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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's review of: Obsidian

Name: Obsidian
Allegiance: Vehicon
Function: Aerial Combat
Sub-Group: Vehicon General
"Walking is for suckers."

Obsidian was created to be a mindless aerial-attack automaton by Megatron, master of the Vehicons. Armed with several heat-seeking missiles capable of penetrating 800 meters underground to reach their Maximal targets. While airborne, plays symphonic scores for enhanced drama and psychological intimidation. Expert in low-flying aerial combat. Often supports tank drone battalions for supreme land / aerial assaults. Displays unmatched aggression while in battle, but becomes docile outside of combat. Will hover serenely for hours.

Despite having seen maybe five episodes of Beast Machines, the name Obsidian is familiar to me. As General of the Helicopter Drones (or whatever they were called) Obsidian was partnered with Strika, a fellow Vehicon General. The two of them were former Autobot strategists or somesuch. And while Strika was a Deluxe-sized figure, Obsidian was a surprisingly small (for a General, anyway) Basic.

Now, that account doesn't exactly jive with his tech spec, which characterizes him as a mindless drone. Whether that was due to some error on Hasbro's part or Mainframe picking a character totally at random to serve as a General, I can't say.

I can, however, say that Obsidian's a damn good figure.

As a sidenote, Obsidian was repainted for both the Robots in Disguise and Universe lines, so it appears I'm not the only one who likes him.

Vehicle Mode:
Judging by his overall design and apparent weapons compliment, it's safe to say that Obsidian's supposed to be a ground assault helicopter. He's proportionally wider and shorter than most Earth-based helicopters, and instead of a large rotor attached at his centre of mass he has two small rotors attached at the end of his short wings.

His front end is mostly green, with blue striping painted at strategic parts. His rear end is a forest green, and the three colours go together nicely. Unfortunately, his rotors and tailfins are translucent orange, which goes well with the lighter green but clashes with the darker. But despite being a green helicopter, Obsidian is no Springer homage; thankfully he bears absolutely no resemblance to the G1 Triplechanger.

As far as weapons go, Obsidian is a powerhouse. Mounted below his cockpit is what looks to be a machine gun. It's articulated, capable of swinging to target foes below and behind him. However, it only swings up and down, not to the sides. Adding to his firepower are the pair of gun pods situated below each wing. The upper pod has a single, large missile moulded unto it, while the lower pod has five smaller, presumably air-to-ground missiles. None of the missiles fire (even if they weren't moulded in, they'd probably be too small to pass safety laws), but they're moulded well and look very nice.

What does fire, though, are his rotors. That doesn't particularly make sense, since without them the best he'd be able to do is glide into a survivable crash landing. Regardless, they can be launched at foes and I imagine they would do a great deal of damage to the techno-organic Maximals that he faces. The rotors also rotate on ball joints, which allows them to be fired at virtually any angle, as well as presumably increasing his in-flight agility.

As with many BM Vehicons, Obsidian has a 'face' in his vehicle mode. However, it's barely noticeable. His cockpit, which blends very well into the overall design, is nonetheless sculpted to resemble a robotic head (the main cockpit canopy serves as his forehead, while the small slits of translucent orange below it serve as eyes). The cockpit can be pulled away from the body of the helicopter, creating a neck that allows him to look around. While this doesn't have much use on its own (and actually looks rather silly), it allows you to aim the nose gun at targets out of line with his body, so it's not really a problem.

Obsidian's design vaguely reminds me of the Orca attack craft from the original Command & Conquer game, though I could easily be mis-remembering. But that's totally beside the point. Obsidian is one of the best Transformer helicopters I've ever seen.

Robot Mode:
Obsidian's robot mode is a lot like his fellow Vehicons', except for one little thing: Obsidian is good.

His vehicle mode parts are all evident in this mode; in fact, upon close inspection you'll realize that that's all there is. Aside from his robot head, none of these parts are hidden in helicopter mode. They're just sculpted so well that they fit almost flawlessly into both forms. His vehicle cockpit now serves as his chest, his wings and rotors perch above his shoulders, his weapons pods fold out to form his arms, and his tail splits to form his legs. The legs themselves are a bit spindly, though from his profile and general design I imagine he spends most of his time hovering around via his shoulder-mounted rotors anyway.

The darker green is now the dominant colour, gracing his legs, upper chest and rotor launchers. Meanwhile, the brighter green is evident on his wings, arms, lower chest and head. Bits of blue detailing are still visible, though less prominent, and translucent orange appears on various parts most notably his rotors and his Spark Crystal [located at the small of his back].

Obsidian is articulated at hips, knees, shoulders and elbows. Unfortunately, since the legs are the back end of a helicopter he really can't do much more than stand straight up. Not that this conflicts with his design in the least; he's obviously optimised for aerial agility, not ground agility. His arms are limited to up-down motion at the shoulders due to the presence of his rotors, but his elbows have a full range of motion. Finally, his head and neck have a full range of motion.

Unfortunately, he doesn't have any handheld weapons (or hands at all, for that matter). Rather, the small missile pods from his helicopter mode serve in place of hands, so he really doesn't need any extra weaponry.

All in all, Obsidian is one of the better helicopter Transformers around, and one of my favourite basic figures.

Transformation: 10 - Not difficult at all (actually rather simple) but brilliant nonetheless. The robot mode parts are well hidden in vehicle mode and the helicopter parts flow well into the robot mode.
Durability: 8 - Most of his major joints are sturdy, but his heels and toes could be popped off.
Fun: 10 - A dual-rotored whirlybird (with firing rotors, yet!). Wheee!
Price: 10 - If you can find one in a clearance outlet, they're virtually free.
Summary: 8.5 - An amazing little figure, but one with a few small flaws. One of the better Beast Machines figures out there. Highly recommended.

 
 
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