War For Cybertron: Siege – Further Impressions

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So, the Siege toy line is in full swing, with a whole slew of toys having been released and more on their way! I thought it´d be time to go through the upcoming releases and give my impressions based on the information we have on them so far… For simplicity´s sake I have chosen to divide these new toys into repaints/slight remolds, heavy remolds and new molds, in that order. Again, I do not look closer at Battle Masters and Micro Masters. Without further ado, here we go!

Repaints/slight remolds:

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Red Alert

We have known about this release for quite a while, but recently it finally got officially confirmed. As it is supposed to look like a Sideswipe in another deco, this toy does the job well. Like with Prowl, the light bar for the alt mode can be detached and combined with the rifle, here forming a hammer-like weapon. I am personally not a huge Red Alert fan (despite my quite neurotic personality), but I know he has many fans so I am glad we are getting him.

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G2 Sideswipe

Some time ago I thought “what would be really cool down the road would be a G2 Sideswipe release, his crazy set of weapons just fits Siege´s weapon theme like a glove! Preferably, he would get a new name and become his own character! Let´s see what the future holds…”. Lo and behold, here we are with Covert Clone Sideswipe in the Autobot Alphastrike Counterforce boxset. He is not sporting his classic set of weapons unfortunately enough, but the deco looks as sharp as anyone would expect. This release is not for me, but surely for many others!

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Raindance and Grandslam/Slamdance

This repurposing of Skytread was unexpected to say the least. Apart from having their decos swapped, a tank and a jet forming a robot is very much Raindance and Grandslam, cassette modes missing or not. Personally I however never was a fan of this gestalt being made up of two robot-mode less robots rather than working like the duocon it now borrows its mold from, but I guess it is just a matter of head canon to fix that. All in all, an amusing but not too desirable curiosity, part of the Autobot Alphastrike Counterforce together with Covert Clone Sideswipe and battle master Trenchfoot.

 

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Barricade

I must admit that I never found this concept for a G1 Barricade interesting, that is, to simply make him an evil, black clone of Prowl (good cop, bad cop…). I think he deserves his own design, and I am not a big fan of Autobots and Decepticons sharing molds overall (I think Exhaust should be an Autobot too…). Further, this is not a Prowl in a new deco, but rather Smokescreen in a new deco, which kind of detracts further from the already dubious concept. What is interesting though is that we see that there is now support for shoulder cannons in the mold; the cannons we see mounted on Barricade´s alt mode can obviously stay there for the robot mode as well. Then another gripe comes up, that we don´t get both shoulder cannons and the rifle Prowl has. If I am to say something positive about this release is that the deco itself is very nice looking, and makes especially the alt mode look less like, borrowing TF reviewer Peaugh´s words here, “a bar of soap”. Personally, I´ll however go for Smokescreen and Blue Streak instead.

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Blue Streak

Looks the part, and we get shoulder cannons plus Prowl´s rifle, no complaints here!

Smokescreen

Smokescreen

He looks the part as well, and again we get both shoulder cannons and a rifle!

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Ratchet

Given how good Siege Ironhide looks, his eternal mold-mate should Ratchet should easily look as fine, however, I find something is off with this one… the head sculpt, the random patches of red in the deco… Is the toy in this photo a custom? (If so, the same should be true for the Blue Streak pictured further up this post) I hope further pictures will put this release in a more favorable light.

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Crosshairs

I am not sure Ironhide´s mold was the ideal choice for this character, but it works to some degree I guess. The new head sculpt is based on the cartoon model´s and this a bit alien to me as I am more used to the face of the G1 toy. Overall it is however nice to get Autobot targetmasters at all, I wonder what molds the other will use?

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Red Wing

This is a great looking deco for the Seeker mold, but as a character Red Wing is a non-entity to me, so I´ll pass on this one.

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Thundercracker

This is basically Siege Starscream in blue, which is no more or less what we expect from any Thundercracker toy. In other words, the toy does its job. I have personally never found Thundercracker and Skywarp interesting as characters, since they design-wise feel like clones of Starscream, not even having their own heads sculpts, something which help distinguish most of the carbot remolds from their forerunners. This release immediately gave rise to the question “where is Skywarp?”…

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Skywarp

…a question soon to be answered with the reveal of the Decepticon Counterstrike Squadron boxset which includes the black and purple seeker, as well as three (!) Battle Masters. Like with Thundercracker, this toy does its job and completes the classic Seeker trio, I however think that the practice of locking up members of groups in boxsets is a cheap way of milking money out of fans, here a boxset with Skywarp and Thundercracker together would have been a fairer deal. Well, well…

Major remolds:

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Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime

I have no attachment to the Unicron Trilogy but I have always thought Galaxy Prime is a cool Optimus design, and so it is cool to see it get a modern update, as a clever remold of Siege Ultra Magnus. What makes it even more cool in my opinion is however that the core figure is not true to that of the original Galaxy Prime, but rather it is an Optimus whose chest, unlike that of the original toy, is the front of the truck, which however has the same design as that of the original toy. In short, it feels like the core figure the original toy should have had! We now know that the Siege toy designs are being used for the new IDW continuity, and Orion Pax in the comic uses the core figure of this toy for his character design. I think it is a clever way of making this toy desirable to fans that are not into the Unicron trilogy. My suspicion is that when Pax turn into Prime in the comic, he will use the Siege Optimus Prime voyager toy for his character design, calling it now! Overall, I am impressed how different Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime is from Ultra Magnus!

New molds:

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Mirage

This is my first real disappointment in the Siege line. The main reason is the engineering. In alt mode, his arms are clumsily tucked under the spoiler of the car, and in robot mode he has a faux chest! I hate faux parts in general, but especially when it is seemingly not needed at all, and this is such a case. In what way does having that chest make the toy look better? Also, this means his transformation pattern is now completely different from the G1 toy and for example the spoiler does not become his feet in this toy. Further, aesthetically he does not fit in with the overall Siege aesthetic, the render of him does not even have battle damage! It is like he and Impactor (see below), being the winners of a fan vote carried out before Siege was announced, were not designed together with the other figures of this line. The head sculpt is not on point, either. The one positive thing I can say is that he gets both a proper rifle and shoulder cannon, but overall, this toy is a real disappointment to me. In the fan vote that spawned this we could also choose Wheeljack and Tracks, among others. If they do come along down the line, I really hope they are better than this.

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Impactor

Upon its reveal, this figure has gotten a lot of flack from fans. Initially I was also very disappointed, but have warmed up a bit since. My first disappointment was that the toy went for a Marvel UK aesthetic rather than a Last Stand of the Wreckers one, my second one was that he is a deluxe figure and not a voyager, as he should be able to stand eye to eye with either T30 Springer or the upcoming one (see below). The third disappointment was the hollowness of his legs, yikes! Further, while I would not call his alt mode a disappointment, I find it strange that his shoulder cannon is not the main cannon of the tank, but rather the hand-held rifle we also get for some reason. On the positive side though, it is fantastic that Impactor is getting a mainline release at all! Further, the way his iconic arm-mounted harpoon is optional is great! The aesthetic of the figure overall is a little bit wonky, but at a second glance, endearingly so. I´ll get him after all…

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Springer

This is the first proper home-run among the newer reveals. As perfect as T30 Springer was, it is a different beast from G1 Springer, and this toy seems just as perfect an incarnation of the latter iteration of the character! All three modes look perfect, the weaponry is cool, the scale is right. I really think they knocked it out of the part with this one!

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Jetfire

This is the other homerun in this batch of reveals. Just as it is a bit surprising that we never got a G1-based Springer until now, it is surprising that we never got a Jetfire fully based on his Sunbow cartoon character model. But now that we did, what a toy! It looks like the toon come to life in both modes, and has awesome gimmicks like a swappable faction symbol, 5mm ports appearing in the hands when they are closed, the cockpit being able to take a titan master a pilot etc. The articulation also seems stellar with even a waist swivel cleverly worked into the toy. The size of the toy is, being the new Commander Class, I guess, also accurate as G1 Jetfire should tower over average-sized Transformers. This is however my only gripe with the toy, I feel it might be TOO big for my taste. I am afraid that having him in my Siege display will make basically all my other figures look tiny and insignificant, so I am still on the fence about this one. I am also not a fan of the extra parts that helps somewhat creating a Valkyrie look for him which probably drives up the price for a doubtful reward. Overall however, it can´t be denied that this seems to be a masterpiece of a generations toy (ha ha) and I am genuinely curious what other toys this new size class might generate!

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Omega Supreme

This toy is a mixed bag. First, it is very cool that we get Titan Class toys at all, so that huge characters like Omega Supreme can be fully realized in toy form as the behemoths they are supposed to be. So in theory, we should indeed be thankful that we get these toys at all, despite perhaps none of them being “perfect”. In robot mode, Omega Supreme however comes close to perfection; the overall aesthetic, the proportions, the design details, this is undoubtedly the Omega Supreme we all know and love! It however has an inexplicable design choice which in my opinion drags down the full package a bit: the blades on the claw hand being transparent. Maybe I have missed that there will be a light up effect in that hand making the blades glow, but in my opinion it does not help; the transparent plastic of the claw blades make them look brittle, which is the last thing we associate with Omega´s mighty claw hand. I have also seen comments online where fans worry that the plastic in question will be brittle in real life as well, while carrying the weight of that rocket…

Which takes us to base mode, where I think this toy really fails. It looks unfinished. The greatest appeal of the G1 toy in my opinion is that the base mode looks nothing like the robot mode, you marvel at how the two modes belong to the same toy! Part of this is accomplished by how Omega´s legs cleverly detach and split up to become parts of the track, which encircles the base. Siege Omega Supreme does not do that, instead the robot basically sits down with the legs splayed apart some, carrying a now elevated track, which as a result is much shorter and just barely encircles what looks like a decapitated, gutted, armless sitting robot. Part of why it looks like that is that the rocket stands so far from the main body that it is not slightly embraced by the main torso as in the G1 toy. And the rocket is looong, unnecessarily long in relation to the torso, but again, the torso does not really feel like a scaffold for the rocket anymore anyway. Overall, the base mode feels extremely lazy and uninspired, and unfortunately this has turned me off from the toy completely. Concept: Awesome. Execution: Lacking. But Titan Class Devastator has finally got his rival, now let´s hope Fortress Maximus and Predaking soon get theirs (Skorponok and Sky Lynx, respectively)!

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Spinister

Given that for example Siege Crosshairs is just a remold, it is fascinating to see that this character, who never even appeared in the cartoon, is getting his own, unique mold; no doubt because of his prominent role in the IDW comics More than meets the eye and the Lost Light, but still! The figure looks sharp, I am however somewhat irked by the fact that he has two helicopter cockpits in robot mode, one for each leg. This is what Spinister looks like on his G1 box art so it is accurate in that regards, but it also means that he has an extra, faux cockpit that must be hidden away in helicopter mode. Undoubtedly a weird design choice, but not a deal breaker,

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Apeface

This was an even bigger surprise than Spinister, given that his media presence has been even smaller than the Scavenger in question (who was a choice in a fan poll after all), Apeface looks great in robot and gorilla mode, and the jet is,… passable. Most people seem to complain about it being a brick with wings, but while this is true (and not a big deal to me) I am more annoyed that the cockpit has got an unnecessary makeover. Overall though, the figure looks great, and since I had Apeface as a kid I am totally gonna get the Siege one!

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Astrotrain

We got an Astrotrain quite recently in Titans Return, a voyager with a design based on a Don Figuerora concept with a cool futuristic design for the train mode. I however passed on it since I could not accept that the figure, like almost every other bot in the subline, was a headmaster. This new one is not, has its classic three modes (robot, space shuttle, steam locomotive) and is a Leader class figure to boot! I think the latter thing is a good thing, I don´t mind Astrotrain being bigger than Megatron in bot mode (cartoon accurate or not) since he supposedly can transport a bunch of Decepticons including Devastator in shuttle mode… The back half of the locomotive mode looks quite messy and unfinished, but the robot mode is spot on. Insta-buy!

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Summary

While this toy line has its share of repaints/slight remolds it also delivers a whole lot of new molds, and toys of characters whose proper representation we have been waiting for for years (Jetfire, Omega Supreme, a G1 Springer) as well as toys of more obscure but loved characters such as Apeface and Spinister. This toy line continues to deliver, being one of the most exciting in years, and again I can´t wait to see what is coming up next!

 

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