Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The First of Many

The fans have been clamoring for Transformers reviews and I am more than willing to oblige. But first, a word about the flowers.

Those of you who visited the gallery of flower pictures were probably surprised to see so dang many of them. I admit that I went a wee bit shutter crazy at the Botanical Gardens, but I have my reasons. When I was young, my family, my mom's parents, all the aunts and uncles on her side and their kids would all trek up to Cape Cod for the annual family vacation. One year, we were following my grandparents up, when my grandfather pulled the car off to the side of the road, got out and started taking pictures of these flowers he saw growing on the median. My grandmother was motioning for him to get back in the car, but he continued taking pictures until he was done. Then he got back in the car and we continued driving.

I asked my mom why Poppy would stop to get out of the car and take pictures of a flower when there are flowers everywhere. She told me that when my grandfather was in WWII, he was shot down over Germany and spent 18 months in a German POW camp. The experience taught him that when you see something of great beauty, even if it's a flower on the side of a Massachusetts highway, it's worth your time to get out and take a better look. I probably don't need to tell you that a sentiment such as that is completely lost on an impatient 11 year old, however for a slightly more patient 35 year old, it has some weight. Plus, whenever I see beautiful flowers, I think of my grandfather, and if taking pictures helps me feel closer to who he was, then by Crom, I'm going to take pictures until the film runs out.

Enough heavy stuff. On to the robots.

Between my somewhat cramped schedule and my meager photography skills, I'm not going to fill these reviews with bunches of pictures. I have a review game arriving any day now which will occupy my evenings and honestly, we have such bad lighting at home that any pictures I take will end up all grainy and crappy. Instead, my camera photos will have to do, along with links to galleries of pictures shot by more competent photogs than myself.

Today I'm going to talk about the Real Gear series of robots as I just got them all in the mail yesterday and I love them to pieces. The Real Gear series is based on the idea that the Allspark goes crazy on Earth and transforms regular devices into robots. How an MP3 player decides to align with evil robots bent on Earth's destruction so soon after being transformed into a sentient being is anyone's guess. I find that asking too many questions significantly diminishes my enjoyment of these things.

On to the pictures.

From left to right we have Speed Dial 800 (cellphone), Power Up VT6 (handheld video game machine), Booster X10 (mp3 player and earpiece) and Longview (binoculars).

From left to right we have Zoom Out 25x (camcorder) and Spy Shot 6 (digital camera).

Speed Dial 800
Speed Dial 800's alt mode is a cellular flip phone, complete with camera. As cell phones are pretty dang small nowadays, he's one of the few Transformers that has a life sized alt mode. Not sure if that means anything to you, but I like it. His "display" shows the time of 7:47 on one side which is a cheeky reminder that the movie comes out on July 4th. The other side has the same thing with the Autobot logo, signal strength and battery power. He gets better reception than I do, which is somewhat annoying. As with all of the robots in this series, his transformation is really simple yet entertaining and charming. Also, as with all of the robots in this series, arms and legs will pop off if too much pressure is put on them, which is preferred over having them snap completely off, but if you're planning on giving these to small kids, be prepared to do a lot of ball joint repair. His robot mode is fairly poseable, despite having unnaturally large shins. The joints appear to have the proper amount of stickiness, allowing for poses far more dramatic than the "Hidey Ho!" I have him currently modeling.

Power Up VT6
Power Up VT6 is a handheld video game machine. The fact that he's a Decepticon leads me to believe that Hasbro thinks that video games are evil, particularly Transformer video games, as that's what's being played on his chest. I can somewhat see Hasbro's point with this. After all, if kids are playing video games, they're not playing with Transformers. Oh well, I guess Hasbro will have to just get by with losers such as myself willing to part with hundreds of dollars in the vain hopes that they can reclaim their childhood. Power Up's transform mode is fairly simple, almost too simple as his head, arms and legs are all connected to ease the transformation from robot to game machine. Once you get the mechanics right the fun is somewhat taken out of him, however his alt mode has a bunch of working buttons and who doesn't like buttons. The back of his head is clear plastic, so that if you illuminate him from behind, his eyes not only glow green but peer into your soul and find you lacking.

Booster X10
Booster is the Real Gear version of Laserbeak and I'm just fine with that. The mp3 player transforms into the bird part and the headset just snaps onto his back as a laser cannon. The transform is super easy and his translucent, orange plastic feathers are the shit. He has poseable feet however they are very finicky which, when coupled with his natural front heaviness makes getting him to stand up a bit of a problem. Once you get him posed, don't plan on moving him lest you want to spend the next 15 minutes futzing with his feet. You can't tell from my crappy picture, but you can tilt his head, allowing you to express the full range of inquisitiveness you would expect from a murderous robot bird.

Longview is my absolute favorite. Maybe it's his massive quads, maybe it's his dude-like face, complete with wraparound visor thing. Maybe it's his big upper body that just screams "weight lifter". I don't know what it is, but this figure is just way too much fun to play with and pose. His alt form is a pair of binoculars that have a random robot image in them, however given that my eyes are much farther apart than your average 5 year old, I can't really see what's going on in there. His transform is pretty easy but with an interesting little part where you fold his head out from the recesses of his crotch. Bummer for him that he has to spend all of the time in alt mode sniffing his own nether regions, but maybe he can turn his head off in alt mode. Let's hope so. He's pretty poseable, and given my thinking of him as some sort of musclebound freak, I was compelled to make him flex for the camera. Later on he's going to go and kick sand in Booster X10's face.

Zoom Out 25x
Zoom Out is a camcorder, and as such is one of the tiniest camcorders you'll ever see. He has a flip out display that pictures, surprisingly enough, a giant robot. His focus ring also moves, if you want to pretend that you're actually using a camcorder the size of a box or raisins. He has an interesting transform, including pulling out these wing things from his back. I'm not sure what purpose they serve other than making him look like the offspring of a camcorder and a large beetle. He's not the most limber of the bunch due to the fact that the main camera body makes up his torso with the eyepiece as one shoulder and the lens as another. He can pose a little, as witnessed by my mad posing skills, but you won't be asking him to break out the breakdancing moves any time soon. I do like that he has one eye bigger and redder than the other. It evokes a zoom lens, or a horrific case of pink eye.

Spy Shot 6
Spy Shot is my second favorite of the Real Gear, and it's all because of his head. I can't put my finger on what his face reminds me of, but he's got these big red goggles and this vaguely Devo-ish head. You can get a better idea of what I'm talking about from this picture in the Seibertron gallery. His alt mode is a camera with a working shutter button. When I say "working", I mean "clicking". His transform is fun, if only because when you first pop out his one arm, his head is right there as if to say "Surprise!". I know it sounds stupid, but when I popped out his arm and saw his big Devo head, I laughed out loud. I'm easily amused. I know this now. He's fairly poseable, despite me not having him doing anything but kind of standing there and has a lot more leg range than the other ones. Plus, he's got pincer hands and pincer hands always win.

I promise to get into more detail for the other Voyager and Deluxe class robots and will possibly pen a 5 part editorial for the Leader class figures, but there's not too much you can say about these guys other than they're lots of fun, pretty creative and at 7 - 8 bucks a figure, you can pick up all 6 for slightly more than a Leader class figure.

As promised, here are links to Seibertron.com's super awesome galleries. They have galleries for everyone but Booster X10 so you'll just have to take my word for how cool he is.

Speed Dial 800
Power Up VT6
Zoom Out 25x
Spy Shot 6


Bones said...

Got home from work yesterday and the kid was playing with Speed Dial, so that brings our grand total to two (Spy Shot being the other). I'm sure before it's all over he'll have them all.

suburbanjoe said...

My son wanted nothing to do with Spy Shot when offered, so instead he got a Cyber Slammer Optimus Prime which has sat, unplayed with since the weekend. So much for sharing my childhood. ;)