Clay's review of: Galaxy Force Ramble(s)
Terrorcon reduxes; non-humored Waspinators
I am a tool. After seeing photos from a trade show featuring the new Galaxy Force Soundwave with keenly positioned red and blue Rambles for suplementary minions, I caved in and bought the Japanese versions. This isn't to say my wanton toy craving completely got the better of me by driving me to act out of impatience, though. Hasbro is only releasing one of the three schemes in the US, so no amount of waiting would have supplied me with the other two. Anyway, on with it!
The Spiders from Mars (Alternate Mode):
The Rambles are spider-tanks. This would be the
alternate mode to have if fictional alien transforming robots were subject to fashion trends. I mean, come on. Three transformers meet in a bar, and the first one says, "I turn into a truck." The second one says, "I turn into a race car." And the third one says, "I turn into a spider-tank, bitches." Now, really, who do you think is going to pass the mojo test out of that group?
Do not bother me with the engineering problems of having tanks retain battlefield effectiveness while being mounted on easily-shot-out legs. That is irrelevant! The spider-tanks easily
out perform normal, treaded tanks on household carpets, not only in terms of traction, but in visibility as well (the spider-tanks can raise up past the shag).
But that's not all! As four-legged spider-tanks, they are also easy victims of unimaginative personification. It is simple to invision them scrawling around the ground in their dour little way, flipping out their little blaster swords, and battling each other in some bizarre, macro-mecha-arachnid mating ritual. They almost don't have to transform into robots at all.
But they do
transform into robots! And interesting little robots they are. The transformation is very basic: any child should be able to reconfigure all three in under two minutes. This simplistic scheme does not undermine the credibility of "Robots in Disguise", though. For one thing, the alternate mode is so out-there that no one is going to suspect that it turns into a second, different kind of robot. Moreover, the robot mode does a good job of disassociating itself from the spider-tank garb, so the 'disguised robot' angle works both ways.
Aside from the transformation design, the actual capabilities of the robot modes are quite nifty. Not only are they equipped with highly flexible little limbs, but they also include a few tricks up their sleeves. Literally! The dagger feet of the spider-tank mode can be lowered back down and rotated out in favor of little ground-pounders, a deliberate reference to two specific cassettecons with very similar names. As if that weren't enough for surprises, the blades that pop out of the cannons can be removed and used as melee weapons in the toys' reinactment of age-old mortal combat on the living room floor.
10. Very well done. Also, since the alternate mode is so articulated in-and-of itself, it's easy to come up with some extra variant modes. I fancy them spaceships, myself.
10. Again, very well done. One pointer, though: the blades only go into their pivots a certain way, so don't try twisting them out.
10. I don't think I need to explain this.
5. Around $40 for three basic figures if you're outside of Japan.
10. Just freaking awesome little toys. If the price is too much, just by three of the yellow Hasbro ones and repaint them as you please. Or four. Or six. But do check them out in at least some capacity.