Collectibles: Transformers Combiner Wars – Sky Lynx

I love toys! There I said it! I’m not talking about big kid toys like electronics, and such. I’m talking about figurines of my favorite super heroes, Transformers, anime characters etc. Truth be told, I don’t hold a figure in each and make fight sounds as I bash them together, like I used to. These days, I just display them on shelves and every once in a while I’ll change their position or posture for a different look or I’ll use them as photo props. Some of my favorite toys are still in the original packaging! Anyways, I thought it’d be helpful for those of you who, like me, score a lot their loot online because it’s just way to hard or not possible to find them in stores anymore. Maybe extra  images or my ‘take’ on the toy, will help you decide if it’s worth adding to your collection or not.

Hasbro’s has introduced this remake of the Autobot Sky Lynx as a Voyager Class figure in the Transformers – Combiner Wars toy line in 2014. He is now a part of a ‘combiner team’ consisting of Hound, Wheeljack, Trailbreaker and Smokescreen. Together they combine to form Sky Reign. Some of the third party (ie not Hasbro) Transformers toy makers have packaged other limb bots in their sets and the comics use different limb bots for Sky Reign so I’m guessing there really isn’t an official version. Since Sky Lynx’s third transformation is the torso of Sky Reign, he is bigger than the Deluxe class limb bots. Officially, aside from torso mode, Sky Lynx has a vehicle space shuttle mode as well as a beast mode which is a four legged flying dinosaur, “bird mode”. Unofficially, there is a “fan” beast mode which is a winged lynx, which I think is pretty cool but you can check it out and decide for yourself. Sky Lynx is one of my favorite figures in my toy collections because all four modes looks good!

Sky Lynx’s red, white and blue color scheme is appealing to me and the gold colored trimmings, in my opinion, adds a touch of class. The paint job on my figure is good, I haven’t spotted any issues and I’m so glad that I don’t have to stick stickers on this version (unlike the original version). In space shuttle mode the two flaps on other side of the tail fin are hinged so you can adjust the angle of the flaps to your liking. The weapons can be mounted under the wings or on the side of undercarriage. In bird mode, the jaw is hinged and the range of motion is quite large. The head is hinged but the range of up/down position is quite small. The neck has two joints that allows for more up/down neck positions as well as a swivel to allows the head turn 360 degrees. The red neck joint on my figure is extremely hard to move, so much so I didn’t think it was able to! The wings have a recessed portion you can swing out for a larger wing span, hinges to facilitate a flapping motion and a swivel to allow the wing to flip upside down (for use in the other modes). The tail has two joints one near the base of the tail and one closer to the tip. Both joints allows for up/down movements but are rather limited. The legs have ratcheted joints at the hip and can spread wide. The knees are also ratcheted as well as swiveled. The feet are hinged with limited movements. All these hinges and swivels make for a very pose-able torso. Very nice, indeed!

Having raved so much about this toy, here comes the negatives and they could be deal breakers for some. Please keep in mind that I’m reporting these details from my experience with my copy of this figure. ALL of the joints are way too loose, except for the one neck joint mentioned above! The feet (blue claws) are so loose, they can’t hold really hold up the beast mode figure in most poses, even after tightening with a screwdriver. The ratchet joints are so soft it’s laughable, so soft that making Sky Reign stand up straight is a balancing act. Having bigger feet attachments helps a lot in that aspect. Let me try to paint a better picture for you, imagine holding Sky Reign by the torse and twisting your wrist. This will make Sky Reign’s legs swing back and forth like a stuffed toy, I kid you not! Fortunately for me, I leave my toys in a display and only need to “play” with them whenever I feel like the display needs a change, so I need deal with the soft joints that often. I just have to place him on the shelf that gets touched the least.

I find the abdomen area a bit too skinny for my liking so I wedged a  Prime Armor on either side. You can see how it looks in the last photo below. I like the look better but they aren’t that secure, if you move the figure around to vigorously, the Prime Armors will fall out.

What makes the combiner teams special is their ‘ability’ to merge into one giant robot. This means that each member of the team will have a third transformation mode, one that’s specifically for the giant robot. The groups will typically consist of five members, one of them being larger than the others (Voyager Class figure) and will transform into the torso/head of the giant robot. The other four will transform into a limb, either an arm or a leg and you can place them however you like. NOTE: Some combiners, whose 3rd transformation is a limb, (when sold/purchased separately) only come with the hand attachment (Prime Armor) which means that the foot attachment will then be included with the torso figure. Since Combiners from the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes toy lines are interchangeable and not all of them have the same hand/feet pieces you’ll have to really look at the included pieces if you’re planning on mixing and matching to create your own Combiner team. Sky Lynx DOES NOT come with any hand or feet attachments! This is what caused my dilemma and resulted in my “Collectibles” series of posts. Here’s the story:

A year or so ago I caught a glimpse of Sky lynx in a gift shop within the Hong Kong Airport. I walked straight in and bought it and while waiting to board my flight I looked it over and I realized it was a combiner! Bonus! The only issue now is who to use for the limbs, since I wanted an all dino or monster theme. Couldn’t think of any at the time so I put it off for awhile. Many months later I saw a Terrorcon Combiner in a toy store in Singapore and bing, that was it. I recently acquired all 4 Terrorcons to complete my version of Sky Reign (I think I’ll have to rename my version, though). It was only after opening all the figures that I realized that Sky Lynx did not come with feet!!! So a few swear words later, I was back online looking for solutions since the feet are packaged with Hun-Gurrr (the torso). I had decided long ago not to get Hun-Gurrr because I’m not a big fan of pink robots, the monster mode looks weird to me and one 2 headed dragon/monster on the team is enough. What I found online was something called a Perfect Effect upgrade kit. They make a whole bunch of different kits for Combiners. Some are just hands and feet, others have weapons, chest plate add ons and limb widening add ons. Some of them look really awesome and I’m considering a couple of kits, however, they are quite pricey. While searching I also found some cheaper, different styled, different colored sets that were not from the Perfect Effect brand. I ordered the least expensive one I could find. It was a very pleasant surprise that both the hands and the feet can be transformed into weapons. The feet can transform into a really big double barreled blaster or separated into two blasters while the hands transform to something like a rifle. In foot mode, the tips of the barrels can be removed so that they don’t protrude from the back of the foot. I think the feet look better without the protruding barrels. The peg for the leg is on a swivel for better posing stability.

Pictured below is an original hand/foot attachment for Combiner Wars combiners. This one part can be transformed to either a hand or a foot. However, the pictured foot attachment is from Mirage, the arm of Optimus Maximus. Even though this particular attachment is not for Sky Reign combiners (theirs is black), it serves as an example of roughly what the hand/feet part looks like. Be mindful when mixing and matching as the limb bots from the Power of the Primes toy line come with either a hand attachment (Prime Armor) or a foot attachment.
The moral of this story is, if you’re like me and collect toys based on how much you like the toy, set, theme or whichever and whatever, then you’re probably going to mix and match. If you do, please make sure you are set on parts as mentioned above and that the figure you plan on using for the torso is actually capable of that third transformation. For example, just because the figure is from the Combiner Wars series doesn’t mean it is a Combiner. I made that mistake…now I have two Ultra Magnus’! Lucky he’s one of my favorite characters, so I don’t really mind. If you have older Combiners using the older feet (like the one picture above), you can use the hands for feet then the Prime Armors for hands, that way you don’t have to buy an upgrade kit.

My Build:

“Primal Reign” Merge into Sky Reign
Sky Lynx Transforms into Torso
Rippersnapper Transforms into Right Arm
Cutthroat Transforms into Left Arm
Sinnertwin Transforms into Right Leg
Blot Transforms into Left Leg

I call him “Primal Reign.”

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enoyed making it. Have fun with your toys !!!

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

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Collectibles: Transformers POTP – Blot

I love toys! There I said it! I’m not talking about big kid toys like electronics, and such. I’m talking about figurines of my favorite super heroes, Transformers, anime characters etc. Truth be told, I don’t hold a figure in each and make fight sounds as I bash them together, like I used to. These days, I just display them on shelves and every once in a while I’ll change their position or posture for a different look or I’ll use them as photo props. Some of my favorite toys are still in the original packaging! Anyways, I thought it’d be helpful for those of you who, like me, score a lot their loot online because it’s just way to hard or not possible to find them in stores anymore. Maybe extra extras image or my ‘take’ on the toy, will help you decide if it’s worth adding to your collection or not.

Hasbro’s has introduced this remake of the Decepticon Blot as a Deluxe Class figure in the Transformers – Power of the Primes toy line in 2018. He is part of the ‘combiner team’ known as the Terrorcons and transforms into a beast that kind of resembles an orc/ogre/troll don’t really sure what it is but it looks really cool, I think. This five and a half inch figure comes with a collectible card, a blaster, and his Prime Armor which transforms into the hand of Abominus. What makes the combiner teams special is their ‘ability’ to merge into one giant robot. This means that each member of the team will have a third transformation mode, one that’s specifically for the giant robot. The groups will typically consist of five members, one of them being larger than the others (Voyager Class figure) and will transform into the torso/head of the giant robot. The other four will transform into a limb, either an arm or a leg and you can place them however you like. NOTE: Some combiners, whose 3rd transformation is a limb, (when sold/purchased separately) only come with the hand attachment (Prime Armor) which means that the foot attachment will then be included with the torso figure. Since Combiners from the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes toy lines are interchangeable and not all of them have the same hand/feet pieces you’ll have to really look at the included pieces if you’re planning on mixing and matching to create your own Combiner team. This is what caused my dilemma and resulted in my “Collectibles” series of posts. More info below.

Blot’s light purple and dark blue/black color scheme makes him look powerful in my opinion, matches well with his beast form. I have a couple of issues on my bot in regards to the paint job. Firstly, the red paint on the two red chest cannons got onto some of the surrounding silver parts. You’ll really have to look for it to see them, so it won’t bother me at all. Secondly, and I don’t really know if it’s a paint defect or not, is the face of the bot. You can decide for yourself it’s it a paint defect/error. You can see it in the first image, it just looks ‘off’ to me and I’m inclined to think it’s a paint error. Again I’m likely going to keep him in limb mode so “out of sight, out of mind” for me. The faux rub sticker of the Decepticon emblem is straight and centered on top of the beast head. In beast mode, the head cannot move at all nor can the jaw. The blaster cannon can be pegged on a swiveled lever just behind the head. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and elbows, so no bicep swivel. The hands are swiveled at the wrists to reveal the third claw in beast mode while the other two claws are permanently extended from the forearm. The beast legs are swiveled at the hip which allows for the leg to rotate 360 and has a ratchet joint allowing the legs to spread wide. This is the only Terrorcon that can do this. The only other joint is at the ankle and it is also ratcheted. In robot mode, the head can turn 360 and tilt slightly up and down. There is a chest panel that you can flip down to reveal a port in which you can plug the Prime Armor, which I think looks ugly. Like all the other Terrorcons, in robot mode, the hips are on a 360 degree swivel. There is a thigh swivel and a knee hinge on the legs. The thing I find most disturbing is that the joints are not uniformly tight. For example one thigh swivel is tighter than the other or one beast mode leg is so loose that it won’t stay in place while the other is snug. Or some parts tab in securely while others don’t. Maybe it’s my copy, I don’t know, but since I won’t be moving it around too much or too often, it’ll be ok. Also, it doesn’t take much force to pop a part off some ball joints but it’s easy to pop back in. For example, the Prime Armor piece transforms into the hand by flipping out the fingers and folding down the thumbs (the two pointy parts with the holes in it). It kind of looks stupid to me, having a hand with a thumb on the top and bottom, so I pulled off the bottom thumb. More of my ‘mods’ below.

Official Build:

Terrorcons Merge into Abominus
Hun-gurrr Transforms into Torso
Blot Transforms into Right Arm
Blot Transforms into Left Arm
Blot Transforms into Right Leg
Blot Transforms into Left Leg

A year or so ago I caught a glimpse of Sky lynx in a gift shop within the Hong Kong Airport. I walked straight in and bought it and while waiting to board my flight I looked it over and I realized it was a combiner! Bonus! The only issue now is who to use for the limbs, since I wanted an all dino or monster theme. Couldn’t think of any at the time so I put it off for awhile. Many months later I saw a Terrorcon Combiner in a toy store in Singapore and bing, that was it. I recently acquired all 4 Terrorcons to complete my version of Abominus (I think I’ll have to rename my version, though). It was only after opening all the figures that I realized that Sky Lynx did not come with feet!!! So a few swear words later, I was back online looking for solutions since the feet are packaged with Hun-Gurrr (the torso). I had decided long ago not to get Hun-Gurrr because I’m not a big fan of pink robots, the monster mode looks weird to me and one 2 headed dragon/monster on the team is enough. What I found online was something called a Perfect Effect upgrade kit. They make a whole bunch of different kits for Combiners. Some are just hands and feet, others have weapons, chest plate add ons and limb widening add ons. Some of them look really awesome and I’m considering a couple of kits, however, they are quite pricey. While searching I also found some cheaper, different styled, different colored sets that were not from the Perfect Effect brand. I ordered the least expensive one I could find. It was a very pleasant surprise that both the hands and the feet can be transformed into weapons. The feet can transform into a really big double barreled blaster or separated into two blasters while the hands transform to something like a rifle. In foot mode, the tips of the barrels can be removed so that they don’t protrude from the back of the foot. I think the feet look better without the protruding barrels. The peg for the leg is on a swivel for better posing stability.

Pictured below are the Prime Armor and original feet attachments. The Prime Armor is a gimmick designed to induce more sales of toys, in my opinion. It’s an add on weapon/shield/engine part or whatever you make it out to be, and meant to accommodate a Prime Master. A Prime Master is a little figure that transforms into a ‘spark mode’ to fit into a compatible component, like the Prime Armor. This transformation is as easy as folding it in half to make it look like a cube. It is sold with an exo suit which just opens up to fit the Prime Master inside. This exo suit transforms into some kind of weapon (different Prime Masters have different exo suits). I included this info because some Combiner teams don’t have a large weapon for the merged figure so I got some of these Prime Masters to use in weapon mode.The foot attachment is from another figure that I wanted to show just as an example of roughly what some of the older hand/feet look like. The older ones are also dual purpose, they can be either hands or feet. The original one should look similar but have a Prime Master port, a swivel peg and cannot transform into a hand. Just make sure to look for a peg that sticks out from the top. That’s the peg that inserts into the leg.

Original Hand Original Foot

The moral of this story is, if you’re like me and collect toys based on how much you like the toy, set, theme or whichever and whatever, then you’re probably going to mix and match. If you do, please make sure you are set on parts (usually missing feet) as mentioned above and that the figure you plan on using for the torso is actually capable of that third transformation. For example, just because the figure is from the Combiner Wars series doesn’t mean it is a Combiner. I made that mistake…now I have two Ultra Magnus’! Lucky he’s one of my favorite characters, so I don’t really mind. If you have older Combiners using the older feet (like the one picture above), you can use the hands for feet then the Prime Armors for hands, that way you don’t have to buy an upgrade kit.

In case you’re wondering what my version looks like here’s a preview (I left the extra thumb on the left hand so you can see the difference between pulling the bottom one off or not):

I’ll call him “Primal Reign.”
Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enoyed making it. Have fun with your toys !!!

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art


Collectibles: Transformers POTP – Rippersnapper

Power of the Primes Decepticon Rippersnapper, Abominus Combiner

I love toys! There I said it! I’m not talking about big kid toys like electronics, and such. I’m talking about figurines of my favorite super heroes, Transformers, anime characters etc. Truth be told, I don’t hold a figure in each and make fight sounds as I bash them together, like I used to. These days, I just display them on shelves and every once in a while I’ll change their position or posture for a different look or I’ll use them as photo props. Some of my favorite toys are still in the original packaging! Anyways, I thought it’d be helpful for those of you who, like me, score a lot their loot online because it’s just way to hard or not possible to find them in stores anymore. Maybe extra extras image or my ‘take’ on the toy, will help you decide if it’s worth adding to your collection or not.

Hasbro’s has introduced this remake of the Decepticon Rippersnapper as a Deluxe Class figure in the Transformers – Power of the Primes toy line in 2018. He is part of the ‘combiner team’ known as the Terrorcons and transforms into a beast with a shark’s head. This five and a half inch figure comes with a collectible card, a blaster, and his Prime Armor which transforms into the hand of Abominus. What makes the combiner teams special is their ‘ability’ to merge into one giant robot. This means that each member of the team will have a third transformation mode, one that’s specifically for the giant robot. The groups will typically consist of five members, one of them being larger than the others (Voyager Class figure) and will transform into the torso/head of the giant robot. The other four will transform into a limb, either an arm or a leg and you can place them however you like. NOTE: Some combiners, whose 3rd transformation is a limb, (when sold/purchased separately) only come with the hand attachment (Prime Armor) which means that the foot attachment will then be included with the torso figure. Since Combiners from the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes toy lines are interchangeable and not all of them have the same hand/feet pieces you’ll have to really look at the included pieces if you’re planning on mixing and matching to create your own Combiner team. This is what caused my dilemma and resulted in my “Collectibles” series of posts. More info below.

Rippersnapper’s light gray and blue color scheme looks pretty good, I think it’s the best color scheme amongst all the Terrorcons. On my figure, the paint job is even and without defects. The faux rub sticker of the Decepticon emblem is straight and is the largest of the limb Bots. In shark mode, the head cannot move but the jaw is on a hinge so the mouth can open to reveal a nice set of silver shark teeth. The blaster cannons can be pegged just behind each shoulder. The prime armor can fit on the back near the tail which doesn’t look awkward. A Prime master can be pegged in just below the dorsal fin and in my opinion putting one there looks awkward. The tail is hinged but only allows for small up and down motion. The arms in shark/beast mode are the same for the robot mode. They are on ball joints at the shoulders and uniquely they can move up and down as if he was shrugging. There is no bicep swivel but there is a ball joint elbow. The hands are swiveled at the wrists and the claws are permanently extended meaning in robot mode, Rippersnapper is impersonating Marvel’s Wolverine, haha. The legs are swiveled at the hip which allows for the leg to rotate 360 and the only other joint is at the knees. In robot mode, the head can turn 360 and tilt slightly up and down. There is a chest panel that you can flip down to reveal a port which you can plug the Prime Armor, which I think looks ugly. Like all the other Terrorcons, the hips are on a 360 degree swivel. There is a thigh swivel and a knee hinge on the legs. The thing I find most disturbing is that the joints are not uniformly tight. For example one arms bicep swivel is tighter than the other or one beast mode leg is so loose that it won’t stay in place while the other is snug. Or some parts are way to finnicky to snap into place consistently, as in this case, you can tell from the gif that I couldn’t get the legs in monster mode to snap together properly. Maybe it’s my copy, I don’t know but since I won’t be moving it around too much and will keep it in limb mode, it’ll be ok. Also, it doesn’t take much force to pop a part off the ball joints but it’s easy to pop back in. For example, the Prime Armor piece transforms into the hand by flipping out the fingers and folding down the thumbs (the two pointy parts with the holes in it). It kind of looks stupid to me, having a hand with a thumb on the top and bottom, so I pulled off the bottom thumb. More of my ‘mods’ below.

Official Build:

Terrorcons Merge into Abominus
Hun-gurrr Transforms into Torso
Blot Transforms into Right Arm
Rippersnapper Transforms into Left Arm
Rippersnapper Transforms into Right Leg
Rippersnapper Transforms into Left Leg

A year or so ago I caught a glimpse of Sky lynx in a gift shop within the Hong Kong Airport. I walked straight in and bought it and while waiting to board my flight I looked it over and I realized it was a combiner! Bonus! The only issue now is who to use for the limbs, since I wanted an all dino or monster theme. Couldn’t think of any at the time so I put it off for awhile. Many months later I saw a Terrorcon Combiner in a toy store in Singapore and bing, that was it. I recently acquired all 4 Terrorcons to complete my version of Abominus (I think I’ll have to rename my version, though). It was only after opening all the figures that I realized that Sky Lynx did not come with feet!!! So a few swear words later, I was back online looking for solutions since the feet are packaged with Hun-Gurrr (the torso). I had decided long ago not to get Hun-Gurrr because I’m not a big fan of pink robots, the monster mode looks weird to me and one 2 headed dragon/monster on the team is enough. What I found online was something called a Perfect Effect upgrade kit. They make a whole bunch of different kits for Combiners. Some are just hands and feet, others have weapons, chest plate add ons and limb widening add ons. Some of them look really awesome and I’m considering a couple of kits, however, they are quite pricey. While searching I also found some cheaper, different styled, different colored sets that were not from the Perfect Effect brand. I ordered the least expensive one I could find. It was a very pleasant surprise that both the hands and the feet can be transformed into weapons. The feet can transform into a really big double barreled blaster or separated into two blasters while the hands transform to something like a rifle. In foot mode, the tips of the barrels can be removed so that they don’t protrude from the back of the foot. I think the feet look better without the protruding barrels. The peg for the leg is on a swivel for better posing stability.

Pictured below are the Prime Armor and original feet attachments. The Prime Armor is a gimmick designed to induce more sales of toys, in my opinion. It’s an add on weapon/shield/engine part or whatever you make it out to be, and meant to accommodate a Prime Master. A Prime Master is a little figure that transforms into a ‘spark mode’ to fit into a compatible component, like the Prime Armor. This transformation is as easy as folding it in half to make it look like a cube. It is sold with an exo suit which just opens up to fit the Prime Master inside. This exo suit transforms into some kind of weapon (different Prime Masters have different exo suits). I included this info because some Combiner teams don’t have a large weapon for the merged figure so I got some of these Prime Masters to use in weapon mode.The foot attachment is from another figure that I wanted to show just as an example of roughly what some of the older hand/feet look like. The older ones are also dual purpose, they can be either hands or feet. The original one should look similar but have a Prime Master port, a swivel peg and cannot transform into a hand. Just make sure to look for a peg that sticks out from the top. That’s the peg that inserts into the leg.

Original Hand Original Foot

The moral of this story is, if you’re like me and collect toys based on how much you like the toy, set, theme or whichever and whatever, then you’re probably going to mix and match. If you do, please make sure you are set on parts (usually missing feet) as mentioned above and that the figure you plan on using for the torso is actually capable of that third transformation. For example, just because the figure is from the Combiner Wars series doesn’t mean it is a Combiner. I made that mistake…now I have two Ultra Magnus’! Lucky he’s one of my favorite characters, so I don’t really mind. If you have older Combiners using the older feet (like the one picture above), you can use the hands for feet then the Prime Armors for hands, that way you don’t have to buy an upgrade kit.

In case you’re wondering what my version looks like here’s a preview (I left the extra thumb on the left hand so you can see the difference between pulling the bottom one off or not):

I’ll call him “Primal Reign.”
Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enoyed making it. Have fun with your toys !!!

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

The Fluval hanging aquarium filters – buyers beware

Fluval C4 hanging filter for fresh water aquariums

First off, let me say that this review is strictly from my experience with the products that I purchased. Having said that, here’s some background info on my fish keeping endeavors. Every since I can remember, we’ve always had at least one fish tank in our household. These tanks, be it a breeding tank, hospital tank or main tank range from 10 gallon to 100 gallons. By no means am I an expert nor am I a noob when it comes to setting up a normal fish tank for your run of the mill, fresh water, decorative fish. I also remembered Hagen/Fluval products to be reliable, pricey but reliable. All of this experience has been in North America, and I feel I have to mention this because I’m currently in Asia (Singapore) and product issues aren’t as easy to resolve here and this is where my story starts.

Fluval C4 hanging filter unboxed

So it seems that the canister filters I’ve been using (asian brands that I’ve never used before) break down roughly every year and a half or so, so I figured, I should spend a bit more to get something a bit more reliable. So I went shopping and saw that a large pet retailer, Pet Lovers, had a sale on Fluval filters. On sale, this Fluval C4 hanging filter set me back $90 plus dollars whereas the bigger “asian” canister filters were in the $80 region. The C3 was also on sale so I bought that one as there weren’t any C4’s on the shelf. It’s a bit small for my tank but I needed one right away and could always use this as a spare or even run 2 units if I needed to. Other than being larger the C4 is identical to the C3. I have to say, I was very impressed with the C3 after almost a month of usage. Most impressive is the little knob that pops up indicating the need to clean the filter! Then the crap hit the fan, I woke up one morning and the filter wasn’t working. The motor unit was extremely hot so I unplugged it from the wall outlet, filled the filter with water and let it sit for a few minutes. After it felt ok to touch, I plugged it back in but nothing happened. I have no idea why it stopped working. I removed the motor from the filter to see if the impeller was broken, it was not, nor was there any obstruction that I could see. I couldn’t find the receipt so I just went to buy another one. I chose to buy the C4 because I was impressed by the C3 and a bigger version should be even better, right? In hindsight, maybe I should have switched back to canister filter or even the top filters. Oh Well.

Note: the tank below is a spare I use as a hospital / breeding / photo taking etc.

Two C4’s and one C3

Here we go with my Fluval C4 ordeal. This first one I bought lasted roughly 3 weeks if that. Again, woke up one morning and it wasn’t working. Motor unit was too hot to handle, no water in the filter and this time I noticed that the tube feeding water into the filter wasn’t seated properly. So I’m guessing the motor couldn’t create enough suction to keep water flowing in, but the tube can be moved to change the water flow. At this point I’m thinking maybe it’s my fish fighting and dislodged the tube. Anyways, I need to do a better job in keeping my receipts organized as I couldn’t find this one either, so I went and bought another C4 with the plan that I would buy a replacement motor. This time, for Fluval C4 number 2, I kept the box and the receipt in storage. Thank goodness I did because this one didn’t last 2 weeks! The intake tube wasn’t dislodged as far as I can tell  but was shifted to a lower flow rate. I emailed the pet store and they told me to bring it in for an exchange so I did. When I got to the store they were saying that I had to leave it with them so that they can test it and IF it is a manufacturers defect they will get another one from the dealer but not sure how long the process will take. So I asked them to call the lady who emailed me, they did and hesitantly did the exchange. Now, on to third C4. This time I taped the intake tube so that it would not move out of the strongest setting, and set the tube to the shortest length This unit lasted roughly 2 weeks! Enough is enough, right? No matter how much I like the filtration system and efficiency of the Fluval C3/C4 units, this is just ridiculous!

Fluval C4 hanging filter removable motor

Fluval C4 hanging filter flow switch

I decided to email Hagen/Fluval regarding my issue and to see how much replacement parts will cost. I sent the first email on Jan. 25, 2019 and got a response the next day basically saying I needed to contact their distributor in Malaysia for assistance and it was bcc’d to someone with an rchagen.my email address (don’t ask me why I was able to see the bcc but is shows and in red font too). I got a response from the rchagen.my on the 29th saying that “my mail will be attended shortly”. I have yet to receive any info up to this day, it is now Feb. 11, 2019. Oh I also decided to loop in the retailer I purchased the units from (and who performed the exchange) on the 4th of Feb. I’ve only received the auto generated msg of receipt of my email.

Now since the C4’s all died, I purchased a canister filter, the Fluval 306. Yes another Fluval from the same shop. I really like the size of this canister filter and it has the flow stop feature on the tubes which makes cleaning the filter so convenient, the asian brand filters I’ve used previously don’t have this feature so I’d have to take the hoses out of the tank every time I needed to clean the canister or change media.

So during all this, my catfish died. I’ve had him for almost 2 years! I can’t say for sure if it’s due to the bad filtration issues (I don’t think so because my Cichlids are still alive) or if its because I can’t find the plastic clip that sticks out of the suction cup that holds the intake tube straight down. It was rather flimsy but I didn’t think anything of it, most certainly didn’t think it would get eaten. Now my catfish is dead. But again, everything is mere speculation on my part and I’m recounting events in hopes this info can help others avoid potentialities.

I don’t know if my Fluval issues are going to get resolved or not but I will keep this post updated if it does. If you’re planning on buying a filter for your tank, consider the issues I’ve brought up. I would highly NOT recommend this filter if your fish are big/strong.

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

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Collectibles: Transformers POTP – Cuttthroat

Power of the Primes Decepticon Cutthroat, Abominus Combiner

I love toys! There I said it! I’m not talking about big kid toys like electronics, and such. I’m talking about figurines of my favorite super heroes, Transformers, anime characters etc. Truth be told, I don’t hold a figure in each and make fight sounds as I bash them together, like I used to. These days, I just display them on shelves and every once in a while I’ll change their position or posture for a different look or I’ll use them as photo props. Some of my favorite toys are still in the original packaging! Anyways, I thought it’d be helpful for those of you who, like me, score a lot their loot online because it’s just way to hard or not possible to find them in stores anymore. Maybe extra extras image or my ‘take’ on the toy, will help you decide if it’s worth adding to your collection or not.

Hasbro’s has introduced this remake of the Decepticon Cutthroat as a Deluxe Class figure in the Transformers – Power of the Primes toy line in 2018. He is part of the ‘combiner team’ known as the Terrorcons and transforms into a Pterodactyl. This five and a half inch figure comes with a collectible card, a blaster, and his Prime Armor which transforms into the hand of Abominus. What makes the combiner teams special is their ‘ability’ to merge into one giant robot. This means that each member of the team will have a third transformation mode, one that’s specifically for the giant robot. The groups will typically consist of five members, one of them being larger than the others (Voyager Class figure) and will transform into the torso/head of the giant robot. The other four will transform into a limb, either an arm or a leg and you can place them however you like. NOTE: Some combiners, whose 3rd transformation is a limb, (when sold/purchased separately) only come with the hand attachment (Prime Armor) which means that the foot attachment will then be included with the torso figure. Since Combiners from the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes toy lines are interchangeable and not all of them have the same hand/feet pieces you’ll have to really look at the included pieces if you’re planning on mixing and matching to create your own Combiner team. This is what caused my dilemma and resulted in my “Collectibles” series of posts. More info below.

Cutthroat’s yellow, purple and green color scheme doesn’t look that bad even though I’m not a fan of dark green. On my figure, the paint job is even and without defects although I really hate the string of numbers that are painted/etched on the back of the legs, so ugly! The faux rub sticker of the Decepticon emblem is straight but the square silver paint surrounding it isn’t totally square. The pterodactyl head can only move up and down, as can the crest on top of the head and the jaw. The wings can swivel at the shoulder blade attachment point as can the wing tips. The mid wing is hinged for more wing positions. There are notches on the wing base for the Prime Armor to peg in (the pegs are located on the “thumbs” of the Prime Armor). Stubs to attach a Prime Master are located on the lower back in pterodactyl mode just above the ugly numbers. The legs in pterodactyl mode swivel from the hips and are hinged at the knee. The rather large tail is also hinged allowing it to move up and down. There is a hole in the chest but it’s only big enough for the blaster to fit. However I think it’s only for arm mode since it looks really stupid in any other mode as does putting the Prime Armor on the bird head in robot mode! In robot mode, there’s a ball joint at the shoulders, The arms have a bicep swivel, hinged elbows and wrists (but only to fold the hands in for pterodactyl mode). The waist and head are also on swivels allowing them to be rotated 360 degrees. The hips are on ball joints but has very limited range. The legs have a thigh swivel and hinged knees. The knee hinges are important as they also function as the elbow joint in arm mode. The thing I find most disturbing is that the joints are not uniformly tight. For example one arms bicep swivel is tighter than the other or one beast mode leg is so loose that it won’t stay in place while the other is snug. Maybe it’s my copy, I don’t know but since I won’t be moving it around too much it’ll be ok. Also, it doesn’t take much force to pop a part off the ball joints but it’s easy to pop back in. For example, the Prime Armor piece transforms into the hand by flipping out the fingers and folding down the thumbs (the two pointy parts with the holes in it). It kind of looks stupid to me, having a hand with a thumb on the top and bottom, so I pulled off the bottom thumb. More of my ‘mods’ below.

Official Build:

Terrorcons Merge into Abominus
Hun-gurrr Transforms into Torso
Blot Transforms into Right Arm
Rippersnapper Transforms into Left Arm
Cutthroat Transforms into Right Leg
Cutthroat Transforms into Left Leg

A year or so ago I caught a glimpse of Sky lynx in a gift shop within the Hong Kong Airport. I walked straight in and bought it and while waiting to board my flight I looked it over and I realized it was a combiner! Bonus! The only issue now is who to use for the limbs, since I wanted an all dino or monster theme. Couldn’t think of any at the time so I put it off for awhile. Many months later I saw a Terrorcon Combiner in a toy store in Singapore and bing, that was it. I recently acquired all 4 Terrorcons to complete my version of Abominus (I think I’ll have to rename my version, though). It was only after opening all the figures that I realized that Sky Lynx did not come with feet!!! So a few swear words later, I was back online looking for solutions since the feet are packaged with Hun-Gurrr (the torso). I had decided long ago not to get Hun-Gurrr because I’m not a big fan of pink robots, the monster mode looks weird to me and one 2 headed dragon/monster on the team is enough. What I found online was something called a Perfect Effect upgrade kit. They make a whole bunch of different kits for Combiners. Some are just hands and feet, others have weapons, chest plate add ons and limb widening add ons. Some of them look really awesome and I’m considering a couple of kits, however, they are quite pricey. While searching I also found some cheaper, different styled, different colored sets that were not from the Perfect Effect brand. I ordered the least expensive one I could find. It was a very pleasant surprise that both the hands and the feet can be transformed into weapons. The feet can transform into a really big double barreled blaster or separated into two blasters while the hands transform to something like a rifle. In foot mode, the tips of the barrels can be removed so that they don’t protrude from the back of the foot. I think the feet look better without the protruding barrels. The peg for the leg is on a swivel for better posing stability.

Pictured below are the Prime Armor and original feet attachments. The Prime Armor is a gimmick designed to induce more sales of toys, in my opinion. It’s an add on weapon/shield/engine part or whatever you make it out to be, and meant to accommodate a Prime Master. A Prime Master is a little figure that transforms into a ‘spark mode’ to fit into a compatible component, like the Prime Armor. This transformation is as easy as folding it in half to make it look like a cube. It is sold with an exo suit which just opens up to fit the Prime Master inside. This exo suit transforms into some kind of weapon (different Prime Masters have different exo suits). I included this info because some Combiner teams don’t have a large weapon for the merged figure so I got some of these Prime Masters to use in weapon mode.The foot attachment is from another figure that I wanted to show just as an example of roughly what some of the older hand/feet look like. The older ones are also dual purpose, they can be either hands or feet. The original one should look similar but have a Prime Master port, a swivel peg and cannot transform into a hand. Just make sure to look for a peg that sticks out from the top. That’s the peg that inserts into the leg.

Original Hand Original Foot

The moral of this story is, if you’re like me and collect toys based on how much you like the toy, set, theme or whichever and whatever, then you’re probably going to mix and match. If you do, please make sure you are set on parts (usually missing feet) as mentioned above and that the figure you plan on using for the torso is actually capable of that third transformation. For example, just because the figure is from the Combiner Wars series doesn’t mean it is a Combiner. I made that mistake…now I have two Ultra Magnus’! Lucky he’s one of my favorite characters, so I don’t really mind. If you have older Combiners using the older feet (like the one picture above), you can use the hands for feet then the Prime Armors for hands, that way you don’t have to buy an upgrade kit.

In case you’re wondering what my version looks like here’s a preview (I left the extra thumb on the left hand so you can see the difference between pulling the bottom one off or not):

I’ll call him “Primal Reign.”
Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enoyed making it. Have fun with your toys !!!

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art