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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Paul053's Review: Perceptor

Name: Perceptor
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Scientist (and sniper)
Subgroup: Reveal The Shield

Perceptor is one of the most brilliant scientists ever produced by Cybertron. Much of the technology the Autobots take for granted is due to his discoveries. It is rare that he actually builds or invents anything himself, but his insights make it possible for engineers and inventors to continue the pace of technological development.

Apparently Hasbro thought two scientists (Wheeljack and Jetfire) and one doctor (Ratchet) were not good enough for their G1 cartoon, so they added another one in early season 2. He is Perceptor, the wordy scientist who speaks a lot of jargon which can be translated into a simple sentence. He later received more and more screen time compared to Wheeljack and then completely took over after Wheeljack died in the movie. Some people may argue he wasn’t that great as a scientist comparing to Wheeljack since he didn’t really invent or build much stuff nor had his own lab. Hasbro noted that and found Perceptor an excuse as shown in his bio.

He disappeared after season 3, and his name later showed up again in Armada series as a Mini-con combiner. His personality is pretty much the same in the Marvel comics as well but later was significantly changed by IDW. Specifically, in Spotlight: Drift, he was severely wounded in a rescue mission and later fixed himself to become a sharpshooter, or in another word, a sniper. His personality was changed as well. He talked less and always showed that poker face. But that didn’t mean he lost all his knowledge, for without his help, Ratchet and Wheeljack wouldn’t be able to fix Prime that fast in All Hail Megatron. That wordy scientist personality, as well as the sniper coolness, were brought together in Last Stand Of The Wreckers.

His G1 toy is how he appeared in the cartoon, a functional microscope, but its magnification is only limited to 14x. He showed up again in the first Classics line as a rubbish legend class redeco of legends Cybertron Red Alert. Later Hasbro did their own reissue as part of the Universe line as a store exclusive. I really want a Perceptor and originally was about to get this reissue but was scared off by his price tag and his face plate. Luckily in couple more years later, Hasbro announced releasing a new Perceptor in the CHURG line (Classics/Henkei/Universe 2.0/Reveal The Shield/Generation) as a half-track.

Alternate mode:

Since Perceptor's G1 toy has a third 'tank' alternate mode, Hasbro decided to make his alternate mode to a half-track. This is also to reflect some of his recent new designs such as his truck alt mode in the Animated comics and the similar half-track mode in IDW's LSOTW.

This half-track is all in maroon; with some black on the grill and tires and yellow headlights and windows. The hubcaps and tread axles are actually colored in dark metallic gray and the windows on the back are painted in light gray. I then just covered those windows in chrome with some left over Reprolabel stickers from RtS Jazz. He has a license plate labeled “MR 51409” which is a Hasbro’s in house joke of a toy designer’s daughter’s birthday. Time to custom make one.

The two front wheels are fully functional but the treads aren’t, as usual. There are two tiny wheels underneath to make it roll just like many other tank toys do. The three little lights lying on top of the roof as the emergency light are his folded gun/microscope. He doesn’t have any Autobot insignia in his alternate mode. No robot parts are easily visible here and they are hidden very well underneath.

Like this alternate mode as Perceptor's new main alt mode or not is everybody's taste, but this vehicle mode is well made. It is quite sturdy but can not roll freely with the push due to those tiny wheels underneath the treads. Hasbro will use this mold to re-make Reflector as well.

Robot Mode:

Being a science bot doesn’t mean his transformation has to be that scientific, but it is. Hasbro did put a lot of engineering into his transformation. He didn’t really cross the line of becoming overcomplicated but none of the steps are easy. Let’s start with the legs. Each leg has two panels to fold. The back of the truck folds up to form the knee and the side window folds in to connect with the flipped treads. Then flip out the feet and don’t forget to pull out the lower leg entirely (mine is very tight but you know when you hear the click) so he will be taller and knee can bend more. His arms and shoulders are similar to Classics/Universe 2.0 Sideswipe’s and Sunstreaker’s. They need to rotate up, but what’s more is his entire truck cab is now hanging on his back. When you push the head up, you will notice there is a peg hole toward the bottom, which needs to connect with the peg on the cap flipping rod to secure the backpack’s place. While flipping, the peg will push and slide down the head, so you need to push up the head and hold it from the bottom, then flip the cab and make that peg go in. Hard to explain here and that’s not it. Even when the peg is connected, the backpack is still flopping. You need to kind of fold, press, and push it down until you hear a click sound. May need to try few times to find the right place and then that will hold the shoulder and backpack well, for a while.

Comparing to his totally different alternate mode, amazingly Perceptor’s robot mode is a great homage of his G1 incarnation as well as the IDW styles. The microscope/gun on his right shoulder, check. The focus wheel on each arm, check. The chest plate can fold down to reveal the rub sign, check. Wait, scroll back. The chest plate can fold down so I can remove the rub sigh and put on the Autobot sticker, check. IDW's treads on back of the legs, check. Like his G1 colors, he is still mainly maroon/red with green on the thighs and forearms. If you look at his stock photo on the back card, you will find the paint apps are slightly different. There are silver on the thighs and forearms but they are not there on the toy. Hasbro claimed those parts are unpaintable plastics so they dropped the paints but I don’t think this is an issue for some customizers. I don’t quite like his face though. I think it’s a little bit too long and he eyes are yellow. I don’t remember seeing his eyes in yellow. Now, the shiny part. Normally Hasbro doesn’t use chrome paint. But when they do use it, they use it well. Generations Thrust used it and is painted well and so does Perceptor. You can see those chrome paints on the tip of microscope, focus wheels, and the rim of chest plate.

Articulation is normal. His head is not on a ball joint, and the angle of turning is limited by the helmet. He has 18 articulation points on his limbs to make him pose well but the knees and feet are blocked by the big treads that are hanging behind the legs. The backpack is clicked and not very tight, but the shoulder joints are somewhat tight, so the arms can move freely but this may unsecure the backpack connection and make it go floppy again. Once or twice are okay but it gets annoying after many times. So I always hold the backpack while moving the arms but sometimes it still unclicks.

He has no additional weapons other than the microscope gun on the shoulder. But hey, he has two open palms that are free and can hold any standard weapons. Originally I couldn’t wait to offer him Blurr’s sniper rifle for his IDW AHM’s new look but was then deeply disappointed. I’ve seen him holding any weapons well from other site but the palms on mine are too open to hold things tight. When things like this happen, I personally hope Hasbro can abandon the design of using open palms but use the traditional fist hole instead. Gladly later I found a solution. By inserting a thicker double side tape (or two if you are using craft double side tape or depends on how open the palms are) into his palm, he can then hold and “stick” the guns in his hand. The weapons may still drop sometimes but at least it is better than before.

Overall, I really like Perceptor’s robot mode. Even his flaws draw some fun down, this is the Perceptor I’m looking for. Now let’s talk about the unofficial third mode.

Microscope mode:

Yes! You read it right. Just like WFC Soundwave has that unofficial boom box mode, fans still discover Perceptor can have his G1 microscope mode. By transforming his legs back to truck mode without connecting them, then let him sit down like a Zen master, you can form the base. Open the chest plate and wrap around his arms and backpack and make sure the focus wheels are facing out on either side. Then push down the head and twist the gun. Ta-da! You now have Perceptor in a somewhat-microscope mode. The chrome part of the gun can be used as the objective lens or eyepiece lens depends on your preference. Again, this is a fan made imagination so doesn’t really need to be like any kind, but it is fun.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 5/10 – Not difficult but a lot of work, especially have to fiddle awhile to find the right place to secure his backpack. I also tend to be gentle during transformation because he feels flimsy.

Durability: 7/10 – He holds himself so well in the vehicle mode. In robot mode, he is sturdy enough and well balanced but backpack doesn’t connect tight enough.

Fun: 7/10 – Vehicle mode is okay. Robot mode is fun but the open palm too open issue let me down. Oh! Don’t forget he has that unofficial hidden third mode.

Aesthetics: 9/10 – If you like his vehicle mode, it does look good. The robot mode is a very well G1 homage but just don’t look from his back. Microscope mode is a bonus.

Articulation: 7/10 – Arms are excellent if you can hold the body tight. Legs are nice but knees are suffered. Head can turn but is limited by the parts. He has all the necessary points to make him pose well but is limited by those minor flaws.

Value/Price: 9/10 - Ordered him from Hasbro Toy Shop at $10.79 after 10% down. A nice toy with this price plus he got those excellent chrome paints.

Overall: 7/10 – He has his flaws here and there but is still a must buy for me because of his name. Actually a good toy and nice display piece but not that excellent as some others. For a collector, I definitely recommend him. But for a toy for kids, better think about it before your purchase.
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