Sunday, 30 July 2017

Opinion Piece: Power of the Primes

So, with Titans Return winding down, Hasbro looks to the future with its follow up, and the conclusion to the Prime Wars Trilogy with Power of the Primes. After it's official unveil at San Diego Comic Con recently, I've been thinking over the news and leaks that have come from it, and would like to voice my views on the new line.

So first of all, I should state that I have been enjoying Titans Return overall. While some of the figures have been pretty "meh", a lot more have been really entertaining moulds to mess around with. While I do get where some people are coming from, in that it doesn't make the Headmasters from G1 feel as special anymore, and I personally would have liked some of the newer headmasters get the CHUG treatment over some in the line *cough* Sideways *cough* Overload *cough*. I have enjoyed the fact that it’s given some characters new chances at life, some who haven't been seen in years, even decades. Unfortunately, the biggest issue I've had with the line is availability here in Australia. US readers, I hope you like your Wave 5, it’s not going to be seen here until September at the earliest. On top of the US Exclusives like Chaos on Velocitron and Siege on Cybertron, and you have people like me wishing they could get a complete Titans Return set, knowing they may never will. Another issue I've had with the line is a more personal issue. I hate stickers. I hate Sticker details. I can live with them to an extent, if the design is more complicated then basic paint can do, but later on into the line, all the voyagers and leaders started using these foil stickers for everything more complicated then paint and it gets frustrating to see them peel off due to the quality of them. What makes it worse is that they do them for the insignias of the characters too, and I know they've got all sizes of Autobot and Decepticon tampographs they can apply, so to see them as stickers makes them look cheap. I know some people like them, as it is better than no details at all. But there are some characters like Broadside and Megatron which would have benefited with paint and tampographs over stickers. Silver doesn't work on grey plastic.

So, with that out of the way, let me go into Power of the Primes. Starting with its announcement, and I was pretty underwhelmed by it honestly. So, the new gimmick is Powermasters... which does lead to why Powermaster Prime and Overlord were in Titans Return, but that's beside the point. Contained in the new replacement for Titan Master class sets, Prime Masters can be combined with Deluxe, Voyager and Leader class characters to power them up, or used as a weapon in their pretender shells. Prime Masters themselves are retools of Titan Masters, and with the announcements so far, what's confirmed. It feels like a pretty average opening wave.

For the Prime Masters, we have Liege Maximo, which comes with the Skullgrin pretender suit. Doing some research into Pretenders, the first thing that comes to mind is "what's going to fill out the line?", there are thirteen primes, and I think the SDCC panel said there would only be 12 in PotP, but I could be wrong. To compare that to Titans Return, the Titan Masters were at bot 12 by wave 3. If my predictions are correct, there are going to be 6 waves of both Titans Return and probably Power of the Primes, and there are more pretenders, 33 not counting Classic Pretenders and Japan exclusives. Who's going to make the cut? Are we getting normal Powermasters too?

Moving onto the Legends class, and the way they sold this, it makes it sound like they're characters they couldn't fit into Titans Return, because the way they interact with Prime Masters is exactly the same as how most Legends class bots interacted with Titan Masters, riding in the vehicle modes. Not to insult Beachcomber fans, but the initial push for me wasn't there for me. The other thing for me is that we seem to be getting a lot of Autobot Legends class characters lately, and while I don't know if was like that in G1, from my perspective I'd like to see some more decepticon legends class characters.

On to Deluxe, and this is where things get a bit more interesting. Three characters were revealed officially, Jazz, Dreadwind and Darkwing. Jazz I'm honestly surprised wasn't in Prime Wars sooner, just due to the nature of the character, but Dreadwind and Darkwing have my interest. While yes, they do use Combiner Wars parts (hello Galvatronus limbs), they also do have a vehicle combined mode like their original toys to create Dreadwing. I personally enjoy gimmickformers depending on how the gimmick is implemented, its why I enjoy the Cybertron line, so something like this is more interesting for me as it adds some more originality to the line, makes them feel more unique. I admit I'm hesitant to see the execution of the Prime Master gimmick in this and the voyager class, because I can see things going badly depending on the execution.

Onto the Voyager announced, and this almost killed my interest. Starscream. I have mixed feelings about Starscream, it really depends on how he's written, but in terms of toys. Starscream often comes with the promise of the Seekers. Skywarp and Thundercracker at least, cone heads maybe, the "Something Storm" ones if they're reaching hard, so when I see a Starscream, my first thought is "Oh Primus we're going to have waves of just that mould as voyagers aren't we?". Also, can we please pull back on sticker details?!

Last, but not least, the confirmed Leader class characters. Rodimus Prime, and Optimus Primal. While we haven't seen Primal, we have seen Rodimus and Rodimus does make up for Starscream (before leaks). The fact that this is the first Rodimus that lets you turn Hot Rod into Rodimus without trailer kibble. That genuinely excites me, and the figure itself looks great. He's one I definitely want to get.

Overall, the official announcement was mediocre for me. But, what did get my interest in the line was the leaks. Now, I'm not going to post the images of the leaks here, as I'd rather not risk Hasbro wanting me to take this post down, as I'm pretty sure they're image hunting them. I do encourage you look around for them though if you want to see what they look like.

According to the leaks, incoming characters include (and if these names are wrong, they are phone camera captures of a computer screen, I am trying here):

Prime Masters (I can't see some of their pretender shells..): Micronus Prime, Vector Prime and Metalhawk, Alchemist Prime, Alpha Trion, Quintus Prime and Bludgeon, Megatronus and Bomb Burst, Solus Prime and Octopunch
Legends: Slash, Windcharger, Skrapnel Rerelease, Battleclash?, three that I can't see the names for, Cindersaur
Deluxe: Slug, Swoop, Snarl, Sludge, Rippersnapper, Moonracer, Cutthroat, Blot, Simmertwin Novastar,
Voyager: Grimlock, Hun-Gurr, Elita-1, Inferno, a Grimlock repaint, Predacons (to make Predaking)
Leader: Optimus Prime, Rodimus Unicronus (Rodimus Prime Repaint), an Optimus Prime rerelease?, Optimus Primal, a Rodimus Prime rerelease?

Now, there's a lot to unpack here, and many wouldn't recognise the names, so... The Prime Masters are going to be who you expect, their pretender shells though, not so much. Not much to say on Legends due to the quality of the picture, we're getting G1 Dinobots in Deluxe and Voyager scale, Predaking and Abominus incoming, lots more fembots, with Moonracer and Novastar getting toys for the first time ever, and Leader Class is looking to get really old, really fast, and is the one thing about this leak I'm hoping is fake. 3 waves in a row of Rodimus Prime? I like the look of the mould, I don't like it that much, especially since there are other characters who deserve the CHUG Treatment. Overall though, this leak was what got me excited for the upcoming line, because of the new characters, that don't get a lot of toy treatment, if at all. Again, my only issue is the leaders.

While the leaks have given me more interest in the line overall, what really interests me is what could be coming. The main ones for me being Leader Star Saber and Deathsaurus. The other Powermasters like Doubledealer, Joyride and Slapdash? Some characters that were Japan exclusives? Something that justifies the S in Generations that isn't G1 related? There's a lot of possibilities here that I hope gives the Prime Wars Trilogy a strong note to end on. One way to find out, maybe some of the leaks will be shown off in Hascon (I'll admit that Titans Return Arcee looks really nice). Anyway, see you in the next review.

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