Saturday, June 16, 2012

Transformers the Ride Universal Studios Hollywood exclusive Evac figure review

If you've been to Universal Studios in California (or Singapore) you may have had a chance to hop on Transformers The Ride and immerse yourself in a 3D extravaganza. Afterwards you can immerse your credit card at the ride's gift shop and snag a brand new deluxe mold, Evac. His packaging is nicely done and similar to the Transformers Universe figures with a bio on the back. He's a 'Supercar' and more importantly your attraction ride. That's right, you ride in an Evac during the show.Big thanks to LegendAntiHero who picked one up for me! Check him out on Facebook and Twitter!

Sculpting for Evac is a brand new mold even though some mistake him for a DotM Roadbuster repaint and he's quite nice. The headsculpt is very detailed, there's all sorts pistons and wires running through his limbs, and the inner chest cavity is skeletal looking. He has movable waist guns that double as the car's weapons too. His back wings fold out and have sculpted rocket boosters on them. There are four c-clips on his shoulders and arms allowing for weapon placement though you will have to supply your own.

Articulation for Evac is like your basic deluxe. Ball neck, bicep, and hips. Good 90 deg range on the elbows and knees. He doesn't have wrist or waist movement but it doesn't seem to hinder him as you can turn his arm to aim his wrist guns. What does hinder him is the lack of forward tilting ankle. He has amazing side-tilt, able to do a complete split but no way to step forward. If you can over look this he's fine but this may be a deal-breaker for some.

Evac's paint apps are cleanly applied on both modes. The blue and silver looks nice breaking up his bot mode and the yellow lights look sharp on his chest. On his alt mode you can see the green hex-tampo which is done cleanly as well as autobot logos on either side. Silver rims complete the look. His blue light-piping was painted over with yellow so it no longer works. A savvy customizer may be able to scrape that off however.

Alt mode is a 'Supercar' and as mentioned the car you sit in during the ride. A close look through the windshield reveals four tiny seats for the audience. The overall vehicle look is something of a cross between the shoebox-design of War for Cybetron and a concept car. The thruster in the back looks neat and the waist guns now poke out of the headlights, another cool feature. The car rolls fine and looks good doing so without a ton of cut lines. Lifting a wing up kind of opens the 'door' to the seating.

Transformation is a bit complex requiring you to twist then fold the waist, line up the shoulders, and fiddle a bit. The picture of the figure has the back mistransformed so go by the step-by-step pics on the instructions. Evac has no accessories but the C-clips allow you to add your on in bot and alt mode. He has 5mm holes for hands but no mech-tech ports hinting he may have been designed before the DotM plug-in craze.

So what's the verdict on Evac? If you can get past the ankle issue he's a really neat deluxe. I like the idea he has a jetpack on his back and his overall design in both modes is pretty decent. He's $21 at the gift shop and keeps selling out though they do get entire cases of him in when they restock. You can snag him off of Ebay to avoid buying a ticket or if you have a friend in California pay for their ticket to get in and buy one for you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TFC Toys Iron Army T-34 vs J7 Shinden and Tiger-1 vs P-51 Mustange figure review

TFC Toys got its name in the Transformers world by making the 'Hercules' (aka Not-Devastator) and has a new 2-part set out, the Iron Army. These original-character-bots aren't based on Transformers licenses (perhaps a first in 3rd Party toys) so they're not breaking any copyright laws and you won't head into trouble owning them. I was absolutely thrilled to see a 3rd party company taking the first step towards going legit and hope to see more original transforming robots in the future. So let's see what we have here.

Packaging is a sturdy, voyager-sized box that contains two sets of bots in vehicle mode and looks nice doing so. There's no bio on the box but you get instructions and two trading cards (cardboard) with neat sketches of the real live vehicles along with their specifications. As mentioned the alt modes are real life vehicles and their robot modes sport a look supporting the country of origin. Tiger Tank bot has a German helmet and iron cross, T-34 has a Russian star and Cossack hat on. Cool!

Sculpt for the vehicle modes is really well done and matches up fairly close to the real life vehicle source material. There are exceptions like the giant PCC port at the front of the tanks and the planes have been shortened a bit with smaller jutting wing fins. Still they're recognizable and sharply sculpted with care. Tank turrets swivel and raise. You get a hand and a foot with each set and the foot unfolds into a hand weapon.

Transformation to robot mode is a snap, just unfold and unpeg. You could do this without the instructions but the pictures are there if you get stuck. Each bot is somewhat of a partsformer, the planes having removable tail/front sections that fold into weapons and the tanks holding their turrets as weapons. This is totally acceptable and looks pretty cool considering the weapons are also held by the combined robot.

Articulation is scout-like with ball shoulders and hips. All bots have a waist and knees tho the Shinden's arms are less posable than Mustang's because of the design. The planes have a bit harder time standing than the tanks because of their small footing and that the hips are very close together. The tanks have fold-out feet and can get into cool running poses. Paint work is crisp and clean all the way around down to their tiny eyes and nation chest symbol.

Each bot is a bit larger than a regular PCC limb and therefore cannot be mixed or you'll end up with lopsided combiners. This means you need to buy both VS sets to plug on to your official Transformers Power Core Combiner commander. This is partly because of the hand/foot additions. The foot has full front/side tilt action as does the wrist. However to turn the wrist you need to unplug it manually as it has a PCC port there.

Now for the meat of the review, combined mode. I'm using Power Core Combiner Heavytread who I reviewed earlier for most of the pictures. His Core mode is a little shorter than that of Bombshock or the others but the Iron Army looks amazing when attached. Points of attachment are much sturdier than drone limbs and will not pop off. The planes' waists extend to allow for their waists to become elbow hinges which works amazingly well.

Your chosen PCC Commander core will now be able to step forward, bend his arms, and in some cases even kneel or cross them depending on how the core has the blue PCC blocks hinged. Here I used Transformers PCC Skyhammer as the core and the combiner gains an inch or two. The plane wings can be positioned different ways for different looks and you can alter the turret direction of the tanks if you want.

The combined robot or 'Gestalt' if you prefer can hold the plane sections or turrets as weapons. It can also holster its weapons on the sides of the tank treads and each weapon/turret has a scout sized peg atop a 5mm peg so any class of Transformer can hold it. After swapping PCC cores I've come to like either Heavytread or Skyhammer as the torso, though Steamhammer or the black Huffer can look decent as well.

So what's the verdict on the TFC Iron Army sets? If you want to breathe new life into your PCCs buy them. The plastic/combing mode is sturdy, well painted, and the articulated bot modes make these awesome. You can give them your own names and perhaps savvy customizers could turn them into named Transformers. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has them for an excellent price and super fast shipping. You can also pick up their Power Core Combiner cores if you want so you have more matching choices. You will need to check ebay for Heavytread as he's pretty hard to find right now.

Marvel Legends 2012 Series 2 Big Time Spiderman, Arnim Zola, Madame Masque figure review

Hasbro's Marvel Legends series has retaken the shelves by storm and continues to sell out. With DC Universe on hiatus until 2013 the 6" scale superhero scale is dominated by Marvel at the moment. To finish up our review of series 2 we have Spiderman in his Future Foundation costume, Madame Masque, and Build-a-Figure Arnim Zola. Finding these figures on the pegs has been tough recently due to lack of restock and movie lines taking all the available space.

Madame Masque kicks off the review by being a very nice female figure using the Sharon Carter body. She features a brand new head and gloves as well as a belt. Her overall sculpt is great for a female and variations of this make up the bulk of the new Marvel Legends females. Her paint work is clean with light blue shading that looks great on the white and a bright gold mask being her trademark. Also gold colored is her gun which fits into her belt holster.

Madame Masque comes with another gun (which was promptly lost, sorry) and both are re-uses from the earlier Nick Fury/Hand Ninja 2-pack. Her articulation is excellent with the exception of not having tilt ankles. Her wrists do turn at the glove cuff. Future Foundation Spiderman is up next, this being the variant, or rather easier-to-find version than the Big Time green and black suit. His main body is Captain Marvel but has an all new head, lower arms, hands, lower legs and feet.

Spidey's paint work is black paint on white plastic without any shading or highlights but it absolutely works for him. The contrast is excellent and the lines are clean and crisp, mine had 0 slop. Spiderman's articulation is amazing. He has full tilt wrists, head that can look straight up, and 45 deg ankles that allow for tilt. Coupled with his already great range of motion you can get him into some great classic poses. He does not come with an Arnim Zola piece however and has no accessories.

The build-a-figure in the set is the twisted geneticist Doctor Arnim Zola and somewhat of an obscure character when it comes to BAF choices. His body is an all new sculpt and it looks great with flowing sleeves, banded legs, the sensor-head and main head in the TV-type apparatus for his chest. His hands are sculpted nice, one open gesturing right palm and a gripping left one to hold his remote device.

Articulation for Zola is also great, full range of motion on every part of him such as hinged wrists, 45 tilt ankles, waist, even ball hips. Hasbro could have skimped seeing as Zola doesn't do much fighting in the comics himself but went all out. His paint is crisp and clean, gold detailing nicely applied but doesn't have any shading or highlights. His human face looks neat (a sticker it appears) under the clear plastic and completes his bizarre appearance. Is he worth collecting all 6 figures? It may depend on how familiar you are with the character.

So what's the verdict? These are some excellent figures. Spiderman is the big winner here with great styling design, articulation, and paint work that's notoriously hard to pull off cleanly. Masque has a variant, Madame Hydra that's much harder to find as that case has the Big Time spidey that's commanding big bucks on the aftermarket. The figures can be found at our sponsors Past Generation Toys and Big Bad Toy Store at preorder which means you won't miss out on them. Try to find them in the stores and you may only find a Drax or Dakken left as Spiderman and Masque are snatched up quick.