Tags: universe


For the true beelievers.

 Shortpacked!: The rest.

When it comes to Transformers (or any toyline, really), I don't really collect variants.  Okay, all right, I do have a few Hot Shot variants, with the various symbol-paint versions and what not, or the Japanese vs American releases.  But for everything else?  Naw. 

But this guy's pretty special!  What an awesome variant!  This is the variant Universe Ironhide.  He was pretty damn hard to find in stores, to the point where I've only ever seen one other report of him online.  Hasbro promised, initially, that they'd do a running change on Ironhide.  Folks weren't upset with the blue face.  The blue face was a factory error, you see, so Hasbro noted that with time, those Ironhides would be phased out and replaced.

And here it is! 

I'm not sure this guy made it out into the market in any large numbers, but at least Hasbro tried.  They do care about us!  And this is the proof!  The tangible proof!

But tell you what.  I prefer my blue-faced Ironhide to this version, so maybe I'll just put this guy up on eBay.  It'd be selfish to keep this prize to myself. 


Shortpacked!: Such is the way of fandom.

Livejournal's customer service finally got back to me about that thing they did that causes my site to hemorrhage.  They've actually fixed the problem, but will release the "patch" that fixes this problem in a future update.  Great.  Well, woo.  I'll just have fun manually coding my site every night in the meantime.

Let's talk more about Reprolabels!  I didn't just get the Animated Shockwave set, but I also picked up some more Classics "upgrade" stuff. 

For example, Smokescreen over there was just begging for some more sophisticated looking "38"s.  The ones underneath the stickers looked like they were put together in five seconds using Arial Black.  The stickers that supersede them expand the "38" to fill the entire box, which reduces the eyesore by a lot.  It's still not the deco I would want in a perfect world, which would be a completely redesigned, modern-looking race deco instead of the old 1984 thing, but at least it ain't so ugly no more.

There were also some additional white stripes to put along the running boards of the car, plus some stickers I applied to his elbows because I thought they looked neat.  I don't tend to use all of the stickers that come on these "upgrade sheets."  Just the ones I think would improve the toys.  The sticker that covers the "38" on the roof, though, I'm not very happy with.  You can really tell there's a sticker there 'cuz the red's not quite the right color.  Needs to be more vibrant. 

Inferno got some tiny white stickers to bring out his "ears."  That I really like because that's detail that gets lost in his overall head sculpt otherwise.  I also threw in the new headlight stickers and the chrome bumper liner.  With the headlight stickers, I hit a snag.  Dunno if it was just my set or if it was a widespread thing, but the stickers for the left-handed headlights weren't perforated from the sheet.  But no big deal.  I grabbed an exacto knife and did the deed myself, all oldschool.  Boxes thankfully aren't rough shapes to cut out.  

Anyway, Inferno and Smokescreen are pretty gay for each other.  I believe I've been over this before.

Oh Galvatron, mwa mwa mwa!

Shortpacked!@TNI: Old is new.
Shortpacked!: Joe may be a genius, but he's not very smart.

The Transformers Wiki got invited to Hasbro's "Collectors Event" at Toy Fair this year.  This is where a buncha website dudes show up, Hasbro does a presentation, and everyone gets to look at some of the toys being offered this year.  We take pictures, we hurry to be the first ones to put them up, yadda yadda.

And holy cow, I'm going on behalf of the Wiki!  Being (sort of) at Toy Fair is something I've always sort of dreamed of, so I'm ecstatic.  I'm also apprehensive, since I've actually never been to New York City before.  I sorta drove through the northern boroughs on the way to ConnectiCon last year, but that hardly counts.  It took 15 minutes.  So, yeah, it'll be a new experience.

So, hey, NYC-local folks, anyone have any advice on getting a hotel?  I've already searched a bunch and found one I may go with, but figgered I'd mention it here before making a commitment.  The Toy Fair Collectors Event is basically in Times Square, so that's where I'm looking at.


Today's photos are of BotCon 2002 Cyclonus.  He's another of my Random Photos For The Wiki.  I'm, uh, actually very pleased that his chrome shows absolutely no sign of shedding.  (Unlike, say, Shokaract's frightening spider-webbing.)  He's super-pretty!   And whee, his electronics still work, even.  Hot dog.

Fool! Pain is my friend! Allow me to introduce YOU to-- oh. Hrm.

 Shortpacked!: Honor thy father.  

Hey, guess what, let's keep the whole "blog about stuff I'm photographing for the Transformers Wiki" thing going.  It's not like I got any new toys for you anyhow. 

To the right is Inferno from 2003's Universe line.  No, he's not Red Alert.  He was supposed to be Red Alert.  He's definitely decoed like him!  But someone in Hasbro made a dumb mistake and they didn't catch it until it was too late.  So he was Inferno.  You can imagine the fan outrage.  You were so close, Hasbro!  So close!

But 3H, who was writing the profiles for the Universe toys, took the lemons they received and turned them into lemonade.  Universe was a multiversal conflict, right?  Well, he can still be Inferno. 

He can be motherfuckin' Beast Wars Inferno.

So Inferno-the-dumb-mistake became Inferno-the-friggin'-awesome.  This toy became an alternate universe Beast Wars Inferno who was poached by Unicron, given a new body, and freed by Optimus Primal.  Despite being an Autobot, he still has all the hang-ups of your usual Beast Wars Inferno.  He's blindingly loyal, he has no sense of self-preservation, and he calls Primal his "Queen."  The trick is, despite Inferno being a murderous pyromaniac, his new body has only life-preserving weapons.  His missile launchers shoot not flames but flame-retardant foam.  So, yeah, crisis. 

It's a great character concept, and I really wish it had seen some fiction.  The profile itself was never actually put up on the website because the way Hasbro's site worked at the time, it woulda overwritten Energon Inferno's profile.  And then 3H was no more before they could throw him into a story.  That's always disappointed me. 

Ah well.  I still have my toy.  And I can still pose him standing at attention, saluting his Queen. 


Bludgeon: The afterglow

Shortpacked!: YOU get a pet! YOU get a pet! EVERYBODY GETS A PET.
I'm super-happy about having my new Bludgeon, and so I immediately threw him in with a bunch of other re-made toys of Decepticons from the late Eighties. So, woo, Bludgeon has his troops. Hasbro, now I need a new Fangry, Horri-bull, and Squeezeplay! And an Octopunch. And a Stranglehold. Well, guys, better get crankin'.

Lotta spots

Shortpacked!: Cocksblock?

Hey, remember my fabled FREE ORANGE HOT SHOT? Well, you all can see pictures of Elite Guard Dion now! Everybody! And he's gorgeous. Between his orange, blue, and nigh-white silver, he looks like a toy of my Joyce and Walky! website.

And that car mode deco is great! Kind of a weird patch of unpaintable plastic there, but otherwise I think I love him.

Anyway, check out my pile of Cheetors on the right. I put together an image for the top of Cheetor's toys page on the Transformers Wiki, incorporating whatever Cheetors I had lying around, and thought I'd share. (Man, why can't I find either of my Nightslash/Universe2003 Cheetors?)

See, our good friend Abates filled out, like, pages and pages of stuff for Cheetor's Beast Wars cartoon and Beast Machines cartoon appearances, and so we only had to hack at what little remained to get Cheetor's page complete enough to graduate to a Featured Article.

And so he's our December Featured Article!

What I'm saying is, I have too many Cheetors.


Shortpacked!: I ended up having to cut that last panel a little short.

The original Lio Convoy is not one of my favorite toys. In fact, he ranks somewhere at the bottom. It's okay. I have a replacement now.

The years of Beast Wars were a crazy time. Transformers was finally picking back up after the lackluster performance of Generation 2, so much that Japan thought, hey, maybe we should also make some Beast Wars. And so, for the first time since what felt like forever, there were Japanese-exclusive Transformers toys. And what caught the fandom's eye even more was that Lio Convoy was a guy who looked more like Optimus Prime than your usual Optimus Primal toy. He had a red chest with blue windows and a more traditional Optimus-y head. And so everyone's all yeah, sweet, woo!

He sold online and at BotCon for about $80. This was 1998. I got mine when Hasbro sold some in their prototypical online store for about $25. Sweet deal. Sort of. (He's the robot on the right.)

'Cuz he's not that great of a toy! Due to his mane and his back-flap perched up on his shoulders, you can't even see his friggin' face from most angles. (Do you have any idea how hard it was to get light shining somewhere on his face in that first photograph? Very hard!) And his transformation was awkward and it left you with a mostly immobile lion mode. The back legs were not a pretty sight, either. It just wasn't terribly good. But it looked like Optimus Prime during an age in which we thought we'd never get an Optimus Prime toy ever again. (Oh, little did we know.) Lio Convoy was a popular toy, even at $80.

Well, he's back, he's $20, he's a Target exclusive, and he's Leo Prime now! (Because, you know, this is America, where we call our Primes Primes and not Convoys.) Earlier this year, they took Cybertron Leobreaker, gave him a new Prime head, colored him in blues and reds, and called him Leo Prime. These weren't exactly Lio Convoy's colors, but they were Optimus-y, so it was understandable. Anyway, I passed on it. I was sort of interested in him because he had the new head, but I didn't really see him in stores much and I had bigger fish to fry and/or purchase. The new-headed Leo Prime returned this winter, though, now in Lio Convoy's original colors. And I snatched him up. Why?


Weird, nerdy, fannish reasons. See, after Beast Machines, Optimus Primal returned in a multiversal conflict against Unicron, where battles were fought in countless dimensions. Once Primal is even reported to have traveled to the Unicron Trilogy, where he picked up on how to summon Cyber Keys to unlock battle features. See, my idea is, since Leo Prime's toy is also a Cyber-Key-using toy, that Optimus Primal took Leo Prime with him to the Unicron Trilogy. I have decided, that for my personal canon, that this is a body for Lio Convoy/Leo Prime in that multiversal conflict. And I like that idea, and so I bought him. (I figure that the blue/red Leo Prime from earlier this year is what Leo Prime looked like before Optimus Primal used the Matrix of Purification to rid Leo Prime of the Unicron virus.) That's my story, anyway.

The toy itself, if you have Leo Breaker, Nemesis Breaker, Razorclaw, or the other Leo Prime, is what you expect. He's big and blocky! He's not a well-liked toy. But I like him, because I'm a rebel. I've never had a huge problem with him. He has more articulation than he's given credit for, and I enjoy both his robot mode and his lion (well, liger, really) mode. His arm mode, the one that was designed to combine with Cybertron Optimus Prime, is something you can certainly forget he has. It was always terrible. It's no big loss. And you're left with two reasonably good modes.

Unfortunately, he still lacks the original Leo Breaker's electronics. Voyager Class toys can't budget in electronics anymore, so those have been left out of this mold for a while. It's too bad, because I loved making him roar. See, if you press the button on Leo Prime's lion forehead, his jaw opens. In the original, this would also turn on his electronics. Oh well. Hey, he still has the talky gimmick, though, even if it doesn't make noises! I love talky gimmicks. They're among my favorite gimmicks.

Leo Prime's also kinda pretty, but that's something that most white-plus-accents decoes easily manage. I also dig the cartoonish eyeliner. They really sell the "I am Lio Convoy" thing.

If you don't have the mold, I suggest trying it out. Don't believe everything people say about it. It's not as brickish as is claimed. He has some pretty good articulation, even if it's executed differently than usual.
too!, Frenzy wants to read

He once rescued Brick Springstern and the Tenth Avenue Band, no joke.

Shortpacked!: That first panel was just too much fun to draw.

Let me tell you a story.

Long ago, there was a first Transformers live-action film, and with it a video game inspired by the first live-action film.  A number of generics and drones were created for this video game, and Hasbro thought it'd be a good idea to make action figures based on these designs, if only to fill in the holes in their Transformers movie figure case assortments.

Unfortunately, the tow truck, Longarm, did not have concept art done in time.  Alex Kubalsky, Longarm's toy designer, had to make up his own design in the absence of guidance.  And so, hey, he thought it'd be fun to gank design elements from the original Transformers tow truck, Hoist.  Longarm's concept art did eventually reach Hasbro/Takara, and so Kubalsky did try to change some of the surface details of the toy to more closely match the CGI design, but he left the head untouched.

And so it was just a matter of time until the toy got redecoed as Hoist himself.

If you're hurtin' for a Hoist toy, Revenge of the Fallen Hoist isn't bad.  The Longarm toy is far from terrible.  It transforms easily enough, despite its complexity, and it has a huge-honkin' gun.  (It can be removed from his right hand by being unscrewed, if you so wish.)  The vehicle mode is pleasingly detailed as well.  How seamlessly it melds into your G1 display is up to the individual.  (If that is your aim.)  I've thrown Hoist in with his 1986 Autobot Car contemporaries, and you can notice a distinct departure in style.  He is, however, one of the more humanoid of the live-action designs, and being mostly green and orange doesn't hurt either.

But here's where the toy, outside of mere shelf placement, hurts.  There's two shades of green on Hoist.  There's a saturated green and a desaturated metallic green.  They are not quite different enough.  Hoist would be way prettier if there were more contrast between the two greens.  The vehicle mode is a little plain, as well.  It copies the original Hoist's vehicle deco exactly, meaning there's a hazard stripe on the door and nothing else.  It's not very compelling.  And finally, most annoylingly, it's hard to get his doors clamped down properly in vehicle mode, especially on the right-hand side.  (Note my photo of the tow truck is from the left.)  

Oh, and he comes in a $35 set (exclusive at Toys "R" Us) with the very frustrating pile of joints named Mixmaster.

I only recommend him if you reeeeeeeeally like/need a Hoist. 

The Last Autobot. No, not that one. The other Last Autobot.

Shortpacked!: There is another.

Way long, long ago, back when I was but a lad, BotCon was run by some other folks.  But the 2005 convention was not to be, and the license was taken away from those folks and given to the current folks.  But because of that and other things, we didn't get a very awesome exclusive.

!  Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime was to be redecoed as an homage to G1 Defensor, with its smaller robot as Hot Spot.  Defensor woulda gotten a new head, even.  And he was to be from a universe where he was the last surviving Autobot, at the mercy of Megazarak and his genocidal armies.  It would have been awesome.  But, as I said, the convention changed ownership.  We got Megazarak, but never his intended arch-nemesis.

So I was happy when the relatively-small Titanium Series Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime toy was recently redecoed as Hot Spot.  It's not really the same deco at all - the BotCon toy was decoed as Defensor, while this one is decoed as Hot Spot.  And, wow, the BotCon toy would have had a buttload of paint.   And Hasbro doesn't have Hot Spot's name, so he's "Hot Zone."  But dammit, it's close enough.

I'd never bought this mold before, so it was a new toy to me.  It involves a lot of turning itself inside out.  The legs, for example, just peel open like a banana and reverse.  The torso and arms are a lot more straight-forward.  Like all Titaniums, he's partly die-cast metal, too.  The feet are, thankfully, (which really helps him stand up, I'd imagine), and the chest.  It's probably one of the least-bad Titaniums.  Titaniums were never good toys.  But this mold's definitely on the good side of mediocre. 

Since Hot Zone's packaging bio paints him as nothing more than your normal, everyday Hot Spot, and not the alternate-universe Last Autobot guy, I wrote my own bio for him.  I asked the Transformers Fan Club guys if they wanted one, but 2004 Universe stuff isn't really their focus at the moment.  So I'll print it here!  I've included as much as I remember from the original concept, hoping to stay true to the original purpose.  Megazarak, for example, was going to join the side of good against Unicron in the Universe conflict, despite being history's greatest monster.  That seemed like a terrible thing for Hot Spot, so I played with that a bit.  Hope you enjoy!

Hot Spot's life has been a neverending nightmare. It began when Megatron returned from the dead, reanimated as the merciless Megazarak, and his armies scoured the surface of Cybertron, wiping out Autobot and Decepticon alike. Not even Optimus Prime was spared from the slaughter. Hot Spot was able to wrestle the Matrix from Megazarak's hands as Optimus was left a dry husk on the shores of the Rust Sea, but even then Hot Spot never imagined it would fall to him to wield it. With Ultra Trion dead, leaving him the sole remaining Autobot left on Cybertron, he had little choice. Even though Cybertron was littered with the corpses of millions of slain Transformers, many of them friends, Hot Spot refused to give up.

But even that wasn't the end! Both Hot Spot and Megazarak were pulled into a multiversal conflict between Unicron, his minions, and the so-called Children of Primus. When Hot Spot finally emerged from the Cauldron, warped by the Pit into a scorched, twisted midnight vision of himself, and tainted by Unicron's dark energies, he made a shocking discovery. Megazarak had joined the forces of good! The brutal tyrant had singlehandedly turned the tide of victory away from Unicron's minions, becoming a cruel beacon of hope. In a final twist of irony, Hot Spot was forced to fight at the side of the very being who had slaughtered the entire population of his home universe. This turn of events is not lost on Megazarak himself.

For now, Hot Spot bides his time. With the help of Rhinox and Ratchet, he has shed the Unicron contamination from his body, becoming Hot Zone. Though the visual scars were removed, dark schemes plague his mind. He quietly entertains thoughts of assassinating Megazarak, avenging his Cybertron, but robbing the war of its greatest hero.
Oh, and Hot Zone is a Target-exclusive, along with an Optimus Prime and a Thrust.  Go check out their endcaps if you're interested.  Meanwhile, all those links above remind me that there are a lot of stubs from that fiction-era needing badly to be filled.
I'm Batman

Of Bats and burning.

Shortpacked!: This may involve some trial and error.  Mostly error.  Deadly, deadly error.

Many Robot Heroes waves were cut short as retailers dropped all product in favor of Revenge of the Fallen stuff.  Booo!  Stupid retailers, preferring what makes them the most money!   It gets in the way of what I want.

Miraculously, two sets of the otherwise-canceled Robot Heroes figures showed up in places like Germany.  Well, a comrade in Germany named Nevermore was able to track them down for me!  And so I gleefully paid European retail + shipping, because I must have these things.  

After all, the two sets included Tigatron and Inferno, who help round out my Beast Wars Robot Heroes collection.  The Beast Wars ones are by far my favorite.  So I was all "YES PLEASE."  (What is extra nice is that in the show, Inferno was introduced as Tigatron's rival.  Snow versus fire!)

Tigatron is a redeco of Cheetor, which was inevitable enough.  His expression looks a little too giddy as a result of this, but whatcha gonna do.  What's interesting to me is that he's in the original toy's colors.  The show reversed the silver and green and changed the off-white to a shock white.  So he looks a little strange to me (I've only ever owned the show-accurate Japanese Tigatron, not the original American toy), but it's a reference that I can appreciate.  Tigatron seems to have traded in Cheetor's smoke clouds with... dirt?

Inferno is a whole new mold!  Unsurprising!  In contrast with Tigatron, Inferno is definitely in show-inspired colors.  He's got way too much dark gray and silver not to be.  Mine was a little warped coming out of the packaging, which in this case means his right leg sort of bends too far inwards, but if I spent some time, I could probably fix that.  Just ain't, yet.  

We've been told by Hasbro that non-Movie Robot Heroes were pretty much done, at least for the forseeable future.  Again, booo!  Perhaps they'll come back in a year, after the movie.  And by "perhaps" I mean "they had damn well better."  I need Terrorsaur, Scorponok, Dinobot, and Airazor!  And all the other guys that were announced but canceled.  Grarrrrgh.

I repeat:  Greaaaaaaaarrrghgh.