Warcry's review: Tankor
"He who has fuel, has power."
Other Decepticons would call Tankor a dirtbag, if it wasn't for the high-octane fuel he supplies them. He's a sleazy liar who will steal or manipulate anyone, so long as it helps him get his way. As such, he fits right into the most dangerous battlegrounds across the universe, where survival depends on maintaining an advantage. The only reason other Decepticons will have anything to do with him is that he always seems to have a supply of fuel when everyone else is tapped out.
I don't much care for Tankor (the artist formerly known as Octane, with a new tongue-in-cheek name because they couldn't secure a trademark on the old one) as a character and I never had the original toy as a child, but I was looking forward to this guy a little bit. I was really impressed by the concept art for Octane that came out at BotCon '07, but when the first previews of the new Classic molds started to show up online it was pretty obvious that very little of what I'd liked in the concept had been carried over to execution. In the end I decided to give him a chance and bought him anyway, if for no other reason than because my army of Classic Decepticons were horribly outnumbered by their Autobot counterparts. In retrospect, I think I'd rather still have the money.
Octane comes packed in his transport plane mode, and looking down at him from above (the angle he's packaged in) he actually looks pretty good. Take a look at him from almost any other angle, though, and you'll spot two major things wrong with the poor guy. He's mostly light grey in this mode with a few black and purple highlights, so it really jumps out that he's got a blue truck cab tacked onto the back of his tail section. Likewise, his underbelly is covered by a giant plate of plastic -- in robot mode it's used as a melee weapon and in truck mode it forms the top of his rear section, but here it's superfluous and looks like some sort of bizarre sled -- that's cast in a different shade of grey and stands out quite a bit. Those two sections ruin the flow of his colour scheme and make it really hard to buy that he's actually a transport plane.
That aside, the aircraft itself is pretty mediocre. The plane's nose and wings both look quite a bit like they belong to a C-130 or other, similar military transports, although the wings are probably a good size smaller than they should be. His weapons (a pair of really nice double-barrelled cannons) attach to the base of the wings and look really nice there, although they detract from the disguise a bit because planes like this are almost always unarmed.
That's where my praise ends, though. Tankor's chest is clearly visible under his wings if you look at the plane from the side, especially if you don't mount his weapons under the wings. More troubling, the rear half of the jet is blocky rectangular. This is especially obvious at the very back of the plane where a truck cab is blatantly sticking out. All in all, Tankor's aircraft mode is decidedly below average.
Transforming Tankor into tanker truck mode the first time was a bit of an adventure. Unlike the fairly straightforward Astrotrain, you'll definitely want to at least glance at his instructions. I won't go into detail except to say that almost all of his parts end up rotating around 90 degrees so that the nose of the truck is pointing 'up' compared to where the plane's nose was pointing.
In the end it's not really worth the effort. Tankor's truck mode is probably the most unconvincing transformations I've seen in years. The cab has airplane tail fins sticking out, the truck's middle section is little more than a pair of wings tucked in between his robot-mode thighs and the rear end of the truck is an equal mix of robot hands and the nose of a transport plane. To make matters worse, the giant off-grey plate that stood out so much in plane mode doesn't look any better here as the canopy over the rear end of his truck mode. Supposedly he's based on a supply transport that the US Army uses, but he's such a mess that he only vaguely resembles it.
Tankor's cab is blue and the rest of him is a mixture of light grey and black. He's got four wheels on each side, although only three of them actually roll (the other one is actually used as his shoulder joint in robot mode). Unfortunately, his propellers get in the way of the front wheels and his 'joint-wheels' foul up the working rear wheels, so he can't even roll along the ground properly. His guns can be mounted either on his cab or at the back of the truck's cargo area. I tend to go for the latter because they help to cover up his robot-mode hands a bit that way.
Tankor's vehicle modes are a disaster mainly because he's supposed to transform from a bulbous aircraft into a giant rolling brick. No one should be surprised that that doesn't work very well. Astrotrain succeeded where Tankor fails because both of his alt-modes were sleek enough that the 'extra' parts from one still looked OK wherever they got slapped onto the other. When the two modes are so completely different that doesn't work so well...something that one look at G1 Broadside could have told them.
I'd like to say that this is where things get better, but that would be a lie. Tankor's robot mode is less of a mess than his truck mode, but he's still horribly flawed. He doesn't look much like the original save for his wings and a few details around the head, which is a tad disappointing. His silhouette actually resembles Sixshot a lot more than Octane. Tankor's torso and thighs are black with white and silver highlights, his lower legs are grey and dark blue, and his arms are grey and purple.
Octane's proportions are his biggest problem. He suffers from a serious case of RiD Magnus Syndrome: his torso is tiny and his legs are absolutely huge. He's also got insane shoulder pads that stick up into the air way above his head, especially annoying because that mass could have been put to better use bulking up his stumpy, ugly arms.
The paint work and molding on his face don't look very good. The face itself seems sort of 'lumpy', reminding me a lot of the knockoff Constructicons I bought a few years back. The purple paint used for his helmet seems to have bled onto his silver face, and there are bits of what looks like dark blue visible through the paint. I'm not impressed by that, to say the least.
Tankor has a lot of articulation, but because of the way he's engineered a lot of his joints don't have much range of motion. His knees can't bend more than 50 degrees or so and his shoulders, while double-jointed, don't offer much in the way of lateral movement and can't swing up or down much more than a quarter turn or so in either direction before getting caught up in his wings or his shoulder pads.
He can carry his guns in both hands, combine them into a single weapon or attach them to mounting points on his lower legs. I tend to avoid combining the two guns because it looks a bit silly when you do, and because they're such nice weapons on their own. Tankor's most obvious weapon, though, is his gigantic melee blade. Made from the giant off-grey plastic plate that annoyed me so much in both of his vehicle modes, the blade is huge, ungainly, ugly and really, really heavy. Since Tankor has about 90% of his mass concentrated below the knees he manages not to keel over when he's carrying it, but he can't quite manage to not look incredibly stupid. The blade is made from a 'cheat' piece that serves no real purpose in jet or robot modes other than to take up space, and I really wish they'd found a better use for it here. A shield or a pair of blocky swords would have been a marked improvement on what's really nothing more than a giant pair of serrated scissors.
Tankor's robot mode manages to edge out his vehicle modes by just being kinda bad as opposed to really bad...and that's the best thing I can say about the poor guy.
3/10 There are a few good ideas here, but they've all been really, really poorly executed. Everything that was wrong with every previous triple changer toy is still wrong with Octane, and then some.
5/10 Several of his joints move on odd angles and don't look particularly sturdy. A lot of his parts (especially the wings, tail fins and shoulders) seem to be pretty flimsy, too. Every time I transform him or try to pose him it feels like he's going to snap in half. Luckily that doesn't happen very often...
1/10 None to be found here. He's frustrating to transform, he's no fun to play with in any of his modes and he doesn't look good either.
9/10 He's still available at retail...and will probably be warming shelves at a location near you well into 2009.
2/10 Seriously, what the hell? Five years ago I might have rated him higher, but after seeing what they pulled off in the Movie line and the first set of Classics there's no excuse for this kind of garbage. He might even be worse than the original, and G1 Octane is supposed to be a piece of junk even by 1986 standards.