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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Heinrad's review of: Cannonball

Name: Cannonball
Faction: Decepticon
Function: Space Pirate

A reckless pirate concerned only with where his next bit of stolen treasure is coming from. CANNONBALL and his crew of oil-thirsty pirates have terrorized merchant starships for centuries, returning to CYBERTRON only rarely to refuel and spend their ill-gotten loot on black market Energon stars and hot, airbrushed graphics for their vehicle modes. He claims loyalty to the DECEPTICON cause only because MEGATRON allows him to operate freely as long as he continues to attack only AUTOBOT ships.

When I first saw the ads for the Dodge Magnum, I thought it was a neat looking station wagon. I guess it’s technically a hatchback, but the styling is aggressive station wagon. When the Cybertron line came out, one of the first figures I saw was Red Alert, and as much as I like the Magnum look, I gave it a miss. The colors didn’t do much for me, and while I’m a Robocop fan, the head design for Red Alert’s never done much for me.

Then the “Primus Unleashed” stickers started showing up (although they have yet to recolor Downshift or Thunderblast), they’ve released a Hot Shot recolor, a new version of Override…… and Cannonball. And I have to say, while Red Alert’s color scheme didn’t do much for me, Cannonball’s looked great.

Not to say that the old pirate doesn’t have a few flaws, but I’ll get to those later.

Vehicle Mode:

Cannonball is, like the Red Alert mold he’s recolored from, a Dodge Magnum. Black and silver trim, purple windows. And the thing that caught my eye: A stylized skull on his roof, in teal. On his doors, he’s got a skeleton pattern. And while I thought Red Alert looked pretty blah in this mode, Cannonball looks great. He’s also got big silver rims, but I gather that’s standard on a Magnum, anyway……

Pull down on the back section, flip the rear tires in, flip down the front end, flip out the toes and heels from the front end and back end, lock them together, pull up his arms, flip the doors back, fold the right fist and left gun barrel down, raise and fold in the back section (forming a backpack), pull the head up, flip down the hip covers, and voila, we have Cannonball.

Robot Mode:

It’s Red Alert in different colors! Well, okay, it’s a different character, but still, it’s a dead ringer for Red Alert, in black and gold with silver trim. He even comes with the same accessories, which store in his lower legs behind pop open panels, turning his laser gun into either a hammer (truly a traditional pirate weapon), and a clampy claw thing (closer than the hammer, certainly). And I have to say, it looks great. With the exception of the Robocop head, but even that looks good with these colors.

I’ve always had a problem with straight recolors. I admit, changing molds probably isn’t cheap, but on a certain level, even minor alterations make sense. For example, Cybertron Red Alert is supposed to be an emergency vehicle of some sort, right down to the light bar. Meaning that Cannonball is the first jazzed up looking hearse I’ve ever seen with a light bar. In purple, no less. Would it cost them that much to add on some kind of separate light assembly, like those baja truck lights, or maybe switching the gun to the right hand? Little things like that.

If you missed the Red Alert figure (who’s still warming pegs at my local Wal-Mart, that’s for sure), then get this one. If you like the look of the figure, but can’t stand Red Alert’s colors, get this figure. If you want the TF that, if he actually showed up in the series they’d almost certainly make to sound like Johnny Depp (if not actually getting him in person), get this figure.

Or, if your sense of humor is somewhat Addams-esque, like mine, and the skeleton motif catches your eye…. Get this figure.

And he does pose well in a group. I’ve got him standing with the Sideways and Soundwave figures, and while he’s not nearly as exotic looking as they are, he’s holding his own……..

Soundwave: “No.”

Cannonball: “Oh, come on…… I need a parrot. Every pirate needs a parrot.”

Soundwave: “Lazerbeak is not a parrot.”

Sideways: “Not even an ex-parrot.”

Lazerbeak: -squawks-

Cannonball: “Close enough, he is…..”

Transformation: 5 - He's not terribly difficult to transform, although his legs were a little confusing the first time I transformed him.
Durability: 8 - He's been knocked over a few time (Sideways and Soundwave, I'm sure), and while he hasn't broken, the plastic feels kind of lightweight.
Fun: 9 - While he's not the most poseable, he just looks like he's having.... well, fun.
Price: 3 - $9.97 at the local Wal-Mart
Overall: 7 - He's a fun figure, whether you're a completist or just don't like Red Alert's colors.
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