Archive for December, 2010

More pics of KO Henkei Sunstorm

Posted: December 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

As promised, here are some pics of KO Sunstorm, this time with natural lighting.  As always, click to enlarge.

My name is Sunstorm. And I am funky.

Despite my offering for redemption, you still posed me against the backdrop of a Chinese mountain!

"I'm Sunstorm!" "No, I'm Sunstorm!"

We are ONE

Puny flesh creatures!


The most exciting knock-off  that I’ve been waiting for finally arrived in the mail today.  Sunstorm!  He’s a knock-off/repaint of Hasbro’s Classics Starscream.  The biggest difference with this KO is that it’s a character that fans have been clamoring for that hasn’t been, thus far, released in this line by either Takara or Hasbro.  Sunstorm’s appearances in Transformers G1 fiction have been limited, but he has become a fan-favorite over the last few years.

Sunstorm's IMDB credits are just as extensive as Hauler's

After years of just being a one-off character/possible animation error, Sunstorm was brought to life more fully in the 2000’s by Dreamwave comics.

Textbook example of taking a level

This story arc firmly solidified Sunstorm in the Transformers mythos. If you’re curious about the backstory, check the TF Wiki. Fans have waited for Hasbro to re-color a Starscream toy so they can finally own a Classics version of their favorite character, but have thus far been left wanting, which left the market wide open to KO makers. Of course, the question you may be asking yourself is “do I want to take a chance on a Sunstorm made by Chinese KO makers?

The answer, I believe, is yes.

Let’s have a look:

Ah, the pretty packaging!

As you can see from the in-package photo, this Sunstorm comes from the CHMS mold. The packaging is clearly taking a page from the Takara Henkei line. If there actually had been a legitimate Takara Sunstorm made, the packaging would give away the KO status of the toy. CHMS is clearly marked on the top right of the card and on the left of the blister over the “Transformers” logo. Also, the card-art is blurred and a bit smaller than the real deal would be. Packaging tends to be a little neater than the other Seeker KOs in circulation right now. The toy comes bundled with launchers and a ziplock baggie with instruction sheet and character collector’s card. There are only two twisted ties around the body of the airplane. (The other mold also has ties around the wing tips.)

Sunstorm in jet mode

Here we see Sunstorm in his F-15 jet mode. Unlike many of the KO seekers out there today, Sunstorm fits together quite well in jet mode. The piece directly behind the cockpit is a little bit difficult to fit in, but it does snap together (and quite tightly, at that.) The wings all sit securely. The blasters peg in under the wing, though the pegs are almost too big for the wing mounts. Extreme caution should be used to avoid stress marks.

Now, the question that’s on everybody’s minds… Just how yellow and/or orange is this guy? Judge for yourself.

Who you callin' yella??

As you can see here, Sunstorm falls somewhere in the middle of Classics Bumblebee and Solar Storm Grapple. My wife’s immediate response when I asked her the color was “mustard yellow.” I think most fans were looking for something closer to e-Hobby colors, but I have to say, in person, Sunstorm really does look good. Given that there is a recolor that matches the e-Hobby version more closely in the works for later, some fans may choose instead to make Sunstorm their yellow Rainmaker. Witness:

We make it rain!

Now…on to the quality of the figure.

Joints on this one are EXTREMELY tight. In fact, in some places, they’re almost too tight. The feet are one problem area, as they are a pain to fold down. The chest area is a bit difficult to open and then put back together. The nosecone is very stiff. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done, but this figure is built tight! At some points, I became worried about putting stress marks on the joints and at times outright breaking it. To my great relief, nothing broke, so I have a solid figure.

Perhaps the best news is that the launchers peg into the arms VERY tightly. There is no slippage, and they do not fall out on their own. Poseability is the same as any Hasbro/Takara version of this toy. Paint apps are well done. Overall, the figure is very solid, with only the few negatives that I’ve mentioned above. I would, however, recommend that you leave this toy in one mode, as I am not confident that it can hold up to massively repeated transformations. This is a display piece and for collector’s only, and should not be given to kids who are going to want to play with it aggressively.


I will have more outdoor and natural light photos tomorrow!

The announcement trailer for Transformers 3 is out now!

Check it out!

Do you remember, long ago, in the history of Atlanta sports, when Georgia Tech Basketball was elite?

This is pretty much what Tech's whole year has looked like.

It was 2004 when they made it all the way to the NCAA Championship Game. That seems like ages ago now. They have always had one of the top recruiting classes in the country but recently they have been getting one-and-done players like Derrick Favors, Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeous Young.


Back when I was a big UNLV fan in 1990, they played “Lethal Weapon 3,″ coached by legendary coach Bobby Cremins.

Georgia Tech used to be an NBA breeding ground for point guards. Look at the list: Mark Price, Travis Best, Kenny Anderson, “Starbury” and Jarret Jack. They were an exciting team.

After losing to in-state rival Georgia at Alexander Memorial last night that should be the final straw. It is time to fire Paul Hewitt. The program is eroding.

I witnessed them get blown out by Kennesaw State. Seriously? Kennesaw State. Unbelievable.

Here is an idea: Hire Bobby Cremins. Yes I said it. Teams and schools do stuff like this all the time. The Redskins did it with Joe Gibbs. Pepperdine did it with Tom Asbury. The Golden State Warriors did it with Don Nelson. Bobby Cremins was the best coach Georgia Tech ever had. The court is named after him. Do what you have to do to get him here. I would like to see Georgia Tech Basketball go back to the National Powerhouse it used to be.

Richard Holdridge

Awhile back, I broke the news that Henkei Starscream had been KO’ed and was about to hit the market. I placed an order for it, and it arrived last night.

You may remember me talking earlier about a KO Henkei Thundercracker. I praised this toy very highly, as I felt that it was a very high quality toy–perhaps even higher than the original, and certainly higher than your ordinary KO.

Sadly, I cannot praise Henkei Starscream so highly.

This release is clearly made by the same KO producer. The packaging is very similar, and the subtle “tells” that mark it as a KO are also present on this release.

A closer look at the "tells"

As you can see from the pic, there are several things that can identify this as a KO. First, look at the head, or more specifically, look at the sides of the head. The “vents” on either side of Starscream’s face are unpainted. They are white when they should be black. Also, the notches on the shoulders are too low. I circled an area of concern where the arm connects to the shoulder, because the plastic there has jagged edges and is in really sloppy condition. Also, there are no notches in the kneepads as there should be on an official release. This release also has the same issues as the other two, in which the back and the chest don’t quite fit together in bot mode. Also, Starscream stands with a bit of slump, as he tends to be back-heavy. The paint apps are also a little sloppy in places.

The biggest issue in my mind is the arm blasters. To the best of my recollection, Henkei Starscream did not have loose arm blasters. The KO does. They will fall off if an amoeba farts nearby. This is the deal-breaker between choosing between the KO or the real thing.

Alright, let’s take a look at the packaging. The big tell here is the placement of the collector card, which is squarely in the center, when it should be tucked under the jet. (Thundercracker’s card is to the right. Skywarp’s is also centered.)

Dressed up to fool you!

Here’s the card back.

Am I real or am I not?

Here’s what you see on the side.

Packaging, side view

The worst part about this KO is the jet mode. Because the wings and arms are super floppy, it doesn’t hold together well in this mode. The wings tend to slump, and as mentioned before, the body doesn’t fit together very well.

Make sure you pack your parachute

So the question you’re probably asking is this: should I even bother with it? To answer that, I give you the only reasons you should buy this particular KO:

1.) You already have Henkei Starscream and want to replace him in a display with something that you won’t care if it breaks.
2.) You can get it in a package deal with the other KO Henkei seekers which are much better.
3.) You can’t find the real deal anywhere for a reasonable price and don’t really care about a dip in quality.
4.) You simply have to have every variant of every Seeker that has been, is now being, or ever will be produced.

If that’s not you, then you should probably just stick to the real deal.

In any case, as far as I can tell, no online shops have stocked this KO yet.  

Here’s a short gallery:

Decepticons! Retreat!

Droopy legs and floppy wings, don't fail me now!

No, this is not photoshopped. There is a yin-yang symbol formed by trees on the mountain in the background.

Why does my arm feel so loose? And where did this gash on my knee come from?

I recently got in my hot little hands an upcoming Hasbro release, Solar Storm Grapple.  Actually, the packaging says “Grappel” but… just no.  I can’t bring myself to spell it that way.  The figure is set to be released sometime in late 2010 or early 2011.

Grapple is, of course, a modern update of a classic Transformers character.  The original looked something like this:

Look ma, one hand!

The old-school Grapple was a redeco and retool of Inferno, a fire-truck Transformer. That hasn’t changed. The new Grapple is a repaint and retool of Universe Inferno. The differences are cosmetic, for the most part. Of course the color is different. Grapple is a rather light orange–in fact, a much lighter orange than portrayed in official Hasbro photos. His emergency lights are amber, as opposed to Inferno’s clear lights. He has a different head, and his arms are rounded to resemble his G1 counterpart, whereas Inferno’s arms are squared.

So… on with the review, shall we? First, let’s take a look at his alt mode:

Here for all your crane-ish needs

The vehicle mode is pretty much no frills. A lot of the outer shell comes from folded up paneling in bot mode, so in some respects, this is really more of a “shell-former.” The deco on the truck mode is pretty slim. A few hazard stripes and little else. Nary an Autobot sigil is to be found on the one I have in either mode. The color is actually pretty ugly. It’s not orange, it’s not yellow, and it’s not pleasing to the eye. Something about the clear plastic windshields doesn’t sit well with me either, as I would’ve preferred something more tinted that doesn’t scream “let me look at your insides!”

Another complaint with the alt mode. It only looks right from the side. If you look from the top, there is a lot of kibble visible.

Look at me guts, boy-o!

Robot mode is a bit better. Thankfully, there’s some black thrown in there to break up all that orange. (There’s no way I’m buying the United version with the orange head.) The figure is a nice nod to G1. The only problem is that the crane makes a rather unwieldy weapon. I’m not even sure what he’s supposed to use it for, but it certainly doesn’t lend itself well to combat. Grapple doesn’t come with any guns either. The crane makes him difficult to pose on a crowded shelf, too.

As far as transformation goes, he is pretty simplistic, perhaps even a little too simplistic for a Voyager class toy. Pretty much all the transformation entails is folding up the shell parts, folding down the legs, folding out the arms and turning up the head. I only encountered one real problem. The head is spring-loaded, so it should pop up immediately, but there is a lip from the clear windshield plastic that catches the neck plate and keeps it from flipping. When transforming to robot mode, I had to really put some force on the plate, and I was very afraid I was going to break him. This, along with the rather average truck form, assures me that in all likelihood, I will not be returning Grapple to vehicle mode.

So, without further adieu, here’s Grapple’s gallery!

"Hauler, pull 'im up!!"

I will rebuild this town!

You think these buildings built themselves?

Yeah, I'm yellow. What of it?

Color comparison shot: Legacy Classics Bumblebee and 2010 Solar Storm Grapple

I was recently able to get my hands on the new Generations Blurr, a modern day version of the original Blurr from Transformers Generation 1. Most people remember Blurr as the fast-talking futuristic race car first seen in 1986’s Transformers: The Movie voiced by John Moschitta (perhaps best known as the Micro-Machine Man.

Here’s how Blurr looked back in the day:

I can run faster than the speed of sound despite having no articulated knees!

While undeniably a cool toy for its time, Blurr was in desperate need of updating for the 21st century. Using the fan-favorite mold that had already been used for not-so-fan-favorite Drift, Hasbro breathed new life into Blurr, with a re-tooled head, new guns and a look inspired by recent IDW comics.

This is how you turn an annoying character into a fan fave.

The new Blurr figure, which is now available at retail, is fully articulated and more poseable than many of his Transformer brethren. He has a wide foot base, which means he can pull off many more tricky poses, including a lot of kicks. His car doors become holsters in robot mold, which hold two blasters, both of which can be stored there in car mode or bot mode. Blurr can either go the guns-a-blazin’ route with the two blasters OR he can use the extremely long sniper rifle with clips onto his robot back/vehicle undercarriage. Blurr’s head is perhaps one of the more striking things about him. One of the oft overlooked features in the design/manufacturing process of Transformers is the eyes. Not on this figure, though. His light blue eyes are almost piercing.

This is a great figure to own. Enjoy the gallery! Click on the pictures to enlarge.

mold brothers for life

Pretending to be Ninja Turtles

We've got Decepticons at the gates, Decepticons in the air, Decepticons inside the walls, Decepticons, Decepticons, Decepticons! If we beat them off the walls, they're still in the air, if we shoot them out of the air, they're still at the gates, so where does that leave us? Nowhere, that's where.