Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Toy Review: Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Mixmaster

Review:  #248
Name:  Mixmaster
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Decepticons
Line:  Generations - Combiner Wars
Year of Release:  2015
Size Class:  Voyager
Variations:  SDCC version has more paint applications; TakaraTomy version has more paint applications and remolded elbows


Mixmaster transforms into a front discharge cement mixer which looks really odd, even though such a configuration exists.

The most puzzling aspect is the fact that the rear looks like a cab as well, and is only like that because it forms Devastator's feet.  It makes the choice of Mixmaster being a front-discharge even harder to understand.

As you would expect, the drum is fixed and is naturally so due to transformation.  All six wheels roll.

There's no shortage of excellent sculpted details, however, there is nowhere near enough paint to highlight it, causing the truck to look bland from various angles.

Mixmaster is officially classified as a Voyager classed figure, and he lives up to the name, clearing being much bigger than a Deluxe too.

Here he is with MP Bumblebee as well.

Needless to say, he looks fantastic with the rest of the Constructicons.

Despite looking odd at first glance, Mixmaster's vehicle mode is quite decent, solid and fun to play with.


Converting Mixmaster from vehicle to robot mode is surprisingly simple.  His legs unfold from the front, the arms from the side and the only interesting part is that you flip back the rear, flip up the head and then reattach the rear.  While simple, it works and the quickness of transformations make him fun to go between the two modes.


Mixmaster's robot mode is quite good.  The blocky aesthetics coupled with the abundance of purple and other painted details makes for an attractive robot.

Unfortunately, he wears the drum in its entirely on his back, thankfully it is hollow so it doesn't make him backheavy.  There is also a huge chunk of kibble which is the rear of the vehicle sitting behind his head, while G1 accurate, it's a bit of an eyesore.

Consistent with the rest of the team, the headsculpt is excellent and packs in a lot of details.  It can swivel side to side but you need to wedge your fingers in there due to the overhead kibble.

Mixmaster has huge feet which helps in stabilizing the robot mode.

Mixmaster retains Voyager classed height, while also feeling bulky and hefty to boot (even though he has more than his fair share of hollow parts).

A few people are going to use this version as a MP stand-in and he works quite well in that case.

Poseability is good, Mixmaster has nearly all the joints you need, missing just a waist swivel.

While he has an elbow hinge as well as swivels, the way it is jointed means that the swivels don't work as naturally as you would expect (the swivel is below the joint).  Also, for some odd reason, the hinge is right on the outside of the arm where it doesn't need to be.

The instructions and stock photos does not actually tell you which weapons goes with Mixmaster, so I just took it off the BotCon displays.  I gave Mixmaster Devastator's right chest piece which doubles up as a sword now.

Granted, it is not a great sword but what can you do with this piece of combiner kibble?

He can hold the sword in either hand and Mixmaster has ankle swivels to stay flat in any dynamic pose you want to put him in.

Of course, Mixmaster looks fantastic with the rest of the Constructicons.

A good robot mode that's presents a great update to the G1 figure.


Mixmaster presents a good update to the G1 toy.  As a standalone, he is decent and fun enough.  Considering that he is also part of a combiner, it is impressive that he didn't have to compromise anything that crucial.  The big backpacks are the only drawbacks of an otherwise fun and simple figure.


For other reviews, have a look at this page.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Sneakers tells a good story about a group of hackers who stumble upon a black box with the ability to decode any encrypted system.  Obviously, everyone wants this black box and criminal activity is involved.  Caught in the crossfire, Marty manages to retrieve the black box but loses it and most of the film has him devising and executing a plan to get it back.  Despite not being a comedy, there were some funny one-liners.  It doesn't go much into the technical jargon, keeping it simple to follow and understand.  It is a tad bit too long though, being 2 hours long.  That said, the pacing was good and it never got too boring or bland.  The antagonist was predictable, same with the finale in how Marty handled things.  Overall, an entertaining movie with the only real flaw being the overused plot devices.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Toy Review: Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Scavenger

Review:  #247
Name:  Scavenger
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Decepticons
Line:  Generations - Combiner Wars
Year of Release:  2015
Size Class:  Voyager
Variations:  SDCC version has more paint applications; TakaraTomy version has more paint applications and remolded knees


Scavenger transforms into a green and purple shovel.  He's in the classic and iconic Constructicon color scheme which is at once quite ugly yet nostaglic.

On the whole, this is a good shovel mode although you can see some robot bits from the back.

However, there are some intricate sculpted detailing surrounding the whole figure.  Shame most of it is unpainted, therefore it blends into the rest of the figure.

The only play value here is that the shovel is jointed.  However, there's only two joints in the arms so it is quite limited.

For some reason, there's also a swivel in the middle although it looks weird when you try to use it.

Scavenger's biggest downfall is the lack of paint to break up the green (although not as bad as Bonecrusher).  An annoying thing is that they only bothered to paint the windows of three of the four sides!

While touted as a Voyager classed figure, in terms of sheer size, he is more in between Deluxe and Voyager, however, he does feel quite hefty.

Another quick comparison with MP Bumblebee.

Needless to say, Scavenger looks fantastic with the rest of the Constructicons.

A decent alternate mode that does it's job.


Simple but effective.  There are no surprises here but it is a solid transformation scheme overall.  He is surprisingly well tabbed in both modes and so it can take a bit of force to untab everything at the beginning.


Scavenger's robot mode is my favorite out of the whole set.  The silver chest really pops and the combination of a purple in the lower body and green on top makes him the most visually interesting.

Unfortunately, he carries the shovel on his back as kibble.  Nothing you can do about it though and it is generally out of the way.

The headsculpt is just absolutely amazing.  It brings out so much character and the detailing is impressive.

Scavenger has a very blocky aesthetic, which should keep G1 fans happy.

He expands a lot during transformation and his height is on par with other Voyagers.

A lot of people are wanting to use Combiner Wars Scavenger as a stand-in for the Masterpiece line and he does look good, with enough sculpted details to not look too out of place.

Poseability is really good.  He doesn't lack any of the crucial joints.  I actually have no problems with the balljointed knees so not sure why TakaraTomy went ahead and remolded them into hinges for the Japanese version.  Scavenger also features ankle swivels which was a surprise.

He has a decent footprint such that he's stable in a wide variety of poses.

Another annoying thing is that the instructions are absolutely useless in determining which weapon go to who.  The stock photos does show Scavenger with the missile pods (i.e. Devastator's arms) so that's his assigned weapon.

In order to hold it (and it took me a short while to figure out as the instructions does not show weapons), you fold Devastator's hand such that the back is facing the bottom and then you can unfold a 5mm peg.

It is a decent weapon, considering that it is just combiner kibble.  Scavenger can hold it in either hand and be placed in some wicked poses.

Scavenger also looks great with the rest of the Constructicons.

Scavenger's robot mode has character and is a clear winner.


My personal favorite out of the individual robots.  Scavenger has two great modes with the robot mode edging out to be the better one.  The extensive paint applications in robot mode makes him less bland and stand out a lot more than you would expect.  Not only that but he feels very solid and hefty in your hands.


For other Transformers reviews, have a look at this page.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Book Review: Sword Art Online 5: Phantom Bullet

Review:  #497
Title:  Sword Art Online 5:  Phantom Bullet
Series:  Sword Art Online - 5th volume
Author:  Reki Kawahara
Read Before:  no
Comments:  The fifth light novel in the Sword Art Online series begins a new story arc.  A year has passed since the original Sword Art Online was cleared.  Kirito spends his time as a normal high school, with his friends and sister.  In this volume, he is approached by the government contact that was by his side when he woke up from Sword Art Online.  In game called Gun Gale Online, a virtual MMO where players carry guns to fight against other players, someone called Death Gun seemingly has the ability to shoot someone in the game, thereby killing them in real life.  Kirito accepts the proposal to enter the game and find out the identity of this masked gunner.  It is an intriguing plot but something that is not utilized in this volume.  Instead, we are introduced to a new female character by the name of Sinon.  The volume alternates between Kirito and Sinon’s viewpoints; we learn a lot of the backstory regarding Sinon.  A lot of reflection and reminiscence take place, including the psychological effects from Kirito’s time in Sword Art Online.  The climax of the light novel was one of the best parts as we see Kirito’s unique style in the gunfights (bringing a sword to a gunfight…) and seeing the two characters Kirito and Sinon play off against each other.  It did take a bit too long to set up the whole story but the tale spun still captures you.
Rating:  6.5/10

Friday, June 26, 2015

Toy Review: Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Devastator

Review:  #246
Name:  Devastator
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Decepticon
Line:  Generations - Combiner Wars
Year of Release:  2015
Size Class:  Titan
Variations:  SDCC version features more paint and chrome; TakaraTomy version features more paint and remolded parts for the individual robots as well as a head gimmick


Devastator comes in a huge box with an extremely nice piece of artwork on the front.  It calls out that there are six Voyager classed figure but truth be told, some of the Constructicons are larger than Voyager class.

The back features the combined mode as well as the individual bots.  It calls out that the stock photo is actual size, with Devastator being approximately 45cm tall.

Like with most Combiner Wars toys, Devastator comes with a collector's card featuring the same artwork as on the packaging.

Devastator comes packaged in individual modes, using a cardboard tray.  A bit empty and bland but hey, it's not as if you are going to display him like this.

You get a bunch of accessories, which are his combiner arms, pieces of his gun and his chestplate pieces.

Devastator is a bit light in terms of extra optional accessories but it gets much better.


Onto the individual robots... which will be separately reviewed over the coming days.  Sorry, otherwise this review would have been even longer than it already is.

True to their G1 selves, all six Constructicons are present in their neon green and purple glory.  Yes, no more multi-colored teams!

As you'd expect, they look good together and as a team, bringing a very cohesive feeling.

The designers has gotten the homage spot on, including all the correct names and alternate modes.

Of note is that the accessories are able to be stored in vehicle mode.  The two winged chestplate pieces can be attached to Scrapper (although it looks weird).

The remaining pieces can attach to Long Haul on his bed and on top of the cab.  Again, this looks stupid but at least it's an option and you won't have loose pieces anywhere.

In robot mode, the Constructicons are equally striking, each one big and bulky, especially Long Haul.

A lot more color is shown here, purple, silver and red being the main additions.  The consistent aesthetics gives a strong team atmosphere.

Not many complaints for the individual robot modes apart from some articulation restrictions.  Truth be told, if they couldn't combine, they are still fairly good toys by themselves.


Where to begin.  Combiner Wars Devastator is the perfect balance of difficulty and ease.  He is fun to transform and simplistic enough so that you don't have to spend too much time on it and more importantly, you're not afraid to do it again and again.  While I was initially skeptical of him being large for largeness' sake, it really helps with the transformation as you have bigger, thicker pieces to manipulate.  There are some clever sequences such as how his torso clips together and especially how his legs attached (very unique and innovative).  While slightly disappointing that he wasn't a fully self-contained combiner, he is very close since Scavenger and Bonecrusher integrates a portion of his forearms and you only clip on the fists and bigger forearms.  One of the biggest surprises was how well the combined-exclusive joints were hidden.  Playing with only the individual robots, you wouldn't have found half of the additional joints!  A satisfying and ingenious transformation that does not disappoint.


Where to begin, oh, Devastator, you are so awesome.  Seriously though, he looks fantastic in this mode and even better in hand.

What's really decent is the lack of kibble.  He really only has Long Haul's bed on his back (which makes an excellent place for gripping the figure by the way) and Hook's arm attachment.

The headsculpt is sublime.  He has the visor in the general release of the toy (the SDCC version has two distinct eyes and the TakaraTomy version has a gimmick to switch between the two).  The head can only turn from side to side.

Of course, one of his biggest selling points is his huge size.  While not on par with Generations Metroplex, he is still massive, towering over Deluxe and Voyager classed figures.

A lot of people are using this Devastator as a stand-in for the Masterpiece line, which works somewhat since he's detailed enough in terms of sculpting.

Lastly, Devastator absolutely towers over any of the other Combiner Wars gesalts.

An annoying element is Hook's crane sticking so far out the back.  If only the designer could have made it collapsing or somehow fold out of the way a bit more.

The sculpting on the toy is very impressive.  Have a close-up shot of the chestplate, you can see how intricate some of the details are.  The chestplate also pegs in multiple places, which helps hold Hook, Scavenger, Bonecrusher and Long Haul together.  That's what you'd notice with this toy, there are multiple tabs to hold the whole thing together.

He has a nice waist plate too, with added paint applications.  The plates can swivel up to allow the hips more articulation.

Another neat thing is that they managed to mimic the G1 toy by having Hook fold in half to form the upper torso.

Truth be told, I was one that was annoyed at the asymmetry caused by Scavenger's treads being purple and Bonecrusher's being green, even though it is G1 accurate.  While rectified in the SDCC and TakaraTomy versions, it is not as bad in hand.

Devastator is mainly green, as you'd expect.  Most of the paint applications are int he waist piece, head and chestplate.  It's the bare minimum though and some more paint wouldn't have hurt. As it is, his sheer size and the relative blandness of the G1 toy helps distract you from this fact.

His hands are semi-articulated.  The thumb is fixed and the rest of his fingers are jointed as one, so he can open and close his hands.  He has wrist swivels too.

Articulation is excellent, he has all the standard poseability of a contemporary figure and ironically, has better articulation than some of the individual bots!

I really like how only the upper part of  Scavenger's and Bonecrusher's alternate modes act as the upper arm for movement, since it gives Devastator a more athletic appearance.

Perhaps the best aspect of the figure is how stable and sturdy he is.  Thanks to all the tabbing (with enough tolerances and clearances to make it work), he is like your typical action figure, albeit much larger.  You can hold him from any spot and he won't fall apart.

Devastator's only weapon is his gun, which is formed by combining two pieces together (one of Long Haul's gun and Scrapper's bazooka).

The gun can be held in either hand and can only be held by Devastator due to the rectangular peg.  While it doesn't tab into the hand, he holds it well enough.

You can put Devastator in a variety of poses.  His articulation includes (but is not limited to):  hips, knees including swivels, shoulders, elbows, waist, wrist and neck.

Devastator has strong ratchets in load bearing joints such as his waist and knees.  This gives him much needed stability in more dynamic poses.

Devastator is also very hefty.  Even though the individual robots have hollow parts wherever they can, this is the one time I'm glad that they did because any more, and Devastator will have trouble standing.  Something rare these days is also that Devastator feels very substantial in your hands, with the plastic quality being a little bit better and thicker than normal.

Unfortunately, Devastator doesn't have ankle swivels so that it can be hard for him to grip on a smooth surface (warning:  do not attempt dynamic poses on a glass table because he will not be able to hold it).

Did I mention that he towers over nearly all Transformers?  It is ridiculous at how big he is, even for an adult.  It makes you feel like a kid all over again.

He also scales quite well with Legends sized figures (even if that was not the scale the G1 cartoon was in).  Love how he can hold Legends figures in his hands as he is about to smash them to pieces.

For those who were worried that his knees were situated too high, have no fear because they look a lot more natural in hand.

You might have already picked this up but I am a huge fan of Devastator and this robot mode is pure bliss.  I cannot find much fault in the engineering of the figure at all.


Retailing for around US$150, it is a lot of cash for a toy, one that is not as big as Metroplex.  What makes Devastator trump Metroplex, however, is that he is thirteen toys in one.  Not only is Devastator comprised of six components, those individuals each have two distinct modes.  The engineering that have gone into this figure is impressive and clever.  Devastator is clearly the strongest mode of the set and no matter what version you get, Combiner Wars Devastator is absolutely recommended.  Go out and buy one NOW.


Reviews for the individual robots will be put up soon and will be available from this page.

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