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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kamen's review of Mindwipe

Name: Mindwipe
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Hypnotist
Subgroup: RoTF Voyager Vehicles

With the power to mesmerize other robots, Mindwipe might be a match even for Optimus Prime. The Matrix of Leadership renders the Autobot leader immune, but Mindwipe has a host of other robots totally under his control. He stays safely in the air, while Optimus Prime struggles against a horde of hypnotized minions.

Mindwipe started out as a Headmaster in the original Transformers cartoon, where he transformed into a mechanical bat thing and had the power to hypnotize his opponents. His only major role in the story was during the last episode of the series when he was able to discover that Brainstorm held the key to the plasma energy chamber.

In Dreamwave's War Within story, Mindwipe was a part of the Chaos Trinity along with Bludgeon and Bugly. The three were recruited by the Fallen, and aided him in gathering the unique sparks needed to unlock the Seal of Primus. Naturally, they, and their boss, were defeated.

Otherwise, Mindwipe has had no other major appearances and has not appeared in toy form since his original figure in 1987. I'd say that's fairly impressive, especially considering the many many Mini-con figures who seemed to have been named specifically to hold on to trademarks. On the other hand, Mindwipe isn't a major character; I didn't even remember who he was until looking him up on the TFWiki.

So it is that Revenge of the Fallen has given us a brand new version of the character. But is it for better or worse?

Alternate Mode:

Mindwipe's alternate mode has been changed from a mechanical bat to a mechanical nighthawk. Specifically, a F-117 Nighthawk, according to the TFWiki, was used as the model. Mindwipe keeps a similar profile, but runs flatter across the top, and is generally wider; perhaps a bit of influence form the B-2 Spirit. Appropriate, considering Mindwipe's occult interests. Either way, the profile is distinct and only interrupted by minor bits of kibble visible from the front and a rather unseemly gap splinting the rear. Even with those problems, Mindwipe continues the RotF line's excellent track record of minimizing undercarriage junk. Other sculpted details maintain a similar low profile. In fact, the relative smoothness of the sculpt give the plane a futuristic or otherworldly vibe which may not appeal to everyone.

The colouring is likewise subdued. A light black makes up the majority of the craft; no surprise there. The real surprise is the dark purple used for the highlights and the translucent red used for the cockpit. Mindwipe's otherworldly vibe may be a direct result of the red cockpit, actually. One look at that sucker and you know he's evil. Or you could look a the silver Decepticon symbol cleverly folded into a faux Air Force insignia on his fuselage. This is the kind of detail that made Barricade cool, and I wish more figures did something similar. Speaking of, Mindwipe also sports some gnarly Cybertronion calligraphy on his wings. These aren't precision tattoos like Starscream had but actually have the appearance of being hand brushed. It's a very nice detail, even if it is out of place on a vehicle that supposed to be a disguise.

Mindwipe turns into stealth fighter, which are always cool. Plus I think this is the first time, we've seen this mode at this price-point since Dreadwing in '94, who was definitely based on the B-2 Spirit.

Robot Mode:

I've always loved how detailed the movie figures' robot modes are, and Mindwipe is no exception. Looking closely at the inside of arms or legs, even the back of his shoulders, reveals overlapping panels, vents, or wires. The sculpt isn't all good news, though. Mindwipes arms and hands bend and align on a bizarre curve; his knees bend at a constant 45 degrees unless you insist on using the second leg joint. I think the chicken-legs look fine on Starscream, but here the thick feet and calves make Mindwipe look ridiculous. His chest also has a fairly deep cavity in the center. A token effort was made to cover it, yet the plate doesn't come out far enough, leaving Mindwipe looking like someone crushed his sternum. Then there are the goofy eyes visible beneath his I love this toy. He is perfect in every way.

Minus some small sloppiness here and there, the colouring comes out just as well, if not better, than the sculpt. Tan joins the matte black of the vehicle bits, with quite a bit of red, mainly for the main body. The hands are painted gold, though my figure's left hand fairs poorly; the tips of the fingers are scuffed something awful in a beautiful wash that brings out all the fine details in this masterpiece of a toy. The sloppy paint is minor; however, and is really only visible upon close inspection.

Articulation is more than adequate and includes waist articulation and, surprise!, a ball jointed head. Balance issues are nil partially thanks to his enormous feet, but mostly thanks to having his weight well distributed. Otherwise, joints are of a satisfyingly uniform tightness, neither too loose or too tight.

It's fortunate that his posability is so good because his action features are lackluster. First his Mech Alive gimmick. Like most, it doesn't interfere with anything—that's one point in its favor—but it makes this figure even more wonderful than it would be without it. Fold the wings back and the tips collapse while two tiny, the packaging generous calls them, blades fold up. Some kind of enormous wing spike would be one thing, but these things are GLORIOUS! POSITIVELY GLORIOUS! Next, Mindwipe has flip out knives. Actually, the knives are the inner surface of the cockpit, and they do look good from that angle, but chances are the outer cockpit half will be more visible. And the 'flipping' is really dropping. Not satisfying at all. To make matters worse, it doesn't even make any sense. Nightslash Cheetor had a similar gimmick, yet where his swords snapped down into combat position, Mindwipe's knives flop down to “please stab me in the nads” position. Perhaps he likes to sacrifice virgins to the Dark Gods. I mean, who does he think he is, Norman Bates?

Reading over this, I know I'm complaining a lot, but Mindwipe is right on the cusp of being a great figure. The flaws are minor, yet they add up. Mindwipe is not a bad toy. He's an above average one, in fact; however, as a C-list—generously—character he really needs to pack some extra oomph to attract fans who have never heard of him. I must recommend him, though. Wholeheartedly.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: Brilliant and satisfying in every respect. 4
Durability: Nothing short of a nuclear explosion could scratch his magnificent chassis 10
Fun: YOU WILL LOVE ME! 10
Price: No price is too large to pay for such a master work. Can one put a price on art?
Overall: You will buy him. More than once. In fact, you will buy them all.
 
 
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