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About Me and Transformers

Transformers (TF for short) has already become one of popular cultures that I love. But I have a very long long history dealing with this franchise. I admit, TF wasn’t a significant part of my childhood at all. Back then, it was Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (before understanding the existence of Super Sentai) that amazed me most. Beside that MMPR, I mostly enjoyed Kamen Rider Black (and RX), several tokusatsu series, anime, and several cartoons that aired on my local TV stations.

I have heard the name “Transformers”, but I didn’t know what it was other than an expensive toyline. My first encounter to TF franchise was when TF Generation 2 aired on both my local and Malaysian TV stations (complete with toy commercials) in 1995-1997. At that time, I thought G2 is the continuation and G1 existed as prequel and had different story. Although I did like the commercial, but I had no intention to buy the toys because that wasn’t my ideal type of toys since I was (and still is) influenced by Super Sentai. Still, TF is considered as super robot or mecha and I am myself is a mecha-fetish. Yeah, I never own original TF toys at all.

Speaking of G2 cartoon, I watched it every Sunday at 9 AM as part of Sunday morning cartoon marathon (I missed those days) in almost every TV stations here. At that time I was introduced to Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Rodimus Prime, Jazz, Prowl, Wheeljack and many more characters. Funny to thing back then that Rodimus Prime is Optimus’ successor and stayed somewhere else (I had no idea about TF Movie where Optimus died) while Optimus was in charge in another part of Earth. Silly childhood’s interpretation. I didn’t care about which episodes which, continuations, or anything, except watching another episode of TF and that’s about it.

Then, came Beast Wars Transformers and Beast Machines during my teenage days. I watched both series but I was too busy with my study. The only thing that I remember is Optimus Primal changed into Optimal Optimus. Several years passed and I heard live-action movie, I heard and watched TF Galaxy Force (Japanese original version of TF Cybertron), I knew there was TF Animated. Years passed but I just cared less about TF.

2011, my friends from Multiply decided to have gathering in Pondok Indah Mall and without a doubt I joined it. That was a fun experience because beside that gathering, I watched TF Dark of the Moon in 3D together with them. That was my first time watching 3D movie. After I watched it I ran into nearest toy store and bought Cyberverse DOTM Optimus Prime. Still, my interest in TF stayed the same. Cyberverse lineup did impressed me, but I still thought that TF toys were expensive for my budget.

DOTM also gave me a lot of impressions and I tried to respect the whole live-action movies, but failed. In my opinion, live action movie trilogy are nothing but explosion-vaganza. Characterizations are cheesy, lack of attentions to Transformers lifeform themselves, and overall designs are not that good compared to the past incarnations. For DOTM itself, missing Megan Fox from the story proved to be a major blow. And yes, I hate that Sam Witwicky (particularly Shia LeBouf) for every stupidities he had done.

And so, came TF Prime, a new television series in 2011. At first I cynically thought that TF Prime was Bayformers in form of TV series. I was wrong, TF is actually a good series, probably the best TF series ever made. It’s darker, serious, sarcastically humorous, and takes different approach from previous series. Not only TF Prime series that caught my attention, but the game Fall of Cybertron also hooked me to finally started collecting the toys. It was FoC Deluxe Optimus Prime that sparked my interest and shifting it from Gundam and particularly plastic model kit in general. Since then, lots and lots TF figures I bought and some of them are reviewed here.

After that, I read dozens of articles related to Transformers universes ranging from toylines (I got headache to realize about deco, redeco, repaints, etc), past movies and series, everything about Hasbro and Takara Tomy, and many more.

So, my favorite character from TF? It’s obviously the charismatic leader himself, Optimus Prime. I love this character since I watched him from G2 cartoon. Whatever Optimus Prime’s incarnations are, I just love them all. Most of my TF collections are Optimus Prime, from G1 until Beast Hunters. I guess I understand why I love this character. While my favorite characters from other pop cultures are mainly antagonist (Darth Vader, Gouki/Akuma, Evil Green Ranger, Raphael Sorel, etc), Optimus Prime is a very different case. He is in fact he is not only a role model for his integrity, passion, leadership, honor, or compassion. He is some kind of father figure to me. A figure I need to be. I understand I love this character even more today. I am not married yet but soon to, and somehow I repress my desire to be a “father” by channeling it to fictional characters, which is Optimus himself. A father figure is something that not only you idolize, but also you want yourself to be him by eliminating him (similar case to Macbeth from William Shakespeare eponymous play towards King Duncan). Maybe my love to Optimus Prime is my fear of not getting married yet. Who knows, this is just my speculative analysis though.

Enough with psychoanalysis, I appreciate TF toys not only as toys. They are pieces of art. A lineup of mechas that can be transformed into certain vehicles or animals? And also I love these toys better than Gundam because of less accessories given there. I hate hand compartment, weapons that can’t be stored, or needed stand base to be posed. But that doesn’t mean TF Toys are without problems. Several also has storage problems, poseability problems, and most of all, very very fragile. Luckily I just display all of them through my toys cabinet and that’s about it. I don’t play them much even I have problems now that not enough space left to store them all.

If there is one toy left for me to collect, that would be Masterpiece Optimus Prime. I hope I get this ridiculously expensive toy soon. Yes, this is the ultimate toy for TF fans. Maybe if finally I buy this toy, my journey in collecting TF will be completed.

That’s my story of me and Transformers, thank you for reading it.

Voyager Class TFTM Optimus Prime

I bought this figure together with TFTM Deluxe Bumblebee as set.

This figure is actually interesting if not for one major complain, it’s so fragile! I broke his right hand last November.

My fault, and that was a disaster for me at that time. Fortunately I found Ridho Bengkel Toys and he fixed my beloved Optimus. And now let’s go to the review.

This is Peterbilt truck and I find it is big and accurate. I just knew this when I saw Voyager DOTM Optimus Prime is quite smaller compared to this one. Big is beautiful, and it seems that I need to complete my collection with Leader class one, hahahaha. His vehicle mode stays true to the movie which means accurate to the original.

This vehicle mode has two interesting gimmicks. It has driver with hat (Peter Cullen, anyone?) which can be hidden when the door is opened. Also, the truck’s smokestacks (which are his blasters) can be moved into the front of the vehicle. Quite useless but still a nice addition. Yes, the blasters are spring guns so they can shoot.

Transforming this figure is simple but annoying. So many parts need careful attention as I stated earlier that this figure is fragile. As expected, the transformation is not show-accurate.

My figure has part missing from his body, and I just realized it 😦

This figure with all disturbing things I got (missing part, fragile, annoying transformation) is a good interpretation of Optimus Prime from the movie. It has fake windows and big kibble (front part and truck’s grill) at the back. But I have to say, this figure is impressive. Too bad, he is fragile.

He has good range of articulations actually, but I rather not to mess up even more. Maybe someday I will buy another TFTM Voyager Optimus Prime for the sake of completeness.

Deluxe Class Movie Bumblebee Comparison

Before I start the comparison, I want to tell the story of my TFTM Deluxe Bumblebee screwed up my life last November. I bought this figure together as set with Voyager TFTM Optimus Prime. While Optimus is fragile (I broke his right hand), Bumblebee got double left door. That was disaster until someone helped me to get the right door.

So now, let’s see the comparison

Ah Bumblebee, lovable character from the movie. He never got so much attention better than his movie incarnation. Sure his G1 is already huge, but his movie version brings a new whole level of Bumblebee we have known. His design as Chevrolet Camaro proved to be well accepted while it is controversial on its own. Starting from movie incarnation, Bumblebee is now a mute scout (a trait that being used again in TF Prime).

From the design each has its own charm. TFTM version is 2007 Concept Camaro while DOTM version is 2012 SS Camaro, and both are great. No complain because I love Chevrolet Camaro. But I have to say that DOTM version slightly better than TFTM in my opinion. I don’t know why but I am being biased here. Probably because I watched DOTM in 3D last 2011 and this Bumblebee wins my heart a lot.

Transforming both figures are not that easy although quite predictable. Nothing surprising here rather than automorph gimmick from TFTM version and solid conversion in DOTM version (yeah, for the sake of the kids who bought him).

The weapon? I have to say I like TFTM weapon so much. Blaster that convert into sharp blade? It’s much much better than stupid mechtech blaster. I love the design of mechtech blaster for DOTM Bumblebee, but the application is a failure, enough said. I have the same complain from TF Prime Voyager Optimus Prime, the weapon must be pressed and can’t stand still because there is no mechanism to hold the weapon in pressed position.

And yes, Mechtech weapon looks ugly when attached in vehicle mode.

Both figures are technically fantastic in their robot mode. Too bad, my TFTM Deluxe Bumblebee has strange paint job (or defect?) from the box. Yeah, I have to much problems with this figure since I bought it. He looks like a Terminator :p

In the end, I love both figures though DOTM line wins a lot for me. It takes months for me to finally got him considering it is quite rare to find DOTM Deluxe Bumblebee now in my country. I don’t know why Bumblebee is so difficult to find here, but indeed the figure is great, at least half of my question ins answered properly.