While Optimus Prime seemed like a gimme to be included in the initial Transformers ULTIMATES! series, the other three figures in the wave provide some definite fan service and unexpected inclusions that Super7 is known for. Let’s check out the rest of the series.
Yes, poor Optimus Prime is going to have his robot hands full with these guys. Rounding out wave one are Bombshell, Bonzai-Tron, and Ghost of Starscream and I think unexpected is probably a good word for this assortment. Sure, Starscream as a character makes sense, but did anyone see the ghost version coming before the initial announcement? The same can be asked about the Action Masters, but that is what makes their inclusion so fun. Super7 is balancing main cast with some more obscure offerings to provide a pretty eclectic group right from the outset, and with the craziness continuing in the subsequent waves, the unexpected promises to be one of the funnest aspects of this line.
In several ways, you can take the design cues established with OP and spread several of them over to these three Decepticons. Most of the articulation scheme is pretty constant and the scaling keeps these guys big and chunky, but not quite as imposing in terms of stature as Prime. Nothing beats that iconic red and blue, but funky neons and translucent plastic of these three make for a lot of fun in terms variety, and is often the case, I am surprised by favorite figures now that I have them in-hand. There is just something about these two Action Masters, who I most certainly know the least about, that makes them standout and charming. In short, they are pretty perfect inclusions for this line.
GHOST OF STARSCREAM
Now, you had to expect that you would be getting a Starscream in this line, but did you expect the first offering to be the GHOST version? You are a liar if you said you did! However, while I want and fully expect the eventual standard version, this translucent glittery specter is a fun twist on a classic character. Super7 has a long history of using glow-in-the-dark and clear plastics in their lines, so this version is right in the their wheelhouse.
I have to say that he looks really, really good, and comes with all of the strengths of the Optimus Prime figure when it comes to construction and articulation. He is a lighter figure due to all the hollow plastic, but he does not feel fragile in the least. Nothing in terms of his joints or movement has been sacrificed, indeed – he has several more points thanks to his wings and arm guns. Plus, his elbows get considerably more movement thanks to the design. I also really appreciate the ball pegs on the arm guns and wings – both of which are removable.
I think people will instantly recognize this a the most fun figure of the series, even if the argument can be made that this version of Starscream isn’t essential. The glitter-inset plastic is very eye-catching and everything has been cleanly executed, which is really important with a figure like this.
Not one, but TWO Action Masters in this first series, and again, there is no way you called that one. I can comfortably admit that I don’t know all that much about Bombshell, but his colors and overall design make for a very fun toy. Plus, he comes with his friend? pet? servant? life partner? Needler, so get ready for some crazy head-swapping opportunities. He also has a couple of blasters and the swappable hands to help accommodate them.
Bombshell’s articulation is good overall, but much like Prime, he has a couple of spots of limitation, even with the better elbows and more hip clearance, and the amount of points remains about the same. His shoulders are limited in the their in and out movement by nature of his character design. The front and back motion is fine, but those high should pad things do inhibit the outward movement. Still, Bombshell, like Banzai-Tron certainly feels very “action figure-ish” in a good way. Like yes, this is still a robot that can transform (even though these figures do not), but at the same time, the joints and some of the construction elements feel more like a figure than a typical Transformer. I don’t know, I might be crazy or not articulating what I am trying to say well, but while this is a Transformers character, it is very much an ULTIMATES! figure.
Okay, Banzai-Tron instantly gets the award for my favorite Transformer name in the is assortment. He needs to team up with the TMNT and they can coordinate their battle calls. Yes, I know he is a villain, the third one of this wave, but I feel like I can yell “BANZAI-TRON!” and take on the world. Like Bombshell, he is an Action Master, so that subsection of the property is really shining with this wave.
I really love the design of this character. Yes, the colors are even more garish than Bombshell, but the head shape and overall silhouette is unique, at least amongst this group, and there is a sleekness that adds to the projection of his evil persona. Razor Sharp is a wacky sidekick inclusion, and I would assume that with normal changing Transformers, the cannon for the “head” would fold out, but since these are specifically not able to be transformable, it is a static piece.
Much like his fellow Action Master, Banzai-Tron has that prevailing feel for being an action figure first and foremost, and it fits this style well. I think his articulation is the best of the bunch, and there are no design elements that inhibit the intended range of movement in any of his points. I love the iconic look of Prime, and Starscream is very eye-catching, but Banzai-Tron might be my favorite overall figure in this assortment based on his practical merits alone. This is a very strong figure and I imagine he will be a sleeper in the wave for many collectors.
Transformers are rolling out, and this is one of the best starts to an ULTIMATES! collection yet. All of these figures are rock-solid, and if not for the Optimus Prime elbow thing I mentioned in my previous feature, I would not have any real nitpicks here. Remember, these are meant to NOT transform, and they are have adopted the U! scheme of balancing articulation and aesthetics, so following that formula, these are a lot of fun, and a great start to the line. I am cannot wait for Megatron and Grimlock now.
*Thanks again to Super7 for sending along these figures for a First Look, we really appreciate it.