Sunday, 5 February 2017

A Transformers Genesis

A new world spins about its star, gleaming.
Its land lies formless. Seas of molten metal run across its searing surface.
Slowly it is coming to life. One day far from now someone will name it Cybertron.
Before that day can come, its sparking earth must give up the coiling urge that grows within it.
Perhaps in an instant, perhaps over millennia - the planet produces a self of its own. Surging outward and shrinking inward all at once, a vast mind gains radiance at its centre.
Like the planet that houses it, this self has no need of names now. But when the time comes it will be called Primus.
The sole inhabitant of Cybertron soon comes to realise its solitude. Its mind is of a depth to quickly realise it cannot be alone among the stars.
It calls to them, but is greeted only with silence.
It decides if it cannot meet others, it can create them.
Out of its oneness come thirteen to share in the light of this thing called life.
Realising these new-old minds must each be housed as it is, Primus gives its children bodies born up out of the twinkling loam. Primordial feet stand upon the surface of Cybertron for the first time; those of The Primal One, bearer of The First Face.
Chief among the first thirteen, he embodies an ideal: hope. Leading the others through years uncounted, he brings civilisation to Cybertron and Primus is content with the fruits of his labour.
Observing the diversity of its first children, The Bringer of Life ushers up more hands to shape its world. Shimmering cities rise. Wisdom reigns. Cybertron is as gold. Primus is content.
But worlds away, across the ocean of time and space between them, an unlikely brother heeds Primus’ ancient call.
Unlike Primus, this self is content in its solitude. Believing itself to be the only mind in the trackless void, the truth of another’s existence enrages it.
It can be the only one.
It begins its journey.
Shaping the similar world it occupies into an engine of destruction, it intends to consume the contender to its singularity. If it is not the only one, then it will make all things one within it. It will unify everything.
Nearing the shining speck of Cybertron, it casts its senses over the land. What it sees only serves to fuel its rage. The teeming populace of Primus’ children are even more an affront to it.
It will visit upon each of them the pain they have caused it. To this end the being that would be called Unicron, spawns children of its own.
Horrors in their sameness, this horde of demons will sweep over the surface of Cybertron until nothing remains. They will be a scourge upon it.
In the golden cities, the inhabitants of Cybertron turn their gaze upon the stars and know fear for the first time.
As the plague visited upon them descends from the abyss, they know death for the first time.
Realising this chaos-bringer heeds its eons old call, Primus knows despair for the first time.
Finally, a companion emerges from the stars, only to destroy everything Primus loves. Hate is not something it knows within its expanse but Primus realises this aggressor acts out of an urge beyond hate. How can such a mind exist?
Its light shrinks. Dark times begin.
While the purity of Primus may be above rage and retribution, its children - made to be able to be more – are not. The Thirteen shape their ancient tools into objects very new to Cybertron. Weapons.
Cybertron knows war for the first time.
Gleaming spires shatter. Every wonder the citizens of Cybertron have built seems to crumble before their eyes. Yet those first feet stand firm. Primus’ children rally behind its firstborn son, for upon his head hang all their hopes.
Victory seems close but Unicron’s rage continues to burn. It must destroy Primus. It must take everything of its enemy into itself so that its light will never shine again. Unicron stabs at the heart of Cybertron.
The darkest hour nears and Primus’ first son knows only he can bring light to it. The very earth under their feet begins to crack as the Thirteen come to the aid of their leader, just as he tears out his own heart.
Holding the orb aloft, it appears to rob him of all light and in an instant expel it a thousand times over.
Unicron is driven back, its own surface fragmenting under the infinite illumination. Its rage is touched by fear and it knows it cannot win. Not this day.
Tearing space apart in its haste to flee, Unicron returns to its place in the void. Broken.
It is not the only thing to lie broken.
Primus’ first son is dead. His heart in his hands still flickering with the faintest spark.
The other Primes scattered to the cosmic wind in the final onslaught will come to be little more than legends.
Cybertron is saved. Its people crawl from the rubble of their once great cities and begin to rebuild their home. But without the Primes, nothing will ever be the same.
Time passes and the truths of Cybertron’s history become myths. Only the Primes in their exile are left with the memories. One is left with a dark intent.
Primus in its grief withdraws from the world it shaped.
One day a new champion will take up that first son’s mantle and keep that ancient heart safe in his chest, lighting the way of a new generation to follow the old ideals.
War will come again. Peace will come again. Hope will come again.
Forever change.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus

Can you deal with this now? (let's get that out of the way first shall we...) It's time to take a look at Combiner Wars Leader Ultra Magnus!

Magnus has a suitably sizeable alt mode. I actually see a lot of car carriers that look just like Magnus around where I work. Or maybe it's just the one and the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord is keeping an eye on me...

Just like a good car carrier, he carries cars. 

Elephant in the room! Or like, the opposite of that... It's Minimus Ambus! The inclusion of the latest incarnation of Ultra Magnus' mild-mannered alter ego was the main draw of this figure to me. I'm a big More Than Meets The Eye fan, so to have a new Magnus that had Minimus hidden away inside him was too much at the time. 
I'll admit though, since having this guy for about a year I rarely ever put Minimus in that heavily detailed chest cavity...

The Big Man

Screens and levers and controls and things! 

And just like that you can tell yourself Magnus isn't just a suit for a tiny moustachioed fellow.

His big guns combine with his rocket pods to form a hammer. I can take or leave this feature. Sure, hammer wielding has been the wont of recent Magnuses (Magnii?) but I don't need this guy to be able to do that. He can't quite hold it right either, it's very clearly the top half of a hammer shaped object with a gun stuck on the bottom.

Because what else is there to reference other than the 86 movie, right?

Ultra Magnus may just be a big hollow shell for a small suave man but I really do like this figure. The metallic blue and red plastics please mine eyes and he's chunky and posable, if a little lighter than he looks.
You can't say he's not photogenic though!

That's enough of that though, I need those doorframe audits on my desk by 5... 

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Combiner Wars Swindle

Let's make a deal, take a look at this post and I'll give you one of my solid gold Cadillacs out back...

It's Swindle time! Hide ya wallet! 

The second most interesting Combaticon limb person comes to Combiner Wars in pretty detail heavy fashion I think you'd agree. Something about the intricacies of this guy's sculpt (much like Brawl but even moreso) seem to push him above most of the rest of the CW line to me. He's dripping in detail that didn't necessarily need to be there. 
Could use a touch more purple though. 

You can get a bit of character out of the figure, but honestly it doesn't feel like you can get enough. In my head Swindle shouldn't be as big and boxy as this. He's wider than Brawl for Primus' sake and that hampers his door-to-door conman feel I think. 

Certainly doesn't stop him from warring though. If he can't sell his guns at least he can damn well use 'em. 

Vehicle mode is - like the robot mode - slightly out of character. I understand that making the jeep a proper roofless deal would have put extra strain on the design of a conversion scheme when this guy's gotta combine too, but this odd swap from windscreen and no roof to no windscreen and roof feels slightly rootless. I can't summon the image of a real equivalent of this vehicle in my mind, but that doesn't stop it from feeling real. 

Yet more pin sharp detail gushes out from the sides of this thing. I especially love that topside of the front end just managing to undulate enough to replicate the look of the G1 version while being covered in panels and rivets and grilles. 

This heavy front end certainly conjures images of Swindle crashing through jungle rivers and properly toughing it out while he gets caked in mud. 

Having got my hands on the Hound redo since, I have to say painted lights would have been nice here. 

What do you think's in those pouches?
Plus, check that suspension!
Just don't notice his hands right there all up in the seats. 

Obligatory limb shots here. I actually prefer leaving the bonnet section folded up against the arms when he's a leg. Adds a nice slope from knee to ankle. But I haven't put a picture of that here cos that costs extra.

Oh and we're just out of gold Cadillacs, sorry.
See ya!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Combiner Wars Blast Off

Countdown to chocolate based space puns, T-Minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Blast Off!
Yes, Combiner Wars Blast Off, the controversial Not Space Shuttle is my second Combaticon to look at. 

For a robot mode (in much softer focus than I realised when I took these...) Blast Off looks alright eh? Bringing that Cadbury Dairy Milk themed deco with a big ol' badge and a gunmetal gun. Looks sharp enough. 

Yeah, he's got a face. Do I care? No. 

"OK, jerk."

Being a reworking of CW Firefly, here's that appropriate comparison (since I don't have Quickslinger, the bot that step closer on this mold's family tree)

And being a Firefly family member, he's a jet!
Again, do I care? No. 

To be honest (and reveal my very non-G1 allegiances) I never understood why there was a space shuttle in the Combaticons. How is that a military vehicle? When have they ever been brown? You get all these much-more-glaring-than-average scale incongruities with the rest of the team too. 
So, logically I think going back and doing it "properly" and making him a jet works just fine. When you line up the roster of vehicles his teammates make - truck, tank, jeep, chopper - it feels like "fighter jet" is the only thing missing in that military line up. 

Here he is being limbs that aren't on Bruticus again cos I took these photos before I got Onslaught...

Oh, there really weren't any chocolate space puns there were there? I am a disappointment. I'll just sit here and eat my Mars bar dejectedly. 

Next up: a 4WD con man! Probably. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Combiner Wars Brawl

Today we take a look at my first of the Combiner Wars Combaticons, Brawl. 
Why wouldn't you start with the tank-based hardbastard of the team? Some of this figure's design choices put me off it at first (the waist and hips and lack of sharp angles in the chest block) but as soon as I had it in my hands I couldn't help but love it. I'm a sucker for military / utilitarian vehicles and I was certainly not going to pass up on a new deluxe rendition of (to my mind) the quintessential Decepticon tank man.

I mean, he has a flipping ab-crunch. 

Gunna punch ya

Plus fully functioning ankles. Oh yeah.

You can arm him up in different ways, but we all know that cannon's supposed to stick up out of his back. 

What a nicely meaty tank he makes. All square and khaki. Shame the turret doesn't move whatsoever. 

Of course he's a combiner too, making for particularly solid looking limbs. 
(We'll cover Bruticus another day.)

And then there's the turretface...

Shooting figures outside is my favourite way to capture the character of the things, especially when they're as rugged and green(ish) as Brawl. 

"Real bots roll on treads!"

All in all Brawl instantly felt like one of the superior Combiner Wars deluxes. Thanks to the addition of a couple of extra seldom-seen joints and an overall smattering of meticulous detail he certainly puts some of his counterparts to shame. 
Go on Brawl, bring the noise!