Advent Calendar Micro-Review: Day 20 The Little Engine that Could Vaporize a Moon

by Tresob Yr
on 2016-12-20, 21:43:55

What’s this I see under the Christmas tree?

Can it be? The most quintessential of all Christmas playthings?

The toy train!

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Well, I think it is a toy train, at least...

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It has a cow-catcher...and wheels...and a cab and...

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A devastating arsenal of energy-based weapons mounted on turrets...

Wait, it’s not a train! It’s a Transformer!

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You sure fooled me, Mr. Decepticon!

Figure Name: Astrotrain

Figure Nickname: Space-choo-choo

Line: Transformers Titans Return

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The good: The robot mode on this guy is pretty good. The head does a great job representing the 1980s cartoon rendition of the character (and looks more like him than the 80s toy actually did). Modern transformers are really marvels of engineering, especially with all of the poseability they achieve in the robot mode. Astrotrain’s robot mode has just about as much articulation as any 6” figure on the market.

One selling point of the original Astrotrain was that he was a triple-changer—turning from robot to locomotive to NASA space shuttle...now it’s more of a generic spaceship with some nods to the original vehicle (like the shape of the wings). Of course, given that the space shuttle has been retired, I guess it doesn’t seem as fun for kids to play with.

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A new feature on the Titans Return line is that all of the deluxe and voyager figures now have detachable heads that transform into little robots. Back when I was a kid, we called these Headmasters...like the guy who runs the prep school...but not anymore. Now they are “titan masters.” Hasbro really seems committed to this gimmick, and now every transformers vehicle mode needs to feature a cockpit for the titan master to sit in. I also think Hasbro has really ramped up the detailing on the molds in an attempt to make the transformer body look more massive, or titanic if you will, compared to the titan master.

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Alternatively, most of these transformers also come with a secondary weapon with another seat for a titan master.

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I’m so old that blowing up these digital pictures are the only way I can see what the titan master looks like.

Don’t ask me to explain the narrative basis for the titan master gimmick, though. I don’t get it, and I tend to try and forget that there is a little person folded up behind the robot’s face.

Oh, here’s a feature that Creature Cantina readers will enjoy...

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Landing gear nipples!

The bad: As cool as this toy is, there are some flaws. First, I’m not entirely convinced by that train. I don’t think anyone is.

Second, there is this...

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Look, I know that Hasbro has been letting the transformers explore all sorts of gender fluidity issues in the comic books, but I don’t think anyone on any spectrum of sexuality/gender really wants to be able to shine light directly through their crotch.

This has been a problem with several transformers as of late (some worse than others), and all I have to say about it is that whomever is designing toys this way at Hasbro should just STOP IT WITH THE CROTCH SPLIT!

Another pet peeve of mine is the hands that fold into the wrists too tightly. This has been a feature going all the way back to the 80s, but sometimes the fists just lock in too hard. Sure, there are little tabs to catch on to with a fingernail, but I’ve watched nails bend backwards trying to use them. Maybe this is a sign of a nutritional deficiency. I should look into that.

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Why do I have this figure: I missed out on the Classics deluxe update of Astrotrain (whose train actually looked like a train), and it was cheaper to buy this new Voyager scale version than buy that one on eBay.

For whom would this make a good gift: Train enthusiasts. Astronauts. Indecisive people.

Mrs. Tresob’s final word: “So he transforms into three things? A train, a robot, and a spaceshuttle? Do you have to pay extra for that?”





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