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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's Review: Hatchet

Name: Hatchet
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Cyberverse Commander Class
Accessories: Missle-guns (two different kinds)

In Dark of the Moon, there were three Decepticons that turned into identical black Chevrolet Suburbans, and were referred to as ‘Dreads’ by both the studio and the fans. And, indeed, these three robots transform into robots whose entire surface is covered with spikes, and all their heads have dreadlock-like ‘hair’. And jaws. They’re a group of savage, animalistic-looking Decepticons who look quite barbaric… and, in my opinion, all three were quite distinctive. Crankcase is the muscular-looking Dread with more spikes and short shoulder-length dreadlocks. Crowbar is the one with ganglier limbs, and giant whip-like dreadlocks that, I think, are longer than he is tall. Hatchet is the Dread that runs on all four like a giant bulldog out of hell. Shame about the names, I thought they could go for more ‘savage’ sounding names than Crankcase and the all-original names Crowbar and Hatchet… I mean, would ‘Hatchet’ inspire the thought of a giant, truck-sized monster metal bulldog covered from head to tail with spikes, and runs through cars like they are nothing?

However, it would be a commercial suicide to release three similar looking Decepticons with identical alternate modes in the Deluxe class… even the Constructicons, who had three Voyager class toys, were different enough in design, alternate mode and colours. Releasing three Dread toys that turn into the same black Suburban would guarantee instant shelfwarming. Heck, they only made one Deluxe class toy – Crankcase – and it’s a major shelfwarmer. Mind you, Crankcase is so full of problematic quality control issues that it’s not a surprise.

Of course, in Dark of the Moon, Hasbro decided to revamp the smaller toys, namely the size classes formerly known as Legends and Scouts, turning them into Legion and Commander classes, and releasing them under the banner of ‘Cyberverse’. Basically larger characters like Optimus and Megatron get Commander (Scouts) sized toys, while smaller characters like Bumblebee or Crankcase get Legion sized toys. And in theory they would be able to interact with giant playsets and the like.

Of course, releasing three Dreads in the Cyberverse line would be cheaper, right? And we did get a Crankcase mold in the Legion size. But Hasbro, again, didn’t release (or repaint) Crankcase into the other Dreads; Crowbar got an all-new mold which transforms into a police car, and Hatchet? Hatchet gets the Commander size treatment, transforming into not a Suburban, but a fighter jet. This felt totally random and was probably there to justify the ‘scale’ of the Commander sized toys.

The wrong alternate mode, as well as the fact that the Commander class toys were more expensive than older Scouts class toys while actually being noticeably smaller, meant that I was leery at grabbing anything from the size class. Yet I eventually caved in and brought a Hatchet, in order to collect one of ever show character.

Alternate Mode:
Hatchet transforms into a Eurofighter Typhoon jet, a jet whose only appearance as a Transformer was that of the Skyscorcher Eagle Eye from the late tail-end of the G1 line. Of course, it’s a rather chunky version of the Eurofighter, with a rather shortened nosecone, and, um, giant robot claws poking from the underside of the wings. They aren’t even underside of the wings, the claws jut out very noticeably, while the rest of the arms try their best to tuck under the wings. The lower arm splits into two halves, one of which jut forwards and are just noticeable enough to be seen from an angle that’s not straight from the top. It has moulded details to resemble guns or something, but it looks ugly nonetheless.

Hatchet is, of course, mainly black. His nosecone is white, and cast in a softer plastic, although not rubbery-soft. The cockpit is painted silver, and so are the engines. The margins of his wings and the tiny ones near the cockpit are painted golden, and his tailwings have small gold Decepticon insignias on them. He’s got quite a bit of sculpted details, although being cast entirely in black plastic doesn’t help pick them out.

Hatchet comes with two missiles that can peg under his wings. While the fact that the arms go there might lead you to think that the missiles can’t peg properly, the aforementioned arms-splitting-into-two thing allows a missile to fit in snugly under a wing. It does help make Hatchet look a bit busier, to make the giant claws and robot bits peeking from under the wings less noticeable, but giant clunky missiles don’t look very at home either. A landing gear flips out from under the nosecone to help balance him, although he hardly needs any balancing.

Like mentioned before, Hatchet has considerably less mass, although it’s not that noticeable in vehicle mode. It isn’t a very good representation of the Eurofighter Typhoon, and the robot kibble showing doesn’t help matters either.

Robot Mode:
Hatchet’s transformation is very unique, which is probably helped by the fact that he’s probably the only jet who transforms into a giant four-legged bulldog monster thing. The engine bits split open to allow you to unfurl out the head, and then a ‘spine’ detail flips and covers the hole left by the head. The engine kibble wraps around the head in a rather nice way which resembles a dog’s collar or something. The wings fold up agains the body and the arms unfurl out. The cockpit splits apart, revealing a spiked tail which ends at the tip of the jet, while the rest of the nosecone split apart to form the legs.

They did away with the short dreadlocks Hatchet had in the movie, not giving us sculpted details to represent them like what they did with the Cyberverse Crankcase and Crowbar toys.

Hatchet forms a rather wicked looking robot. A lot more gold appear in robot mode, namely the tail, the shoulder, bits of the arms and bits of the head. His eyes are, obviously, red. It’s a shame that the rear legs are terrible-looking jet kibble, but they hold Hatchet’s weight very well, even when you try to stand him on two feet, the legs hold his weight well. His head can do nothing but nod a bit, but his arms and legs are fully articulated, with shoulder, elbow, wrist, thigh, knee and ankle joints all being present. The tail is articulated in three pieces, where the three different bits of vehicle mode kibble meet each other.

I feel that, while this is unmistakably a four-legged Decepticon monster, it still doesn’t represent the show version of Hatchet very well, who was simply a giant monster bulldog. There’s too much angular jet parts to make Hatchet look like the burly thing rampaging in the movie, and even the spiky tail has a chunk of jet cockpit on it. He’s got a pretty decent headsculpt (complete with the nose ring you probably didn’t notice in the movie), a sculpted robot chest and excellently sculpted arms, but he looks… well, not right. There are too many wings and jet bits jutting out of Hatchet, which doesn’t really gel with his design. Hatchet is a relatively good toy, just not a good representation of the onscreen design.

The missiles’ tips flip out to reveal the silver ends of guns. One is a single-barreled rifle, and the other is a different-looking gatling gun. Both can peg onto the wingtips on the wings on Hatchet’s shoulders (adding even more wings to make him look less like his show model), or be held by any Cyberverse toy… which includes Hatchet, whose claws are sculpted to hold Cyberverse weapons. They can also be pegged onto each other to create a longer weapon, and I quite appreciate the fact that the vehicle mode weapons translate into a different looking robot mode weapon… albeit awkward-looking ones.

It’s a decent robot mode, but he suffers from having basically no one to play around with. He doesn’t have Dreads that are in scale with him (or share his plane aesthetic), nor is there a good Dino toy to hook him into unfortunate civilian cars. He’s not a bad toy per se, just an oddball because he just simply doesn’t fit in that well. Also, yes, he is considerably shorter than all the Scouts-class toys I have. Even considering his rather wide dimension, standing up on two legs he is still a good head shorter than every Scouts-class toys I own.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 6/10 Hatchet has a rather refreshing transformation, although it is quite lazy in terms of hiding the arms in vehicle mode. I’m not a big fan of the cockpit part legs either, but I love how the spiky tail forms the ‘spine’ of the jet’s nosecone.

Durability: 8/10 Hatchet feels quite solid, and there aren’t any loose joints or stress marks that I can find. You may lose the weapons, but that’s about it. A rough kid might snap the tail off, but it feels sturdy to me.

Aesthetics: 4/10 The jet mode looks pretty lumpy and is ruined by the robot mode kibble, while I simply don’t like the robot mode design… but that stems more from me wanting a toy that’s actually, you know, show-accurate.

Articulation: 7/10 Hatchet trades in waist articulation for more flexible limb articulation, and he’s pretty balanced enough to hold most poses you put him into. Unfortunately, anything that’s not a limb or a tail is one big brick, which irked me.

Fun: 5/10 He’s average, I guess. I didn’t have much fun with him mostly because I was expecting something more show-accurate.

Price/Value: 3/10 Here’s the clincher. He’s a good bit smaller than other Scouts, and I’m paying more than Scouts. And he’s not even that good a toy, compared to my cheaper-and-bigger toys.

Overall: 5/10 Hatchet is an okay toy, I guess, just not a good representation of the four-legged Dread from the movie. If you don’t mind him transforming into a jet, I suppose you’ll be happy with him, but I’ve been spoiled by mostly show-accurate movie toylines so far, and having something that’s this different is a big put-off for me. I don't think I've done much with him except transform him a few times before returning him to the Movie Decepticons shelf. The fact that I have to pay more for a smaller toy bites too. He’s something of an oddball. I don’t like him, not at all, but neither do I dislike him nor regret that I’ve bought him.
 
 
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