Friday, March 29, 2013

Twin Spin and Toptwist. I can't be bothered to look up the correct names.

One of the solicits at Big Bad Toy Store this month, and probably the same solicit at your local comic shop, is a case of new Fall Of Cybertron deluxes. One of the robots is the earlier feared FOC Whirl, and it looks like he's one of five robots, along with Roadbuster, IMPACTOR, Twin Twist and Topspin, that are retools of the Combaticons from this line. They are known to many fans (of nearly every comic series) as the Wreckers...

...who of course didn't combine (in any of the comics series). But, because they are retools (new heads, new weapons, new terrible paint jobs) they combine to form "Ruination."

What is right and wrong about these? Impactor gets his first TF figure. I already talked about Whirl's weird paint job (and I still dig my Headrobots kit, but I'd love a More Than Meets The Eye Whirl), now we have Whirl's "Deluxe Autobot" partner Roadbuster. And then we get two of the most loathed Transformers names of all time, as far as the G1 toys go.

I've never been sure of why the Wreckers ever got any love in the first place other than that it was a way to give exposure to a bunch of figures who weren't featured in the cartoon, and the writers of the Marvel comics had the freedom to showcase them as a group (of which they couldn't be less similar, design-wise). A crack team of Autobots who play by their own rules, independent of Prime's leadership or something, I don't remember. I never got into that, especially because it's hard to follow along with some of those Marvel comics, but the 'legacy' of the group lived on in other publishers' attempts, particularly in the miniseries "Last Stand Of The Wreckers." Springer was the most popular character (though not the leader) while other obscure characters rotated in various positions. "Oh yeah, I was a Wrecker once too," says Teletraan-2. (I don't know.)

Hasbro has to milk each figure mold, so re-using the FOC Combaticons and taking advantage of one of the best parts of the video game shouldn't hurt in resurrecting five obscure characters while taking (not exactly undeserved, as they are Hasbro's characters) license with the fact that the Wreckers didn't combine. So, in doing so, they use a name they have a trademark on, Ruination, and apply it to the Wreckers in this Classics/Universe/Generations G1 homage continuity...

...and in doing so, they also update Topspin and Twin Twist.

You might be amused by this if you're a fan of G1 Transformers, and maybe excited about their new Generations figures. Once upon a time, Topspin and Twin Twist were two exciting new G1 Autobots called "Jumpstarters," pull-back motor powered figures with a spring powered switch that would automatically transform the alt-mode (blocky plane/tank thing, blocky drill) into a robot. They were packaged in the regular sized (comparatively) Autobot Car boxes, so perhaps there was something special about them.

I didn't even bother to clean the dust off for this pic.
Nope: beyond "automatically" "transforming," nearly every Autobot Minicar has more parts you could move than both of these characters (even, in one or two cases, combined). I don't recall if their arms were strong enough to stay horizontal if you put their oversized guns in their hand pegs. Once transformed, the only motion they can mimic is toe-touching.

The fandom ranges from bemusement at the expense of their cheapness to outright hate (I won't bother to link youtube clips of people destroying these figures with shotguns). They are cheap, by the way, and easy to find with working motors. Perhaps their appearances as Wreckers is their only redeeming quality as far as the fans are concerned.

So, if you check out this listing on BBTS (they are not a sponsor) (but, you know, you've got my phone #), you can see how well they've been "updated." So, rejoice, fandom, for now you have respectable G1 representations.

I for one like having the G1 figures and prefer them over these new ones. WHAT? (note: haven't seen these in person yet.) Their legacy for me IS their cheapness. Kids I knew all had one. They just had ONE. Because they got one and then said "ewww, that'll be it for me." And we remember them as these ridiculous, clumsy parts of an otherwise clever, well designed puzzle toys. They Transform, sure. They're robots. But they still somehow don't fit in.

Keep them that way!

(Rant over.)

PS. You can order a case of 8 figures from BBTS and other retailers (I think comic book stores get the same solicitation through Diamond Previews, ask!). Note the price tag for the set of 5: $100. The set of 8, which includes FOC Prime, Jazz, and Shockwave? $115. SO, you get the first round of FOC Deluxes, which are still on pegs at Targets and Toys R Us-es here there, at basically 5 bucks each. I personally have not seen the Combaticons on the shelf, but I admit to not looking that hard.

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