews and such that are normally unavailable to American companies. To top this Madman entertainment in Australia is releasing a complete G1 box set that I THINK includes their version of the animated movie as well. Included are a ton of extra features, and a mini comic by Simon Furman, all in a gunmetal tin box. Yeah, I’ve got this one coming as well. There goes building my G1 collection this summer.

Well the entire Bot-Con set has been revealed. Thundercracker is the obvious repaint of Starscream, Dirge is a straight repaint of Ramjet, and Thrust is a remold of Ramjet with new wings. 99% of everyone on the net was correct when they guessed that Dreadwind is a repaint/remold of Jetfire, and Bugbite is a repaint of Bumblebee. To sweeten the pot an all but confirmed convention exclusive is Alpha Trion remolded and repainted from Vector Prime. I want this set. Mike can’t help me this year; anyone, even if you don’t like me, take my money. I’ll stop begging now.

Pictures have appeared on the net of the Rumble/Frenzy headset that is intended for the Soundwave MP3 player. They look nice but I would never use them since the back of the bots are meant to go in your ear. Ewww.

Take this with a grain of salt but an in package image of Alternator Rodimus have appeared on-line. Judging from the photos the figure uses the modified Ford-GT mold with a modified paint job, flames galore. I for one hope this is true since I’ve always liked the Alternator line and hope to see it continue after the movie.

Don Figueroa has posted online pictures of 6” Titanium War Within Prowl, San Diego Comic Con exclusive Menasor (Rodimus Prime repaint.) and a War Within Prime/Megatron set. Prowl looks golden while Menasor, looks like Rodimus with a new paint job.

Well the big news of the past two weeks has been E-bay pulling all auctions of MP Megatron and then letting only auctions for the modified figures back up. The going rumor is that American based dealers blew the whistle on the foreign auctions, which also tended to have better prices. Now I’m not going to point fingers since that wouldn’t solve anything but I will pause before I do business with certain stores again. What does bother me is the fact that while E-bay pulled auctions for MP Megatron they have no problem with people selling various forms of adult entertainment including, but not limited to, movies featuring Traci Lords, an actress who made the majority of her movies while underage. That to me is just wrong and immoral. I hope that after this Megatron fiasco is over the Federal government reviews it policy on toy guns and makes some concessions for collector grade pieces.

Whew that was a lot of news. I’m not even sure anymore how old some of those headlines were. I think one was over a month old. Told ya I was behind.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Transformer Fan: Licking my wounds

So yeah Mike won the debate. Not the first time I’ve lost, in fact I have quite the history of loosing. At this point I wouldn’t know what to do if I should ever win anything. Basically I was going for comedy and he was playing it straight. One thing he said though was 100% true; I’m tired of talking about the movie because I really don’t care anymore. Funny thing is while talking with Mike after the column went up we discovered that he and I have a different opinion of what “Based On” means. Had we known that sooner, I think the whole piece would have read a bit more smoothly. I feel the new movie should feature designs that someone who hasn’t seen a Transformer in over 20 years, whom this movie is geared towards, would be able to pick out right away while Mike feels giant transforming robots are enough. Mike and I could’ve used a chance to respond to each others comments and edit the piece some more since I feel some of the statements were redundant or off topic. While emailing Mike on the subject he mentioned that should we have done the bit “Live” like I wanted it would’ve dissolved into name calling and of color remarks; basically everything I was hoping for, and everything I assume you would enjoy.
The main thing I want to go into is the comments Mike made about my opinions on Beast Wars. Later in the week I’ll be posting a special commentary about Beast Wars I did for Mike a while ago on my MySpace page; keep in mind that my thoughts on Beast Wars are only in the first paragraph while the rest of the commentary deals with the early images from the new movie. You can consider what I’m about to type below as a continuation of the thought on Beast Wars.

I get Beast Wars. I mean it, I really do. I get it because I remember Highlander 2. What’s that? Oh, I’m sorry allow me to explain:

Way back in the 1980’s 1985 to be exact a movie was released called Highlander. Now Highlander didn’t exactly set the world on fire but did well enough to give the producers’ confidence to make a sequel and the original slowly became a cult favorite. Since this happened in the days before the internet was even a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye, the producers had no clue of the movies’ underground popularity. When writing began for Highlander 2 they felt that no one would care if they changed a few things around; namely all of the core elements from the first movie. Connor MacLoud was now an alien as were all Immortals, banished to Earth from a planet named Giest. When Highlander 2: The Quickening was released in 1990 an outcry could be heard from the now large fan base; needless to say the movie didn’t do well. Later on the movie was re-edited not once, but twice to try and straighten out any and all errors of logic and continuity. Now in the Renegade Edition all mentions of the planet Giest were edited out and instead of being from another planet the Immortals were from a much earlier part of Earth time. The Special Edition, released a few years ago, just cleans up some editing and special effects errors. Although it is a much better film now, Highlander 2 is not considered part of the official cannon.

Fast-forward five years; by this point most of the higher ups at Hasbro have assumed that any lingering Transformer fans are gone thus they can start an entirely new chapter of the Transformers mythos, Beast Wars. In an interview that happened later on in the run of the series both writers freely admitted that they had no knowledge of Transformers history and felt that the fans had moved on from the brand. Hmm, higher ups assuming that the project has no fans thus feel it’s ok to try something new. Sounds familiar? Unlike Highlander 2 the show became a surprise hit, and the fans started bombarding them with questions about how it connects to G1, the writers decided, rather hastily in my opinion, to make Beast Wars a part of the G1 universe. The writers admitted in interviews that as they were learning more of the Transformers history they were adding G1 elements in; leading to, in my opinion, some rather big leaps of logic.

So you see I really do get it; the writers made a faulty assumption and tried to correct it, but instead of taking a few key points and blending it in they decided to throw the whole kitten caboodle in, forgetting the giant loopholes there, which caused conflict with their “New” cannon. Sometimes it’s best to just leave well enough alone.

Surfing The Space Bridges

Well guys what’s your take on the controversy surrounding Ebay pulling then reposting the MP Megatron auctions? Are you as confused and annoyed as I am?

The World Around Transformers

Well the big news is the plethora of Robotech/Mospedia figures coming out. Toynami and CM are both making new Alpha fighters and Cyclones; called Legioss and Ride armor in Japan. Beagle is making ride armor figures. All feature varying degrees of detail. Here are some pics culled from various Japanese hobby magazines.

I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner but Macross will be joining the Revolvtech line. Right now all I’ve seen is the image bellow of a VF-1J.

I’m not sure if these will be available on this side of the ocean like other Revolvtech figures since Toynami is supposed to have exclusive rights to release Macross figures here under the Robotech banner and released their own version of Veritech action figures a few years ago.

Ok with out further delay lets continue our exploration of the Dancouga set with the leader of the pack Big Moth.

Big Moth is the main part of the larger Dancouga robot and thus is the leader of the team. Big Moth is by far my favorite bot out of the set and that is due in no small part to him being the most articulated of the four, featuring movable hands and a full range of motion. His die cast makeup is also the most out of the set. Bandai was smart in putting two holes in the side of Big Moth for the stock of his rifle to peg into giving it more stability.

Transformation is roughly the same as Land Liger and Cougar. You fold the hands and legs in and together to form the tank mode. Besides a main cannon Big Moth features two side mounted missile launchers, which I find to be all sorts of cool. He can roll on his rubber treads, just not that well.

Aggressive beast mode is an in-between mode between robot and tank forms. All of the same armaments are present in Beast Mode and are joined by some sort of trunk blade or spike, might even be a gun. Articulation isn’t spectacular and it doesn’t have to be since this is supposed to be a robot Wooly Mammoth.

Next time, whenever that may be; I’ll bring you all four robots combined. Dancouga.

Sixty-Second Review

Transformers: Cybertron
Optimus Prime/Ultra Magnus Cosco exclusive two pack
MSRP:$80 and up on Ebay

Well like I alluded to way back at the beginning this is something special that I wanted to do. Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus are repaints from the Robots In Disguise line from 2000/2001 done for the Cosco chain of warehouse club stores. Look at it as a tribute to Mike since RID is his favorite TF line thus far.

Optimus Prime is your stand ladder fire truck. Red is the predominant color in his vehicle mode broken up by only the gray of the ladder. The ladder can telescope in and out and is home to four hidden missile batteries and a blaster. Pressing down on his light unit activates one of five sounds. I find the recorded command “Optimus Prime, maximize” interesting since the command “Maximize” was the cue for the Maximals to transform in Beast Wars.

Optimus has three separate robot modes: Standard, Battle, which is a half way between Standard and Super, and Super mode. Standard is just the cab transformed into a robot; this mode bears the closest resemblance to the Optimus we all know and love. Battle mode adds two shoulder mounted rocket launchers and one of the Super mode robo hands to the Standard robot. Ultra mode is Prime combined with the parts of the fire engine and bears a striking resemblance, at least in the face, to Optimus Primal. Now Mike has said time and again that I like bricks, while I’m not obsessed with articulation I certainly like a robot to at least be able to raise his arms. What I do have a problem with are robots and figures in general that are overly articulated. The Marvel Legends figures are a good example of what I’m talking about. While these figures are great at holding dynamic, action poses; they are terrible when it comes to simple things like standing with their arms to the side. This is my beef with Super Optimus. While the robot can be posed in all these crazy configurations, I found it quite difficult to get him to do something normal like stand straight with his arm raised because his hips wouldn’t line up straight due to them being double jointed. Prime will stand but always look a tad off center. He features two arm cannons and I’ve seen pictures that feature the ladder swinging over his shoulder like a cannon although the instructions make no note of this ability. While in Standard mode the rest of the fire truck can form some sort of battle platform. Cool but G2 Laser Prime still has the best battle platform.

Ultra Magnus is basically G1 Ultra Magnus updated with a touch of Masterforce Godbomber mixed in. Mike was the one who told me that Magnus was like Godbomber and while he is right, Magnus does feature far more articulation than the former. His car carrier form can carry the RID car brothers and other same sized TF’s. Transformation is like Godbomber in that you have to take Ultra Magnus apart then put him back together. The cool thing about Magnus is that he comes with this BFG named Blue Bullet. There are three configurations for Blue Bullet: cannon, gatlin gun, and a super gun mode so big Magnus needs to use both hands. All three modes feature their own unique sounds.

In the RID continuity Magnus and Prime are brothers and thus can combine. Their combined form is called Omega Prime. Basically Optimus wears Magnus like armor. This got me thinking; how cool would it be if they made a Classic Ultra Magnus that features RID Optimus towing a retooled RID UM trailer. It can be done; they would just have to store the head in the trailer somehow like they did with King Exkaizer from the Brave series. Anyway, Omega Prime can use Magnus’ BFG and if you were lucky to get the TRU Japan God Fire Convoy set the ubber big Matrix sword. I used to see all these high quality KO’s all the time on Ebay but now that I want to buy one, nothing. See my notes on Super Optimus Prime for my thoughts on Omega’s articulation.

While I’m not an overall fan of the series Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus are two of the standouts from RID. On Elohims’ Energon cube ranking scale I give this Cosco exclusive set nine cubes.

Parting Shots

Well this column was a dozy to do. Sorry it took so long but I hope you enjoyed it. Do me a favor; if none of you got the Highlander references please don’t tell me. I’m still recovering from the fact that the kids at work had no clue where the phone # 867-5309 came from when I wrote it on a contact list.

The King of the Fanboys,

Charles

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