Transformers
Universe


Last Updated: 8/11/09 Chevy exclusive Swerve review added.


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    When Unicron Attacks in Armada, he brings in warriors from other realities to aid his cause, and Optimus Primal (yes, Primal), responds by recruiting Maximals and Autobots from other realities. This is a reasonably good excuse for bringing in energon-seething recolors of even more molds. These are to be distinguished from the store-exclusive recolors (Destructicons, Dreadwing) or the handful of hardpoint-added Transmetal recolors like Rhinox, Terrorsaur or Airazor. I will be getting a few of these as they strike my fancy, but mostly the cheaper ones. The energon-seething color schemes seem to have been dropped after the second wave.

    It's worth noting that there is no chrome in Universe. In the case of toys that were originally chrome-heavy, this is often an improvement.

   Universe has sort of trickled along as a repaints line for some time, often store exclusives (like the Sixwing recolor as Superion), but will soon be getting retooled as a line of all new molds, including the Classics 2.0. I haven't decided if Classics 2.0 will go here or in the Classics direcotry yet, though.


BASICS
  • Spychanger Two-Packs - Ultra Magnus with Ironhide, Optimus Prime with Prowl. The big guys are in the Sam's Club recolors, Ironhide is colored as G1 Trailbreaker, Prowl is colored as G1 Red Alert. These appear to be a Wal-Mart exclusive.
  • Kay Bee G1 Spychangers - Wave 2 and 3 Spychangers recolored and stickered up as G1 characters: Prowl (again), Autobot Jazz (yes, trademark fun), Silverstreak (ditto), Autobot Wheeljack (tritto), Optimus Prime (from Scourge) and Hoist.
  • Kay Bee Exclusive Defensor - Individually packaged renamed (but unchanged save for updating the trademark stamp from 2002 to 2004) SixTurbo Micromasters. Also available on their website as a set. Review of the Turbo Team.
  • Micromaster Aerialbots - Like Defensor (and the unreviewed Sixturbo recolor) these were a store exclusive with each bit sold separately. They ended up at Odd Lots, though, which is where I got 'em.
DELUXE
  • Snarl, Silverbolt and Reptilion - Recolors of BMac Snarl, Fuzor Silverbolt and TMII Iguanus II. Recolors are garish, but work okay. Original ratings of the molds are Strongly Recommended, Recommended and Mildly Recommended, in order. I bought Snarl and Silverbolt, not gonna buy Reptilion. Mine did not come with CDROMs. Later note: Okay, I bought Reptilion. Not impressed enough to update the review.
  • Blackarachnia and Dinobot Striker - Beast Machines BA in somewhat garish purple and yellow-orange, with paint over the spider eyes so that the moving eye trick is no longer visible, sigh. And yet another Saberback recolor, actually subdued green on the outside, but with purple and silver inside. I got BA, but don't feel like reviewing her.
    • If you look at the clear purple patch on the right side of BA's abdomen shell, with a light behind it, you can JUST make out a spark crystal with the Decepticon symbol painted on it. I'm told this is a Dinobot spark crystal, which seems to be what they have lots of left over.
  • Machine Robot Rescue - Inferno (recolor of RiD Prowl) and Ratchet (recolor of RiD X-Brawn). These come with a mini-poster and catalog, not a CDROM. Trademark-grabbing abounds with these two. Quality control is, sadly, poor...you might get a good one, but you might get a bad one as well.
  • Skywarp - Yet Another BMac Jetstorm recolor, but a very good one. Triceradon got another recolor in this wave, but I passed on it. The garish "energon leaking" color schemes seem to have been abandoned at this point.
  • Blastcharge - A Skywarp-y recolor of BMac Blastcharge, looks pretty good. Not really sure what wave this is, might be the last.
  • Chevy Aveo Swerve - An exclusive to Chevy dealers released with Universe1 trade dress, although it's more of a 2007 movie design. :) Sadly, it'll likely never get a mass release, as it's a very nice mold.

ULTRA

    There's a LOT of exclusives and "half waves" in the Ultra assortments, and I was shocked in September of 2004 to find that while I had counted up to Wave 7, the official level was only 3.5 (which was a set I was about to call Wave 8). So I've rechunked these guys and renamed some of the files as necessary.

  • Wave 1: Optimus Primal and Razorclaw - Not going to get these $20 recolors of the original Ultra Optimus Primal (in red and yellow and black) and of Tigerhawk (in purple).
  • Wave 1.5: Tankor with Obsidian - Recolors of the Beast Machine toys, sold as a pack. Not getting these either. Garish recolor of Tankor, more subdued blue and red Obsidian.
  • Wave 2: Depthcharge - A rather nice-looking recolor of the Transmetal Beast Wars Ultra. This review also includes a couple of Armada toys recolored for Energon.
  • Wave 2.5: King Atlas - Recolor and slight remold of Machine Wars Starscream, inspired in part by Dai Atlas from Transformers Z (and "Dai" can be reasonably translated as "King"). Has one of the old Predator gimmicks restored (if not very well), but the very dark clear plastic ruins a lot of other gimmicks.
  • K-Mart Exclusive: Crystal Widow vs Oil Slick - Recolors of Universe Blackarachnia and Armada Sideswipe boxed together as traitors and spies. Minimal changes from the previous versions, but a nice weird box.
  • Wave 3: Autobot Whirl, Magna Stampede and Stockade: The first set is a recolor of Machine Wars Sandstorm (with missile launchers reactivated) accompanied by recolored but not renamed Mini-Cons Gunbarrel and Makeshift. The second is composed of recolors of Battle Unicorn (the infamously hard to find Beast Machines figure) and Tank Drone, with recolored but not renamed Mini-Cons Prowl and Terradive. In each case, the $20 price point is a bit of a ripoff for what you get: a Deluxe and two thirds of a Basic, or two and two thirds Basics.
  • Target Exclusive 2004: Nemesis Prime: Big Convoy from BW Neo, recolored using the color choices of Armada Nemesis Prime. The ultimate Shellformer.
  • Target Exclusive 2006: Overbite/Repugnus: A slight tweaking of BWII Hellscream with a recolored Buzzclaw. This wave also includes green recolors of the Build Team set split into two chunks. 3/17/06: Added picture of how Overbite's shield can store on his back.
CDROMs - They're packing in CDROMs with the Universe toys (and with some Armada toys) that set up the Universe storyline. Sadly, there are no techspecs on the CDROMs, and they're PC only. But I can always drag 'em to work. There doesn't seem to be a second CDROM coming, but you never know.
  • CDROM 1: This one has an animated comic, an episode of Armada (Awakening, the first Requiem Blaster one), a "build your own TF" thing and a flash animation game where you try to blow up Decepticons who are raiding your Energon stockpile without blowing up the stockpile.