The Transformers Archive Skip to main content / Also skip section headers

[The Transformers Archive - an international fan site]
Please feel free to log in or register.

  • transformers toys
  • transformers comics
  • transformers cartoon
  • transformers live-action movies
  • transformers fandom
  • transformers forum
Old 2012-08-27, 11:07 AM   #1
Blackjack's Avatar
Default Blackjack's Revised Reviews

Name: Elita-One
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Scouts Class
Repaint of: Transformers: Energon Arcee
Accessories: Four-part Crossbow; Missile; Energon Star

Elita-One is one of the many Walmart-exclusive repaints during the first movie line, when Hasbro churned out lots of these guys to cash in on the big movie craze. Many of the repaints, however, were repaints of Energon and Cybertron-era molds, which don’t exactly fit in well with the Movie aesthetic. Of course, that doesn’t stop Hasbro from doing it, and that doesn’t stop IDW comic writers from taking these toy-exclusive characters and using them as cannon fodder in their comics.

One of these repaints is Elita-One, a repaint of Energon-era Omnicon Arcee in maroon. The name homages Optimus Prime’s girlfriend in the original cartoon, but the rather rubbish bio makes Elita-One kind of a… well, she is able to use her ‘attraction field’ to overheat other male Transformers around her. It’s kind of silly. And stupid.

Of course, since Elita-One is a practical nobody other than that one episode in the original cartoon, not many people really cares about her, and evidently not the writers of IDW’s Reign of Starscream comics, where Elita gets killed by Starscream. And then because in Revenge of the Fallen one of the Arcee bikes gets named ‘Elita-One’ by Hasbro, IDW writers rush with their retcon team, tidying up their version of Movie Arcee and dead Elita-One as best as they could. So basically Elita-One’s dead body gets used in a Decepticon experiment where Arcee’s spark is split between three bodies. And thus Elita-One the not-Arcee is born. Or something.

Anyway, I got this toy during the movie craze because she was cheap.

Alternate Mode:
Elita transforms into a brownish-maroon, black and silver motorcycle. The colours are pretty evenly distributed alongside her alternate mode. She hides her robot kibble relatively well – the arms transform into the seat seamlessly (with the hands showing flat surfaces) and the torso is well disguised as a block. The upper legs look like pieces of the motorcycle body, but the lower legs (and the high heels) are pretty visible. They are painted in white, however, and in any case, the included energon weapons (painted in solid black instead of random clear plastic) can combine into two… pistons? Additional engines? Whatever they are. They attach onto the sides of Elita’s motorcycle mode, and make a rather good effort at trying to blend in with her. It isn’t what I would call perfect – the weapons are clearly out of scale with Arcee, they scrape the ground a little, and one of the engines has a big missile stuck onto it.

But it does a rather serviceable motorbike, a pretty solid toy, and she rolls on the ground pretty fun.

Robot Mode:
Elita-One’s robot mode is… well, it’s kibbly. She transforms into the likeness of G1 Arcee, and her paint scheme’s layout clearly tries to homage G1 Arcee, albeit substituting the far tastier pinkish maroon instead of baby pink. It’s a pretty well homage, yet tasty enough to blend into the more realistic movie decos as she is supposed to do. She unfolds quite cleanly in a relatively simple transformation. I am not a fan of her wimpy arms, though. The elbows are only hinged in one direction, so Elita can only awkwardly move her lower arms sideways, which doesn’t lead to good articulation. The shoulders are better-articulated, thankfully, so she can at least point that giant crossbow at others.

The rest of her is pretty good. She balances quite well on her high heels, although the windshield and front wheel of the motorcycle just hangs off her back like… well, like nothing. They just hang there. The halves of the rear wheel can either stick on top from Elita-One’s shoulders, or tucked away so they’re more out of view, depending on your taste. Personally I like to know that my Transformers actually turn into something, so the unobstructive shoulder wings always point upwards.

Elita’s head is a fair approximation of her original Leia-bunned G1 version, albeit with Ariel’s (G1 Elita’s old name and body) hairdo thrown into the mix. It isn’t very distractive. You can peg the similarly black-plastic Energon Star into her chest, and if you remove it there is a silver Autobot insignia inside.

Her two… pipe things combine, and the exhaust pipes peg onto the sides in an approximation of a crossbow weapon. It does look impressive, if only Elita-One has actual arms to hold it with… see, she doesn’t have real hands, just pieces of plastic with hands molded onto them, which are, to be fair, on a ball joint, but they can only articulate away from the motorcycle piece, making rather crappy hands. The crossbow pegs onto a hole in Elita-One’s wrists, which is rather comically impractical and oversized. The crossbow looks much better when held by a Deluxe Class figure, but it’s quite serviceable on Elita-One.

The weapon fires pretty far when you press the button, but it's not trigger-happy like some of my toys are.

Elita is a strictly average robot. She's not great, but the arm problems and badly-positioned kibble doesn't really make her terrible.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 6/10 It’s a toy from the Energon line, so you really can’t expect much here. It’s serviceable, I suppose, for a toy her size and quite fun to do. Transforming into motorcycle mode requires some rather fiddly lining up of the front wheels which I’m not too fond of.

Durability: 8/10 Aside from losing her weapon pieces or snapping off the pegs in the wheels, I don’t think you’ll break Elita-One unless you’re a real philistine.

Aesthetics: 7/10 She looks quite good, as long as you get over the ‘not a Bayformer’ aesthetic. The rather muted yet slightly pinkish maroon is quite classy, and the silver and black are pretty well and muted secondary colours. For a deco that is supposed to homage G1 Arcee’s robot mode, the use of maroon instead of pink pleases me.

Articulation: 3/10 Mmm, to be fair, she is an Energon-era toy, but compared to the other Omnicon molds I own, Arcee does feel much less articulated. The aforementioned arms are a big factor, but her kibble also detracts from her articulation.

Fun: 6/10 She comes with a huge weapon, and she was a decent toy. I liked her, anyway.

Price/Value: 8/10 She’s worth it for what you’re paying back then for the Scouts class price range, and now I don’t think her aftermarket price has increased significantly.

Overall: 6.5/10 Elita’s a very average toy, but back then I liked her quite a lot. She’s got a rather fetching deco as compared to numerous other versions of this mold, and the maroon is a very pretty colour, and a rather uncommon one as well. She won’t blow you away, but despite articulation problems, she is a good, solid toy and display piece. The weapon can plug into many other toys as well, which is always a good bonus.

Last edited by Blackjack; 2014-03-14 at 11:02 AM.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-08-27, 11:12 AM   #2
Blackjack's Avatar

The first of the rewritten reviews. I bring you Movie Elita-One.

I'm planning to rewrite many of the early reviews I've written, many of them are so much 'OMG NEW TOY' declarations, and they were pretty badly written. I'm a bit ashamed of them, and as a compensation I'm going to rewrite them in a more professional way. Of course to keep the spirit of my old reviews alive, I'm still going to retain most of my points from back then, keep it relatively shorter than my newer reviews.

I plan to rewrite most of my Movie, Animated and Universe reviews, as well as some ROTF (I can't believe I thought Chromia and Arcee were good).

These are just self-indulgent reviews and are, as I've said, rewritten ones of old reviews, so I won't be posting them as updates in the main site; rather, they will simply replace the old ones when I do get to updating them.

I'll have to take some new pictures as well.

Next up, Real Gear Robots, who I've bashed mercilessly while they're actually pretty good. And Ejector, who needs more bashing. Then I'll start working on depending on which reviews I think were worst.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-08-27, 11:31 AM   #3
Auntie Slag
Satisfaction guaranteed !
Auntie Slag's Avatar
Cambridge, UK

Gutted about Ejector, really wanted him to be a good toy. A robot who transforms into a toaster sounds perfect in a Robo-Capers type way (e.g. John the Decepticon toilet).

Utilitarian-formers is a cool concept. From as early as the More Than Meets The Eye three-part cartoon in 1984 seeing Soundwave transform into a Cybertronian er... lamp-post? it made sense for more of them to be things other than cars and planes (ok, we had the cassettes).

A Transformer who is a TV, one who is a computer, an iPad, a bar-b-que, a fire escape ladder outside American buildings (how rusty and pointy he would look. Almost meccano-like). An art-deco lamp, a church!

C'mon, we had robot insects, and a pink piraña-thing (Gnaw).

And Blot... what the hell?

[Edit]Utilitarian... sorry, 'Real Gear' like you said.

"It's not until you're an adult you appreciate how awesome a dog is. Your dreams start dying, somebody cheats on you, bankers f*** up your pension. Then you come home and that dog's looking at you and he's like, 'Dude, you're awesome!'” - Bill Burr

“I re-invented my image so many times that I'm in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman.” - David Bowie
Auntie Slag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-08-27, 11:58 AM   #4
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Ejector
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Scouts Class

So, back in the hype for the first live action movie, there was a Mountain Dew commercial featuring a transforming toaster done in the Bayformer style. It was quite hilarious as a throwaway thing. Come Revenge of the Fallen, Michael Bay decides to expand on everything which fans love from the first movie. One of them is the fact that the Allspark was able to bring objects like cell phones and X-Boxes and Mountain Dew dispensers to life.

So why not an entire kitchen?

And thus the Appliancebot scene was born, which was all good fun. There was a vacuum cleaner with a cannon like Ironhide’s, a fire-spitting cappuccino machine, a phut-phut-phut-ing spike-covered garbage disposal that charges around like a stupid little pit bull, a beetle-like Aeronet thing, rather generic stand mixer and microwave robots… and, in Bay style, there was a blender who transforms into a robot with a giant face and a big gun on his crotch.

Oh Bay.

The last of these Appliancebots, however, was the toaster seen in the Mountain Dew commercial. The exact same model, albeit touched-up a little to fit with the movie’s standards, and given nun-chucks. The toaster totally nun-chucked Sam’s leg!

And then Hasbro saw fit to give this toaster guy a Scouts class toy, rechristened ‘Ejector’ and plonked into the Decepticon faction. Parts of the fandom went all ecstatic over this, because LOL TOASTER TOY. I guess the sheer ridiculousness of owning a transforming toaster got the better of me, and plus, Ejector was totally a show character, and I wanted at least a version of each show character. So I got Ejector. After the novelty of his alternate mode has waned off… he’s a crappy toy.

Alternate Mode:
See, with the Real Gear Robots from the first movie, there were some things you could do with them, at least. There was a watch, there was a camera, binoculars… you can interact with them. Pretend you’re using them, or that larger Transformers are using them. Ejector is… a toaster. A tiny toaster. The cameras and cell phones and watches were at least approximately the same size as their real-life counterparts, which added to their charm.

Ejector is a toaster. A block.

He doesn’t even have a fake lever to simulate inserting bread or anything.

He’s just a block, with an awkward-looking extension cord extending from one end. And he’s not even a good block. He’s mostly silver, with close to no detailing anywhere. Join lines break apart the toaster’s smooth sides, and there’s even a gap where some of his robot modes could be seen if you look at it from where the extension cord attaches. It’s a terrible-looking gap, it’s not even smooth.

Ejector is very bare, with only silver paint (which would probably chip and scrape something terrible) and minimal paint applications for buttons. It’s a silver brick. It’s only a toaster because the packaging tells us it’s a toaster. There’s absolutely no indication that it’s a toaster of any kind. There’s a sheer lack of effort put into making Ejector. I mean, it’s a brick. It’s a silver brick with knobs and an extension cord attached to it. A knob is coloured black, a switch is coloured red bordered with black. Not even the bread slots are coloured. The least they could’ve done is make it attractive.

Robot Mode:
Ejector unfolds through a relatively complex transformation for his size, and the result is very, very… underwhelming. Ejector’s two shades of grey, with some reddish-orange detailing, probably to simulate the heating coils inside a toaster. It’s a very bad shade of orange, and doesn’t look anything like the movie model’s version of glowing filaments. The two shades of grey are very bland, and Ejector is certainly lacking in any sort of molded details.

Ejector’s head is a very terrible looking sculpt, which baffled me. The movie model has a rather generic-looking Bayformer face, jaws with teeth and a spiky head. The ‘cool’ Bayformer head, not the Skids-and-Mudflap Bayformer head. This one… looks like Megatron crossed with a bulldog, then squashed flat, hit several times with a hammer and then ran over by a truck. It’s flat, it’s got ugly googly-looking mismatched eyes that are certainly not part of the movie’s sharp aesthetics. Ejector’s got an ugly, gaping mouth, which, while posable, looks very ugly. It looks uglier than Mudflap, and that is saying something. It’s inaccurate to boot, and completely ugly.

Ejector’s extension cord ends up as his tail, which sort of makes it look quite good. His feet, however, are skinny little affairs, with a very small surface area on which to balance him on! Have fun making him stand up without support.

Unlike the movie model’s two arms, the designers went mental and gave Ejector four. Two are on hinges and basically can’t do anything, while the other two are on ball joints, and the hands can open and close. Not that it’s good for anything, mind you. The tail’s too short to be used as a flail weapon, and while they could’ve included a nunchuck accessory, they didn’t.

It’s a terrible robot that turns into something vaguely resembling a toaster. After about five seconds of weak amusement, this thing ceases to be anything but.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 1/10 It’s very crappy, since the transformation produces an extremely ugly, inaccurate and crappy robot mode. It isn’t fun to do, in any case.

Durability: 9/10 Paint aside, Ejector is a very durable toy. I’ve dropped him, threw him against walls, stepped on him… and still he looks at me with that blank, stupid look.

Aesthetics: 1/10 Toaster mode isn’t so much of a toaster as a multi-segmented silver brick. Robot mode is an ugly piece of crap.

Articulation: 3/10 He’s got nice ball-jointed arms, but the rest of him can’t articulate much without him toppling over due to the teeny tiny feet.

Fun: 2/10 When I was a kid Ejector was always the Decepticon that died first.

Price/Value: 0/10 Scouts class toys were more expensive in ROTF than in previous lines, and while many Scouts class toys aren’t very good, at least Dune Runner, Rollbar, Dirt Boss and its ilk are still average decent Transformers. Ejector is a piece of junk.

Overall: 0/10 Even as a kid, when I bought him, I wasn’t very excited about Ejector. He transforms from a brick of a toaster into a messy robot. Yay? Hell, I wrote excited reviews for Chromia and many other rubbish toys, and even then the younger me hated Ejector. He’s obviously a cheap joke made by Hasbro employees, and I’m ashamed that I even considered buying him. It's a shame, really... I'd really hoped he would turn out to be something good, the concept of a transforming toaster was all in good fun. But Ejector turned out just that -- a joke.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-08-27, 12:03 PM   #5
Blackjack's Avatar

Originally Posted by Auntie Slag View Post
Gutted about Ejector, really wanted him to be a good toy. A robot who transforms into a toaster sounds perfect in a Robo-Capers type way (e.g. John the Decepticon toilet).
I liked the concept of Ejector! It sounded so hilarious and fun at that time, but the toy is completely suckish. It's still a nice little novelty, but it's a crappy toaster and a crappy robot.

A Transformer who is a TV, one who is a computer, an iPad, a bar-b-que, a fire escape ladder outside American buildings (how rusty and pointy he would look. Almost meccano-like). An art-deco lamp, a church!
Yeah, it's a shame they never really developed Real Gear robots. I mean, we've got the original Soundwave, Blaster and Reflector, and their cassettes. Perceptor sounded quite cool, but his toy was quite rubbish.

What else, though? We've got mobile phones, binoculars, video cameras, game boys, playstation controllers, toasters... rather generic stuff! I was gutted that photocopier Laserbeak or the television Laserbeak didn't get made into a toy, or the laptop computer Brains. They would suck, but I wanted toys of them.

And the vacuum cleaner robot, he looked workable into a toy.

Yeah, TVs, computers, iPads, barbeques.... loads of things they could've made. Not sure if they'd get away with making a church, though I'd love a Primus that turns into that.

a pink piraña-thing (Gnaw).
Eh heh heh, that's a great description of Gnaw.

To be fair, I liked Blot. He was this big nose-creature thing with giant claws which looked so ugly and stupid... which fits in exactly with his personality.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-08-28, 04:18 PM   #6
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Power Up VT6
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Real Gear Robots (Scouts Class)

So, in 2007, the first live-action movie hit the theatres. Brand-new deluxe, voyager and leader class toys were made for the show characters, but due to the complexity of the show designs, none of them would fit (or warranted) a release of a Scouts class toy.

So instead, Hasbro brought out some molds designed for the previous cartoon, Transformers Cybertron, and released them as a way to fill the Scouts class hole, whilst repainting other Energon and Cybertron toys as Walmart exclusives. But these previously unseen molds -- sold under the subline of Real Gear Robots -- all transform into tiny electronic devices in the spirit of the objects transformed into Transformers by the Allspark in the movie.

One of these Real Gear Robots was Power Up VT6. For some reason nearly all the Real Gear Robots have these additional string of numbers and/or letters at the back of their names. Power Up transformed into a generic handheld game device that looked like a retro version of a PlayStation Portable or Game Boy Advanced.

Power Up also happened to be my very first purchase of a Transformer, an interest kindled by the Bay movie which would soon blossom into full-out insanity. I've owned some RID and Beast Machines toys as a kid, also some knockoffs, but I've never knew they were Transformers, let alone characters. And besides all of them had been sold/given away anyway.

So, I was pretty happy to see that Power Up came with a little character bio, a little description telling me that Power Up is a mischievous trickster brought to life by the Allspark, and is able to hack and delete data from any nearby computer system. And it even ended with this precious line 'be careful when interacting with him, because spacial receptors in his screen can scramble your brain right through your eyeballs'.

Come on, he's an evil little hacker who can scramble your brain when you look at his screen! And the bio totally rold me to be careful, which was precious.

And he comes with tech specs! He's got a strength of 9, so it meant that when I was a kid he could totally smack Bumblebee and Jazz down.

Of course, dear little Power Up, or indeed any of the other Real Gear robots, never appeared anywhere in fiction, so Power Up never got the chance to hack or scramble a kid's brains. He was a nobody. But he was my first Transformer, and thus featured quite importantly during my old playtimes alongside the rest of my Movie cast.

I used to be harsh with Real Gear Robots on account on them being so simple, but that was wrong and I was stupid. Here are proper, subjective reviews of them now.

Alternate Mode
Power Up transforms into a handheld console similar to a generic, rather old-fashioned rectangular gaming console. It's all rather boxy, with some curves. It's got two small buttons under the screen (Start and Select, I suppose), a working D-Pad on the left, and four buttons -- red, blue, green and yellow -- on the right side. All of these could be pressed. On the top corners of him are purple tabs, probably 'R' and 'L'. Also, on the center of the top you can see the top of his robot head, but, eh.

Power Up's sides, where you're supposed to hold him and where the main buttons are, are black. The rest of him are gray, except for the buttons. The black are painted, mind you, so my Power Up has had some paint chipped due to being an old toy and being played with often, but considering how old he is, they are pretty minor.

There are some molded details resembling speakers, which, like a real gaming console, would be unobstructive compared to the bright buttons. He's a pretty small handheld device, but not so much smaller than a real one as compared to, say, Longview or Zoom-Out. Besides, they do make actual Game Boys smaller than Power Up, the Game Boy Micro being significantly smaller than him.

The big screen show Cybertron Jetfire's alternate mode (probably a left over from the Cybertron line) shooting at you and a targeting reticule. There's some generic power up or whatever bars. The lower left a panel informing us of 'plane/transform', which probably means it's a Transformers game and we're playing a Decepticon and is trying to shoot down Jetfire. There is a Decepticon insignia on the lower right, and on the upper left is '096/100', which could easily be points, HP or time. Generic game stuff.

Looking at the screen hasn't scrambled my brain yet, which is good.

Well, maybe it has and Power Up's directing me like a puppet, who knows?

Robot Mode
Power Up's transformation is a very adorable one-step transformation -- you grab both sides of him, and pull, which reveal that the sides are legs. Due to gearing inside him, this action pushes out his head and shoulders, and all you need to do is to peg the two halves of his crotch together securely, and re-orient the legs. Ta-da, Power Up is transformed! This clever gearing system amused me as a kid, and still amuses me now.

He is a rather generic humanoid robot. Not much kibble, or any distinguishing features... he's pretty generic. Pretty close to G1 Soundwave, actually. Flat chest/abdomen, similar silhouette and position of kibble, but that's what you get when you transform out of a rectangular box.

Power Up's added some more colours which are revealed with the gearing gimmick, which coincidentally similar with the Automorph gimmick in the line. Power Up's head is black, with a green crest and faceplate, and eyes that glow a sinister shade of green when light-piped. His shoulders are black, his upper arms and hands are a fetching shade of purple (the arms are, by the way, the 'L' and 'R' pads in the game boy mode). His crotch and shins are purple as well, and the rest of his upper legs are black. Parts of his feet are green to match the paint on the face.

His head can turn around; it's on a pin joint. The shoulders are double-hinged so he can shrug as well as rotate. His upper arms are connected to the shouldes with a hinge and to the lower arms with a ball joint. His pincer-like hands are hinged. His thighs are ball-jointed, half of his upper legs are on pin joints and the knees are hinged.

And since he has no kibble to block his articulation, he has a pretty wide range. Having the weight distributed close to the ground helps balance as well. Of course, he comes with no weapons, and couldn't hold any due to having immobile pincer hands, but he's got a strength of 9, dammit! He don't need no weapons! And he can induce epilepsy in anyone who sees his screen. He looks cute, to boot.

Power Up, and indeed all of the Real Gear Robots, don't fit well into the movie aesthetic, but as a toy, he's a pretty decent transformer with a unique alternate mode. He's not the greatest toy out there, but he is a pretty solid toy.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 8/10 I'm very fond of how he transforms with the aid of gears in a single step, and yet produces a robot with the full range of articulation you'd expect from a Scouts class toy. Runabout, eat your heart out.

Durability: 10/10 Aside from some minor paint scrapes (which I fixed quickly with black paint while writing this review) he's survived rough play, falls, getting squashed, stuffed in a pile of toys, forced dismemberment, rough transformations and much more for five years now. I had thought the inner gears would break or snap, but no, Power Up stays strong despite all odds. Having few ball joints (which I popped on-and-off like a psycho) means that compared to ROTF-era Scouts like Dirt Boss or Dune Runner (who I wasn't as savage towards as I was to Power Up) who have problems standing now due to joint wear, well...

Aesthetics: 5/10 He's certainly a tiny game console, and the robot mode is pretty generic-looking. Also, being a movie toy, he certainly doesn't look like something out of the movie lines, and even in Cybertron standards he looks woefully under-detailed. I love him, though... he's got a rather fetching colour layout.

Articulation: 8/10 Stands up pretty well for an older toy, and he's well-balanced to show off his entire range of articulation.

Fun: 8/10 He scrambles brains. In all seriousness, he's fun to transform back and forth, and when I was a kid I liked to pop his head and legs apart to simulate battle damage and pop them back again.

Price/Value: 5/10 Hard to say, he was a little simplistic for a Scouts class toy, but I think it adds to his charm. He was cheap, though, and I brought him with my own money, so he's, like, G1 Bumblebee or Gears or something.

Overall: 7.5/10 He's no star, certainly. Pretty forgettable. Nothing at all special about him, robot mode, alternate mode or otherwise. He is a very, very average toy. There isn't anything wrong with him, but on the other hand, he doesn't have anything special going for him. Not even fictional appearances. Power Up isn't a toy that you have to hunt down, but he is a spectacularly fun toy to fiddle around with, and having accompanied me for a considerably long time, I feel obliged to recommend this rather fun and solid toy to you, if you can find him for a cheap price. I love my Power Up.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-08-28, 04:22 PM   #7
Blackjack's Avatar

Power Up is an underwhelmingly average toy, but that doesn't stop him from my all-time favourite Scouts class toy. It also helps that he never, ever breaks. There was some time when his gears felt like they were going to give way, but no, little Power Up never gives up.

More modern toys like Dune Runner, Brakedown, Dirt Boss and Ransack has already gotten loose ball joints and can hardly stand. Boba Fett and his ilk self-destructed from their sheer crappiness. Other toys have minor damages.

Power Up? Despite being the one non-BM, non-RID toy I owned that I was the roughest with -- he ended up getting dismembered and thrown around in every playtime session, especially after we got Classsics Grimlock -- he still keeps on rocking and the joints are pretty tight even after five years now.

Hell, he's so nice that the only damage he has are scraped black paint -- in small amounts which I, with my limited kitbashing skills, fixed in under five minutes. He's just that considerate.

God I love this little guy.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-08-30, 03:02 PM   #8
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Crosshairs
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Scouts Class
Accessories: Energon Star; Crane-Gun Assembly; Wheel/Axe Halves

So during the boom of the first movie line, Hasbro doled out several Energon and Cybertron mold repaints as Walmart exclusives, usually as new characters homaging old ones. One of these repaints is Crosshairs, a repaint of the Omnicon Strongarm from the Energon line. Crosshairs’ bio puts him to be similar in behavior with the original Crosshairs from the G1 line, a meticulous Targetmaster who acts as the Autobots’ armourer. The movieverse Crosshairs was, likewise, a meticulous armourer who won’t let you take a weapon out of his extensive armoury without filling out forms detailing what they needed it for. It’s certainly a quick repaint to pad out the line, but the fact that they took enough care to get the trademark for Crosshairs (it’s a great name) back and give him the correct characterization… of course the colours are brown instead of the original Crosshairs’ bright red and blue, but, hey, it’s a different character, no?

Of course, in the tie-in comics he was reduced to a generic heroic Autobot thing that probably died off-screen or something, so there’s not much to say about him.

Alternate Mode:
Crosshairs transforms into a generic military jeep, albeit one that has two larger rear wheels. He’s painted mainly in two fetching shades of sandy and dark brown, with gray rounding up the rest of the details. A desert camo detail is painted lovingly over his hood and sides. It’s rather gratifying to see such a small-release repaint get so much detail in painting. The overall effect seems to homage Outback, sort of, due to the large black cannon attached to him, which isn’t a far stretch, for the Strongarm mould has been redecoed as Outback once before. Of course, Crosshairs was released during the ‘Allspark Power’ subline imprint, which means there has to be some baby blue thrown in somewhere in order to represent the Allspark’s power. Or something. On his vehicle mode, at least, the baby blue is placed on the side of the vehicle in stripes, as well as what would become the crotch in robot mode. It’s not that jarring.

Crosshairs has quite a decent amount of moulded details, including chairs (which would be impractical in a real vehicle) and a windshield crafted out of hard plastic which resembles real glass. There is an Autobot symbol moulded (but not painted) on one corner of his vehicle mode, and under it is a Sector Seven symbol, which means Crosshairs has taken the form of a Sector Seven vehicle. The jeep doesn’t do anything to hide the robot mode chest, but it’s close enough to the blocks on a jeep that it works. The head, however, even though it’s pointing to the floor, is pretty blatant.

Having repainted from an Omnicon mould, Crosshairs comes with a bunch of accessories, this time cast in a subdued shade of translucent grey, as opposed to the offensively bright primary colours they used to be. The energon star pegs onto what would become Crosshairs’ chest, but is part of the jeep’s rear here. It looks silly plugged in to his alternate mode, but the alternative would mean a glowing silver Autobot symbol… which looks even more out of place. Oh well. The other three pieces hide as vehicle mode kibble. One acts like a crane plugged onto a corner of the jeep, but while it does have a hinged crane hook, it’s blatantly a gun… and Crosshairs is painted like a military jeep. The other two halves form wheel halves which are supposed to peg onto Crosshairs’ robot head and masquerade as a spare wheel, which works quite fine… except that while one half has a peg that securely attaches to Crosshairs’ noggin, the other simply sits there, meaning it can and will fall off at any time in vehicle mode.

Crosshairs rolls pretty well in vehicle mode, and his crane-cannon thing can be angled. You can also bend the windshield towards the hood, which is a nice touch. He’s a rather fetching jeep as well, with cartoonishly (yet not unrealistically) large wheels.

Robot Mode:
Crosshairs’ transformation is rather simple. The blatant torso part becomes the torso, of course. The rear wheels rotate on its fake half and reveal the arms, the head rotates, and the front half of the jeep rotate and unfold to become the legs, with the windshield acting as the feet. The overall result is a rather stockish robot, which gives the impression of a brawler. Again, his primary colours are still browns and grays, but Allspark baby blue crisscross his thighs and dot his shoulders. It’s a bit irritating to see baby blue there, which detracts from the otherwise beautiful paintjob. Crosshairs has a rather surprisingly versatile amount of articulation. His head turns, his shoulders are ball-jointed, his elbows are on hinges, his waist rotates (!), his thighs and knees are jointed, and even his feet, by virtue of being windshields, can angle a little. Sadly, his thighs cannot be articulated so it’s pointing backwards due to the chair kibble getting in the way.

He’s also got these cute warrior skirt flaps on the sides of his waist.

Again, the accessories come into play in robot mode. While it’s not executed elegantly, I like how the Omnicon weapons hide as kibble in the vehicular mode, and transform into weapons in the robot mode. The energon star, obviously, remains in the same position, but the instructions suggests two ways on how to display the rest of Crosshairs’ weaponry. The first is to leave the crane-cannon on Crosshairs’ shoulder (well, the thick kibble that forms part of his thick shoulders), while the wheel halves peg onto Crosshairs’ real shoulders as… shields or something, I don’t know. This looks rather ridiculous.

The second one is that Crosshairs holds the crane-gun by the business end, and the wheel halves plug into the other end to form an awkward-looking axe. To be honest, it isn’t so much an axe as a club with circular ‘blades’ attached to it, but as a kid I thought it was awesome. The fact that Alex Milne reimagined Crosshairs as wielding a simply ginormous non-kibbly battle axe in Reign of Starscream helped too. As a kid, I thought this was quite cool, although it kind of clashed with the mental image that an armourer should use firearms.

Crosshairs is a rather decent Scouts class figure, and indeed most of the Energon-era Scouts toys are pretty good and stand proudly compared to some modern toys of similar size. Crosshairs, in particular, is my personal favourite mould out of the Energon repaints from the movie line.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 7/10 It’s pretty serviceable and simple, although the fact that the robot torso isn’t hidden kind of feels lazy.

Durability: 8/10 One of Crosshairs’ wheel halves, the one that doesn’t peg into the other in ‘wheel’ formation, is bound to go missing if you don’t keep the weapon as an axe. Holding that giant axe also puts a strain on the elbow joints. Otherwise, though, he is a solid toy.

Aesthetics: 8/10 Quite tastily done, with a fetching colour scheme in both modes, and they went through all the trouble to paint the desert camo deco on his hood, which can’t be easy. Compared to how lazy many of the more modern Scouts class toys are… shame on the baby blue, though.

Articulation: 8/10 Crosshairs has great articulation for a Scouts class toy his age, including the ever-elusive hip joint. Some of them are restricted, however, by kibble, such as the aforementioned thigh problem.

Fun: 9/10 He’s a jeep with a cannon that transforms into a robot with a giant axe and he’s totally a meticulous, stuffy weapons expert slash armourer… what’s there not to have fun with?

Price/Value: 8/10 You get what you’re paying for, at least.

Overall: 8/10 Crosshairs is one of the better Energon-era moulds, and has a pretty great paint scheme. I won’t really recommend picking him up if you already have any of the prior uses of this mould (the movieverse Strongarm looks pretty spiffy as well) but if you don’t, and you can find him for cheap, Crosshairs is worth a look-see.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-04, 11:43 AM   #9
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Zoom Out 25x
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Scouts Class (Real Gear Robots)

Zoom Out 25x (hereafter referred to as ‘Zoom Out’) is one of the new mould released under the ‘Real Gear Robots’ series of the 2007 Movie toyline. Supposed to represent normal appliances brought into life by the power of the Allspark, they transform into what is supposedly 1 : 1 alternate modes in the spirit of G1 Megatron, Soundwave, Reflector, Perceptor and their ilk. Well, technically, they are designed during the Cybertron line, but released during the Movie line, resulting in a more traditional, blocky appearance compared to the ‘a million panels moving at the same time’ movie aesthetic.

Now Zoom Out happened to be among the first Transformers I’ve bought. His bio states him to be inhumanly patient, and will stay in his alternate mode to get the perfect shot of you doing something embarrassing, and then edit it so it looks even moreso. What effect does this have, you may ask? Propaganda? Blackmail? No, Zoom Out is just an ass.

Not exactly as dangerous as Booster, who changes ambulance sirens into dogs barking, or Power Up, who scrambles the brains of anyone who looks into his screen, or Meantime, who can fool around with time. Hell, being what is basically someone who uploads YouTube videos, I’m uncertain Zoom Out even qualifies as a proper Decepticon in the movieverse.

By a happy coincidence, Zoom Out is one of the few Real Gears whose alternate mode actually appears in the movie. The excited ‘this is one million times cooler than Armageddon’ geek was holding a camcorder when he runs around.

Alternate Mode:
Zoom Out transforms into a rather small camcorder, one that fits in the palm of your hand with room to spare. It isn’t quite as egregiously small as Longview or Twitcher, though, because it is quite conceivable for a camcorder to be this small. Downsizing, after all, is kind of a big thing. Zoom Out is kind of a sleek-looking, compact camcorder, which doesn’t look like any of the bulky affairs I own, but I’m sure exist out there.

Zoom Out is predominantly grey, with darker shades of grey picking up details. Mock buttons are painted in silver, there is a red stripe with molded details on where, I assume, the battery or the memory card would be stored. The button for record (presumably) is painted red, and ‘ZOOM OUT 25X’ is tampographed beside the buttons. Both the viewing and the receiving lens are cast in clear plastic and you can actually see through it, and so is the flash bulb. Unfortunately, detailing is only flush on one side, the side with the viewing screen. On the other side, very few moulded details are painted, and the back of Zoom Out’s head is very blatantly visible, because it’s dark blue. A Decepticon insignia is stickered on top of the viewing end.

Zoom Out has a recording viewing screen which is universally jointed and can point anywhere, with a sticker on the screen. The screen shows a picture of Cybertron-series Override (damn voyeur), hinting at the toy’s Cybertron origin, and has what you would expect to see on a video screen. ‘REC’ and a blinking red light, the time of recording (0:07:47, which, rather cutely, is the release date of the 2007 movie) and a battery. Apparently it’s three-fourths full. It isn’t quite as convincing as Meantime or Power Up or Speed Dial, but it’s quite serviceable.

Robot Mode:
Like the other Real Gear Robots, Zoom Out’s transformation is relatively simple. He is still predominantly grey, but the red highlights are more prominent now, the red stripe ending up in his chest and the record button in one of his feet. The feet are rather nicely asymmetrical. Zoom Out has a bit more blue this time around, with his helmet and his lower arms being cast in dark blue. The rest of his face is painted in a fetching shade of lavender, while his eyes are red. I absolutely adore his giant monocle right eye, which gives him personality, I think, and actually fits with his alternate mode as a voyeur video camera. His massive lantern jaw and funky helmet gives him a buttload more personality than the other Real Gears’ generic heads.

The video screen ends up as a very flat and thin backpack, and the outer layer splits to form wings of sorts, which, while don’t do anything but flap uselessly, I thought was a nice addition to make Zoom Out stand out, if a little. His chest, viewed from anything but the front, is also quite hollow for no good reason.

Zoom Out has less than adequate articulation compared to the other Real Gears I own, however. His head’s ball joint isn’t very free, and moving the head relies more on moving the platform that flips his head out of the little nook where it hides in his alternate mode. His shoulders isn’t so much as joints as the ability to rotate the sections of the cylindrical part of the video camera (necessary so you can have unimpaired sight through the thing, after all) which kind of make positioning awkward. The elbows are on ball joints, but the claw-hands are a fixed piece. The thighs are double-jointed, while the upper legs are on pins and the knees are on a hinge. Despite the limitations on the shoulder and the chest piece sometimes blocking the face, Zoom Out can strike quite a number of poses, and his blockiness helps to retain balance, although not as good as his Real Gear counterparts.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 4/10 Rather poorly executed, in my opinion, especially hiding the head in camcorder mode. The arms are also quite fiddly when putting it back into alternate mode. Orient an arm wrong by an angle, and the feet will refuse to click into place because of it.

Durability: 8/10 He’s survived rough play with me, at least. His joints are very tight, and while it may seem loose, the video screen simply refuses to pop off.

Aesthetics: 7/10 The little bugger does look good, and in robot mode those wings, pinchy-claws and big monocle eye gives him quite a personality. Unfortunately, his alternate mode doesn’t really do anything to me, because it is simply not to my taste. The fact that the face of a Cybertron character is visible in both modes doesn’t really endear him either.

Articulation: 5/10 Rather standard. The shoulders are compensated by having the entire playform being able to rotate around, but it also leads to some awkward-looking hand poses if you do it that way.

Fun: 6/10 Mmm, he was quite fun when I was a kid, as a spy sent into the Autobot base or something, but there are other more fun toys out there.

Price/Value: 5/10 Pretty average, humdrum stuff for a Scouts class figure.

Overall: 4.5/10 Zoom Out is a pretty decent toy, but he has his problems. They are small problems, granted, but overall it makes him less-than-average. Of course, I absolutely love the little bugger because I’ve spent quite some time with him standing on top of my desk, constantly looking at me with that giant eye, recording whatever I do. But he isn’t quite as good as many of the other Real Gear robots, and I can’t exactly recommend him, not when there are many better toys out there.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-04, 11:44 AM   #10
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Spy Shot 6
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Real Gear Robots

Back in G1, there are a bunch of Transformers that transform into normal electronic devices, as leftover from the Microman line. Megatron and Browning turned into guns, Soundwave and Blaster into tape decks, Perceptor into a working microscope, Reflector into a camera, and so on and so forth. Now, flash-forward into 2007, and the live-action movie hits the theaters. In the movie, the Allspark is able to turn things like mobile phones or X-Boxes into robots, so Hasbro took the opportunity to bring out some unused moulds from the tail-end of the Cybertron line, and release them as Transformers brought to life off-screen by the Allspark.

Spy Shot 6 is one of these Allspark-born Transformers (despite his bio stating that he had spent years spying on Decepticons...) who turned into a camera, which brings to mind dear old Reflector from G1. But Spy Shot is an Autobot spy. He was, I think, the third or fourth toy I brought when I started my adult-era collecting, and his bio left a lasting impression on me. I remember a good chunk of his bio is describing what a silent and patient spy he is. A proper and competent spy, mind you, not a trolling voyeur like Zoom Out. I also remember Spy Shot being able to fire beams of focused laser through either his lens or eyes. And as a kid, that was Spy Shot’s main power. He would sneak into Decepticon bases, hide, spy, get discovered, and get out safely with help of his awesome laser eyes.

I loved Spy Shot as a kid. I used to have two of him till I broke the lens of one and gave him away to a cousin. He used to rumble with Zoom Out and Meantime and Power Up while the toys that turned into vehicles have their own battles.

Of course, 70% of the Spy Shots brought by fans are probably fodder to make easy Reflector kitbashes. You monsters.

You just wait. Twenty years from now, kids growing up with Spy Shot toys instead of Reflectors will be buying Classics Reflector off the shelf and kitbash them into Spy Shot. You just wait.

Alternate Mode:
Spy Shot transforms into a very small digital camera. It fits into the palm of my hand. I get that there are digital cameras this small, and it’s kind of justifiable that way. He’s got loads of join lines, but other than that he turns into a rather believable looking camera. He’s got a rather realistic-looking lens system, all of the correct details – a nicely segmented flash bulb, a view-hole you can peep through, the button clicks quite well (although I’ve kind of destroyed mine) and on his rear there are some buttons you’d expect to appear on a digital camera. Zoom in and out, a D-pad, things like that.

Spy Shot is predominantly a shade of gray, a bit plum-ish in my opinion. The area around the lens is picked out in loads of beautiful silver and black paint, and an Autobot insignia and ‘SPYSHOT6’ is tampographed on his lower left corner. On his bottom there are what seems to be charger plugs and the like, painted out in silver and vermillion. There is a button on his left side in silver, and the main clicker is black with silver rims. Unfortunately, this leaves the rear section pretty bereft in paint applications, and the buttons are painted in black. One of the buttons, which is unmistakably the ‘choose your mode’ wheel most digital wheels have now, is cast fully in black with no stickers on it to indicate what mode Spy Shot is in right now.

There is a digital screen showing Cybertron-series Ransack doing nothing, with some general camera screen details. The time is ‘7:47’, a reference to the 2007 movie’s release date. There is the zoom in/out bar, a ‘no flash’ symbol (quite obviously, because Spy Shot is spying, after all), a sign showing that Spy Shot’s almost run out of battery, and several random readouts.

Overall, it’s a rather satisfying camera mode. A little bare on the back, perhaps, but the front more than makes up for it. Plus, clicking on his button is very, very satisfying. When I was younger I abused the button so many times that it doesn’t work as well now.

Robot Mode:
Compared to his ilk, Spy Shot’s transformation is surprisingly complex, with loads of fiddly parts. Thankfully his joints are tight enough, and he transforms into a gorgeously asymmetrical robot. His right shoulder contains the view-hole, the right shoulder is larger and contains the flashbulb and part of the silver rims, the right foot is black while the right foot is gray, each foot has a different button on the side… his entire torso is the lens, which is fitting because it is the center of a camera, and breaking it up would lead to a very unrealistic camera mode anyway. While the main colours from before are retained, Spy Shot adds more a blue-greenish shade of gray for his hands, joints, hips, thighs and helmet. More vermillion appear on his legs so that both his legs have matching details (representing charger plugs).

Spy Shot’s head is quite boxy, and, I believe, based on the detailing on his forehead, it’s supposed to represent the inner workings of a flashbulb. From what I’ve seen of a camera that’s been taken apart, it’s a good match, right up to the small, glowing red light (painted here!), and I think it’s a good attention to detail, befitting a supposedly movie-line toy. Spy Shot’s main face is silver, although it’s obscured by his black goatee and goggles. The black goggles amplify the extremely scary, soulless beady red eyes that catch light-piping extremely easily. His eyes look so dead and zombie-like that it’s sometimes hard to imagine him as the good guy… on the other hand, it is very, very easy to have this awesome light-piping act as his laser attack, so it’s a good thing.

Childhood memories aside, Spy Shot has an insanely disproportionate amount of joints, especially compared to his Real Gear compatriots. His head is on a ball joint, his shoulder is on ball joints not to mention hinges to aid in transformation, his elbows are on ball joints, his claws open and close independently, the thighs are ball-jointed, and his knees are kind of triple-jointed due to joints on the middle of his knee. And while this might bring to mind a fragile toy, Spy Shot is not. He retains his balance nicely, and the fact that a good chunk of these joints aren’t ball joints means that he’s a very sturdy and balanced toy. He can assume loads of poses, which isn’t half bad for a Scouts class toy from a Cybertron line.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 8/10 Very, very well designed for what is basically a box that sprouts limbs and a head. It was a little complicated compared to its peers, but it leads to a much more articulated robot mode.

Durability: 7/10 Despite his multiple joints and paint applications, Spy Shot has survived years of rough play. One of my Spy Shots had, as mentioned before, had the clear plastic on his lens shatter, but if you drop a dumbbell on a real camera it would shatter even worse.

Aesthetics: 8/10 Spy Shot does look bare from the camera’s back, but from the front, or in robot mode, he is rather extensively decorated, and he looks rather fetching. I do like his black repaint as well, but Spy Shot is the version I grew up with.

Articulation: 9/10 He’s got quite a range of articulation for a small toy, which was pretty surprising for a Scouts-class toy during its day. Compared to ROTF-era Scouts who self-destruct due to loose ball joints after two or three years, Spy Shot still stands quite well and can pose better than them. Screw waist joints, right?

Fun: 8/10 He’s got laser eyes! And he turns into a camera and CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK

Price/Value: 8/10 I got him cheap at that time. He’s certainly worth your buck for a small toy.

Overall: 8/10 Despite my disproportionate love for the simple Power Up, I’m not short on love for the much more complex Spy Shot. He’s on the other end of the spectrum, and is very, very good. He’s got an excellent looking robot mode with loads of articulation, is quite durable, and has a rather believable alternate mode. He may not be the best toy out there, but Spy Shot is a great toy. And he’s got these creepy zombie eyes that burn into your soul.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-04, 11:44 AM   #11
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Grindor
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Legends Class

So, I have this little obsession with the movie-verse. I want to own a single version of every character that gets a toy. Sadly, since the studio shares Hasbro’s penchant to redeco a character into another, we get two characters with basically the same toys. The most famous is Grindor, a straight reuse of Blackout’s CG model from the first movie as a Decepticon to fill in the big, climactic fight scene in Revenge of the Fallen, with the barely noticeable change of using a slightly, slightly different version of the MH53 Sikorsky helicopter (using the Sea Stallion variant, apparently… which doesn’t look at all different to me). Hasbro merchandising and practically every other tie-in material claim that this Blackout-looking guy is called ‘Grindor’, and he got a toy and everything. They say that Grindor is some sort of master strategist guy… although all he did in the movie was to harpoon the car Sam and friends are in, and then amble along and try to look useful while Megatron and Starscream lay the beating on Optimus Prime, before getting his arm and rotor blades hacked off and finally had his face ripped apart into two with hooks by our lovable psychotic hero.

Apparently Grindor wasn’t named anywhere in the script, and the writers and animators were simply reusing Blackout. Even things like the tie-in game had their files marked ‘Blackout’, although the name change apparently happened early enough for every spoken instance of the name to be re-dubbed Grindor. And Hasbro simply slapped a name on the guy… the ‘Grindor’ name’s most famous bearer, until now, was a kiddy Mini-Con skateboard from Armada that got about a dozen repaints in the subsequent lines, and the Classics line slapped the name on another random Mini-Con. Still, having him as an all-new character suits me fine, because Grindor seemed quite ineffective in the movie as compared to Blackout’s impressive, ‘murder everything in sight’ opening of the 2007 movie.

Now, in the first movie, Blackout was one of the bigger, more memorable Decepticons and got a Voyager-class toy. Now with all the new characters to buy, I won’t shell out for another Voyager-class toy that’s identical to one I already own. Now, in the movies, Blackout and Grindor were both metallic gray, but merchandising decided to paint Blackout a bluish shade of grey, and then for Grindor, to convince kids to buy him, they painted the Voyager class toy a grayish-white, which actually makes Grindor look a wee bit bland in my opinion.

And I wanted a toy of every movieverse Transformer, and I decided to fill the Grindor-shaped hole in my soul with this Legends Class toy. After all, I settled for Legends versions of Devastator, Jetfire and Sideways. The difference is, Grindor is a straight-up repaint of Blackout’s Legends class toy from the first movie, which means that I’ll be getting someone who shares their design with the old, crappy first-movie Legends I own. But, well, got him I did.

Alternate Mode:
Grindor transforms into a Pave Low MH53 Sikorsky helicopter… or a Sea Stallion, or whatever you want to call him. Of course, compared to the Voyager-class Blackout toy I own, Grindor is very lacking in details. He’s got the basic silhouette of the Sikorsky down, obviously… all the distinctive details, those side bulge thingies and the halves beside the main rotors and that… tail wing… thingy… okay, I suck at describing helicopters. All the things are there, they’re just not detailed.

Grindor is cast in mainly a very pale shade of blue, which looks absolutely nothing like the military feel that the CGI silver, or Blackout’s dark grayish-blue, or Voyager Grindor’s whitish-grey. It’s an odd colour choice. It’s made even worse by having random splotches of blue-green splattered randomly all across his side, done in a patchwork fashion which was probably supposed to represent Cyber-glyphs or mechanical details or tattoos or something, but only makes Grindor look completely ridiculous, like he’s got robo-leprosy or something.

The front windows are painted black, and both the main and tail rotors are cast in black plastic. Both can rotate rather nicely, although the fact that the half of the main rotor is elevated over the other half makes the thing look a bit awkward when viewed from anything but up.

Robot Mode:
Grindor’s transformation is very simplistic, as was the standard for Legends figures back then. The cockpit of the helicopter splits into two and form the hands… well, there are moulded hands inside the cockpit halves, anyway. The main rotors fold to form Grindor’s distinctive cape-like rotor layout. The tip of the helicopter tail fold up, and the main helicopter body unfolds to become the legs.

Grindor’s got some new paint applications here. Part of the face and center of the chest are painted in the same shade of blue that the leprosy vehicle mode details had been, and the sides of his chest and the front of his lower legs are a nice shade of conifer green. His upper arms and legs are cast from black plastic, and his eyes are picked out in red. I simply do not like his pale colour scheme. It simply looks out of place in someone who’s supposed to be all metallic silver, and while Blackout and Grindor’s Voyager toy has reached some sort of a compromise to being accurate enough whilst still being attractive to kids, Grindor simply looks very bland and silly.

Articulation wise, Grindor’s shoulders can sort of rotate, but his elbow joints are basically there to move the helicopter cockpit halves into place, so besides confusing the stock photographer who mis-transforms this toy, they aren’t good for articulation in robot mode. The thighs and knees are ball-jointed, but the knee joints are useless unless you like sideways articulation, and to make matters worse, the giant helicopter piece that hangs from Grindor’s back blocks any manner of articulation in that way. So there you have it, a sub-par robot mode.

Marks out of ten out of the following:

Transformation Design: 3/10 Laughably simple, but I kind of pity whoever had to compress the super-complex Bayformer designs into Legends class toys. There is absolutely no better solution to what they came up with, but this was still a pretty crappy toy as a result.
Durability: 4/10 The rotors feel like they’ll snap off with pressure, but the rest of him feel quite durable.
Aesthetics: 3/10 Ick. The pale blue simply just does not do it for me, and adding random leprosy blotches in vehicle mode doesn’t make it better.
Articulation: 2/10 What little he has is blocked by the pieces of kibble.
Fun: 4/10 He’s out of scale with the rest of my movieverse collection, but little Prime can beat him up. Face does not come off, sadly.
Price/Value: 2/10 First-movie Legends class toys are crap, and seeing this compared to the slightly improved ROTF-era Legends toys doesn’t give Grindor justice.
Overall: 2/10 Not recommended. The only reason I bought him is to fulfill my little OCD; this figure has little redeeming qualities.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-04, 11:45 AM   #12
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Payload
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Deluxe Class
Accessories: Technically none, but the head, chestplate and front grille falls off very easily

So, the movie had about a dozen characters, and a dozen does not a toyline make. To pad out numbers, unused designs such as Arcee and Wreckage were made into toys, and then they decided to take Ken Christiansen’s designs for the enemy drones in the tie-in games and turn them into toys. Five of them, at least – Swindle, Dropkick, Payload, Longarm and Dreadwing. Scrapper the forklift got a toy in Revenge of the Fallen, albeit under the name Dirt Boss because there was a Scrapper in the second movie. Mixmaster, however, overshadowed by the more awesome-looking Decepticon with the same name and alternate mode in the second movie, is likely to remain toyless.

Payload is one of the most irritating enemies in the game, because they do this trick where they bull-rush you and knock you flying, and you have to avoid the attack and beat him with melee attacks when they have stopped running and are looking around. It doesn’t sound too daunting, until you’re fighting loads of the lesser enemies at the same time, and you don’t see Payloads transform from their alternate mode. Or if there are Longarms around. Or, heaven forbid, a second Payload running just off-screen. And these guys take quite a beating before they blow up, too.

Still, Hasbro took these four designs and turned them into toys, because they are already made with the movie aesthetic in mind anyway. However, unlike the rest of the other drones, apparently Payload was a severe shelfwarmer. I didn’t see this myself; it was Swindle who peg-warmed in my area, and it took me a long, long time before I bought a Payload.

See, when back then I don’t exactly have lots of Transformers, so I remember the tech specs of these guys. Of course the packaging pretends Payload is an actual character instead of a drone, just like, say, Gnaw. He is characterized as an officer that maintains currency and energy for the Decepticon, basically a muscled version of G1 Swindle, without the ‘best deal’ bit. And the bio had this bit where he’s strong and armoured enough to run down or past anyone on the road. I was quite excited when I saw the not-drone Payload appear in the Reign of Starscream comic. Silly, I know, but you guys were probably excited when Searchlight or someone appeared in the Marvel comics, no?

Payload is one of those names that get slapped on toys Hasbro doesn’t really care about. As far as I recall, Payload is a G.I. Joe name anyway, and they slapped it in the Armada line on some random Mini-Con, the truck from the Space Team if I’m not mistaken. And then on the dozen repaints that Payload received. A random Mini-Con repaint in the Cybertron line got slapped with the name ‘Payload’, because Mini-Cons are a good outlet to retain trademarks like Shockwave and Sky Lynx and Razorclaw and Payload. And then it got assigned to this guy.

Alternate Mode:
Payload transforms into a rather accurate representation of a Bulldog II Armoured Truck, similar to those used by banks. I thought it was quite appropriate that a drone who bull-rushes things, as well as a procurement officer who bull-rushes through things in the way to get resources to the field, would adapt an alternate mode that would easily knock down anything in their path. It’s a rather appropriate alternate mode, and I liked having some vehicles that aren’t military, sports cars or semi-truck rigs like this.

Payload’s main colour is a rather suitably non-catchy shade of dark navy blue. Like the rest of the movie sculpts, Payload has got loads of moulded detail, although not all of them are painted. Things like little ladders leading to his doors, or small unpainted windows His windows are done with a frosted, translucent grey plastic, his wheels are black with silver hubcaps, his front grille is light grey. Orange details the headlights on both the grille and above the trck window, and a nice red-and-white stripe break the monotony in the hood. Sadly, there is a very jarring difference along the sides of the bar running across the lower side of the truck. While a good bit of it is cast in light grey plastic, the last bit is painted silver, which is a very jarring difference. The rear door of the truck has painted silver windows and red rear lights. There is a fake company logo of ‘Armored Security Services’ with a Decepticon insignia, in vein of Ratchet or Barricade’s faux-logos. It was actually part of the concept art designed by Ken Christiansen but didn’t make it into the game because, well, the drones hardly get seen much in vehicle mode anyway.

Seen from the top, Payload’s very smooth, with very few join lines. The cab looks very fine as well, but the side of the truck body is very obviously made up of hinges and panels. There is an attempt made to hide this by casting it all in the same dark blue plastic, and pasting the bright fake company logo to attract attention.

A common problem in all Payloads, the front grille falls off very easily. Like very easily. It will pop off the moment you take him out of the card, it will pop off when you transform him, it will pop off… every single time, that is. It pops back in easily, but it’s irritating. Nothing a little superglue won’t fix, and it’s not that it’s going to be articulated anyway, so I don’t see why Hasbro didn’t fix it themselves. It’s an annoying little problem.

Robot Mode:
Payload’s got a great, great transformation. It’s a feat that would be difficult to replicate on a toy, to turn a big, blocky vehicle like the Bulldog into a smooth, nearly kibble-less robot from the movie. The concept art details transformation, of course, but it didn’t seem practical in a toy, but they did it. I am a big fan on how the big box simply separates and collapses into two tidy long panels sitting above the toy’s shoulders, adding to the whole rugby player look. And, more to boot, the game design wasn’t very kibbly, and the toy replicates this. There’s wheels subtly peeking out of the underside of the lower arms, there are some bits of panels and the obvious windows on the feet, but otherwise Payload’s vehicular-mode kibble is very nearly transformed and tucked away. I quite like this sort of transformation myself, and I think the end result of the toy looks far more imposing than the game concept art, mainly due to the heavier-looking robot mode, and the impression of power caused by the giant panels on the shoulders instead of simple wheel kibble.

All of this, however, is ruined by one single critical factor. A long bar juts out of Payload’s chest through his back. It’s a long, thick bar connected to the circular stomachorb, ending in the front grille (that will pop off no matter what you do). It wreaks havoc with Payload’s balance, makes him difficult to display in a shelf, makes him look awkward and ugly… so what is it for? Well, you push on the front grille, and the long bar will slide forwards, carrying with it the stomach-plate, and springs and gears will cause two claws to swing around and grab whatever is in front of Payload. Yay?

It is a completely pointless action gimmick, and it can’t be removed. It completely ruins Payload’s otherwise smooth robot mode, ruins his balance… and it’s not like they had any leftover vehicle mode parts to turn into something else anyway. The toy would have worked just fine without this black post with minimal modification, but no, Payload is ruined by this pointless, pointless gimmick. Did I mention that the front grille falls off every time? And so does the stomach piece at the other end, even though supergluing it will make no difference to the toy. And since the gears and springs in mine has since self-destructed at around the second year I owned Payload (despite me never using it) so it irks me even more.

Still, it’s not all a loss. Payload looks rather good in robot mode, giant pole sticking out of his chest aside. The dark blue is still the main base colour, with the grey broken up a lot – it’s used for the collapsed sides of the torso, the elbow joints, the rather nicely thick skeletal hands, the stomach piece, parts of the thigh and the knee guards. The area around Payload’s lens-head (I am one of the few people who adore the game drones’ lens heads, but that’s just me) and bits of the center of his chest are painted silver. The concept art has Payload’s colour scheme stop here, with simply red accents from the fake logo on his arm, but then that would be a bit boring. However, Payload comes at the ‘Allspark Power’ subline where everyone must have random baby blue somewhere in their body… and while on nine cases out of ten this leads to awkwardly ugly toys at best, on Payload the addition of the baby blue looks good. It helps that it isn’t the cheap paint used on Stockade or Landmine, but rather a glossy metallic tampograph. It picks out details on his lower arms, parts of his chest, the area around the circle on his stomach and in the blue parts of his thigh. It blends in nicely with the navy blue, and makes Payload look quite distinctive.

Mind you, the head-and-shoulders piece also falls off very, very easily, just like the front grille and stomach piece. As a kid, this simply means that Payload, coupled with his drone status, would always invariably get bits knocked off him in battle.

Payload has got a decent range of articulation. His head, while initially looking like a solid piece, can look to left and right slightly. His shoulders are on ball joints, elbows are on pin-and-hinge joints, hands are ball-jointed, the waist can turn, thighs are ball-jointed, and both the knees and ankles are hinged. In theory he would be able to strike loads of poses, including running straight at you, but the giant post sticking out of his back ruins this by completely screwing up Payload’s balance. His big, ginormous chest also kind of limits arm articulation somewhat.

In theory, Payload would be a great toy, if someone didn’t have the idiocy to add the completely pointless and impractical action gimmick to him.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 7/10 Payload’s transformation is excellently designed, with great kibble distribution, as well as very convincing robot and alternate modes. Unfortunately they didn’t do jack with the giant claw post, which costs some points.

Durability: 7/10 Payload is relatively durable, but the three pieces will fall off – the head-and-shoulders, the stomach piece and the front grille. And there’s nothing you can do about it. And the gimmick gearing in mine has since self-destructed, but no big loss there.

Aesthetics: 7/10 Payload has got a gorgeous, gorgeous alternate mode, but his robot mode, which, in theory would look grand, is completely ruined, again, by the pointless black rod that sticks out of his back.

Articulation: 3/10 Payload’s got average articulation at best for a toy his age, significantly less than his fellow drones Swindle or Dropkick, but the fact that he can hardly even balance a static standing pose (again, due to the big post rod gimmick thing) means that there’s not a lot he can articulate.

Fun: 4/10 I liked him, and the claw gimmick was kind of cute the first time I used it, but the fact that pieces kept falling off of him and that he’s difficult to stand means that he spends most playtimes in alternate mode, delivering fuel or weapons or running down Autobots. Or getting his head blown off by Autobots.

Price/Value: 5/10 He’s a flawed toy, but he’s apparently a shelfwarmer in most countries, so you won’t be paying through the nose to get him.

Overall: 5/10 Payload is, by far, one of the better-designed toys I’ve ever seen, marred only by, again, the pointless claw gimmick. Transformation design, aesthetics, articulation and fun, all of those scores would shoot up quite significantly if it wasn’t for the problems caused by this silly thing. It’s pointless, and it’s a great big shame because I thought Payload was a pretty neat design for a Decepticon mook, and it’s got everything. Show-accuracy, a great alternate mode, a great transformation… pity.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-04, 11:46 AM   #13
Blackjack's Avatar

A trio of Movie-line toys, namely Payload, Spy Shot and Zoom Out, plus ROTF Legends Grindor.

TL;DR, Grindor sucks, Payload is a great toy completely ruined by the gimmick, Spy Shot and Zoom Out are pretty cool.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-13, 03:40 PM   #14
Blackjack's Avatar
Default Bike bashing is a-go

Name: Chromia
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Deluxe Class
Accessories: Gun stand

In Revenge of the Fallen, we were introduced (well, not introduced. More shown) to three Autobot bike girls that zip around in their unicycle-like robot modes. Or they might be only one Autobot, Arcee, whose mind is split into three bodies. Or they may be both, depending on who you ask. IDW certainly has gone with both theories depending on the writer, with a very awkward handling of the transitions. Really, either way works fine – as far as the movie is concerned, the Arcee/Arcees are minor and she/they die in a split-second scene anyway. Personally I’m a bigger fan of the one mind split in three bodies theory, for no good reason than it sounds like another awesome concept to be tacked onto the already bloated movie.

But the toyline certainly would find it difficult to market all three bikes as ‘Blue Arcee’, ‘Red Arcee’ and ‘Purple Arcee’, so they decided to slap two female Autobot names from G1 onto the blue and purple bikes and pretend that they are real characters. The blue bike got the name ‘Chromia’, after Ironhide’s girlfriend in a G1 episode. If Ironhide is rather bland, Chromia is even more so. I can’t remember a single thing about the original Chromia except that she’s got a silly-looking head, and this Chromia (or Blue Arcee, whatever) certainly does nothing important, so at least they share the same role.

Now, as anyone who’s read my reviews would attest, I’m a big fan of the movie series, and that includes Revenge of the Fallen. I like the Arcee bikes for being so crazy-looking, with a very palpable hint of Beast Machines Thrust thrown in, what with the unicycle bodies… and I quite liked the very non-conventional design that the Arcees have. Of course, all they did was harass Sideways and do some spinning stunts for a while before basically showing up and disappearing from backgrounds as much as they please, until they got blown up by a Bonecrusher clone and a bunch of Protoforms. The blue bike was the only one who didn’t get killed on-screen, but we can assume either the Decepticons got her, or the air strike did.

But the bikes did get toys, and Chromia was at the forefront of the Revenge of the Fallen deluxe toys. I got her, I liked her… for all of ten or twenty minutes.

Alternate Mode:
Chromia transforms into a blue Suzuki B-King motorcycle. Out of the three Arcee bikes, I’ve always liked Chromia’s the least. Her strange-looking… headlights section, where the handlebars meet the body of the motorbike, looked quite bulbous and strange, but that’s a carry-on from the actual bike, so can’t complain much. Chromia the toy, however, adds much more mass to the motorcycle. From what pictures I could find in the internet, while the Suzuki B-King is rather muscular, the Chromia toy twists this out of proportion, making the side bulges a bit fatter than they should, and squashing the length a bit. Otherwise, though, it’s a serviceable facsimile of the Suzuki B-King, replicating most of the major silhouette exhaustively... or at least, to my untrained eyes, it is. Chromia is fairly detailed, as is the common for the movie lines, with many moulded details on the sides… although not quite as much as other toys.

Chromia is mainly black and a rather fetching shade of metallic blue, with silver picking out the twin exhaust vents and some mechanical details on the wheels, clear plastic for the headlights, silver paint for the Autobot insignia on the seat, a bunch of grey plastic on some random parts, and white for the Cybertronian glyph tattoos found on Chromia’s sides, the blue bit on her body and on the side of her rear.

However, Chromia isn’t that good a motorcycle toy. Her wheels spin, yes, but they aren’t articulated. Meaning she can’t lean her wheels to one side. Her handlebar section is on a ball joint, which is something. She has a kickstand, but this is too long and is more likely to topple Chromia the other way if you extend it fully. So other than rolling her forwards and backwards, the only thing you can do with her is to precariously balance her with the kickstand half-extended. I suppose smaller characters could ride her, but I haven’t found any one that works.

The flat arm sections of Chromia have pegs that should attach to the bulging blue bits, but the pegs have nowhere to attach to, and the arm guards simply hang loosely and pop open at the slightest provocation. This is a major annoyance, as it ruins the already flawed motorcycle mode even more.

Chromia comes with a massive gun-stand to help her stand in robot mode. To Hasbro’s credit, they at least made the thing look better than a simple stand, and molded two different cannons onto it, as well as tank treads. In vehicle mode, the assembly can attach to the silver exhaust vents to act as Chromia’s weapon mode or something. This looks a little silly, although not as much as Arcee’s not-sidecar is. Be aware, though, that the silver paint would chip over time, so if you’re a philistine with your toys, I don’t recommend doing this too often.

Robot Mode:
All three Arcee bikes’ robot modes are basically glorified unicycles, basically Beast Machines Thrust done in the movie aesthetic, plus lipstick. Basically all the designers need to do is to turn them into spindly things, but Chromia can’t even manage that. The main body of the bicycle, a giant black piece, is curled like a giant C which kind of ruin the whole spine-like unicycle bit. It doesn’t help that the instructions and stock photographers have no idea how to transform her properly. Her motorcycle seat is supposed to fold in and peg onto the base of the motorcycle, to create a better impression of a spine-like unicycle, while the top wheel is supposed to go over the shoulders and not stick up above the head… not that those two are major improvements, mind you, but Chromia looks so aborted that any improvement helps.

She is still mainly blue and black here, albeit more black because more parts have folded out. Her headsculpt is fairly detailed and close enough to the model in the movie, and she does have a big giand gonzo gun for her left hand. As part of the ‘Mech Alive’ gimmick, which means some mechanical parts move when you move the robot, if you move Chromia’s left elbow a dark blue (a different shade of blue than the rest of her) piston moves in and out of the large gun.

Chromia has to be fitted with the gun stand to even stand, obviously, since she’s a unicycle. Some people reported using the gun stand backwards so that she looks like her show model from the front, but whenever I tried that Chromia never lasted more than a minute or so before losing her balance. Might be just me, might be just people making stuff up. As a whole, Chromia doesn’t really look at all like her show model, head and giant gun arm aside. There’s a big empty gap in her stomach, and her lower body juts too far forwards and backwards.

Articulation? Well, if you count some transforming bits as articulation, she’s got a lot. In a more conventional way, however, obviously she’s only articulated in the head and arms. Head’s on a ball joint, shoulders are on ball joints, elbows are on hinge joints. Charitably you can say that the hinges for transformation are chest or waist joints, but really, you won’t be moving them. Or even the actual joints. Why? Well, the two halves of the chest are held together by pegs that don’t click together, they just hang on to each other with the strong power of friction. In theory. The slightest nudge on the arms, and the chest splits into two.

So all you can do with her is just… display her. And figure out how to get her into a mode that looks most like her show model. Her gun shoots out a clear missile, but by the time you position the gun and press the button, the chest would’ve fallen apart again.

Supposedly she’s got this black bar that slides out and clicks onto place onto a similar chunk on Arcee. Supposedly this is supposed to allow her to combine with Arcee and the third bike into a super robot mode. But the third bike turned out to be a Chromia repaint, and there is no word on the super robot mode. I could have sort of forgiven her if she’s crap because she’s an unworkable design and needed to combine, but, no, she’s just crap because she’s crap.

TL;DR = she’s a crap toy.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 1/10 Very poorly thought out. The fact that her design had been done better by the smaller Human Alliance toy means that this Deluxe class toy has no excuse at all. The chest doesn’t hold on well together, the bike mode doesn’t hold on well together, there’s a massive solid block of unmovable lower spine piece that ruins the whole unicycle angle…

Durability: 7/10 She certainly feels quite durable, although I’ve never dropped her or played with her enough to know. The silver paint on her rear barrels chip off something fierce, though.

Aesthetics: 3/10 Bike mode looks a bit fat, and the robot mode is only fine from the chest up Everything down is a massive mess.

Articulation: 1/10 Chromia’s got arm articulation, and lots of parts can move… none that doesn’t cause the chest halves to separate from each other at the simplest movement. In the bike mode? None that doesn’t cause the robot mode arms to pop out and waddle around. Terrible design.

Fun: 2/10 I did have quite some fun rolling her around as a unicycle and pretending that she’s shooting at Sideways or something, but her terrible design and loose chest pieces meant that she didn’t stay in my attention for long.

Price/Value: 2/10 I feel robbed, I think. She’s a nice motorbike, which is something, but the robot mode is so messy and the entire design looks about three revisions short of becoming a proper toy.

Overall: 1/10 Not recommended. The Arcee mould has some good bits, at least, but the Chromia mould is so messy and awkward and poorly designed. It’s a big, spindly mess that doesn’t work as a toy, and barely works as an action figure. Elita-One was the only member of the movieverse Autobot cast who I don’t own a toy of, because the only Elita-One toy was a repaint of the horrible Chromia mould, and damned if I’m going to shell out more money for this shit. If you really have to have Arcee bikes, get the Legends or Human Alliance ones. Hell, get the Arcee mould. Stay far far away from Chromia and her repaints.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-15, 05:02 PM   #15
Blackjack's Avatar

Name: Arcee
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Deluxe Class
Accessories: Sidecar/Gun Stand

In Revenge of the Fallen, a trio of female Autobot bikes is introduced… and they were simply referred to as ‘Arcee’ as a group. Depending on whichever IDW writer was at the wheel that time, they were either three separate characters, a single Autobot whose mind was divided between three bodies, until Chris Mowry decided to merge both origins together – they were initially separate characters, but under experimentation, the singular mind of Arcee (who starred in IDW comics in her first-movie body before) was split between three bodies, two of which were corpses of other Autobots. Michael Bay, Roberto Orci, Titan Comics, the novelization, Hasbro’s Q&A… depending on who you ask, you get a different answer. Stupid, I know, since in the movie the bikes did jack-all. Hasbro’s stance, of course, was that the three bikes are separate characters. The better to sell toys with, after all!

In any case, pick your favoured story for ROTF Arcee – they don’t do much after their initial introduction and get killed in a split-second scene in the end because Michael Bay didn’t like them.

Oh well, not that any forms of Arcee, Chromia, Elita-One or what-have-you ever did anything substantial before, right? In G1, Arcee was introduced… and her main thing was that ‘she’s a girl, and she’s pink’. She’s very generic as a character, and had absolutely nothing going on for her other than her leia buns. She was, with Unicron, the only new character introduced in the 1985 movie that didn’t get a toy. In the comics, at least, she was a generic warrior. The cartoon paired her with Hot Rod and/or Springer depending on the episode (because, you know, girl) and the Japanese sequel would turn her into a secretary and pair her with Chromedome. Or something The name Arcee would be reused in 2003, in the Energon line, as an all-new female Autobot based on the original Arcee who transformed into a motorcycle. This Arcee was even more devoid of life and personality compared to the first Arcee. Yet somehow, despite her lifeless persona, Arcee was very nearly among the lineup for the 2007 life-action movie as a Buell Firebolt motorcycle, although she was thankfully dropped in lieu of Ironhide, to introduce a larger Autobot and not to explain female Transformers (although she and Alice all appeared in ROTF without so much as a remark to their gender… although knowing Bay, this is a blessing). IDW’s G1 reboot turned Arcee into a psychotic bitch out for revenge against her abusing ex. The Movie Arcee went on to have her own toy and adventures in the IDW comics. Transformers: Animated had their own spin on Arcee, but she was more a plot device than an actual character, spending nearly the entire series in stasis.

Come ROTF, and Arcee is still little more than a blank slate, although at least she actually looks awesome now. I heartily prefer the trio of unicycle bikes compared to the very generic pink design she had in G1.

Thankfully, the highly excellent Transformers: Prime came along and made Arcee a main character… and she is everything a female character should be, and everything past versions of Arcee or Elita-One or Chromia or Firestar could never be… an actual character whose characterization was more than simply ‘I’m female’ or ‘Powerglide’s love interest’.

So, Arcee’s history out of the way, she appeared in Revenge of the Fallen, right? So she should get a toy. She should get three, actually, since there were three bikes. Chromia, the blue Arcee bike, came out first as a Deluxe toy and she was a horrible mess. Arcee, the red bike, came out next… followed by Human Alliance and Legends Class variants of both Chromia and Arcee. Elita-One is out of luck and would forever be a repaint because no one gives a shit about Elita-One. That’s a silly name, ‘Elita-One’, isn’t it?

Alternate Mode:
Arcee transforms into a red Ducati 848 motorcycle. It is a gorgeous, gorgeous motorcycle and it’s actually available in the bright, vibrant red that was used for the Arcee bike. And, compared to Chromia’s attempted replica of the Suzuki B-King, Arcee does a much better job at replicating the Ducati’s curves. It helps that the Ducati is, in my opinion, a much sleeker and better bike than Chromia’s Suzuki. It is a very accurate replica, as much as I could tell. Every curve is replicated lovingly, every detail… ignore the gap below what’s supposed to be the seat, the actual Suzuki apparently has that. I thought it was ugly and way too big, but since the bike has it, it’s forgivable.

So, anyway, Arcee’s a great representation of the Ducati… from the left side. Incidentally, the side we see when we buy her. What’s that? Oh, just turn her around. From the right, she’s missing a huge chunk. They’re just gone. Granted, it’s all black plastic, and under it is more black plastic, but instead of the loving details of motorcycle parts and the gears running to the rear wheels and the upraised pistons or whatever, we get to see Arcee’s contorted spine instead. Tut-tut, bad Hasbro. It’s a very lazy design that has always bothered me.

Other than that, though, Arcee is pretty good. The choice of red is vibrant enough and bold enough not to be pink. I’ve got nothing against pink, but it just doesn’t look good on a sporty, powerful-looking motorcycle like this. I mean, pink on Seacons or Misfire or Skullcruncher or whatever? Sure, they look good with that. Just stop slapping it on every female Autobot, please. Every other repaint of this mould makes Arcee look pinker, and the original’s vibrant red is always the best. She’s mainly red and black, with the front half, where all the sleek parts are, being predominantly red, and the rear, where all the technical machinery are, being predominantly black. Two different Cybertronian glyphs adorn either side of Arcee’s red expanses, which looks quite nice in my opinion. Arcee also has a silver Autobot insigia on her seat, subtle enough not to draw attention.

Action wise, though, how does she fare? She rolls pretty nicely, although the wheels are held in place. She’s got a kickstand that, while doesn’t work perfectly, is better than Chromia’s and can actually support Arcee’s weight without needing to fiddle around with it first. Other than the big gaping hole on her right side she also has no noticeable robot kibble. Well, the chest is pretty obviously the front of the motorcycle nearest to the windshield, and the slightly silvery tinge gives it off, but it’s not very evident.

She doesn’t flop around like Chromia at the slightest touch, although after some years of playing the chair bit (that forms one of Arcee’s arms) becomes quite loose. It’s not quite a big problem, though, because it doesn’t move at every provocation, but it’s annoying nonetheless.

Otherwise, though, seen from any side but the right, Arcee is a brilliant representation of the Ducati… shame about the hole.

Chromia comes with a weird-looking gun tank stand thing, whereas Arcee tries to make it look slightly more plausible by… turning the gun-stand into a side-car. It’s got moulded mechanical details resembling a chair where the sidecar is, and it’s got some red paint on it, so it does vaguely look like a sidecar… with two giant turrets sticking out of its sides. You can attach it by a peg onto Arcee’s left side, forming the sidecar configuration… which looks completely ridiculous because the motorcycle looks so realistic and the giant turret sidecar looks so random. An alternative would be to plug the hole on its bottom to the peg on Arcee’s right side, thereby covering up the big messy hole with a gun emplacement. It doesn’t look any better than the sidecar, but at least this covers up the big hole, and besides this configuration makes Arcee even more stable.

In any case, a more-or-less serviceable alternate mode, but what about the robot mode?

Robot Mode:
Ignore Arcee’s instructions. They are completely needlessly complicated, and turn the robot mode into some weird thing suffering from scoliosis. There is a way to transform Arcee into something more resembling the Vehicon-inspired unicycles seen in the movie, although the odd placement of joints make this a little difficult to achieve. Regardless, though, Arcee far more resemble her on-screen counterpart than the mess that is Chromia. She is a rather well representation of the on-screen model as far as freeze-frames can tell… nice head sculpt, both wheels touch the ground, she’s got a giant spike on one shoulder and her motorcycle front on another (although these are swapped from the one in the movie… not that anyone cares). Also, she’s missing the giant gun she’s sporting in the movie that replaces her right arm in the Shanghai scene, although not a big loss there. She looks rather funny, though, because the odd jointing system means that she would forever lean towards the right because the weight is distributed unevenly. Properly aligned, she looks very nice. Not properly aligned, though…

I’m at a big loss why they did all this contortion in her spines, though. The Human Alliance Chromia toy (which uses Arcee’s model… painted in blue) did not and looks so much better for it. It simply looks completely awkward, and is very difficult to position properly. The only function this would provide is to make it collapse easier in the motorcycle mode, which could really been improved better.

She is still predominantly red, although more black has shown up. A wee bit more silver on the chest has become more prominent as well. Arcee’s biggest fault, I think, is her arm design. Her left arm, the one with the motorcycle front (which can separate for some reason, which does not look good at all when separated) is fine enough, with both the shoulder and the arm (which had the entire left side of the motorcycle fold in upon itself, probably in an attempt to recreate the gun arm in the movie. The left arm, however, has a very thin upper arm and a big chunk of motorcycle seat as the lower arm. It limits articulation severely due to the lower arm being a block, and pops off more often than not. The right arm looks rather awkward no matter how you position it.

She can’t stand on her own, obviously, having no legs, and this is where the gun stand comes into play. Unlike Chromia or the Human Alliance bikes, there is no way to make the gun stand go anywhere not visible from the front. There is only one way the wheels are ever going to peg onto the stand, and that’s it. The gun stand can peg onto the left arm, probably, again, to emulate the gun arm in the Shanghai scene, but this severely unbalances Arcee… both because the gun stand is a giant chunk of weight, and because she can’t stand on two wheels.

Articulation wise, she’s ball-jointed in the head, as well as both shoulders and elbows. There are multiple joints on her spine, but those only look good in one or two configurations while the other turn Arcee into something very very weird.

Arcee’s got two action features. The first is the ‘Mech Alive’ gimmickry, where moving her head forwards will cause gears in her chest to move. Pretty forgettable. The second is a spring-loaded knife on her right arm, which was actually quite a cool-looking weapon. Even though Elita-One the purple bike was the one with the knife in the movie… I’m not sure if I’m paying ungodly amounts of attention to the movie, or the designers don’t pay enough attention. Probably the first.

On her back is a chunk of plastic that’s supposed to connect with one on Chromia to start their combined mode. But since Elita-One turned out to be a Chromia repaint it seemed that this combined mode isn’t an actual feature and is an afterthought, so it’s best left forgotten.

There’s nothing much to say about Arcee. There’s nothing more to complain about, yet I can’t find anything else to praise. She’s just that average. On to the marks, then.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 2/10 It’s better than Chromia, but I absolutely abhor the way the spine is handled. The fact that there is a huge gaping hole in the vehicle mode does not do Arcee any favours either. The fact that the smaller Human Alliance figure is able to do Arcee’s transformation perfectly into a show-accurate motorbike and robot is the final nail on the coffin.

Durability: 4/10 Her ball joints may wear – the one on the right shoulder and the ball joint connecting her chest to the spine assembly are the worst offenders. Mine haven’t broken yet, but they are showing signs of friction.

Aesthetics: 6/10 She’s got a gorgeous motorbike mode, but her robot mode, as much as I like the movie designs, is ruined by the odd-looking mutated spine. And try as I like, I just can’t give her that high a score. She does look better than Chromia, though.

Articulation: 3/10 She’s only articulated from the chest up, and even then her massive lower right arm and upper left shoulder all get in the way of the slender bits of her arms. Girl’s got misproportioned bulk, no?

Fun: 5/10 Mmm, I actually had some fun with Arcee, and figuring out how to position her best was one of it. I do like the Arcee bikes’ designs, though, so this is very subjective.

Price/Value: 4/10 Meh, much as I like, I still think I’m robbed by paying this much for Arcee, especially when I could’ve brought the Human Alliance toys and gotten better (if miscoloured) representations of the bikes.

Overall: 3/10 I love the Arcee bike designs, but none of the Deluxe class toys are any good, and part of it, I think, stem from the fact that the Bay designs cheat around transformation a bit, and I constantly see them in movement, which helps things a little. However, this does not deny the fact that both Chromia and Arcee’s designs have been done by Human Alliance figures in a far better way than the Deluxe class ever did… which means that deluxe Arcee isn’t the top on your list, even if you’re a completist. I recommend Human Alliance or Legends class figures more than this scoliosis-suffering toy… even the Fast Action Battlers look more show-accurate (and sturdier to boot) than her. Although if you must have this mold, make sure this version is the one you buy. The repaints are all painted in disgusting shades of pink masquerading as red.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-09-15, 05:03 PM   #16
Blackjack's Avatar

This will be the last rewritten review for a while, because these are basically the most glaring reviews who I have a 180 degree opinion on now. I do intend to rewrite some of the Movie-era ones, because they're so bad, but right now I'm going to focus on new content first unless I find another old review who disagrees with me.

For what it's worth, I like Arcee. She's not that horrible a toy. Just... more problematic than others.

Now Chromia, she I actively hate.

Apparently when I first wrote the reviews it was Chromia who I liked. That's what happens when you write a review fifteen minutes after opening toys from their bubble cards.
Blackjack is online now   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 12:41 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

[TFArchive button]
Link graphics...

Or in FF, hit Ctrl+D.