‘Tis the season….

Deck the halls, etc.

Megatron: “Get those glittering spheres onto the tree!”
Vehicons: Finally! A mission that we Vehicons will probably all manage to survive.

We’re likely to be offline for a few days over the festive period, so we wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Thanks for all your support for Addaltmode in the past year, our blog has just reached its first birthday and it’s been a blast! Here’s to the next 12 months…

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Halloween Transformers Episode Appreciation 2: Thirst (Transformers Prime)

Part of AddAltMode's Creepy Countdown series

Part of AddAltMode’s Creepy Countdown series

IT LIVES! Time now for part two of our double feature exploring the creepiest cartoon episodes that the Transformers canon has to offer. Part one, which examines the origin story of Transfomers Animated‘s Blackarachnia, can be found here. Unlike that first pick, my second episode selection doesn’t overtly have a Hallowe’en setting. Nobody actually chooses a pumpkin or goes trick or treating here. Yet surely there can be no Transformers moments that more deliciously capture the spooky season’s general love of all things horror than “Thirst,” otherwise known as Transformers Prime does Zombies.

Starscream and Knock Out. Just look at those faces! There's definitely more trick than treat gong down in this episode. (Screencap from TF Prime episode 60)

Starscream and Knock Out. Just look at those faces! There’s definitely more trick than treat going down in this episode. (Screencap from TF Prime episode 60)

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Army-Building with STEVE, XPNDBL & CANTFLY (Star Wars Fans Have it Easy)

Army-building is a slang term among action figure collectors which means obtaining and displaying multiples of the same action figure — usually one which represents a generic “trooper” rather than a particular character.

These statues were made with mix-and-match molds, so each one is actually unique.

Qin Shi Huang was the first Army-builder. (Photo of his mausoleum, from Wikimedia foundation, original here.)

Army-building seems to be popular among the Star Wars fandom. A quick Google search turns up thousands of images of fan-made displays, some of which contain hundreds of neatly-lined-up Stormtroopers with a a single Darth Vader & Emperor Palpatine (and maybe a couple of those red bodyguard guys) stood at the head of the group.

Guess what kind of action figure we army-build with here at AddAltMode: that’s right it’s a Transformer. The Vehicons from Transformers Prime – who are the show’s Stormtrooper-equivalents.

The Steve who looks thoughtful is wondering where his pal is, completely fooled by his disguise.

Vehicons! We’ve discussed them once or twice before.

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Everything that’s wrong with the Transformers Prime Top Trumps set

Ah Top Trumps, that enduring game of comparing statistics. I say “enduring” for two reasons: firstly, the product itself has a long heritage, having been a playground staple since the 1970s, and secondly, depending on the composition of the particular deck, an individual game can run and run with just a couple of cards with ‘killer stats’ ensuring that the whole pile gets passed back and forth, usually between the last two remaining players.

When we used to run a monthly Chez Addaltmode games night (back in those heady days before all the shift work made such regular dates impossible)  we always used to “warm up” by starting the evening with a round of Top Trumps before progressing onto Poker or at least something else a little more mentally demanding (which, let’s face it, is almost any other game – except, possibly, uh,  Hungry Hungry Hippos). Over time, the Top Trumps became a bit of a running joke and our friends delighted in trying to find more and more bizarre themed decks with which we could battle stats; among the highlights were our Warhammer, The Muppets and Hello Kitty card sets – oh and the old Smash Hits deck that prompted an awful lot of  comments along the line of “who?” and “nope, don’t remember them!”

Yes this is a whole blog post about a deck of Top Trumps

Yes this is going to be a whole blog post about a deck of Top Trumps

So I was very amused when one of my friends bought me a Transformers Prime Top Trumps deck. Hooray for pictures of robots! Surely no danger of asking “who?” here! And comparing statistics should be all the better when you actually care about the characters under scrutiny – right? Except, sometimes it’s the things you love that can hurt you most of all. I know I am not the target market for this product, but even so, the more you know about Prime, the more WTF moments you’re likely to encounter flicking through these cards. From characters who aren’t in the series to really odd stat choices, there are some real mind-bogglers here, some of which at least gave me a good laugh. So in true Addaltmode tradition, I’ve compiled a list…. Don’t say we never cover the ultra-relevant, burning issues of the day on this blog!

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Top 10 Vehicon Deaths in Transformers Prime

The Transformers Prime cartoon has brought some great additions to the franchise. If I had to list my personal favourites I would probably include: Knock Out (don’t even ask me how much I love Knock out); Arcee as a blue motorcycle, and Vehicons. Now AddAltModeB would probably headdesk himself into unconsciousness if I devoted a whole Top Ten article just to Knock Out (although I totally could do it), and Prime Arcee gets plenty of love on this blog already, so today I’m going to talk Vehicons.

The term ”Vehicon” isn’t unique to Prime, but that show is responsible for introducing them as the Stormtroopers of the TF universe: that is, as Deception henchbots, mostly identical and always nameless (Starscream usually refers to them as “You there,” the TF fandom typically calls them all “Steve”). Usually turning in to sleek cars or jets, Steves have a fantastic design – and the Deluxe Vehicon toy is truly one of the nicest figures in the Prime toy range –  but their looks don’t negate the fact that they cannot aim a blaster if their lives depended on it (which often they do) and that they exist largely as cannon fodder. The Vehicons are actually threatening for about, ooh three quarters of the duration of the first episode. After that it’s pretty clear they’re just going to be mooks, who exist to provide scale and some kick-ass fight scenes in a show that otherwise has a very small cast of characters.

"The Stormtroopers of the TF Universe"

“The Stormtroopers of the TF Universe”

We may not know their names, but Vehicons are responsible for some really memorable scenes in the Transformers Prime TV show, both in terms of action and humour, and many many Vehicons gave their lives to make that series what it was. This post will honour the fallen ones. Although honour doesn’t always bring respect.

WARNING: Contains spoilers for all 3 seasons of TF Prime.

Many Vehicons were harmed in the making of this blog post….

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