Electric Gecko's review: Blazemaster
ďThere are a lot of Autobots who think Blazemaster is a little haywire. He likes to hover over Decepticon squads and when his targets notice him, he drops his payload of corrosive gel right on their heads.Ē
The Autobots have always been short on air support, so the ROTF line comes to the rescue with Blazemaster: the Autobot news helicopter cum gel-flinging psychopath. In concept, whatís not to like? So what if he didnít actually appear in the movie (Is it really any better than Jolt, who appeared in the film for under ten seconds?)? So what if this figure is grossly out of scale with almost all other toys in the ROTF line? Some of us wanted an Autobot helicopter, and we got one (The 2007 release of Evac Ė a sad redeco of Blackout Ė didnít count). But the moral of the story here is to be careful what you wish for.
The Blazemaster name originally graced a little known and little loved G1 Micromaster, so this dudeís low on the nostalgia appeal. His absence from the movie also removes yet another selling point. If youíre buying him, youíre probably picking him up because you think the very concept Ė an Autobot news chopper Ė is vaguely cool, and the box art tempted you Ö just like it tempted me.
I hereby seriously suggest you resist the temptation.
Blazemasterís vehicle mode is a news helicopter of unknown make and model. It bears a strong resemblance to a Bell 407, only with a spiffy shrouded tail rotor. On the body (painted quite an attractive gold and blue) are the words ďChannel 7 Action NewsĒ and the requisite Autobot insignia. Apparently there really is a Channel 7 Action News in Detroit, but I digress.
The helicopter mode is this toyís best feature. It looks nice, has a great paint job, and its blue tinted windows really add a certain touch of class. If you look closely, you can see Blazemasterís face staring out from the inside of the cockpit; itís a nice touch. The one downside is the rotor assembly: itís made of white, unpainted PVC plastic and looks very cheap and bulky when juxtaposed with the highly detailed copter.
Now, Hasbro seems unable to release a Transformers helicopter these days without giving it a push-button spinning rotor function Ė often at the cost of articulation or appearance. Well, thereís a little button on the side of Blazemaster that you can press to spin the blades, and for once, Iím happy to report that the blades actually spin! For those of you that had the misfortune of purchasing the 2007 Blackout figure, youíll remember that internal friction in that mechanism made those blades stop spinning the second you stopped pressing the button. Here they spin freely long after youíve pressed, and itís a nice little feature.
So all in all, I have little to complain about with this vehicle mode. Itís got little flip-down wheels for easy display and looks nice on a shelf.
When you think about it, Blazemaster is actually one of the largest Autobots in the movie universe. This toyís 1:75 scale means that Blazemaster would actually stand 37 feet tall in robot mode, dwarfing even Optimus Prime. Maybe thatís why his tech specs are so high.
And now for the bad news.
Oh dear, sweet Lord Almighty. What a mess. To begin with, the transformation from vehicle to robot is confusing and convoluted. The instructions are full of poor visual aids, and the finished transformation doesnít totally match the robot mode on the box art. In short, Iím still
not sure whether Iíve transformed this guy correctly. He never fits together quite right, and if the instructions are that vague, you know youíve got a problem.
Speaking of box art, take a look at the photo once more. Notice the large amount of spiffy gold paint on the robot mode? Well, take most of that and replace it with cheap, white plastic. I canít help but feel seriously cheated here. This isnít like the recent case of deluxe Jolt, where some of the paint detail was scaled back due to cost-cutting measures on the part of Hasbro. No, this robot looks totally different from his picture on the box Ė different in a very, very, very bad way.
Once you manage to get him into robot mode, youíll notice that his articulation is extremely limited. He has giant arms that canít really move Ė and pop off frequently Ė along with a teeny tiny body, and thin little bird legs. If you can get him to stand up, youíre doing well. I give full marks to Hasbro for trying to break away from a strictly humanoid robot, but this bird-man is really one to be avoided.
There are other irritations, of course. The whole helicopter tail assembly is supposed to fold over and attach to the robotís back, but thereís no way to click this component into place. It just sits there, ready to fall down at a momentís notice.
Nothing can compare, though, to the terrible travesty of the Ďcombat blades.í The helicopterís rotor component just sits on top of a peg when in vehicle mode, and thus pulls off freely. (That means that youíll probably remove the rotor before even attempting transformation.) Once youíve gotten to robot mode, however, you split this rotor component in two and attach each half to either arm to form Ďblades.í
The problem is that the one blade has no effective way of really attaching to the robot. It loosely fits into a semicircle hole in the arm, and falls out with ease (You really have to see this to believe how poorly itís been executed. All it would have taken to fix the situation would have been a plastic peg to fit the rotor on, but no such luck). The other set of blades, meanwhile, stays attached to the push-button spinner assembly. In robot mode, the button is supposed to spin the Ďcombat blade.í It doesnít. It wiggles the combat blade a bit. And Decepticons everywhere run in fear.
The worst part about this whole situation, though, is the fact that this spinner mechanism on the one arm is totally loose, meaning that the blade just hangs down limp when youíre not trying to spin it. This makes the pose on the box (where both blades stick out parallel to the arms) utterly impossible without hand support.
I suppose you could just remove the blades entirely, but itís a shame because the designers could have fixed this problem easily with only a few slight design modifications.
Is there anything positive to say about the robot mode? Well, the head looks great. The paint jobís decent on the face, and the light piping in the eyes sort of works when you hold the figure directly up to a light bulb. Blazemasterís head is mounted on a ball joint, but Iím not sure why, because his headís movement is severely restricted by the large plastic panel right behind it. At least the thought was there.
Marks out of ten for the following:
Transforming Blazemaster is fiddly and difficult even when you know what youíre doing Ė which is kind of hard, because the instructions are clear as mud. Thereís a good kind of complicated (ROTF Leader Prime, for instance), and a bad kind of complicated. This oneís firmly in the latter category.
Hah. This guyís held together with a whole bunch of very thin, jointed plastic pieces just waiting to snap. Heís not quite as fragile as Scalpel, but whatever you do, donít drop him in mid-transformation.
I had a little bit of fun with the helicopter mode, but the second I started the transformation process, all I felt was the sharp bite of defeat. This guy is negative fun. He sucks all the fun out of the room; heís like an anti-toy.
I got this guy at half-price and I still want my money back.
The two points here come from the nice vehicle mode, but really, if you wanted a model helicopter, you would have bought a model helicopter, right? No, I bought a transformer, but all I got was a letdown. I didnít really expect the robot mode to be highly poseable, but I at least expected it to look cool and function adequately. Instead, I get an ugly toy that falls apart when you stare at it wrong. Along with Ejector, this is one of the worst toys to come out of the ROTF line thus far.
And donít say I didnít warn you.