BadcubeAt TF Con Badcube's Evil Bug Corps value pack went on early sale exclusively through Ages 3 and Up. While existing releases were on display there was no sign of the Sunstreaker inspired Sunsurge which Badcube really need to get right after the overcomplicated and easily broken Wardog. It's been a rocky road for Badcube from day 1 but slowly they are winning people over and Sunsurge is their big chance to put their past behind them.
BeelzebossReturning from obscurity with a bang, Beelzeboss appeared at the China Joy event showing off their new upgrade set for Generations Nightbeat, a set of weapons for Generations Chromia and Windblade along with an upgrade set for Generations Trailcutter. Their big reveal was a huge add on set for Combiner Wars Optimus Prime which looks a little similar to another company's work. Beelzeboss and their other brand, Guilty, do good work although they aren't afraid to copy existing designs.
|So. Much. Want.|
Cloud 9Already causing a huge fuss are newcomers Cloud 9 with their first release - an MP sized Shockwave called Quake Blast. Fans Toys have claimed that the figure is heavily based on their own Quakewave and is essentially stealing their design, which is interesting coming from a company who essentially steals Hasbro designs. Also alleged is that Cloud 9 is Gigapower under a different name.
Corbot VAlso returning after a long break are Corbot V with their first full figure - an Allicon named Project Reyes.
Dr WuFollowing on from the upgrades for Wheeljack, it made sense that the Doctor would be back with more Masterpiece upgrades - this time a jetpack compatible with both versions of MP-21 Bumblebee.
At TF-Con Dr Wu also unveiled 'Companion', a static Carly figure which scales with Masterpiece figures.
Also revealed is Dr Wu's first full figure Vigourous Mixer which is intended to replace Mixmaster in the Titan Devastator team of Constructicons. It's more detailed and gives a better proportion to the cab.
DX9 continue to impress and seemingly outdo their parent company Unique
Toys. UT showed Provider (Masterpiece Octane) and Buzzing (Blurr) at TF
Con and teased a Blitzwing release but many seem indifferent to these releases and the knee issue with
Seigfried has done them no favours.
On the other hand, DX9 have
built on the successes of Invisible, Chigurh, Cocomone. their Megatron
upgrade kit and War in Pocket line with the upcoming Carry, the
impressive Hulkie which is a small scale Devastator and their new
legends scale Megatron, Mightron.
Bolstering the line further is a Legends sized Arcee known as Leah!
Bizarrely at TF-Con Fans Toys didn't have much to show other than prototypes of their Insecticons which are bigger than expected. With FT-04T and FT-04X Scoria repaints shipping, Fans Toys have announce further Scoria repaints in G2 and Diaclone colours. Sever will also be getting Diaclone and G2 editions while an extra dinosaur head piece is being sold separately for Scoria to give the toy the "smoked" G1 look.
There has been no further news on their Jetfire project but with a Quakewave reissue, a G1 toy coloured reissue and a clear version, plus a distinct possibility of Diaclone coloured Insecticons and Willy, a Masterpiece style Hound, it wouldn't be advisible to hold your breath while waiting for it.
FansprojectOne of the big things with third party is the constant "I know someone in the know and he told me..." statements. The recent one was that Fansproject were giving up on Transformers style designs and moving on to other projects which did seem possible given that Fansproject had been eerily quiet since the titanic flop that was MADLAW. As usual the rumour mongers were proved totally wrong.
At TF Con the remaining Exo Lost Realm figures (aka Dinobots) were unveiled: Snarl, Grimlock and surprisingly, a female Raptor with ridiculous breasts.
|Picture courtesy Ages 3 and Up|
In addition to the convention exclusives Knight and Combes Robin, the rest of the Function X line was unveiled. The major news from Fansproject was that they'd be tackling the Japanese G1 combiner Dinoking, and teased Monstructor by showing a Wildfly figure.
|Picture via TFW2005 who stuck their logo over Fansproject's.|
Generation ToyWarbotron's designer is on board for Generation Toy's first release - a huge Warbotron sized Devastator called Gravity Builder! All 6 parts are scheduled to be out by the end of the year but more likely are the same delays and 18 month wait that we saw with Warbotron.
Some people just can't get a lucky break and Gigapower seem to be in that category. A nice group of guys who have had a number of issues to contend with are seemingly preparing to release the chrome version of their spectacular Guttur. However, their competitor, Fans Toys have alleged that they have hired away Gigapower's designer. Considering Fans Toys lost their own designer of their Iron Dibot line it's expected that Giga's designer will now be in charge of getting FT's last Dibot together. The seemingly never ending soap opera of Gigapower and Fans Toys looks to carry on...
GuiltyStrangely, Guilty appeared at China Joy showing off Data Disc designs compatible with War For Cybertron Blaster and Soundwave. Data Discs had been solicited by Guilty two years ago and then were dropped by retailers when the designs turned out to be stolen from Shapeways. Are these new designs, will they see the light of day this time around, does anyone care? The answer to all three is 'probably not'.
Following the release of Transistor KFC went very quiet and the release of Fader seemed to quietly vanish as KFC concentrated on their X-Transbots brand instead. KFC have now reappeared touting their Transistor repainted as Broadcast and the cancelled Junkion designs. Will the Junkion designs see release this time? Prototype pictures of their version of Reflector have appeared but with stiff competition from Fans Toys and Maketoys, will KFC's vision get a look in?
MaketoysFloundering since their ill thought out double whammy of Quantron and Utopia last December, Maketoys only released repaints exclusive to their own store since then. However at TF-Con, Maketoys brought a rocket launcher to the proverbial knife fight as they simultaneously launched Cupola, a massive MP scaled version of Chromedome.
On show were the first 3 parts of their Guaria (Defensor) combiner and their Visualizer (Reflector) set. There were teases of MP scaled Targetmasters and the Powermasters Darkwing and Dreadwind along with Megatron and Starscream!
However, it's safe to say that of the imminent releases, one of the most anticipated is their version of Tailgate with add on parts for Universe Cyclonus.
MT have been on a serious roll as they also unveiled prototypes of Hardhead and Wrestle (Grapple), Hellfire (Inferno) and Gundog (Hound). Not to be outdone by Fans Toys, Gundog will be released in two colours - cartoon accurate and G1 toy accurate.
MastermadeHot on the heels of their Super Deformed Metroplex, comes the Super Deformed Trypticon, Diabolus Rex! The SD style isn't a major hit outside Asia but it's hard to deny how cool this Zoid-like figure is.
Mastermind CreationsSince Feral Rex, MMC have seemingly struggled after making a ton of announcements but then being very slow to follow up on them. Some questionable releases and the hugely over budget which in turn made it very expensive, Cynicus, plus parting ways with Ceno Kibble and using Cassie Sark less, both of whom were with the company from day 1, has jeopardised their arguable position as king of the third party mountain.
Finally we got to see pictures of their massive Carnifex (Overlord) figure though which was announced close to two years ago!
Continuing the IDW theme, we've seen more pictures of Commotus (Turmoil), Anachus (Kaon) and Kultur (Tarn). Considering the limited readership figures of IDW's Transformers comics, it's hard to see these figures translate into big money for MMC. Commotus hasn't been in the IDW universe for the last 18 months, Anachus will have reasonable success but it's hard to see Kultur getting to market as Hasbro is likely to hammer all retailers with cease and desists over the Decepticon logo which is the character's mask.
Also announced were Alpha and Beta (Decepticon Drift and Drift respectively), Sphynx (Mirage) and hopping on the bandwagon, more Insecticons.
Mayhem MekanicsWhile not Transformers related as such, these transforming robots are worth mentioning. Cassie Sark and Ceno Kibble are two of the most prolific workers in the third party industry, famed mainly for their work for MMC from the company's start through to their most significant release, Feral Rex and the upcoming Carnifex. Now the two are teaming up to create their own vision. Mayhem Mekanics announced their Unrustable Bastards line at last year's Auto Assembly but then in the year since, there's been silence. At TF-Con pictures were shown of the UB toys and the idea is certainly a unique one.
The transforming robot bikers all share the same base body and colour scheme as the idea is that a motorcycle club would have a uniform look, but instead of multiple figures there is only one figure with multiple accessories so you can choose which of the seven characters you want to display. If you decide you want all seven then you'll need to buy seven figures. As the Bastards travel to different planets in their accompanying stories, their colour schemes will be changed for each release.
While this seems to be a continuation of the repaint syndrome we see so often, there is potential here. If MM include sticker sheets to customise the robots more or perhaps release accessory packs, the Unrustable Bastards line has the possibility to continue the idea that Stikfas used successfully for a number of years.
MegasteelThe bizarrely named Generations scaled Megatron, Granville, has been retitled a much more suiting, 'Tronus'. This impressive and heavy figure is apparently good quality and seems set to surprise when it hits the market in August.
Perfect EffectWith Leonidis about to be released, it seems Perfect Effect are content to carry on releasing add on kits for Combiner Wars including an Optimus kit that Guilty seem to have been 'inspired by' and an impressive add on set for Devastator.
Shadow Fisher StudiosAs it's impossible for only one company to release a product, Shadow Fisher are joining in with the Devastator upgrades.
TFC ToysFor a company that was virtually dead in the water, TFC's versions of Ratchet and Ironhide were expected to be the death knell of the company. However they've announced their own version of Hound (what is it with Dinobots, Devastator add ons and Hound?) and in a move that took everyone by surprise, revealed Minos and Thanatos, the first two parts of the G1 Japanese combiner Liokaiser!
WarbotronUnfortunately for Warbotron, the reveal of the final combined mode of their Computron homage was met with a cool reaction as fans complained that the arms were way too big. So far nothing past the current combiner has been announced but with a rift in the camp, will Warbotron be carrying on?
X2 ToysAnother company returns from oblivion! X2 are offering an upgrade kit for Masterpiece Ultra Magnus to give wider shoulder movement and a new weapon.
X-TransbotsThe test shots of Andras (Scourge) have begun appearing as have pictures of the resin prototype of Eligos (Cyclonus). Digital versions of Boost and Hatch (Windcharger and Tailgate) have reappeared but the only mini seemingly close to production is their version of Beachcomber.
There are plenty of other releases out there but very little to report on them. Voodoo Robots seem to be forging on with their Ironhide and Ratchet inspired releases, Omnigonix's version of Sunstreaker is increasingly unlikely it seems to see light of day with Transform and Rollout's Hova (Jazz) is looking more impressive as time goes on. Play With This Too continue to show impressive prototypes after their very nearly successful crowd funding effort. That's it for now and remember most of these can be bought at www.masterforce.co.uk