Showing posts with label IDW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IDW. Show all posts

Monday, 14 July 2014

Doing The Rounds

Comic Shop Leicester
Enter, ye pilgrim, and browse silently...
This week the Emcat and I took a trip out of town, and as always when we end up anywhere other than here I was spoiled by the selection of geek wares available to purchase. This amount of capitalist envy may necessitate yet another move in the near future…

To begin with we stopped in at one of my favourite stores, Leicester’s Forbidden Planet International. I’m a big fan of both FP chains, and I always try and drop into them when I can (FP Coventry served as my LCS from Civil War through to NYX, and it was somewhere I always enjoyed going). The Leicester store is no different and over the last three months they’ve sold me plenty of Transformers, TMNT and Spider-Man comics and TPBs. This was the first time I’d been out this way since May, and there were a few standout items that really caught my eye this time around:

Last Stand of the Wreckers, Gypsy Danger, Play Arts Kai Robin
Yes please!
Here we have IDW's Last Stand of the Wreckers, Play Arts Kai's Arkham City Robin, and NECA's Gypsy Danger from Pacific Rim (something I had little interest in until actually seeing it on the shelf). Unfortunately at the minute these are all consigned to the ‘one day’ list – but given that I started my new job today, that’ll hopefully be one day soon!

A brief sojourn into the Disney Store scored me a look at the rest of the first wave of Star Wars 12” talking figures, and whilst I’m not sure about Luke, Han Solo and the Stormtroopers look as good as the Darth Vader. Given the size, great sculpting, poseability and action features on these guys, it’s actually criminal that Hasbro is selling the 6” Black Series at the same price point. Something is going to give there, and soon.

Leicester City Centre Shopping
The standard attractions...
We saw a few other cool sights as well, including a market place which was trying its hardest to entice me back to vintage video games, which reminded me that I’m interested in Titanfall and led directly to a look around Game. Verdict: I have no time for video games. This makes me feel sad on one level, but productive and ever-so-slightly ‘adult’ on another…

Of course, all these boasts of adulthood were undone with a follow up trip to Northampton’s Toys ‘R’ Us, the finest purveyor of Transformers toys that I’m aware on in the Northants area. This is in large part because other than the supermarkets there’s nowhere else to actually buy the things, of course…

Transformers 4 Age of Extinction at Toys R Us Northampton
The state of brick and mortar today...
I’ve not really been too smitten with the AOE line, but I think that Scorn looks quite nice. This trip also gave me my first glimpse of Evasion Mode Optimus Prime ‘in the plastic’, so to speak, and I have to say that it looks even better in real life than it does online. I’m still not convinced that it’s the Prime for me though, although I’ll reserve my full judgement until I see the Evolutions two-pack version up close. It’s a definite case of facemask FTW.

Transformers 4 AOE Age of Extinction Optimus Prime Evolutions 2 Pack Evasion Mode Faceplate
Double Optimus!

So there you go; in the world of ‘If I Had Money’, these are the kind of products I’d be coming home with after a Saturday afternoon out. The thing is that even with all this brick and mortar love, I know that online shops provide a much wider selection at highly competitive prices – sites like the excellent Kapow! and Star Action Figures bear me out here – but I maintain that there’s nothing like seeing an item in hand and weighing it up before committing to buy it, and that’s where TRU, with its FOC Generations Deluxes and Voyagers gathering dust, holds the slightest of advantages.

This is an area where I struggle with buying 3rd Party products (as opposed to any moral/copyright concerns). I’ll caveat that by saying that I own Fansproject’s Quadruple U and I’m really impressed with the build quality; but that was a purchase I had weighed up for a long time before going for it. Maybe it’s the case that it is worth waiting on those pre-orders until the figure is in (someone’s) hand, with the trade-off being that you just pay a slightly higher price later down the road for a figure that you know is worth the cost?

So anyway, there’s that idea… And then FP comes along and teases Classics style not-Dinobots.

FP Columpio Derpan Dinobots Sludge Snarl Swoop Slag Slug Grimlock G1 3P
Targetmaster Dinobots!

Well, there goes that resolve.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Spotlight: Generations Orion Pax

Orion Pax Optimus Prime IDW Transformers Autobots
"What happened to my lucky face plate?"
I've been getting to grips with the local landscape since moving earlier this year and I recently found a most excellent location for Transformers shots, as demonstrated by Orion Pax here. Next time I go, I'm taking a few more robots with me...

Amid all my G1 Classics/Generations loving the other month, I neglected this guy due to his IDW origins and anachronistic standing. Yeah, he is a little out of place in my collection, but he's definitely still there on merit.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Review: Transformers Generations Orion Pax

It's Prime Time! Oh, uh, wait - nope, not yet...
OK, full disclosure - I don't think I've been very good at reviewing Transformers toys. Not only because I've very rarely done it, but also because when I do, I'm probably not the best person to make a judgement call - look at this glowing review of Transformers Prime Bumblebee to see what I mean... Anyway, from here on in I intend to make ammends - and who better to start with than Mr. Pre-Prime himself, Orion Pax!

I guess 'Thrilling 29' doesn't have quite the same ring to it...
Firstly, I'm a big fan of the cardback. Whilst the pack-in IDW Spotlight comic would've been a welcome addition, I'm not going to complain - I have stacks of comics sitting in boxes not being read as it is, and tfwiki  tells me everything I need to know about the story. The red grid design is reminiscent of the original G1 packaging, and I love me some big portrait artwork showing the character off. You can see both his weapons and both his modes - this is a card that does everything you need it to do, and looks snazzy doing it.

Freedom is the right of whoever has the biggest gun!
The Prime

In robot mode, Pax looks great. At first I thought the legs looked a little long, but as soon as I got him into a pose that doubt disappeared. With 16 points of articulation (outside of transforming) he can be put into a wide variety of fighting positions, and with both a solid centre of gravity and ball jointed feet he can hold those poses too.

Party Prime!
It's not just the posability though, as the sculpt and paint apps help sell this figure for me. As strange as it is to write this about a completely fictional character, this Orion Pax really captures the essence of a youthful Optimus Prime. A big part of that is IDW's character design for sure, but then you get little details - the yellow on Pax's forearms and pelvis for example, which Hasbro didn't have to include. Orion Pax succeeds as both a homage to the G1 character and as an entity in his own right, which I would imagine is a difficult thing to pull off. Of course, the weapons help a lot in this respect - his gun is like a slightly smaller version of Prime's famous mega firearm, and he also comes with a translucent orange axe. I do like a Transformer with a good melee weapon - very War for Cybertron, and a very cool look when standing on the toy shelf. 

Orion Pax and his Backpack Axe!
My favourite feature of Orion's robot mode is this nifty weapons storage, however - his battle axe slots firmly between his alt-mode's wheels, meaning he can keep a hand free rather than looking permanantly tooled up. The protruding axe head also helps him look a little taller as well, which really isn't a bad thing, as we'll find out. My final 'Prime' point is the Autobot faction symbol on the plastic behind the translucent windshield - it looks great, and shows that Pax is Autobot to the core. Was there ever any doubt?

The Pax

From getting him out of the packaging I realised that Orion Pax is small, and much smaller than the Deluxe class figures of the past. Since he's not Optimus Prime (and I'm assuming that OP went through the same Matrix-acquiring growth spurt Hot Rod does in the movie) I don't really mind the smaller size; however for people with large CHUG (Classics/Henkei/United/Generations) collections already I can understand the frustration that this shortening might bring.

Actually, Cyclonus is used to short faction Commanders...
The paint apps on mine aren't perfect, but they do a more than good enough job of conveying all the detailing that's required. It's mainly some of the yellow highlights that are a bit sloppy, but they're barely noticable in robot form anyway. It's when we get to Pax's alt-mode that things take a slight downturn...

The World's Fightingest Pickup Truck
Firstly, I love that there's weapon storage/armament points on Pax's vehicle mode. It would've been undoubtedly easier for Hasbro to leave Pax's car a car, and I appreciate the ingenuity used to keep the firepower present. It looks a bit goofy for me but that's OK, because I can take them off. That is, if I even displayed these guys in their alt-modes anyway...

Definitely not hands.
As I've been writing this review I've realised the similarity between Pax's transformation and that of G1 Kup, which may be more than coincidental considering that Orion Pax's first figure was a repaint of the 1986 Autobot. Whether it's an intentional homage or just the nature of his physical appearance, I have no idea. Anyway, it's the vehicle mode that lets Pax down. It's not bad but it feels very small and lightweight. From the front it still looks great (although the paint does look a bit plain), but from the back it loses its form a bit. It's not terrible in any way at all though, and you'd have to be an idiot to display him with the rear of the alt-mode sticking out anyway - it's just it does feel a bit less substantial than you'd expect. Still, this is nitpicking - it does the job of being a vaugely-relateable-whilst-still-Cybertronian vehicle and does it well.

So... Prime time yet?
The Verdict

As I only have a fledgling Transformer collection the size isn't a dealbreaker for me, and as I said above, I think that because it's Orion Pax and not Optimus Prime it doesn't matter so much that he's a little bit smaller. The thing is, other than the diminutive size and slight alt-mode, it's actually an excellent figure. If you're so inclined, buy this, get it into some kickass robot poses, and put it with the rest of your WFC/FOC 'bots. I honestly think you'll be glad you did.


Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Garden War!

Free Comic Book Day 2013 was good to me, as I picked up three IDW Transformers issues amongst many others - an Alex Milne sketchbook, a re-print of Buster Witwicky and the Car Wash of Doom, and best of all, Re-Generation #81. The latter comic is a brilliant read, as it picks up from the end of the old Marvel series, with characters and a status quo that I know and remember fondly. Subsequently, I found myself in a Transformers mood...

G1 Transformers are mainly where it's at for me. I have some fond memories of Beast Wars, and love the design of Lio-Convoy (amongst others) - I certainly never subscribed to the 'Trukk not Munky' mindset - but the G1 cartoon and movie are what I think of when someone says 'Robots in Disguise'. However great the toys were for the mid-80's though, they don't stand up to today's standards, and that's where the Universe/Generations line does such a great job.

Cyclonus is a faithful interpretation of the G1 character design, the likes of which we didn't get with any Autobot or Decepticon back in the day, down to the colour scheme and the fantastic light-piping that make the eyes burn red. This version is from a Reveal the Shield two-pack that came with Rodimus Prime and a Matrix of Leadership - unfortunately I bought this second hand, so my only Hot Rod is an actual G1 version - but Cyclonus here did come with his firearm, the amazingly updated Targetmaster Nightstick. The amount of articulation, unthinkable in the 80's, coupled with the character likeness and playability (the transformation is sublimly intuitive) make Cyclonus a shining example of how Transformers should be done...

Autobot Jazz
On to the Autobot side of the battle then. I've already blogged before about Jazz and the heartbreak associated with that particular guy at G1; since then though I'm pleased to announce that my Reveal the Shield version has remained in one piece (but excuse me for a moment whilst I knock on some wood!).

What I loved about the old Marvel UK comics, besides the fact it was weekly installments of the Cybertronian War, was that it was my first exposure to a seperate continuity, and to the idea that the stories I could tell with these characters didn't need to be rail-roaded within the confines of the cartoon universe. That seemed like a decent preparation for pop-culture today, with re-boots and Ultimate Comics and live-action movie versus first-generation animated movie factions becoming increasingly normal; and I love it. Sure, we get some stinkers like Revenge of the Fallen, but then we also get the Dark Knight Trilogy. It evens out!

Bringing it back around, I'm glad that a comic like Re-Generation exists, and I'll keep reading. It's Transformers as I remember them, and I'm very happy that it's being continued - Bludgeon, Skorponok and Megatron as the Decepticon heavy-hitters suits me just fine.

Thanks for reading!

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