Hmmm, lots of things still in the post and long past their estimated arrival date. But let's focus on what did arrive, and both of them were wonderful- and neither of them things that would have remotely registered on my radar even 6 months ago, let alone a year ago. Both arrivals take me one step further towards the full variant and mould completion of the sculpts in question, but at least they're both excellent items in their own right instead of just helping to make the whole more complete.
Transformers Go! in Japan seems to have covered a lot of stuff that Arms Micron didn't, including this Beast Hunters Smokescreen, or "Hunter Smokescreen". Had my TFCC Barricade not been lost by the USPS sorting facility in Chicago, I would be able to sign this mould off as totally complete with all international variants accounted for, but as it is, Parcel Force pretended to deliver my replacement today and it's back in the depot for re-delivery another day. We don't call them Parcel Farce for nothing.
|Hasbro BH Smokescreen - Takara TFGo! Hunter Smokescreen|
|Prowl - Streetsmart - BH Smokescreen - TFGo! Smokescreen|
This TF Go! Smokescreen is by far the nicest version of the mould, apart from Barricade. It takes the Beast Hunters version and makes the plastic white instead of grey, adds much needed silver paint application to the alloys/hubs like Barricade has, and includes a more screen accurate deco, especially on the doors. The windows are not tinted the same as the Hasbro version either, and the headlights are not yellow but clear. The launcher tab and missile are identical. There are differences in the paint apps on the robot shins too as Hunter Smokescreen doesn't have any red paint like the Hasbro release there, but then the Go! version has the paint apps on the rear wing. The Japanese Go! version does not come with the electronet or robot "armour". Absolutely no great loss at all. G06 Hunter Smokescreen is - hands down - the nicest of all in the above group shot, and probably how everyone would have wished the Hasbro one to look like as it would have been more show accurate. Keep in mind I still haven't watched the show, but Google Images has my back. I think.
Next up is a gem I spotted in a sales list on TFW. The black bootleg Animated Activators Optimus Prime with a custom Decepticon sticker looks a lot like an Activators version of the Japanese exclusive black Optimus Prime from Animated. That's precisely why i could not resist, for $15 shipped it's a lot for a bootleg of a tiny figure but then the seller had to swallow most of that in shipping so I feel for his expenses. The lack of a copyright stamp under the sirens confirms that it isn't just a kitbash, but a genuine (ahem) variation - albeit unofficial. From my experience on Taobao, there will surely be no end to bootleg versions of Animated TFs, but at least this one is in a significant colour scheme.
The quality is not bad actually, the plastic feels strong and I was confident when it came to transforming and compacting the figure, one of the harder Activators moulds to deal with generally. The opportunity to line him up with the normal Prime Activator, clear Prime Activator and their respective voyagers was just an opportunity too good to pass up.
All the best