Toy Review: Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Deluxe Smokescreen

When it comes to Transformers, I’ve always taken quite a different approach to most collectors. With one or two exceptions, I’ve not been one for buying as many toys as possible from specific ranges or aiming for complete sets and buying everything as it is released. I’ve never understood those who have gone out and purchased toys they don’t like just because it’s missing from their collections and it’s needed to fill in a gap. For me I’d concentrated on a couple of favourite characters, a few select toys I really liked (regardless of the range they were from) and then TV-centric toys but again restricting myself to my favourite Transformers shows so predominantly Beast Wars, Robots In Disguise (the original series) and Transformers Prime.

So when I spotted the Beast Hunters version of Smokescreen on sale for half price in a local warehouse store and – inside the packaging at least – looking like a fairly good representation of Nolan North’s character, I thought it would make another great addition to the TF: Prime collection. But was it going to be…?

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How to Transform Transformers into a Modern Day Franchise

When the Autobots first assembled in 1984 and began their onslaught on the mainstream media, the entertainment industry looked very different than it does today. Despite the fact that the toys dominated our view of the brand for most of our childhood, with the G1 cartoon and Marvel UK comics for support, there’s no getting away from the fact that things have changed vastly since then and both for us and fans who are new to the franchise it’s not quite what it used to be… Although the usual suspects such as TV, movies and comic books are all still popular, new mediums such as the internet and mobile platforms have given rise to new opportunities for our sci-fi heroes.

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G1 Plot Holes That Need To Be Fixed Part One – Can Autobots Fly Or Not?

There are still parts of the Transformers Universe that I have yet to explore, but I’m gradually getting there. I used to be a G1 and G1 only guy when it came to Transformers, but over the years I’ve learned to enjoy exploring other iterations such as Armada and Prime.

It was when watching Transformers Prime, and really getting hooked on it, that I had to ask myself a very scary question: “is this better than G1?” There are probably many reasons for me to answer this with an emphatic “yes” but as much as I loved Transformers Prime, it still has to sit very slightly behind G1 in terms of which is my favourite.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, G1 started it all, without G1, we don’t have anything that has come after it. Secondly, the marketing machine that is G1 meant that we got a massive breadth of characters to love as Hasbro tried to entice us to buy more and more robots in disguise. In contrast to this, I was always watching Prime wishing for more characters to be introduced. Thirdly, there are some simply fantastic story lines, I love the fact that back stories were created for the characters and the whole race of Cybertronians. Some of my favourite episodes are those that delve into Cybertron’s past, show us glimpses of what Cybertron used to be like and where the Transformers came from. Lastly, and most important for me, G1 brought us Transformers the Movie, but if you’ve read issue 17 of The Cybertronian Times, then you already knew I liked that!

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Auto Assembly update – November 2016

You may have noticed that things have been quiet for some time here on the Auto Assembly website. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to bring you as many articles or reviews as we would have liked, nor bring you additional content to the website from our archives both to the website or to our recently revived YouTube Channel. It’s certainly not because we’re not passionate about the work that we have done over the years or because we don’t have plenty of ideas for things that we want to do with the website – far from it. There is still an abundance of toys being released, comics that we can talk about, not to mention our ongoing features looking back at old TV episodes, video games and more that we’d love to be able to bring you in addition to continuing to release digital issues of our fanzine The Cybertronian Times, but from an organisational point of view we’re struggling behind the scenes…

As some of our regular readers know, Auto Assembly is part of a larger group run under the larger Infinite Frontiers banner – a larger geek group that has been around since 1989. While we have a wide ranging team of writers and contributors, in recent months real-life has had to take priority for most of our team. Work, health, family, higher education… and with everything we do being run in our spare time we have had to put most of our projects on the back-burner.

None of our websites or projects has escaped unscathed and the Auto Assembly side of things has suffered in this quite badly. Over the last 12 months despite having some people come on board, many of these have struggled personally and not been able to commit in the way that they had hoped to which has made working on our projects difficult. Many of our long-established team members have also found their personal lives affecting their work with Auto Assembly reducing our ability and no matter how you look at it, that has had a dramatic impact on our output. Affecting that even more is that – as overall head of Infinite Frontiers – I have a great many personal commitments outside of all of our sites restricting my time further making it difficult to take on the responsibility of taking a lead writing role across all of our sites. While I desperately want to write more and have a long list of content that I want to write – reviews, articles, blog posts, interviews and more – the truth is that real life is getting in the way.

We have actively tried to recruit new writers but this has fallen through on several occasions now and when we have been investing time here in doing so, that’s taken even more of our time away from writing. Please don’t think that we’re ignoring Auto Assembly – far from it – but we don’t want you to think that we’re abandoning the site. We are just desperately trying to make as much time as we can to get back on track. We are still actively looking for new writers and are working hard to bring the next issue of The Cybertronian Times out as soon as possible, but in the meantime please bear with us.

Simon Plumbe
Head, Infinite Frontiers

Weird places you can find Transformers!

In just over thirty years we’ve seen Transformers make the incredible evolution from being a kid’s toy to an all-conquering movie franchise phenomenon. But as you’d expect from these robots in disguise, they’ve also been prone to pop up in the most unexpected places from mobile slots games to petrol station forecourts!

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Third Party Transforming Toys – Do We Know Enough?

We may be playing a game that we’ve indulged in since we were young children, but we’re not kids any more. We are in the position to make ethical, responsible choices about our purchases. With that in mind, I’d like to ask how much we really know about the purchases we’re making when we’re collecting transforming toys…

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Geekology – Masterpiece Tracks & Road Rage

The Geekology team take a look at the Masterpiece releases of Tracks from G1 and Road Rage from what some know as Neo-G1.

The full video will direct auto-play if you read more…

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Episode Review: Beast Wars S01 Ep03 “The Web”

With the pilot episode out of the way, which I’ve already taken a look at in more detail previously, Beast Wars’ first season can commence properly with its third episode, The Web. Now that we’ve been introduced – albeit briefly in some cases – to all of the show’s primary cast, it’s time for the series to start giving characters their own episodes, and as the title implies it focuses on one of the shows 8-legged villains as well as a personal favourite of mine…

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Game Review – Transformers: Battle For Cybertron

Looking at the title, you’d be mistaken into thinking that this is the latest in the series of games from Activision for contemporary consoles, based on the extensive Fall Of Cybertron video game series. Well, although Activision isn’t directly credited in the game, to a degree this is correct as the Generations-based series moves away from consoles to the lucrative online slots genre…

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Could The Transformers Movie Franchise Take A Leaf Out Of Marvel’s Book?

Things have come on a long way for the Transformers movie franchise. It’s been 30 years since the first cinematic outing for Transformers with the animated film back in 1986 which is still held with incredibly high regard by fans across the globe for it’s depth, animation, voice acting and thumping rock soundtrack, it’s the live action movies helmed by Michael Bay that have helped bring Transformers back to a mainstream audience for the last decade.

Despite having four movies under his belt and with a fifth, The Last Knight, in the early states of production, the hard core fans haven’t quite warmed to them as much as the studio would have liked. There’s no denying that they are huge box office hits, have generated millions in terms of merchandise sales and have reinvigorated the franchise and brought Transformers to a new generation of fans who are discovering a plethora of toys, ranges and characters beyond BayFormers but there’s still something lacking…

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