Transformers Universe Inferno

Universe Inferno 1

I'm unemployed right now, so Universe Inferno represents my last toy purchase until I find gainful unemployment again. Now, before you get all ornery and say "You know, if you're unemployed you probably shouldn't be buying a lot of toys" let me say that I have been looking for Inferno for about a month and a half and have not seen him in the wild yet. I got birthday money from my parents, and said "screw driving all over creation looking for it, I'll just order it." So I ordered it from HTS. The day after it shipped out, I got laid off.

Universe Inferno 2

I'd like to say that I have some humorous correlation between unemployment and buying plastic toys, but I don't. When you have money to spend, these things look great and you want to buy lots of them. When you don't have money to spend, you start buying HY-TOP® brand ketchup and Better Valu® brand beans. You buy one week's groceries at a time, and tell yourself "I don't really need that brand new Star Wars Snowtrooper that I've been waiting 25 years for, let alone six of them."

Universe Inferno 3

So, here he is. I really should be enjoying Universe Inferno because he's sweet and all. Anyone want to see my resume?

Universe Inferno 4


Transformers Animated Ultra Magnus

Here's how it is with this illness I and my fellow collectors have. I had Animated Ultra Magnus on my Christmas list for 2008. However, sightings of the toy in my area were few and far between. I mean, I saw him in the 10 or so local stores I regularly check out once. A few weeks later I saw another one and went through this thought process...
1) He's already on my Christmas list.
2) People buying stuff for me may not find Ultra Magnus.
3) I'm SURE someone will be sending me money.
THEREFORE: I'll go ahead and buy it for myself because:
A) If no one else gets it for me, I'm covered and
B) if I somehow DO get it, I can return this one for a refund or try and hook a fellow TFINO that may be looking for one up.

Magnanimous is what I am.

Animated Ultra Magnus 1

Anyway, Christmas came and went and I didn't get Ultra Magnus, and I didn't get any money, so that whole plan was shot to hell but I kept him anyway. Addicted to Plastic is also what I am. There are a lot of people that complain about Ultra Magnus, and I'll tell you what kind of people those are. Picky people. People who gotta complain about stuff for the sake of complainin' about stuff. THOSE kind of people. Why do I say that? Because if Hasbro had just done what they usually do and repainted Animated Optimus Prime in white and blue, they'd have been complaining about that.

Animated Ultra Magnus 2

Now, I'm not going to tell you that this is the greatest Ultra Magnus toy ever released. (I still have a special place in my heart reserved for RID Magnus (Car Robots God Magnus, that is.) But he's still a damn fine figure. I really, REALLY, like the Animated aesthic and Ultra Magnus captures his cartoon likeness nicely, thanks.

Animated Ultra Magnus 3

His alt-mode is some kind of heavily armed military missile carrier thingy. He's loaded with sound and light-up effects. If you manage to find one, and you don't mind shelling out the 40 or so bucks, go ahead.

Animated Ultra Magnus 4

I should offer up this disclaimer, though. I had a Target coupon for $10 off Leader class figures, plus a $5-off Happy Meal Coupon, so I got my Ultra Magnus for about 25 bucks. Had I paid another 15 bucks for him, I might feel differently. I can't say for certain, but I don't think so. Wishy-washy. I'm also that, too. One thing is certain, though. Unlike that Optimus Prime repaint from G1...

Animated Ultra Magnus 5

...he can deal with that now.


Transformers Universe Stormcloud

Let me set up today's (tonight's?) update with a little story. When I was but a wee lad, I liked airplanes. In fact, I LOVED airplanes. I spent my formative years reading and learning about them. While other boys could rattle off Wade Boggs' batting average, or Doc Gooden's ERA, or the number of double plays Cal Ripken turned, I specialized in aircraft statistics. Want to know the F-4's max speed? I could tell you. What was the combat radius of an F-15? I wouldn't even have to look it up. The MiG-25's wingspan? Easy stuff. Unfortunately, knowing this kind of information wouldn't necessarily impress one's peers as much as you'd think. Sure, if you knew what Dale Murphy was batting on Tuesday nights with a full moon in the month of July, you're looked upon as some sort of god. But if you knew information that could, should crack Cuban and Soviet commandos decide to para-drop into flyover country as some sort of prelude to an invasion, prove vitally useful, well...usually that meant you got picked last for kickball at recess when they chose up sides.

Of special interest to me was the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. (Note: only dorks refer to aircraft by their nicknames: "Warthog," "Eagle," "Tomcat," "Fighting Falcon." If you want to look cool to military airplane junkies, you must use the aircraft's alpha-numeric designation.) I grew up just a stone's throw away from England Air Force Base, home of the Flying Tigers.


My childhood home pretty much sat directly in the flight path between the base and the practice gunnery range about 20 miles away. My brother and I used to climb onto the roof of our house and watch groups of A-10s orbiting the range, working over their canvas targets with the 30mm GAU-8 Avenger. Every year we'd be at England's annual airshow to watch the Thunderbirds and crawl all over the A-10s out for public display. My grandparents only lived about 5 miles from the range, so during the summer weeks we spent at their house you could constantly hear the "guh-RUUUUHHHMMMP!" from their guns (And I have never, EVER, not even ONCE, snuck onto the gunnery range to collect expended 30mm ammo casings. NEVER!**) My Pa Pa, being a retired Air Force man, always went grocery shopping at the EAFB commissary. I got my first Robotech toy (an Alpha) at the BX. I always demanded that he drive near the flight line so I could see the A-10s parked on the ramp. On some days we'd go park off base at the end of one of the runways and watch them land and take off. I worshiped at the altar of the 23d TFW.

Universe Stormcloud 1

I told you that story to tell you this...A-10 Transformer toys have never really done anything for me. G1 Powerglide was a great big "meh" to me. Universe Powerglide even more so. Those two Energon A-10s? I don't think they've been anything but the arm and leg on my Energon Superion (or Superius Maximus or whatever) since I tool 'em out of the package. Might as well go ahead and cover all the bases and say that the G1 Micromaster Tailwind is just about my favorite TF representation of the airplane, and I don't even like it that much because he's only, like, 2 inches tall. I just don't feel the toys represent the aircraft all that well. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that the real airplane is just a long skinny tube, with two short, fat tubes, two straight wings, and a big H-shaped tail. You can't really get a realistic robot to unfold from that, I guess...

Universe Stormcloud 2

Which is why I understand why Universe Stormcloud can't really be an A-10, only A-10-ish. But that's cool. Call me crazy, but the deco makes this figure and I really like it when my Decepticons are purple and black. Just like all true Autobots should be some combination of red, white, and blue (take that, Hot Rod!), all Decepticons should feature this color combination (at least if they aren't dark blue because you can't leave out Soundwave.) Since Universe Stormcloud features an abundance of black with some purple, I think this figure works better than the Powerglide deco.

Universe Stormcloud 3

The toy is solid enough. It's a little top-heavy, but that's about the only problem. I even like the little "MM-89" tampograph because (I think) it references the fact that the original Stormcloud was a micromaster and came out in '89. I think the tampos on the other two Universe ultras - BOLT-25 (Silverbolt) and MONZO-whatever (Onslaught)- are just superfluous. My ONE real gripe is probably pretty stupid. See if you follow my logic here:

1) Universe Stormcloud is an A-10
2) G1 Tailwind was ALSO an A-10
3) G1 Tailwind was blue
4) The Cobra Rattler was ALSO blue (pictures coming soon!)

Theoretically, had Hasbro done this figure as an homage to G1 Tailwind, we'd have had a giant, blue, transforming Decepticon A-10. Oh, what could you do with a giant, blue, transforming Decepticon A-10? Well, some company (say Hasbro or reprolabels or something) could have come out with a set of Cobra Rattler decals designed for said giant, blue, transforming A-10, allowing you to turn it into a Transforming Cobra Rattler that was also an homage to a G1 Transformer, thereby causing quite possibly the biggest 80's-related, nostalgia-propagated toygasm in the history of mankind EVER! (I don't even think a little mini-Skeletor pilot would have been required.)

Universe Stormcloud 4

See? See how Hasbro dropped the ball by not replying to the resume' I forwarded to them with the subject "Dear Hasbro: Please consider me as a replacement for the retarded offspring of five monkeys that had butt sex with a fish-squirrel you currently employ as your toy design team."

**And by "never, EVER, not even ONCE" I mean "have done it several times."


Transformers Animated Swindle

Alright, so its been a while since I made an update. I got a bunch of crap for Christmas, and I'm going to get to that, but first here's a couple of things I got for my birthday. First up...something from my brother, Animated Swindle.

Animated Swindle 1

I've only got two Deluxe-sized Decepticons from Animated, Soundwave and this guy. They're both great figures, but I think I like Swindle more. His alt-mode is based on a Hummer-thingy. I guess. Doesn't matter.

Animated Swindle 2

If they came out with a Hummer-thingy (I guess) that came with a gigantic-ass cannon blaster launching plasma missile (according to Hasbro) as a factory option, I'd definitely take it. But that's only because I'm sick of all the buttholes that cut me off on the interstate. Although it would be cool to have a big ol' Decepticon logo on the hood, too.

Animated Swindle 3

Some people are complaining about the flat-headed, bit-eyed aesthetic, but I like it. It's very homage-y to Swindle's G1 self. One thing I'm really diggin' on some of the Animated figures is the way the light piping is done in the eyes. The way the eye's are constructed somehow gives the effect that there are two glowing pupils inside the eyes. It's here on Swindle, and Animated Bumblebee owners have probably noticed his eyes are the same way.

Animated Swindle 4

I'm also a big fan of Transformer toys that come with smirks.



...are coming. Crazy bad updates. I think. Maybe. Hopefully!