Manic Ramblings and Delerious Ranting re: Machine Wars 3/13/97 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 impressions... 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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