Studio Series
The Hunt For Trademark Preservation Last Updated: 5/6/24
with Voyager Gamer Edition Starscream


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Movieverse
Rise of the Beasts (2023)
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    The movies have been running long enough to get their own "Generations" sort of line, apparently. Nostalgia happens, as does a desire to keep trademarks active despite the movieverse being really into killing off characters. Released in 2018 to bridge the gap between shelf-warming Last Knight toys and the Bumblebee movie toys, it's a mix of tweaked molds and all new molds, spanning the decade's worth of movies to date.
    Toys with names in italics rated worse than "Mildly Recommended" while those in boldface are "Strongly Recommended" or better.


CORE
    Core Class didn't get added until 2022, hence having so many fewer waves. $10 or so price point, modulo inflation.

  • Wave 1: Shockwave (quad-tank), Ravage (block of plastic that stores in Voyager #83 Soundwave's chest).
  • Wave 2: Exo-Suit Spike Witwicky. So far, very hard to find, I got lucky when someone told me Macy's had it on their website.
  • Wave 3: Autobot Wheelie, Autobot Ratchet (both from 1986 movie).
  • Wave 4: Laserbeak (DotM, it's his pink Bumblebee disguise, which I suppose means this mold will be used for Bumblebee later), Decepticon Rumble (Blue) (and yes, "(Blue)" is part of his name, the altmode is designed to fit into WfC Soundwave/Soundblaster chests).
  • Wave 5: Arcee (motorcycle), Terrorcon Freezer (various weapons, sort of), both from Rise of the Beasts.
  • Wave 6: Ironhide (retool of wave 3 Ratchet). More retooling than I expected, but still doesn't stay together well in vehicle mode.
  • Wave 7: This is just Bumblebee, the obvious yellow redeco of wave 4's Laserbeak. I passed on it.
  • Wave 8: Noah Diaz Exo-Suit (jet-sorta), and Decepticon Frenzy (Red) (redeco of Decepticon Rumble (Blue)).
  • Wave 9: Decepticon Mohawk (TLK), Concept Art Decepticon Rumble (cargo block like wave 1 Ravage).

DELUXE
  • Wave 1: Bumblebee (retooled Last Knight version with 1970s Camaro shell), Ratchet (entirely new mold based on MechTech), Stinger (new 2014-movie design), Crowbar (inferior retool of 2017 Berzerker).
    • N.E.S.T. Ratchet: Gray and black redeco of Ratchet (technically of the wave 3 Ratchet) in N.E.S.T. colors as part of a Buzzworthy Bumblebee subline in 2023.
  • Wave 2: Autobot Jazz (Pontiac Solstice), Lockdown (Lamborghini Aventador). Jazz would be strongly recommended but for a fatal flaw of hubris in assuming assembly would always allow for the exacting tolerances the designers required. I outline a fix if you're handy with a Dremel.
  • Wave 3: Autobot Ratchet (redeco for Dark of the Moon colors, swaps saw for a gun, not reviewed), Shadow Raider (orange retool of Lockdown with battlemask head and new weapon), VW Bumblebee. I decided not to pay $20 for just a new gun for Ratchet, but the new gun and head were enough to tip me over the edge on Shadow Raider.
  • Wave 4: KSI Sentry (Stinger retool with new head and weapon, the new weapon enhances his kibble blades), Dropkick (helicopter...it's a triple-changer in the movie, but the toys don't try to get that fancy, it's either-or).
  • Wave 5: Really disappointing wave. I only did capsules for WWII Bumblebee (great idea, horrible execution) and Barricade (kinda meh in general). Sideswipe is the other new mold, with tweaks or redecos for Clunker Bumblebee and Crankcase (both of which have prior reviews in wave 1).
  • Wave 6: #39 Cogman (redeco of TLK version, mainly without the grime), #40 Shatter (muscle car), #41 Constructicon Scrapmetal (excavator and giant hand).
  • Wave 7: #45 Drift (helicopter), #46 Dropkick (muscle car), Constructicon Hightower (truss crane, arm for Scrapmetal to connect with). Drift shares engineering with helicopter Dropkick, but few if any mold parts.
  • Wave 8: #49 Bumblebee (new mold of modern Camaro, but not interested in getting it), #50 WWII Hot Rod (retool of WWII Bumblebee, burned enough by that mold to not bother with this one), #51 Soundwave with Laserbeak (Mercedes SLS AMG), Arcee/Chromia/Elita-1 three-pack (three Legion-sized motorcycles with an abandoned combination ability). Update: I did get Hot Rod for $10 from Ollie's, review finally added 7/4/22.
  • Wave 9: #57 Offroad Bumblebee (jeep), #58 Roadbuster (attack mode NASCAR car), #59 Shatter (jet).
  • Wave 10: #62 RotF Soundwave (spy satellite), #63 Autobot Topspin (attack mode NASCAR Chevy Impala), #64 Cliffjumper (BB movie, Cybertronian mode).
  • Target Exclusive Leadfoot: NASCAR #42, Studio Series #68 (attack mode NASCAR Chevy Impala).
  • Buzzworthy Bumblebee #74BB: A redeco of #49 with a single-piece Sam Witwicky "army man" style figure. The rest of the wave was either purely repacked or maybe slight redecos, retaining their original numbers (#15 junker Bumblebee with Charlie single-piece figure added, #26 WWII Bumblebee, #40 car mode Shatter).
  • Wave 11: 86-01 Autobot Jazz (TFtM), 86-02 Kup (TFtM), 86-03 Blurr (TFtM). Note: Kup is getting a redeco in the Buzzworthy line in 2022.
  • Wave 12: #70 B-127 (retool of #64 Cliffjumper as Cybertronian Bumblebee), #71 Autobot Dino (DotM). (Note: B-127 is getting a Buzzworthy version in 2022.)
  • Wave 13: #74 Bumblebee (not reviewed, mostly the same as #74BB), #75 Jolt (Chevy Volt), #86-08 Gnaw (Sharkticon).
  • Wave 14: #78 Sideswipe (hardtop RotF version, retool of not-reviewed convertible). The rest of the wave is pure reships.
  • Buzzworthy Bumblebee #86-02BB Kup and #86-13BB Cliffjumper: Kup is a more cartoon-accurate redeco and slight retool of #86-02, while Cliffjumper is a redeco of Earthrise Cliffjumper in cartoon colors. Also in the wave is #70BB B-127, which uses the unmasked head from the jeep, but I decided that wasn't enough different to buy. No indication if there will be a regular #86-13, or if they'll just skip that number.
  • Wave 15: #80 Brawn (Cybertronian drill car), #81 Wheeljack (Cybertronian car), #82 Autobot Ratchet (Cybertronian vehicle), #86-11 Perceptor (microscope).
  • Wave 16: #84 Ironhide (retool of #82), #86 Arcee (Cybertronian motorcycle).
  • Wave 17: #86-16 Arcee (extensive retool of Thrilling 30 Arcee in more cartoon accurate lines and colors), #87 Bumblebee (DotM, slight retool of #49 with unmasked head and some vehicle bit changes, not reviewed), #88 Sideways (new mold).
  • Wave 18: Crosshairs (TLK), Hot Rod (TLK, an actual new mold rather than retooling Lockdown).
  • Wave 19: #97 Airazor (falcon) and #100 Bumblebee (off-road rally mod), both from Rise of the Beasts. And yes, they fiddled with order so that BB could be #100. Bumblebee is actually good, shockingly.
  • Wave 20: Gamer Edition +01 Bumblebee (War for Cybertron computer game) and Gamer Edition +02 Barricade (WfC, never got a toy back then). I'm passing on Bumblebee, since it didn't hit shelves around here and I didn't really care for the original WfC toy, but I ordered Barricade on Pulse. And once I started reviewing Cliffjumper, I knew that the mold was crap.
  • Wave 21: #86-22 Brawn (TFtM), Gamer Edition +05 Cliffjumper (head swap redeco of +01). Did no one actually test any of the physical toys made with the BB/Cliff mold? It almost has to clip through itself to transform. Bethesda Edition.
  • Wave 22: #104 Nightbird and #105 Mirage, both RotB.
  • Wave 23: #107 Predacon Scorponok and #108 Wheeljack, both RotB.

VOYAGER
  • Wave 1: Optimus Prime, Starscream (2009). While, contrary to initial impressions, they seem to be entirely new molds, I'm just not interested in more movie Optimuses and the movie Starscream aesthetic has done the opposite of growing on me. Don't expect reviews unless I get them on deep clearance. (I did see Starscream on clearance at Ollie's but decided $20 was still too much.)
  • TRU Exclusive Thundercracker: Possibly the last TRU exclusive ever, it's a redeco of Nitro Zeus from 2017, but with a Starscream (2009) style head and a blue deco. The new head implies a Starscream might be in a later wave, even though a regular Starscream is in the first wave?
  • Wave 2: Decepticon Brawl (2007), Megatron (2009). Brawl's decent, but Megatron disappoints the moment he gets out of the box.
  • Wave 3: Autobot Ironhide (2007), seems to have been swapped into the wave 2 assortment in Brawl's place.
  • Wave 4: Starscream (RotF, not reviewed).
  • Wave 5: #32 Optimus Prime (redeco of the wave 1 mold, I think), #33 Bonecrusher (2007). Won't be getting Optimus.
  • Wave 6: #37 Constructicon Rampage (part of a Devastator combiner team), #38 Optimus Prime (Bumblebee movie version). I don't plan to get Rampage, nor do I plan to get most of Devastator's components.
  • Wave 7: #42 Constructicon Long Haul (dump truck), #43 KSI Boss (redeco of TLK Nitro Zeus). No plans to get either (KSI boss is a decent mold, but I have two versions already).
  • Wave 8: #53 Mixmaster (cement mixer), #54 Megatron (2007 space jet).
  • Wave 9: #60 Constructicon Scrapper (front loader) and #61 Sentinel Prime (firetruck).
  • Wave 10: #67 Skipjack (Rampage redeco, not reviewed), #65 Blitzwing (Bumblebee movie).
  • Wave 11: 86-04 Autobot Hot Rod (TFtM), 86-05 Scourge (TFtM).
  • Wave 12: #72 Starscream (Bumblebee movie). Loosely based on Blitzwing's engineering, but horribly abused. Passable robot mode, I guess.
  • Wave 13: #86-09 Wreck-Gar and #76 Thrust (redeco of #72 Starscream, so I gave it a pass).
  • Wave 14: #86-10 Decepticon Sweep (Scourge redeco, not getting)
  • Wave 15: #83 Soundwave (from Bumblebee movie, kinda crab ship).
  • Wave 16: #86-14 Junkheap (Wreck-Gar retool).
  • Wave 17: #89 Thundercracker (redeco of the crappy Starscream from the BB movie, with the Thrust head, will not be getting), #90 Galvatron (AoE new mold).
  • Wave 18: #86-17 Ironhide (van). Good design, not so good execution (lots of QC issues on panels, three shades of red kinda randomly spread across vehicle mode). Another one that I had to order online due to stores not wanting to order anything new until all their Wave 15-16 were gone, I guess. Stores around here might just skip straight from Junkheap to Rise of the Beasts toys.
  • Wave 19: #98 Cheetor (mecha cat) and #99 Battletrap (tow truck, not a Duocon), both from Rise of the Beasts. The first time since wave 11 that there's been two new molds in a Voyager wave. Battletrap is tsundere.
  • Wave 20: Gamer Edition +03 Optimus Prime (WfC truck). Haven't seen it on the shelves, didn't like the basic design enough to order online, may skip this one entirely. Heck, it's out of stock and going for $100+ through scalpers as of the end of October, a big hell no on that.
  • Wave 21: Gamer Edition +04 Megatron (WfC hovertank), #103 Rhinox (RotB).
  • Wave 22: #86-23 Autobot Ratchet (retool of #86-17 Ironhide). I got luckier on QC here, but I don't think they actually fixed the underlying issues.
  • Wave 23: Gamer Edition +06 Starscream (even uglier than the Generations version, only got because it was on sale), #86-24 Junkion Scrapheap (another retool of Wreck-Gar, no real interest as I already have two so one can ride the other, all that you need unless you're massively armybuilding).
  • #102BB Optimus Prime (Buzzworthy line, RotB Optimus).

LEADER
  • Wave 1: Grimlock (new mold, 2014-style), Blackout (new mold, 2007 style). While Blackout is reportedly not as bad as most movieverse Leaders, I'm still not thrilled by the fiddly bits on either mold, and don't plan to buy either.
  • Wave 2: #34 DotM Megatron with Igor (fuel truck), #35 Jetfire (old man jet). No plans to get or review Jetfire.
  • Wave 3: #44 DotM Optimus Prime, with trailer turning into the weapon rack halo. Combines with #35 Jetfire. No plans to get.
  • Wave 4: #55 Scavenger (RotF), #56 Shockwave with Brains, Wheelie, and Paratrooper (DotM). No plans to get.
  • Wave 5: #66 Constructicon Overload. No plans to get. Note, #69 is used for a gift set of all the Constructicons.
  • Wave 6: 86-06 Grimlock and Autobot Wheelie. Wheelie is non-transforming but articulated.
  • Wave 7: #73 Grindor and Ravage (retool of Blackout, replacing Scorponok with Ravage), 86-07 Dinobot Slug with Spike Witwicky. Not getting Grindor.
  • Wave 8: #86-12 Coronation Starscream (Earthrise Voyager Starscream retooled a bit, with cloak, crown, and throne). I did eventually get it at Ross for $25, but no plans to review it.
  • Wave 9: #86-15 Dinobot Sludge (robot brontosaur). No rider nor even connection points for Wheelie or Daniel. Suffers from some design and manufacturing issues, I didn't just get a rare bad copy.
  • Wave 10: #91 The Fallen (spaceship thing). Not really interested in getting this, and I didn't get it.
  • Wave 11: #101 Scourge (truck), Rise of the Beasts. Status: Haven't seen it on shelves yet, just online. Not inclined to bother, though.
  • Wave 12: #86-19 Dinobot Snarl (robot Stegosaur).
  • Wave 13: #106 Optimus Primal (RotB gorilla), shipped with more Snarl.
  • Wave 14: #109 Concept Art Megatron (RotB unseen design). Status: Do not have yet. It sold out very quickly online, I'm not interested enough to pay markup to resellers.

BIGGER

   They're feeling their oats, and in 2023 expanded to Commander class. Unknown if they'll try to sell a Titan under Studio Series eventually. I suppose a reissue of the Constructicons might work? Especially if they retool it a bit to be more movie-accurate.

  • Commander Wave 1: #86-21 Ultra Magnus (car carrier, no separate cab robot this time).