HYPERFIXT

TRANSFORM AND RISE UP // TRANSFORM AND RISE UP // TRANSFORM AND RISE UP // TRANSFORM AND RISE UP //

TRANSFORM AND RISE UP // TRANSFORM AND RISE UP // TRANSFORM AND RISE UP // TRANSFORM AND RISE UP //

A thumbnail featuring the Decepticon insignia, meant to replicate classic Transformers packaging design.

welcome to the evil half of my Transformers collection! not qualitatively evil - i mean, i guess plastics probably aren't great, but we're talking cartoon supervillainy here. whether it's classic Decepticons, slightly less classic Predacons, deep-cut comic book weirdos, or just a big toxic man straight out of a space swamp, this side of my collection brings together my favorite colorful arrangement of guys who have no reason to be hanging out other than to be nefarious.

i've been playing with Transformers basically my whole life, but obviously, a lot of my childhood figures are in poor condition, or in storage, or in poor condition in storage. these collection pages cover what i would consider my 'modern' collection. these are the figures that i keep out and about on display and take nice care of like a proper hobbyist. everything gets at least two photos for the two main obvious things that any Transformer is going to do, and a short little overview going over what i personally think about it. these are living documents, so check in every now and then to see what i've added to the collection lately!

LATEST UPDATE: 5/15/2024

a harrowing change of photography equipment had me stumped for a few days, but i actually did quite a bit of backfilling for my collection recently as part of Free Comic Book Day! support your local comic book shops, people, especially when you can get sold-out retailer exclusives from yesteryear at low prices!

on the Decepticon side, Speedia 500 Shadowstrip has sped into my heart and shackled me to the inevitable churn of a G2 Stunticon parade! space for Deathsaurus is still pending, but i've got some hope that summer might bring the necessary time to give him the proper royal treatment.

THE TRANSFORMERS WILL RETURN AFTER THESE MESSAGES...

entry added 4/29/24

WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE SPINISTER

deluxe class // released 2020
A picture of Spinister in robot mode.

while the higher pricepoints of Siege were checking off A-lister Decepticons left and right, the Deluxe-class range stayed pretty thoroughly weird from start to finish, applying the same kind of refreshed polish to late-stage G1 nobodies and cartoon crowd fillers. clearly, they saved their best for last, though, with the unlikely fan-favorite Spinister. appearances throughout Marvel and IDW's runs of comics earned him a bit of a cult following and a few collector-grade redecos over the years, but this was his first new toy all to himself since 1988, and i think you can really tell the designers are big enough nerds to appreciate him just as much as all his fans. decked out with the best name in all of Transformers, his bisexual pride gear, and one of the weirdest transformations i've ever seen, i'd say he makes a really strong addition to any Decepticon lineup, whether you're going for more Mayhem Attack Squad or Scavengers.

in robot mode, Spinister stands quite a bit taller than almost any other Deluxe figure of his era, with an eerily thin physique and a generally pretty clean profile, save for the massive helicopter rotors on his back. his bizarre transformation lends him a lot of articulation, like double-jointed elbows, but he's also surprisingly balanced, to the point where i can stand him up on one foot pretty easily. he's the type of figure that honestly makes me feel a little bad for not owning a good flight stand, because if anyone deserves it, it's Spinister. he also comes armed with a delightful pair of gun-slabs - these are based on his original toy's double Targetmaster buddies, and while they don't transform into a pair of lovable goons anymore, i really like the way they're sculpted, allowing them to mount seamlessly over his arms or double up on top of each other.

A picture of Spinister in vehicle mode.

getting Spinister into helicopter mode is a wild process, and i still can't tell if i love it or despise it. see, the original Spinister's art always depicted him with both legs forming an entire cockpit, so to maintain this illusion, the Siege figure pulls off a rare perpendicular hip-turn, with one leg sticking forward to form the actual cockpit while the other tucks away into the underbelly. it can be a little fiddly, especially when rotating his feet out on like, three different pivots to get them tabbed against three other parts of the figure, but it's undoubtedly an impressive feat of engineering. it helps that he turns his bold color scheme into something pretty cohesive, with all the blue piled up at the front and the pinks and purples extending down the back. i might dock it a few points for the very visible robot hands, but honestly, any more tricks and this thing would be a nightmare to handle, so i can live with it. if the height and the pride aren't enough to draw you in, i'd at least say Siege Spinister is worth it for how weird his engineering gets.

entry added 4/29/24

WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE ACID STORM

voyager class // released 2019
A picture of Acid Storm in robot mode.

every Transformers collector has their Seekers. i'm not trying to gatekeep anyone out of the hobby or say they're not 'true fans' if they don't own one of Starscream's twenty cousins - i'm saying Hasbro's constantly producing so many that you can wind up getting a few by accident just by thinking about this franchise. when Siege rolled in and gave us one of the best new Starscream molds in years, it was inevitable that it'd lead to a colorful cavalcade of counterparts, and while it hasn't quite reached the notoriety of Classics and its record-breaking 31 sub-variants, it's starting to claw its way up there.

in the current absence of the actual best Seeker palette, i decided to treat myself to the next most obnoxious thing. the Siege Seeker three-pack bundles together the Rainmakers, everyone's second-favorite second-rate jet buddies who appeared in approximately one episode of the G1 cartoon to menace the Autobots with acid rain. no dialogue, no names until 2008, no notoriety until the 21st century when they've become a semi-popular way to pad out the Seeker roster in new media.

Acid Storm here is the clear breakout star of the trio, having been the first to receive a new toy and generally being the most likely to show up on his own without the rest of the crew. previous attempts at modernizing the character have taken the coward's approach, dulling his impossibly bright neon greens down to a more sensible tone, or putting camo patterning on his wings. Siege instead sticks to its guns about cartoon accuracy and portrays all three Rainmakers almost exactly as they appeared in animation - monotone to the point of looking cheap, with only a few bits of neutral tones inherited from Starscream to break up their respective one-trick color schemes. really, it was the perfect time to do something so brazenly dumb, since the Siege Seeker mold perfectly fits the Rainmaker uniform of 'Earth-mode robot, Cybertronian alt-mode'.

A picture of Acid Storm in vehicle mode.

speaking of which, alt-mode! this is definitely where the Siege Seeker mold picks up the most nitpicking compared to its boring, practical Earthrise follow-up. even if it only has mere minutes of screentime, the 'tetrajet' that Starscream transformed into back on Cybertron is so iconic to G1 fans that it's arguably a huge reason why Hasbro even bothered to do War for Cybertron in the first place. the practicalities of plastic mean that its incredibly sharp proportions just weren't meant to be, though, and the transformation largely involves crumpling your Seeker of choice into a ball and hiding them under a vehicle blanket. honestly, i like it, though. it's not as sleek as the cartoon model, no, but it's imposing in its own way, and yeah, the legs are just dangling there, but the beauty of sci-fi nonsense vehicles is that you can just kind of say it's supposed to be like that, and i think it makes for a sturdier, more handleable toy. overall, the Siege Seeker is a very respectable take on a classic, and when it comes to color schemes, Acid Storm's neon green makes him stand apart from the crowd. no other Seeker is better at being very absurdly green, and there's no one quite like him... but then again, this is a three-pack.

entry added 4/29/24

WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE ION STORM

voyager class // released 2019
A picture of Ion Storm in robot mode.

poor Ion Storm. in a trio of nobodies, he's the nobodiest. as of this writing, he's the only Rainmaker who hasn't earned a disambiguation on TFWiki, because nobody knows what to do with him. as if that isn't bad enough, he can't even claim he does something unique amongst the Seekers - there's another blue one already! there's another blue one within literally the first batch of Seekers! and they're so similar that Hasbro accidentally used his stock photos instead of Ion Storm's when selling this three-pack!

i guess if there's truly nothing to say about Ion Storm, that makes him a decent blank canvas to actually dig into the nitty-gritty of the Siege Seeker mold. it's a distinctly lanky take on the classic Starscream body-type, and it embodies a lot of the core principles of Siege-era Transformer design, like having extensive articulation and a million ways to hold guns. of course, no Seeker is complete without their null rays, and having a three-pack means you get to do fun things like distinguishing who's who by how they hold those blasters. that's fun, right? i think? you really start holding onto the little things when your whole crew decides it's time to go monotone and you pull the short straw.

A picture of Ion Storm in vehicle mode.

transformation is still what it is. it's fine. it's neat. i like the way the shoulder intakes do a full swing forward to become the nosecone. as you can see here, i've opted to use this picture to show how you can stand the tetrajet up in something of a 'landing pad' position, because there's only so many ways to photograph basically the same toy three times. keen-eyed readers might also look at those big flat surfaces and notice a pattern, and i mean that quite literally, because it's a painted pattern. i don't really mind the 'battle damaged' aesthetic Siege was going for, usually, but it does look a little weird on these single-color Seekers, and they used literally the exact same paint masking across all three, which means they all have the exact same patterns on them. if nothing else, it stands out the least against Ion Storm's blue? but like all things Ion Storm, you know deep down that the same thing goes for Thundercracker, and at least Thundercracker has a personality.

entry added 4/29/24

WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE NOVA STORM

voyager class // released 2019
A picture of Nova Storm in robot mode.

Nova Storm is kind of the dark horse of the Rainmaker trio. like Ion Storm, they only got a name long after Acid Storm had already won fans' hearts, and Nova Storm faced a similar branding challenge, because there's a much more notable yellow Seeker named Sunstorm. out of absolutely nowhere, though, 2018's Cyberverse cartoon picked up on the name and EarthSpark followed suit in 2022, so now Nova Storm just shows up sometimes, usually characterized as one of several Seeker femme fatales. none of those depictions have an awful lot to do with this solid yellow lemon jelly bean of a robot, but i guess exposure's exposure?

what else can i say about this robot mode now that you're reading about it for the third time in a row? it poses really well. looks cool. nice wingspan. i feel like of the three Rainmakers, Nova Storm kind of draws your attention to this three-pack's highs and lows the most. the yellow's a pleasant color that pairs nicely with the orange faux-cockpit and really brings out a lot of that deeply greebled detail, but it also kind of looks the worst with the identical dirt splatters.

A picture of Nova Storm in vehicle mode.

that sure is the tetrajet a third time. because the actual transparent orange window is layered on top of plastic here in vehicle mode, it ends up having the least contrast, because it's orange plastic laid flat over yellow plastic. looks nice, dirt splatters aren't great, you know the story.

was the Siege Seeker three-pack an excellent investment? probably not - i think i sort of bought them with the intention that they might make for good fodder if i wanted to do some custom paintjobs. for a while there, i could also try justifying it by saying that Hasbro was pivoting to redecos of the worse Earthrise Seeker, so it was good to own multiples of my preferred Seeker mold, but then, out of nowhere, they dropped another new tetrajet years after the fact in the form of Nacelle, so who knows how they decide which Seeker gets which mold? Acid Storm's certainly still got that irresistible kitschy charm that propelled him to fan-favorite status in the first place, but as for his backup crew... well, it's nice they're all hanging out together, i guess.

entry added 4/29/24

GENERATIONS SELECTS GALACTIC MAN SHOCKWAVE

leader class // released 2019
A picture of Galactic Man Shockwave's unarmored robot mode.

if you're like me and have the type of brainworms that make you appreciate a toy more if it's also got a weird niche story to tell, Generations Selects was a bit of a golden age to be collecting. for years, toys with this level of insider nerd cred were limited to expensive convention exclusives, and while Selects is still sort of around, it's mostly receded to make way for way less obtainable retailer exclusives. as the War for Cybertron 'trilogy' kicked off, though, Hasbro was going wild on creating the weirdest, most unexpected redecos imaginable and making them pretty readily available for the type of person who'd be interested, like me.

just who is 'Galactic Man' Shockwave, and what's with that tasteful business card printed onto his chest (in just the right shade of silver for the camera to completely lose the detail under nice lighting)? well, you see, the first year or two of Transformers toys weren't original designs - they were an amalgamation of toys licensed out from various Japanese companies, given new paintjobs and an Americanized framing device drafted up largely by Marvel. the toy that would become Shockwave was once ToyCo's "Four Changeable Astro Magnum", and Hasbro weren't the only people licensing it out. at RadioShacks across America circa 1985, you could find yourself a Galactic Man. same toy, different licensor and branding. evidently, by 2019, Tandy Electronics had been defunct long enough that Hasbro felt comfortable giving this alternate take on Astro Magnum a modern homage without fear of legal retribution.

it's a little weird going for the more monochrome version of a figure when i'm normally drawn to more vivid color schemes, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Shockwave, with his distinct retro-futuristic flair. it doesn't quite come out on camera as well as i'd like, but there really is a nice contrast between his slate gray palette and the touches of silver throughout, and i love that they kept the nametag across the chest. one thing that definitely does show up on camera is that gorgeous cherry-red glow on his single eye - that's a completely practical effect known as lightpiping and it looks just as rich in person, provided you get him in the right light.

A picture of Galactic Man Shockwave's armored robot mode.

of course, being a WfC-era Leader-class figure comes with some very literal baggage, considering his pile of accessories. his default robot mode is definitely on the smaller side for his pricepoint, but you feel that quality in how sturdy and sleek he is, and you actually do get quite a few options with his add-on parts. while other figures like Ultra Magnus and Galaxy Upgrade Optimus have a clear in-fiction reason to suit up, the designers basically got to do whatever they want with Shockwave, which means he wound up with the incredibly fun gimmick of additional gun arms. it's a little dumb and clunky, sure, but it's also the type of toyetic nonsense i love, and it definitely adds to the character's overall 'mad scientist' vibes and gives him some fun play potential. and hey, if shoulder pads and platform shoes aren't your style, these parts also have another official configuration as what i can only describe as a Green Goblin glider. and isn't everything a little better with a Green Goblin glider?

A picture of Galactic Man Shockwave's armored vehicle mode.

transformation is a pretty simple process, and - oh, whoops, i forgot to attach his armor and i left him upside-down, hope nobody thinks he turns into a gun or anything remotely like that, because Hasbro legally can't do that. keep following the instructions and attach his one-man arsenal and you get a pretty imposing space battleship, albeit with the upside-down nametag dulling the impact just a touch. all joking aside, it really is impressive how seamless he ends up looking in both modes, and i really do love all the extra detail they sculpted onto the surface to make this thing really feel gargatuan. feels a little weird displayed next to other vehicles, because it feels like it should massively outscale them, but on its own, it's a lovable chunk of starcruiser. it might not come across in how i talk about it, because it's easy to joke around about his RadioShack origins or his absurd attachments, but honestly, i think the Siege Shockwave mold is one of the nicest figures of the past few years, and it wears the Galactic Man colors well, doing justice to an exceptionally weird slice of toyline history.

entry added 4/29/24

GENERATIONS SELECTS BUG BITE

deluxe class // released 2020
A picture of Bug Bite in robot mode.

i could say this about almost any figure on this page, but like, seriously, i mean it this time, swearsies - Generations Selects Bug Bite is a weird one, on a lot of fronts. where do i even start? the controversial history of the Earthrise Cliffjumper mold and its later nigh-unobtainable Bumblebee retool? that weird faction symbol from when Hasbro was sort-of-but-not-really trying to push 'Mercenary' as a third faction in the toyline? the fact that Bug Bite is technically a universe-hopping Go-Bots character, except for all those times they've completely ignored that aspect because of legal issues?

one step at a time, i suppose. Bug Bite is a bit of a mish-mash of parts from different versions of this figure, but for the most part, he's Earthrise Cliffjumper, done up in an incredibly glossy white finish with a nice metallic purple on his weaponry. the most noticeable thing about him is that he's very small. he's a little guy. Hasbro has not been shy about representing the G1 Mini Vehicles as little guys, but as a weird cousin of the guy who's probably most famous for 'being the little guy Autobot', Bug Bite is absolutely tiny. it's adorable, and even those piercing red eyes can only pierce through so much cuteness. without his weapons, he's maybe the most monochrome toy in my whole collection, but the big chunky blasters do add a nice pop of color, whether you choose to display them as one comically long bazooka or as dual-wielded pipes. he's a little bit wobbly at the waist and i can't tell if that's my fault or the toy's, but he can still pose pretty impressively for such a small figure.

A picture of Bug Bite in vehicle mode.

transformation is where things get a little dicey with Bug Bite. he has a mostly impressive conversion into a slightly chibified muscle car - i get the exclusivity clauses behind this, but kind of burying the lede on his name when Bug Bite doesn't turn into a Volkswagen Beetle anymore - but he's also picked up a bit of infamy for being a 'partsformer', with the entire back third of his vehicle mode unavoidably detaching and slotting back on. it's not a full-blown dealbreaker for me, otherwise i wouldn't own this toy in the first place, but it is more than a little unfortunate. where it also gets unfortunate is in that high-gloss white finish, which looks fantastic, but is almost entirely painted on, leaving him extra-vulnerable to scuffing and chipping. what you end up with is a very pristine alt-mode, but with some pretty major caveats along the way. he inherits all the attachment points from Cliffjumper to pull off the hydrofoil mode with all his accessories, but honestly, they're a lot more fiddly than they're worth and the car looks nice enough on its own without any extra pieces bashed on for the sake of monetary value. would i really recommend Selects Bug Bite? eh, probably not really, but i don't mind owning this sinister little pint-sized carton of skim milk.

entry added 4/29/24

GENERATIONS SELECTS BLACK RORITCHI

deluxe class // released 2020
A picture of Black Roritchi in robot mode.

Earthrise was a real weird time for Transformers. sandwiched between the soft-reboot sci-fi flair of Siege and the multi-anniversary mayhem of Kingdom, this particular entry in the War for Cybertron trilogy... took all the Cybertron out. except for when it didn't, like with the Quintessons, and the Mercenaries, and Scorponok! and so, purely by riding off Scorponok's coattails, we got a new Weaponizer figure of his pack-in rover buddy Fasttrack, who in turn got a Selects redeco into the enticingly obscure Black Roritchi. originating from the Japanese series Super-God Masterforce, the closest thing Mr. Roritchi has ever had to a personality trait is that his original toy was sculpted entirely out of infamously fragile gold plastic, so really, there's nowhere to go but up with this guy.

it's hard to find the right way to put this, but i think Black Roritchi does a really good job at being an absolute nobody of a Decepticon. there's lots of things about his design that are sort of distinct, but it all comes together just enough for him to fit in pretty much anywhere. if he belongs nowhere, he belongs everywhere. technically, he ought to belong to Selects Black Zarak, but i don't have that kind of space or disposable income, so he gets to shine on his own here, and shine he does, with a pretty gorgeous golden paintjob. all that metallic finish is broken up nicely with a few splashes of fittingly Decepticon-y fuschia, especially when it comes to his blaster hand accessories, which fit perfectly to disguise his fists and give him a sort of Shockwave-y feel.

A picture of Black Roritchi in vehicle mode.

Black Roritchi's vehicle mode is a similarly lovable lump of rover, turning into some kind of six-wheeled space thing that tries to play his entire arms off like two very normal cannons. as a Weaponizer figure, Roritchi comes apart into a bunch of pieces to facilitate turning him into a myriad of weapons for your other toys, which makes his transformation pretty non-conventional, but what about this vehicle looks in any way conventional? it's honestly incredibly charming, giving me a bit of a LEGO 'classic space' vibe with its complete disregard for practicality. really, i don't even think his Weaponizer function even works all that well, whether it's as a pile of guns or when formed into Black Zarak's spear, but i don't even care that much. how can i muster up any beef with a character who's this much of a nobody, who turns into such a pile of nothing? Black Roritchi is nothing but pure accessory, and he's not even good at that job, so he's just crashing with the rest of my Decepticons and honestly, i'm fine with it all. good for him.

entry added 4/29/24

WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM MEGATRON

core class // released 2021
A picture of Kingdom Core class Megatron in robot mode.

finally, a normal guy on this page! as covered with his similarly normal Autobot counterpart elsewhere on this site, Kingdom ditched the Micromaster experiment of the War for Cybertron trilogy in favor of using the cheapest price point for the new Core class, which was really just a new name for what we used to call Legends class. we got a few Beast Wars characters for the sake of animal scaling, but for the most part, this size class was reserved for fun-sized renditions of classic characters, so of course Megatron was side-by-side with Starscream as the first Decepticons in line to get the tiny treatment.

unlike a lot of other characters who can pretty cleanly trace their design lineage and general engineering tricks all the way back to 1984, Megatron's been going through a bit of an identity crisis for the last few decades. he definitely can't turn into a photorealistic gun anymore, and while people have toyed around with ideas like helicopter, spaceship, Rob Zombie's Dragula, or NERF gun, the generally accepted modern answer seems to be tank. Kingdom Megatron follows suit and wears it with pride, and i do mean 'suit' and 'wears' pretty literally, because he looks like G1 Megatron with most of a tank draped over his shoulders. it's a pretty clumsy design, in some ways, but i guess he hits all the major beats, like the red midriff and the arm-mounted fusion cannon. really, i think what draws me most to this figure is actually its very tiny accessory - a gun sculpted to look like the original Megatron toy's alt-mode. rendering the classic Megatron into an accessory has been done a few times before, but this is the first one i happen to own, it's the most compatible with standard 5mm ports, and it's also hilarious that he's carrying a tiny replica of himself around.

A picture of Kingdom Core class Megatron in vehicle mode.

transformation is fittingly simple for a toy this small, and Megatron winds up as a pretty inoffensive little tank. i suppose i like some of the very subtle asymmetry that allows his arms to properly sandwich his cannon to form the turret, but there's not a lot to be said here, especially if you're a weirdo like me who thinks the tank is the most boring, literal-minded, unimaginative option for a modern Megatron toy and just wishes they'd let him turn into a helicopter like, one more time, please. i guess it's nice that the turret can rotate? it... sure is black, and metallic gray, and silver, which i guess are all Megatron-y colors? i dunno, man. of all the toys in my collection right now, this is the one that i probably have the least to say about. it's not bad, but what you see is what you get, and what you get is just plain ol' modern tank Megatron but small. worth the price of admission for the tiny gun, though, i'll give him that.

entry added 4/29/24

WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY SKELIVORE

deluxe class // released 2021
A picture of Skelivore in robot mode.

okay, so it's finally time to talk about Skelivore? good, because Skelivore is ridiculous and they're one of my favorite things i own. Skelivore is a guest of honor upon my shelves who i'm introducing like an old Hollywood legend at an awards show. Skelivore was a terrible value and also an amazing purchase.

while the Weaponizers and Modulators were a cool concept that led to a lot of fun figures we wouldn't have gotten otherwise, i feel like the War for Cybertron trilogy didn't really perfect its modular 5mm pull-apart weirdos until the very end with Kingdom and its Fossilizers. in keeping with the Beast Wars theming of the moment, this trio of figures turned into dinosaur bones and a whole assortment of skeletal weaponry. they also happened to be designed with a bit of foresight towards letting people mash a whole pile of them into one tall robot, and unlike their predecessors, they were all original characters. sure, this means they have basically no personality because Hasbro barely bothers writing promotional material anymore, but it gave them so much freedom to slot into your collection however you wished, and a distinct aesthetic we'd never seen before.

i was certainly tempted by the likes of Paleotrex and Ractonite, but it wasn't until the third wave of Wal-Mart's confusingly titled War for Cybertron Trilogy sub-line that my hand was forced. ostensibly, this line was supposed to tie into the concurrent Netflix animated series, but often times, it wound up being a sort of grab-bag of low-effort redecos and weirdly high-effort retools that had very little to do with the show. Skelivore, as a character, fundamentally does not exist. but as a toy? they're an evil pile of glowing purple dinosaur bones. i had to have them. so much so, in fact, that i bought a whole other toy i didn't want to get them - normally, i'd list any multipacked characters together, but i detest the scuffed-up Siege Megatron redeco that was anchored to my perfect Fossilizer friend. i have every intention to get rid of it one of these days. it does not exist to me. there's only this guy.

and indeed, this guy is fantastic. transparent plastics are an infamous bane to Transformers collectors, known for being brittle and unreliable, so maybe a modular figure made out of mostly transparent plastic is a bad idea, but that only elevates the absurdity of this whole situation. even if Skelivore wasn't the shiniest chunk of faux-amethyst since the Atomic Purple Game Boy Color, i'd probably still love them. the Fossilizers are unlike any other modern Transformer with their weird, wobbly proportions, giving them a lot of questionably useful articulation and a fun-first factor that's a little rare in such a collector-oriented lineup. you even get some features in there that manage to appeal to both sides, like the flip-down mask pictured above, based on the original Optimus Primal's skull mace.

A picture of Skelivore in fossil mode.

even transformation feels a lot more naturalistic and fun in this new theming. when i pull the Weaponizers apart, i don't really feel much, but there's a real joy to yanking apart a set of dinosaur bones and reassembling them. it really does feel like the team found their footing with using that modularity to their advantage around this time, too, with neat tricks like how the robot's thighs wrap around one of its bladed shoulders to form a seamless torso. when all's said and done, the final result is pretty fantastic, too - it does emphasize the structurally necessary opaque plastics more, but c'mon, the giant Jolly Rancher t-rex skull is the star of the show here. you know it, i know it, Skelivore knows it. i'm sure this figure looks great in its intended actual bone palette, but the presence here can't be understated. purple is like, THE bad-guy color for all of Transformers! this is a terrible cackling skeleton made out of pure menace who pulls a Dry Bones and turns into a museum exhibit. i love them.

entry added 4/29/24

LEGACY IGUANUS

core class // released 2022
A picture of Iguanus in robot mode.

when Legacy rolled in and started shaking things back up after a few solid years of War for Cybertron, it came out swinging. the intention was to branch out and homage more of the brand's history in all its various facets, and it's done a pretty good job of that so far, but of course, G1 is always going to be at least sort of a priority. G1 is a vast pool to pull from, though, and it seems like over the last few years, the design team has gotten really fascinated with the Decepticon Pretenders from the twilight years of the 1980s toyline. i can't blame them - they're a bunch of certified freaks, simplistic stick-figure robots wearing sort of He-Man-adjacent monster cosplay.

Igauanus here was the first of the Pretenders to make his way into Legacy, and it was definitely weird - Core class seemed pretty dead-set on covering all-star characters at tiny scale, and then, all of the sudden, boom, pivot to nobodies like this. Iguanus, of course, isn't a nobody to me, because his one personality trait is that he got really into lizards after getting the suit, and he thinks he can talk to lizards, and i believe in him. this pocket-sized rendition set the tone for the rest of the Pretender updates, opting to merge the iconic outer shell designs with the general engineering and vehicle mode of their inner robots, and i think it's a perfect direction for distilling the concept down. the mixture of mechanical and scaly textures gives him a very unique vibe, and he poses pretty well for such a tiny figure. the most obvious nitpick here is that his accessory is kind of nothing, because it's supposed to be part of a build-a-weapon gimmick, but honestly, Iguanus strikes me as the type of guy who'd totally carry such a nothing weapon into battle.

A picture of Iguanus in vehicle mode.

if nothing else, the 'Energon claw shield' is the perfect shape to prop him up in vehicle mode, because he sure doesn't have a kickstand. transformation feels just right for his size - impressive, but not overly fiddly. the end result is maybe a little half-baked, with a lot of visible robot parts, but i definitely don't hate it. they maintained a lot of the weird late-80s nonsense factor, like that massive windshield, but they also incorporated all those lovely lizard leitmotifs, like how the back half is basically just a big crocodile tail. at the bare minimum, i'll give him some credit because i think he's the only motorcycle Transformer i've ever owned who can actually pull off a dynamic twist in the middle, thanks to how his wheels are balljointed onto his robot mode back. Iguanus isn't some must-have big-name Decepticon, but he's out here being quirky and living his best life and he's a decent toy for a pocket or a desk.

entry added 4/29/24

LEGACY BOMB-BURST

core class // released 2022
A picture of Bomb-Burst in robot mode.

it's a little hard to take Bomb-Burst on his own, because with how many Decepticon Pretenders they've been cranking out and the fact that i've skipped the bigger ones so far, he kind of feels joined at the hip with Iguanus a little bit. kind of like they're two comical bumbling henchmen for some greater villain i don't own yet? at the very least, he's similarly committed to his animal theme of choice, leaning crazy hard into the whole bat thing and choosing to basically just be Dracula. good for him.

much like Igaunus, Bomb-Burst mixes aspects of his original toy's robot mode and Pretender shell, although it's obviously skewed pretty heavily towards the gargoyle aesthetic. for a toy who's palette is dominated by two tones of gray, he's got a lot more pop to him than you'd think, with his massive maroon chestplate and his distinct splashes of cyan. the headsculpt does a lot of work when it comes to making him look so alive, with its beady gold eyes and painted tongue. not much else to be said, here - he's got all the normal articulation, a pretty standard amount of vehicle mode bits stashed away on his back. not setting the world on fire or anything, but good at what he sets out to do.

A picture of Bomb-Burst in vehicle mode.

transformation is about as simple as it can get, and honestly? i really like this vehicle mode way more than i should. it's kind of a cheap trick by just burying all his robot parts underneath him, but i like how much the color palette switches around and gets dominated by that bright blue, and there's something almost Galaga-esque about this dorky little VTOL. i wanna see this thing bleeping and blooping and getting power-ups. extra props for the reversible wing accessories, exposing some mechanically-styled bat wing detailing on the underside for when you feel like mixing it up a little. only a little. but it's something he can do, at least. it's a feature.

entry added 4/29/24

LEGACY JHIAXUS

voyager class // released 2022
A picture of Jhiaxus in robot mode.

for as much as i'm a total geek for all things Transformers, there's also surprisingly large swathes of the brand that i only have a passing familiarity with. when i think G2, i think of the overly vibrant color schemes and weird mid-90s play functions, but to many people, G2 is much more defined by its only major tie-in fiction - the short-lived Marvel comic run. no character better embodies this era than Jhiaxus, who's been popping up across all kinds of comics since 1993, none of which i've ever read. he's gotten just enough prestige to earn a few questionably accurate figures over the past 30 years, but with Legacy digging into all corners of Transformers history, the time was finally right for a proper Cybertronian conqueror who looks like he leapt right off the page. i may not be overly familiar with his stories, but this was definitely long overdue, and i think you can really tell how excited the design team was to finally fill this niche.

in robot mode, Jhiaxus stays incredibly true to his original design as drawn by Derek Yaniger, looking a bit like Starscream but run through a bit of a Liefeldian filter. those heavy, chunky proportions really give him a very dynamic feel, and he has the articulation to match, including the rare but appreciated presence of a hinged knuckle for all kinds of villainous gesturing. from the Darkseid-esque scowl to the tangled wires sculpted into his shins, he really does feel like a comic book illustration made real. even his materials feel a little different from 'normal' figures, with a glossy milky white and an almost pearlescent yellow dominating his color scheme. nobody else is brave enough to match all these colors up like Jhiaxus, and he makes it work surprisingly well.

A picture of Jhiaxus in vehicle mode.

transformation is a pretty solid process with some fun folds and flips, and gives you this excellent slab of spaceship - not quite as comics-accurate as the robot mode, but certainly evoking the same shapes with its sweeping wings and exaggerated pointy tip. unfortunately, his arms don't really have anywhere to go in this mode, but i guess they at least give you a bit of a built-in flight stand to prop him up on? when viewed from the right angle, though, this problem kind of vanishes, and you're left with a pretty impressive set of hinges all dancing right around each other to put together a sleek jet mode. i seem to have lost track of Jhiaxus's distinctive rifle that can mount on top as some kind of space periscope, but even without it, this is a solid vehicle mode that evokes the type of stylization Jhiaxus was born out of, and the robot mode's more than capable of looking intimidating even without any accessories.

entry added 5/15/24

VELOCITRON SPEEDIA 500 COLLECTION
SHADOWSTRIP

deluxe class // released 2022
A picture of Shadowstrip in robot mode.

when it comes to the type of niche callbacks that thrive as modern-day exclusives, there's a solid argument to be made that the G2 Stunticons were the trailblazers. not only are they an established team of five that encourage you to collect the full set, but they've got a bit of mystique to them, coming in at the tailend of an era and just barely making it into fans' hands, whether it was through dubiously-sourced factory samples or as the first ever convention exclusive Transformers releases. ever since, whenever we have a new take on the Stunticons, it's a safe bet that their G2 counterparts won't be too far behind, ready to entice a whole new generation of collectors with their off-the-wall color schemes.

much like how mainline Legacy kicked off a new batch of Decepticon roadsters for the 2020s with Drag Strip, Wal-Mart's Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection used its weird semi-cancelled second wave to give us the newly christened Shadowstrip, who is... ostensibly meant to be a different guy, in Hasbro's eyes, but in a world without packaging bios, that doesn't necessarily mean a ton. the important thing is that this is Drag Strip in G2 colors, and maybe he happens to have power over the shadows or whatever, i dunno. when it comes to the bodacious color schemes of the 1990s, Drag Strip actually got off easiest amongst the Stunticons, trading in his usual yellow and burgundy for a classy black paintjob, with only splashes of blue and gold to break that darkness up. our modern Shadowstrip opts to give these highlights a notable metallic sheen, and it ends up looking pretty nice, even if it feels weird to have the G2 variant be dressed more practically for once.

as a figure, i do think Shadowstrip feels maybe just a smidge unexciting with his squared-off proportions, but there's definitely features to latch onto here, like that deep drag racer cockpit chest or his weirdly stacked shoulders. if nothing else, i can respect the practicality of it all - doing a good combiner team means jumping through a lot of hoops, making a lot of tough decisions about interchangeability and mold reuse and all sorts of boring play pattern stuff. the last big swing at the concept in modern Transformers was Combiner Wars, which went all-in on the mixing and matching at the cost of having toys that felt a little underbaked and overly similar. Legacy, on the other hand, dedicated a whole year to subtly building up an extremely bespoke set of Stunticons with one job to do. Shadowstrip is quite literally a right-hand man, and maybe he feels a little boring for it, but at least he's picked his lane.

A picture of Shadowstrip in vehicle mode.

where you're really going to see those engineering flexes - and where i wind up liking this figure the most - are in transformation. because of how Menasor is designed, Shadowstrip quite literally has to be built to split in half at the waist so that he can slot onto a sleeve and bend at the elbow, and it's really impressive how every part of the robot swings and swivels and realigns with that design choice in mind. he's fun to fiddle with, and when you're done, you have this six-wheeled drag racer. when i bought this toy, i was certain this was some kind of weird toyetic thing that G1 made up that was being homaged here, but no, there is just a car that was like that, i guess? whatever the case, i think the pared-down colors work a lot nicer here, with a clearer vision of where the gold fits into Shadowstrip's palette and the opportunity to show off those flashy checkered flags printed along the sides. much like in the robot mode, the proportions do feel quite literally boxed in, but i think that reads more like low-to-the-ground aerodynamics when it's a vehicle rather than a bipedal character. as it stands now, Drag Strip's the only Legacy Stunticon to have received the full G2 treatment, but with listings for a matching Breakdown on the horizon... yeah, i suppose i'm locked into completing the set now, huh...?

entry added 4/29/24

SHATTERED GLASS COLLECTION
FLAMEWAR AND FIREGLIDE

deluxe class + battle master // released 2022
A picture of Flamewar in robot mode, wielding Fireglide in weapon mode.

although Generations Selects has mostly tapered off during the run of Legacy, it really did open the door to half-a-dozen other sets of collector bait, and perhaps its most direct spin-off is the Shattered Glass Collection. trying to explain the long and winding history of Shattered Glass could take up this entire page, but all you really need to know is that it's the Transformers take on the classic concept of a 'mirror universe', where all the good guys are evil and vice versa. ever since it debuted as a line of BotCon exclusives, it's been a small but beloved corner of the franchise's mythos, getting the occasional nod here and there up until Hasbro finally took it into their own hands to update the line with more modern redecos. Shattered Glass was, in and of itself, already devoted to niche references and palette swaps, but perhaps the oddest toy in this lineup and the only one i actually felt compelled to pick up was Flamewar.

see, Flamewar was a different BotCon exclusive who's become a recurring C-list Decepticon, with depictions ranging from 'hardline Megatron worshipper' to 'chaotic gremlin woman'. she's relatively easy to keep making toys of, since she's a redeco of Arcee, and once Legacy revealed its new take on Arcee, it was easy to guess that Flamewar wouldn't be far behind. what nobody predicted, though, is that she'd land in the Shattered Glass Collection, where she... just looks the same as normal? look, the only thing you actually have to care about with any of this is that she has a red Decepticon symbol instead of a purple one, and she's already very red anyways, so who even cares.

what actually matters is that Flamewar is here, and she's pretty good! her distinctive deco looks better than ever here, with crisp fiery decals layered over a classic red and black. i do have my gripes with this mold, as it falls into the classic Transformers design tropes of emphasizing feminine proportions over mechanical practicality, but i think if anyone can pull it off, it's Flamewar. speaking of pulling it off - the backpack! one of the reasons i tend to detest this type of robot design is that it leaves a lot of vehicle parts piled up on the back, but with Flamewar, it's... workable, sort of. it doesn't affect her balance too terribly and it can also be removed at two separate layers for a cleaner silhouette, if you really want.

you might also notice, from both the header and the image, that Flamewar didn't arrive alone. almost every Shattered Glass Collection figure comes with extra goodies that bump their price up to a slightly more premium package - they all come with issues of a comic i'm not going to bother to read, but Flamewar also receives a Battle Master companion. these tiny transforming weapon buddies were something Hasbro toyed around with during the War for Cybertron trilogy, and Fireglide is about as simple as they come, just a color-matched pterodactyl/axe/crossbow to give Flamewar a bit more oomph and a bit more monetary value. nothing to say, really. neat bird.

A picture of Flamewar in vehicle mode, with Fireglide in beast mode.

where things get a little less simple is in transforming Flamewar. on paper, it's a really impressive process, with her arms sticking out of the back while her legs fold around and unfurl into the entire bottom chunk of motorcycle. once you've transformed her four or five times, it's even a bit fun, but that's kind of the issue - it's so fiddly that it ends up feeling like a bit of a hassle. the detachable backpack pieces really work against her here, as you have to try and keep the entire front facade of the motorcycle tabbed in while also connecting its sidepieces into very particular slots, and the whole thing makes me question why those parts had to be removable in the first place. when it's all said and done, it's a really cool vehicle mode, with a sleek profile, a fiery red paintjob, and more focus on those splashes of transparent purple. i just wish they could have cut back on a few of her weirder features to make this toy feel just a little cleaner to handle.

entry added 4/29/24

TOXITRON COLLECTION TOXITRON

leader class // released 2023
A picture of Toxitron in robot mode.

while a lot of my focus on Wal-Mart's 2023 exclusives wound up going to the unreleased Generation 2 Autobots, i have lots of love for the titular toxic Decepticon, too. Toxitron has a bit of a different history than the rest of the lineup - he was, indeed, unreleased, but this color scheme actually originates from the 2003 Universe line, back when Hasbro was on such an upswing that they were flooding brick-and-mortars across the nation with redecos of decades-old figures just to keep up with demand. when the unmade prototypes surfaced on display at BotCon 2005, the fandom really latched onto this nasty green repaint of G2's Laser Optimus Prime, and he picked up something of a cult following at the convention. it was enough to give him a second lease on life as a bit of a BotCon icon, with an Animated universe counterpart and a Combiner Wars hand-me-down both seeing release as exclusives through Fun Publications throughout the 2010s.

we never did get that classic G2 oil tanker in this poisonous paintjob, though, even with Laser Optimus getting a widely-beloved Deluxe class figure in 2011. When Legacy revealed its take on that classic design, i was tempted, but a part of me knew to hold back, knowing how much Hasbro has taken up the torch of weird obscure nonsense ever since BotCon shut down. not all that long after, not only was my patience been rewarded, but Toxitron became the headliner of a whole collection of unreleased weirdos, with the very sparse product descriptions implying he's maybe leading a cross-faction army of Transformers who all just crawled out of a big swamp on Cybertron. finally, Toxitron gets the respect he deserves.

of course, it's not just the swamp muck-induced neon paintjob that makes Toxitron such a star. the base mold here is superb, honoring the legacy of one of the defining Transformers releases of the 1990s. with its stacked shoulder pylons and more 'action hero' proportions, it already has a very different flavor from a traditional Optimus, and all that vivid color only accentuates that, especially when contrasted against those heavy gunmetal grays. those massive pauldrons do hinder articulation to some extent, but they at least have a few hinges to try and cooperate with the more robust shoulder joints underneath, and they're hiding a set of LEGO-esque missile racks inside for some added play value. Toxitron even finally gets his own Matrix of Leadership, cast in butterscotch orange plastic and signifying his... venomous exterior? his authority over swamp freaks?

A picture of Toxitron with his battle station.

as if he wasn't already packing enough play features, Toxitron makes up for his relatively modest mass by coming with the classic Laser Optimus oil tank, which unfolds into a battle station that just barely fits in my photography setup. it's got a rotating turret tower, a multi-jointed claw arm, and a ramp that i'm not quite sure what to do with. it's a little unwiedly and the scale of it feels a little odd - too small for Toxitron to man the guns, but not big enough to feel like a proper fortification in its own right. i do still love it, though, as a throwback to an era where Transformers was much more concerned with this type of big playset showcase. it also acts as handy storage for Toxitron's sword and shield, which is great, because his hands are already a little tiny and tight and his weapons are sculpted out of pretty brittle transparent green plastic. they're in his suitcase if he needs to get them out, but Toxitron strikes me as the type of guy to beat you up with his bare hands, anyways.

A picture of Toxitron in vehicle mode.

transformation is a very involved process without getting too overwhelming, with Toxitron's limbs doing basically nothing while his entire torso turns itself inside out to tuck itself cleanly into a truck cab. the end result is this toxic ten-wheeler which, especially nowadays, feels much more suited for a villainous character than Optimus. it looks stunning in this noxious green with the pink windshields, although i do find myself wishing it had just a bit more paint distributed towards the front to break up the front grill and bumper. hard to focus on that nitpick for too long, though, when the real star of the show here is that trailer, completing the whole look of this alt-mode. that deep dark plastic with the purple stripe running along the top looks fantastic, and i love the orange slime decals running down the sides. they could have printed those on in a slightly more pearlescent color to really nail the effect, but there's something so fun and kitschy about how flat they look, as if Toxitron needs you to know he's a sloppy slimy pollution boy even when his trailer is perfectly intact. it's all about the branding, and Toxitron is absolutely killing it.

entry added 4/29/24

LEGACY: UNITED
ENERGON UNIVERSE MEGATRON

core class // released 2024
A picture of Energon Universe Megatron in robot mode.

Legacy has wound up being an absolute treasure trove for the Unicron Trilogy era... if you ignore that whole middle chapter of the 'trilogy' thing. it's no big shock - Energon is definitely the awkward middle child of the early 2000s Transformers lines, without the clear revitalized direction of Armada or the galaxy-spanning gimmickry of Cybertron, and it's widely regarded to have the worst animated companion piece in franchise history. its odd blend of central mechanics like guys who split in half don't lend themselves to easy collector-grade nostalgia the same way its bookends do, and even when the designs aren't weird because of play patterns, they're just weird on their own. i, for one, do love a weirdo, though, and even if it comes at adorable pocket scale, Hasbro has been willing to indulge just a little bit with Energon's take on Megatron.

at first glance, there's not much to say about this incarnation of the Decepticon emperor. the mint green and blue are definitely some pretty un-Megatron-ish color choices, but his design is very intentionally grounded in a bit of a throwback to Generation 1 Galvatron, because as shocking as it might seem today, callbacks to the 1980s hadn't completely swallowed the brand whole and were still seen as relatively novel back in 2004. Legacy: United's revisit looks the part nicely and poses about as well as any other Core class with an okay amount of balljoints - nothing inspiring, but nothing too terrible, either.

his little toothpick cannons can be mounted a few different ways, but none of them seem to suit him exactly right 100% of the time, so it can take a bit of fiddling to get him looking his best. where the real action is lies with... whatever you wanna call the thing on his arm. it's a miniaturized version of his Armada predecessor's very specific tank mode - now double miniaturized, because this one's on a small guy - and it's also a halberd or something? delightfully odd.

A picture of Energon Universe Megatron in vehicle mode.

transformation takes like, five seconds. of course it does, he's tiny. this 'Cybertronian fighter jet' is, categorically speaking, not the most boring thing a Megatron has ever turned into, but it's not the most exciting either. again, just like with robot mode - and in a bit of a weird parallel to the other tiny Megatron on this page, now that i think about it - that accessory is bringing all the heat, because now it's a jet with an entire tank sitting on its back. for what it's worth, i do like the swooped shaping of these wings, and the color palette is really working for me as an alternate take on Megatron, even if i can't really place why it clicks or what vibe it's giving me. i've definitely seen worse Megatrons, but if we're really opening the door on Energon again, i wanna see some real freaks like the Terrorcons or Landmine or something. if this is as much as Energon can hope for, though... eh, sure. it's good. it's okay. you could do worse at this price point, probably.

entry added 4/29/24

LEGACY: UNITED CYBERTRON UNIVERSE STARSCREAM

voyager class // released 2024
A picture of Cybertron Universe Starscream in robot mode.

now here's a Unicron Trilogy throwback with some pizzazz! it's hard to have Transformers without Starscream, and the character found himself reinterpreted through a few different lenses throughout the early 2000s, whether it was the morally troubled turncoat of Armada, the vengeful specter of Energon, or... well, honestly, he didn't have much a deal going on in Cybertron? he got really big once. as big as Transformers God. that was pretty neat.

what this take on the character might lack in staying power, he absolutely makes up for in sheer presence, and in what seems to be a sudden burst of pure unfiltered Cybertron love, Legacy: United has brought this design soaring into the 2020s. Starscream was one of those toys that always eluded my grip as a kid (he was impractically big - see above, big as Transformers God!), so to have him not just represented, but absolutely killing it to this degree, is really tickling all the right parts of my brain.

in terms of aesthetics, United Starscream leans heavily into the Cybertron anime's cues, right down to the choice of a nice tasteful steely blue in place of black plastic, which really brings this color scheme to life. one of the coolest things about this design to me is how much it draws inspiration from Don Figueroga's art on the contemporary G1 comics, leading to a very Western robot through a very Japanese lens. none of it is springloaded like it was back in 2005, but he's packed to the brim with fun features, too, like his flip-out arm blades and even an adorably tiny Cyber Planet Key that does nothing but look very nice on his back. surprisingly, this mold actually shares very minute traces of the Siege Seeker that gave us the Rainmakers in some of its articulation, and it shows - this thing has poses for days, including an unexpected mid-cockpit waist swivel and double-hinged shoulderpads to maximize outward flair.

if anything... he almost poses a little too much for his own good? don't get me wrong, i'll absolutely take more articulation on pretty much anything, but he's so packed with moving parts that it can be a little hard to settle him down for display. not in a "loose, floppy joint" kind of way, though. more like a "okay, please tuck in, shoulder pad - not like that" kind of way. weirdly enough, no way to tilt the head up, though, which definitely hinders his pompousness factor a bit.

A picture of Cybertron Universe Starscream in vehicle mode.

transformation is similarly sabotaged by the whole stack of swivels thing, but it's hardly the worst in the world. it works basically how you'd expect based on looking at the robot, and by the end, you've got this sharp sleek space triangle. i think one of the things that doesn't sit right with me is the fact that those outer wing wedges are just sitting on standard 5mm ports and can be popped off so easily. partsforming isn't a huge issue to me, but it's a pretty vital component to the shaping of both modes, and it winds up being easier to just take them off and put them back on at the end of the process just to reduce clutter. that aside, though, this really is an excellent design, evoking the G1 tetrajet with a fresh coat of 2000s-era greebling. that transparent purple rifle - actually a leftover feature cut from the original model sheet way back when, apparently - is really the cherry on top, tucking in nicely and giving the whole vehicle that extra bit of regal flair and violence you want out of a Starscream. overall, maybe i have a few nitpicks, but a lot of those kind of come down to "he's too good and convenient". i don't regret picking him up one bit and i'd gladly do a round two if they made him real big again.