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Kamen's review: Cyclonus

Name: Cyclonus
Function: Decepticon Sub-Commander
Subgroup: Universe (Generation 1 Series) Deluxe Vehicles

“All Hail Galvatron!”

Constructed from the cast-off chassis of deactivated Decepticon warriors, Cyclonus was programmed by Unicron to be loyal only to Galvatron. Powered by nuclear engines and a small fragment of his creator’s supernatural power, Cyclonus wields enough might to sterilize the surface of an inhabited world by himself. He never unleashes this power without his commander’s leave, however, and he focuses all of his energy on ensuring that Galvatron is obeyed without question by those under his command.

Cyclonus. First appearing in the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie, he was forged from the dead body of the Insecticon Bombshell (Skywarp! ), and from there he became, in my opinion, the only Decepticon of any note during the entirety of the third season of the original cartoon. He was smart, competent, had some notion of personal honor, he was loyal, but not blindly so, and also second-in-command. Such a combination of traits has not been seen in a Decepticon Sub-Commander before nor since. Sadly, after becoming a Targetmaster in the last season of the American run of The Transformers, he was regulated to comic relief in the Japanese series, and then his name was reassigned to a no-talent boob in Transformers: Armada. It’s been a long road, but Cyclonus is back, baby!

As part of the 25th anniversary branch of the Universe line and part of the Generation 1 (The Epic Begins!) sub-series, Cyclonus returns to his original characterization as the loyal creation of Unicron, which, I believe, is the first mention of Unicron in the Universe line (sans the re-release of the big bot himself, that is ). Unexpectedly, Cyclonus also pays homage to his status as a Targetmaster by the inclusion of his Nebulan partner Nightstick. No, the other one. Ah, forget it. He’d probably rub you out anyway. We will start with a short review of him, though. (What can I say? He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.)


Likely conceptual precursors to the Minicons, the Targetmasters were a group of Nebulans who binary-bonded themselves to specific Transformers. This gave the Nebulan the ability to transform into a living weapon and the Transformer in question the “advantage” of a weapon that could act on its own.

In Nebulan mode, Nightstick is humanoid, and proportioned appropriately, visually making a nice little figure. Primarily, he is a deep purple, with light grey for his feet and waist. Black shoulders break up the purple nicely, and gold-face with red eyes give him a distinct appearance. The paint applications are very smooth, particularly impressive for such a small figure. His detailing, though small, clearly indicates the mechanical nature of the exo-suit while. Articulation, as you may expect, comes in as a bit limited. He has 360 degree rotation at the shoulder, ninety degree bend at the elbow, and slightly more than ninety degree rotation at the hips. Remarkably, the only bit of gun kibble visible is the main barrel hanging between his legs. Sadly, there’s not much that could have been done about it, though I think it would have been cool had it been removable and possible that he could hold it as his own weapon.

Nightstick’s Targetmaster mode is a tri-barreled gun. The transformation, though simple, manages to hide all but Nightstick’s hands. However, his arms can be rotated in all manner of positions to hide them as well as possible. He does, unfortunately, have a large hole were the barrel swings down over the gun handle, but, otherwise, he looks great!

This was an unexpected homage, yet one that was nice to see and even nicer to see done so well.

Alternate Mode:

On the package, Cyclonus is billed as a hypersonic star-fighter. I suppose we should just be glad that he’s not a “Cybertronian” [insert vehicle here]. Sleek, with sweeping angles, Cyclonus strikes a profile of deadly speed and precision. His detailing is not much, but great care was taken with what is present, only adding to the sense that this is a well crafted machine. Care just as great, was taken with his paint as well. Though lavender in the original cartoon, this time around Cyclonus is painted an absolutely gorgeous deep shade of purple. Light grey, as with Nightstick, breaks up the purple, and an almost metallic copper gives just the right amount of highlighting. A touch of silver brings out the tips of the guns on his nose; a bit of black for his flanking tri-barreled cannon and his retractable molded landing gear finish off his colour scheme.

As pretty as this mold is, Cyclonus doesn’t escape without any flaws. While the majority of the spacecraft locks together tightly, the rear of the craft hangs open, revealing the bits used for the robot’s transformation. I think this flaw could have been avoided, or at least reduced, by allowing the feet to angle more to close the gap. Another gap appears in the nose of the fighter where the robot head is hidden. To the designer’s credit, the robot “ears” do cleverly mimic the nose guns, but the head is still fairly obvious and closer inspection will reveal quite a bit of empty space between the nose piece and the robot head.

Cyclonus can interact with Nightstick in Targetmaster mode by plugging the proffered peg into the hole behind Cyclonus’ cockpit. He can swivel 360 degrees, though the tip of the main barrel will clip the tips of Cyclonus’ stabilizing fins. This looks ridiculous anyway, so leaving him off is no big deal. The hole is a standard 3mm size; however, so if you’ve some left over weapons, you may plug those in, if you think that they’ll look better.

He may have some minor flaws, but make no mistake. Cyclonus has one of the best vehicle modes of the 2008 Universe line

Robot Mode:

In robot mode, Cyclonus is the thinnest of the current Universe figures. Even his shoulders, which absorb most of the rear of the vehicle mode manage to look sleek rather than bulky, accentuating and complimenting the thinness of his arms. He doesn’t look anorexic or out of proportion either. Besides the colouring (which is the same as in vehicle mode) Cyclonus is a dead ringer for his animated model. Of particular note is how the robot lacks kibble. The spacecraft’s wings are really the only part of the figure that hint that he has an alternate mode at all. This holds true even from the rear. His vehicle mode’s cockpit and Nightstick’s anchor point are visible, yet unobtrusive.

Cyclonus doesn’t lack for articulation either. His shoulders, head, and thighs have unlimited rotation. He has a ninety degree bend in elbows and knees, plus ninety degree lift to the side from the shoulder. Ball-joints in his hips give him 180 degree rotation and ninety degree rotation to the side. Finally, he has unlimited rotation below his elbow, a point which is pretty much useless.

Nightstick fits securely into Cyclonus’ right hand, which is molded with his index finger in a “trigger” position. A nice touch. Cyclonus’ left hand does not have a hole. But! For an unexpected nod to the Japanese Headmasters series Nightstick can also plug into the anchor revealed when either hand is folded in. So, Cyclonus can have Nightstick as his left hand and hold another weapon in his right. Nice. Also, although this is a standard gimmick, Cyclonus’ light-piping (red-plastic) looks fantastic and works extremely well.

Thus far I have not found anything technically wrong with Cyclonus. I would have liked bicep and waist articulation but his transformation scheme nullifies both possibilities.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: Difficult enough to be satisfying but easy enough not to be irritating. His leg transformation is unique! 4

Durability: Only two balls joints and lots of swiveling parts, only some of which look like they’ll pop back on easily. Even so, he still seems quite well put together. 7

Fun: X I’m unashamedly bias but he still breaks the scale.

Price: Currently around $7 USD. Why not buy three? 10

Overall: If Universe Galvatron is an example of What-Not-To-Do, Cyclonus is what happens when things are done right. Find him as soon as possible! 10
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