Warcry's Review: Twinstrike
Twinstrike is something that I've been waiting for for a long time, but never thought would actually happen. You see, unlike a lot of original-generation Transformers fans I was born
in 1984. And so, while I did become familiar with the original characters on TV, the toys that were available to me by the time I was old enough were the likes of the Technobots, Terrorcons, Targetmasters and Pretenders. Because of that, when I see a huge chunk of the fandom pining for a new Trailbreaker or Gears toy I'd just shake my head and get a bit sad because I figured none of my
childhood favourites would even have a chance of getting that treatment.
But it turns out I was wrong.
Enter Twinstrike. A Legion-class figure in the new Beast Hunters line, he pays homage to Sinnertwin -- one of the original Terrorcons and a toy that I played with so much as a kid that I managed to break it in half in spite of the fact that it's a giant, invincible brick. When I first heard that he was coming I figured he was a random one-off, squeezed into the line since the new Predacon faction are all dragons. But I was wrong again, as I found out when word broke that all five Terrorcons would be released as Legion figures who could once again combine to form Abominus. The news made me...well, giddy, frankly. I'd always wanted new Terrorcons, but never really thought it would actually happen. I would have hoped for them to be made in a bigger size class, perhaps, but let's be honest -- Hun-grrr aside, Bot Shots would be a major step up from the original Terrorcons.
It's hard to exaggerate how primitive the original Sinnertwin was. Not much more than a single block with extremities bolted on, these days he really doesn't have much more than my nostalgia going for him. Twinstrike couldn't be any more different. Molded with modern aesthetics in mind, he's lithe, spiky and dangerous-looking. His colour scheme is very similar to the original, though thankfully he omits the randomly purple tail and mixes up the colours a bit more. He's mostly yellow and dark seafoam green, and those colours on a double-headed dragon are instantly recognizable to me. The red eyes and silver head crests, along with the purple paint apps on his thighs and belly, make him a lot more visually interesting than the original and one of the prettiest Legion-sized figures I own.
But of course he is
a Legion, and that means he's pretty tiny. It also means that he's no champion in the articulation department, though compared to his peers he's quite good. He has ball joints at the base of each neck, shoulders, hips and rear ankles. His tails can swing up and down too, though they're fused together into a single piece. He can't really display in too many poses, but for a toy his size he gets a good amount of play value from those joints.
Sinnertwin comes with one accessory, which (depending on how you attach it) is either a hammer or a cannon with a really, really big ammo drum. As a cannon it can be mounted on three different 3mm ports on his back, though it doesn't look that great. The original, bulky Sinnertwin looked like a walking tank when his beast-mode gun was attached, but Twinstrike's beast mode and his gun seem mismatched.
Twinstrike's not perfect, but I've never seen a Legion who was. And compared to most of the other Legion and Legends-class beasts that I've seen, he comes off looking really good.
His beast mode was nice, but robot mode is where Twinstrike blows his original counterpart away. The original Sinnertwin's robot mode was an ugly block with a tiny head, monopod feet and tiny, useless arms. Twinstrike's normal humanoid proportions seem like a revelation compared to that, even though they're expected nowadays. His colour scheme is the same as in beast mode, yellow and seafoam with purple hightlights and painted dragon heads (which serve as his robot mode hands, a neat touch that does away with some of the original's unsightly kibble). His head has the swept-back-yet-angular look of a lot of Prime toys, but it's still blocky enough to evoke the original's obligatory squared-off combiner joint head.
Articulation-wise, he easily exceeds the original once again. But ball-jointed hips, ankles and shoulders are pretty standard for Legion-class figures, and much like in beast mode the joints contribute more to play value than they do to poseability or display. He's a fun little guy to play around with, but when he's standing on a shelf alongside a bunch of his fellow Decepticons he can't do much more than stand straight up with his arms at his side.
Accessory-wise, Twinstrike can use his hammer in robot mode or wield it as a gun. His hands can hold any 3mm-compatible weapon, though, allowing him to switch weapons on a whim with any other Cyberverse toy who comes equipped with a gun. The weapon standardization we've seen in recent years -- 3mm for Cyberverse and 5mm for Deluxe and larger -- has been a boon for stuff like that, an honestly as time goes by I suspect Twinstrike's hammer will end up with someone else. His hands are dragon heads, after all -- surely they'd be better used biting or breathing fire than awkwardly holding a war hammer?
Overall, Twinstrike's a pretty neat robot. Keeping in mind the size and usual (lack of) complexity of Legion toys, I don't think you could ask for much more from him. I still wish he was larger, and looking at the toy it's easy to start daydreaming about how awesome a Deluxe Twinstrike would have been. But for what he is, I like him.
I'm of two minds about Twinstrike's transformation. On the one hand, he's a combiner team member with no combiner kibble and no sacrifices in either mode to allow for the combination (in fact, people didn't even realize he was designed to combine until he showed up at retail). But he's also got a very significant flaw. The panels that serve as his shins in robot mode and thighs in beast mode are attached by a weird half-screw, half-pin that likes to unscrew itself, making the joint loose and eventually falling off. A simple ball joint would have worked far better, but as it is the joint seems doomed to self-destruct. The overall design is great, but all it takes is one gigantic flaw to drag it down. 5/10
The big transformation issue is also a durability issue, as well. Parts falling off are never a good thing, especially parts that aren't designed to be easily reattached. Once again, on such a small toy it only takes one big flaw to really hurt the score. 4/10
I really do have lots of fun with Twinstrike, and I'd go as far as to say I like him more than any of the other Legends or Legion toys in my collection. Obviously I'm biased, but he's the first new toy of a favourite character in over twenty years. I'm allowed to be. 9/10
A great looking little figure. 9/10
About average for a toy in his price bracket. 6/10
There's no question that the Legion/Legends toys have gotten more expensive over the last few years. The quality is a little bit better too, but not to the extent that it would justify the price. 6/10
I really do like Twinstrike, but take nostalgia out of the equation for a moment and you end up looking at a toy that's good but not great. He's an above-average Legion toy, but he's still a Legion toy -- with all the cut corners and simplification that implies. I like him, but he is what he is. 6.5/10