Dec 5, 2012

[Transformers] Generations Deluxe Class Wave 1

Now I had previously established how much I've come to love the Classics / Universe / Generations lines of Transformers figures that have come out in recent years. They're nicely done designs that predominantly pay tribute to the "classic" Generation 1 look of Transformers popularized by the animated TV series back in the 1980's. And while I was a little late in the game in terms of collecting these figures, I was quite solidly already engaged by the time Generations was launched in 2010 and thus committed to collecting the figures as best as I could.

In addition, recent years has seen a greater effort to more or less standardize the size of Transformers into various classes like Legend and Voyager. But the Deluxe class naturally seemed the most accessible since it debuts at a decelt retail price point and it's a nice size for figures. I've focused on the Deluxe classc of figures above all others since Legends tend to have less than ideal detail while Voyager class robots don't always seem like good value for money for me.

And since I started to realize that I don't quite feature enough Transformers on this blog despite how much I love the core franchise, I figured it was about time that I rectified that with a new series of posts focused on the toys that I already have.

It is with mixed pride that I have to admit that I've been almost religiously collecting the various Deluxe class figures of the Generations line of toys. And thus I am now able to sort these reviews by wave of release instead of sticking to individual toy reviews, which may take forever given my constantly growing collection.

Now the first wave of Generations Deluxe class figures consisted of four characters - Cybertronian Optimus Prime and Cybertronian Bumblebee, as based on the War for Cybertron video game, along with Autobot Drift and Thrust. So let's get to know them better, shall we?

We naturally begin with Cybertronian Optimus Prime, he is a pretty solid figure with a wee bit more moving parts than I'd like. This figure was given a transformation difficulty rating of 4/5 by Hasbro with good reason - he has all these little bits hanging out that really get in the way of transformation and need to be positioned just right depending on at which step in the process you're at.

But to be fair, he looks pretty great in robot mode and has a lot of great detail down to the seemingly lighted portions of his belt area. His mold reminds me a lot of his appearance in the old Dreamwave comic series The War Within. And while I'm not exactly a huge fan of Optimus Prime figures (I know, as a Transformers fan this is one of my quirks), even I had to concede that he's a nice toy to have. And his town has a fun flip-out feature that gives it to forms that all look pretty badass no matter how you present things.

There are some odd moments in posing him however that can be rectified by making sure his feet are truly flat on the ground and sometims repositioning his arms to make sure his weight is better distributed.

His vehicle mode is equally nice although looks deceptively smooth / simple once all the panels are in place. A lot of the detail that's visible in his robot mode seem almost completely lost or at least hidden away in vehicle mode. Still for some sort of a Cybetronian truck, he does present a rather serious looking vehicle that can deal a lot of damage against erring Decepticons.

Next in the line is Cybertronian Bumblebee, yet another toy based on the War for Cybertron game. His robot form is ridiculously top-heavy, but perhaps we can cut him some slack since he does have those wicked looking energy blades that can be hidden away as desired. They certainly seem like better weapons than his lone gun, which sort of looks like an old telephone handset from the rotary years.

His top-heavy design is a bit of a posing nightmare and his chicken legs don't exactly give you a lot of comfort once you start positioning him. And while I was impressed at how you eventually form said feet when coming from his vehicle mode, his 4/5 transformation difficulty was more annoying than fulfilling on the whole (I'll address this at length shortly). At least his face is nicely reminiscent of his appearance in the G1 cartoon, and thus staring into those deep blue eyes of his helps reassure you that this is still good old Bumblebee. With energy blades.

When you do manage to wrestle Bumblebee back into vehicle mode, it feels like you're playing with some complex Chinese puzzle with a million moving parts. What's worse, a lot of the needed alignments are highly precise and thus if you forget to bend his legs just so or to position his arms like that, he will never become a solid vehicle. Unless you get him transformed precisely right, you will constantly have his innards peeking out between the cracks, no matter how many times you try to ease the various interlocking bits into place. I've spent a fair amount of time with this figure and I still can't get it perfectly right on the first try.

If anything, he still gets points for cool factor since his rather Tron-esque coloring does give Bumblebee some much needed maturity versus prior models.

Thrust is probably the gem of the line given he is the figure that truly embraces the G1-style and is in fact a G1 character. his mold is pretty much your classic Seeker mold utilized as far back as Classics Starscream, with some slight changes in his wings. Given Thrust was part of the latter three "conehead" Seekers, they all featured rather unique wings compared to the first three.

Thrust is meant to be more cartoon-accurate, something that is nicely captured in his paint job for this figure. He has the nice little VTOL fans that can be detached and reapplied as desirede so you can have them on his wings even in robot mode or you can have them on the tail fins that appear at the sides of his legs. And yes, the center fan does in fact spin.

Thrust is defiitely one of my favorite Seeker molds, as based on the Gentei Gentei! Thrust mold released by Takara. And his release as a Generations figure pretty much heralded the release of many of the Seekers across the Generations line, thus giving hope to many Transformers collectors of finally having them all.

But at the moment, we still don't.

In vehicle mode, Thrust is still a pretty kick-ass plane with his VTOL fins nicely back in place on his wings. The detail of the cockpit is pretty interesting and the overall look with this paint scheme does the toy a lot of good. It's hard to say no to this guy, even if he is pretty much a repaint of prior Decepticon jet toys.

But come on, VTOL fans! that has to be worth something, right?

Lastly we have the somewhat strange Autobot Drift, who is not all that famous outside of the IDW comic book series. In the comics he was introduced as a former Decepticon who had seen the light and joined the Autobot cause. That does not mean there aren't a few Autobots who don't fully trust him but still respect his ability to inflict some serious damage in battle. This figure represented how the Generations line wouldn't just celebrate the older toys and such, but would also tap into the various incarnations of the Transformers franchise including the recent comic books.

And let's face it, Drift was a character who was designed with fans in mind. He is quite literally a character designed to be "cool", for lack of a better term. I mean come on, his main weapon is a giant samurai sword (technically called a "great sword") of some sort and he has shorter blades to boot! And to capture all these weapons in a single toy and keep things convenient enough so you don't lose his weapons in either mode is pretty brilliant.

His vehicle mode is a nice little car that looks pretty amazing. Apar from the seam in his hood and such, for the most part he's a nicely solid vehicle and he's not too annoying to transform. I love how the various weapons and other odds and ends tuck back nicely into his vehicle mode, leaving you with a pretty good car to play with. And he looks like a rather serious racer that would give any Autbot a serious run for his money in a race (despite a Speed rating of 6). Thus is makes sense that they eventually used this same mold to create a Blurr figure.

The first wave of Generations was certaily a nicely solid one that helped define the aesthetic for the line and pretty much married the video game license ot this imprint. Thus we now see how Fall of Cybertron toys were again released under the Generations imprint for consistency.

All figures were pretty good, although I'll admit the Cybertronian figures were rather annoying to transform, and that affects my overall rating for them:

  • Cybertronian Optimus Prime - 4/5
  • Cybertronian Bumblebee - 3/5
  • Thrust - 4
  • Drift - 5

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