This is a fun set in and of itself, but what the trio of Acid Storm, Ion Storm, and Nova Storm represents is potentially more interesting. There's a fun story about it that I can't tell as of yet, but what you can see is also pretty notable as seven versions of this mold are going to be out in its first year. That may be a record - there aren't many repaints fans like, but generally speaking we rarely turn up our noses at Starscream in new colors. The 3-pack draws inspiration from an episode "Divide and Conquer," in which we go to Cybertron to find the remaining Decepticons all wear one-color footie pajamas all day long. Their alternate modes are spacecraft identical to the models seen in the pilot miniseries "More Than Meets the Eye," and the toys have only slightly more detail than their animated forebears. The characters have been represented in merchandise before, but this is the first time they've been made as Cybertronian jets.
The 6-inch transforming robots are fundamentally the same as Starscream [FOTD #2,081] with less paint and a price to match, but that's not what I love about this set. I've made a lot of chatter about a line's general sense of being definitive, and that's tough these days. We see collector lines come and go, with some updating all the important characters (Masters of the Universe Classics bringing all the 1980s guys back, DC Universe Classics updating all of Super Powers) and some haven't made it after 24 years of comeback victory laps (looking at you, Star Wars Imperial Dignitary, Bespin Security Guard with mustache, and so on.) Hasbro has done a good if slow job updating and upsizing Transformers for collectors, leaving some parts out while introducing new elements. We've never been given a complete update of the original line, but its generally bigger and better reimagining has proven to be pretty fantastic and I daresay an almost definitive update. Generations has, on the whole, given us a lot of the original 1980s line and more - but not everything, not yet.
Updating Starscream is a given with Thundercracker and Skywarp hardly a surprise - but going beyond that is where these lines start to prove their worth. If you like Star Trek you've seen dozens of reinventions of Kirk, Spock, and Picard with precious few new characters that you don't already own a dozen times over. That's where Siege stands out from its previous lines of nostalgia grabs with better articulation, generally sturdier transformations, and loads of new guys. Red Wing, Ion Storm, and Nova Storm have never been sold in stores before - and it has been decades since toys resembling Cog, Brunt, and Sixgun were on shelves. Refraktor as a three-figure update of Reflector brings a toy to store shelves that has never been properly expressed at retail before, plus we're getting updates of never-before-a-toy characters like Lancer and Greenlight alongside weird not-quite-Transformers like "Shackwave." While some of these guys are merely repaints, it feels like Hasbro is trying to give us a new, definitive series of toys that's more than just characters from 1984 with more joints and better paint again. Granted, they're here too - but so are new takes on Impactor, the Powerdashers, and Barricade. With a giant Unicron possibly on the way, it feels like Generations is becoming more comfortable expanding upon Generation One redux in bigger and almost dubious ways. Nobody needs a Starscream and six additional repaints, but here we are, and they're pretty colorful.
The robots are, fundamentally, the Siege Seeker from Cybertron in 3 decorator colors. Molded largely in one color, you can see where Hasbro saved its shined nickels and loose change on each toy - each of which has the exact same paint job. The "battle damage" pattern is even the same as the other Seekers, and they share Starscream's non-smirking head. Hasbro dropped the different colors of plastic used to break up the other toys, and also left elements like the shoulders, knee pads, thighs, and pylons largely uncolored. The quality control has been improved somewhat as the chest plate doesn't fall off during transformation anymore, and the Decepticon symbols are all the correct 3-sided-eye versions and not the diamond-shaped movieverse-inspired variations (like we saw on Starscream, oops.)
The transformations is the same as before - largely painless, with nifty shin-filling pieces and tons of articulation to get you to a crayon-colored Colonial Viper. You're going to love these or hate these - I find the excessive mold detail and battle damage to clash with the simple color scheme, but I'm still glad to have them. The jets don't do anything, but they do look super cool.
Each figure has two 5mm null-ray lasers that sit nicely in the arm's 5mm sockets. With the rotating wrists and double-jointed elbows, you can get some decent personality out of these otherwise samey looking robots. The green Acid Storm stands out as insanely bright, and he reacts under black light like nobody's business - I assume he'll be the main reason people buy this set. Nova Storm in bright yellow is similarly eye-catching, but doesn't sing under a black light. Ion Storm is likely for collectors only, because at first glance he's just a less fancy Thundercracker. Upon closer observation the shades of blue are slightly different, and each has a different face to boot. Were these being sold individually I'd likely drag my feet on the blue Seeker, but lining it up with the others makes me feel like I'm some sort of rich idiot. I have no reason to have so many similar guys, but it's like Clone Troopers or Astromech Droids - after a while it becomes a beast unto itself, and Siege is doing a good job giving us that whole "last hours on Cybertron" vibe that Hasbro promised us. Minus Bumblebee and Wheeljack.
Since I missed on the BotCon Seeker Bitstream, Hotlink, and Sunstorm 3-pack I am delighted to have this one. Unfortunately, it also opens the door for even more Cybertronian seekers. Will we get Voyager-class Bitstream, Sunstorm, and Hotlink? How about Nacelle? And will this insanity carry over to the next round of Earth-mode Seekers we'll inevitably get at some point down the road? Given that this seems like the time to push for the weird, the minor, and the bizarre, I hope someone over there has the courage to go bonkers and do every unmade Seeker they can consider.
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