Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Rambings

Manic Ramblings and Delerious Ranting
re: Machine Wars

  My continually fruitless search for Airazor drove me to break down and
buy a whole buttload of Machine Wars today, four minis plus Sandstorm.  My

   The small jets generally look like Cyberjets that didn't make the grade
during the G2 days.  They have many similar features; Megaplex's legs, for
example, have the same kind of 'flattened' thrusters that Hooligan does;
they also have the mini landing gear.  Megaplex's cockpit also is
startlingly similar to G2 Smokescreen (aka Darkwing if you're me), which I
consider the prototype Cyberjet. The transformations are virtually the
same, though considerably simplified:  the arms are simply left to hang
under the wings, whereas the Cyberjets have intricate systems to swing the
arms up under the main body, out of sight.  I much prefer the latter
system.  (Of course, ALL of these are really just variations on the basic
Veritech style of jet transformation.) Beyond the arms, the major weakness
of the MW jets is that the legs don't snap into place in jet mode; you
have to rely on the stiffness of the ball joints to hold them up, and
even then they tend to flop around.  There's also a small fin on the back,
that keeps them from folding up more neatly against the chassis.
Annoying.  It is this kind of lack of attention to detail that really
bothers me; it was that kind of detail that made the Cyberjets so great. 

   The hidden weapon gimmick makes good and clever use of the extra space
in the lower legs; I actually had to consult the instructions to find the
gun parts.  I love the long, rifle-like weapons. Megaplex is one of the
few TFs that can really used both hands to hold and support his weapon.
It's good to see some REAL guns again, after over a year of weird Beast
Wars body-part weapons.

   Megaplex is pretty darn cool!  I love his robot mode coloring, his
face, his weapon... even the jet mode looks okay, though it has a bit too
much undercarriage junk.  You'd think the company that made the Cyberjets
could do a little better.  I like the long 'extensions' that hang off the
backs of his elbows, though they limit his arms' maneuverability, by
banging up against his wings.

   Thundercracker didn't impress me nearly as much, for two main reasons: 
his colors are awful, and he doesn't fold up correctly in robot mode. More
specifically, the pivot bar that brings his cockpit down to become his
chest runs into his main body, before the cockpit is all the way down. As
a result, he doesn't look quite 'finished'.  A bit of extra plastic on the
end of his forearms keeps his arms from moving smoothly at the elbow
joint, another small detail that shouldn't have been overlooked.
Fortunately, it's one that is easily corrected with a bit of sandpaper.
The best thing about Thundercracker, though, is that if you replace his
brown with a light grey-white color, you get: the G2 comic legions of
Jhiaxus!! Yes, kids, go out and buy ten or twenty Thundercrackers, and you
too can have epic battles against faceless armies, combat the Swarm, and
slaughter all your favorite G1 characters! 

   Mirage... ehh.  He's so-so.  His legs just don't look right, for some
reason.  And his posability is severly compromised by that spoiler
hanging down out front.  With a bit more foresight, that thing could
easily have been made to hinge out of the way.  Despite its shortcomings,
though, this is by far the closest to what Machine Wars should have been
-- newer, nicer, updated versions of the original characters.  The MW
Mirage is far from a perfect toy, but it is close to a perfect Mirage.

   Visually, Sandstorm ROCKS.  He is one bad-*ss helicopter, and a decent
robot.  Nicest touch:  the clear engraved G1 Autobot symbol on top of his
cockpit.  I also liked the clear rotorblades.  However, I'm disapointed in
the lack of posability; it would have been very easy to insert elbow
joints, and separate his legs at the knees (the latter would be so easy,
in fact, that I might get out my hacksaw and do it myself.)  It'd be nicer
if the missle launchers had missiles, and fired them.  And I dislike
having the blades hang off the back in robot mode. 

   I haven't even opened Hoist, yet, so you'll be spared that bit of
babble... maybe later.

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