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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Skyquake87's Review: Generations Doubledealer

Name : Doubledealer
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Mercenary

Bio: Decepticon Doubledealer doesn't really care whom he works for, as long as they can pay his fee. And pay they do. The amount of firepower he carries more than makes up for the fact that he's totally untrustworthy. He carries enough explosive power with him to shatter mountains to dust, and for that the Autobots and Decepticons are willing to pay dearly, handing over crates full of Energon chips in exchange for a single battle's worth of services.

With a protracted and messy war like the millennia-spanning battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, its a wonder there aren't more mercenaries like Doubledealer. The guerrilla fighting and pockets of resistance fighters and dictatorial regimes that litter Cybertron seem ripe for exploitation by the canny operator or private security firm. Still, here he is, the one man army feted by both sides. This wasn't always the case. Back in ye olde days of the Marvel Comics and the Transformers original outing, Doubledealer was portrayed as something of a double agent, in much the same way the Autobot Punch/ Counterpunch was. His Autobot and Decepticon personas were kept hidden from either side. These days, that pretense is pretty much abandoned. His faction symbols are just an indicator of whom he's sold his services to this time. In real terms, its simply because his new Generations toy is minor retool of the mould originally used for the new version of Bltizwing, but its nice to think in terms of the fiction and perhaps his cover being blown as the result of some suspicions from either side. At the very least, someone might have thought that perhaps Double and Dealer (sheesh) share more than just a colour palette.

For my money, the Generations ethos of updating 'classic' characters is at its best when revisiting the cast from 1986 up. Even with modern toy engineering, the all plastic Generations versions of say, Prowl or Jazz simply can't compete with the intricate, detailed die-cast and chrome of the original toys. Guys like Doubledealer, whom came later and had to put up with a pretty crude plastic chisel, definitely benefit from the advances in toy engineering made in the intervening years. And so it was that I came to plump for Doubledealer over mould-mate Blitzwing. Somehow, its much more refreshing to see a less familiar face brought up to date, than yet another character whose trademark has been retained to the extent that there are a plethora of toys from different iterations of Transformers available. Well, that and I didn't like Generations Blitzwing cribbing some of his design from the Animated version (whom I class as a totally different character divorced from the original) and Kapow had Doubledealer reduced.

Robot Mode: The robot mode is nice and stocky looking, it does suffer a bit for having the shoulders raised above his head somewhat plus the world's longest shins, but just about gets away with it. The more lively mix of blues and greys on Douledealer do seem to balance out the torso and limbs better than Generations Blitzwing. He has some nice detailing which (whisper it) borrows a bit of the fusiness of those third party toys. Best of all, he has some sparse, but well placed paint applications and some terrific light piping. 7/10

Alternate Mode: The jet is the better of the two alternate modes. Doubledealer originally coming from an era when Transformers designs were pretty fanciful carries off this sort of Y-Wing design without it looking goofy. The painted shark face on the nosecone is great and the detailing is lovely. I love the big dollop of marmalade that is the cockpit, although attempts to make this an opening cockpit shouldn't have got past the drawing board. Elsewhere, a bevy of panels and air intakes run all over the bodywork to pick out some detail. The tank turret does a passable impression of an afterburner (if you squint) and only the slightly reedy wings really let this mode down. The tank mode reminds me a bit of Sixshot's ramming tank effort. Its a bit of a patchwork of parts and colours and doesn't convince as an actual tank of any kind. The turret is preposterously large compared to the body of the thing which only highlights how half baked this mode is. It rolls nicely enough though. Neither mode incorporates the robot mode weapons to any great effect, with them just looking equally silly wherever you clamp them on the tank or jet. The use of the different faction symbols on the alternate modes somehow doesn't feel as convincing as the two different robot modes did on the original toy. Its difficult to imagine that different alt modes would affect his dealings with either side of the Autobot / Decepticon divide. Basically, whilst a nice touch and homage to the original, they're pointless daubings. 7/10 for the jet, 5/10 for the tank.

Transformation Design: A bit of a tough one to quantify. Doubledealer is cleverly designed and the sequence of moves between each mode is fairly fluid, yet he's one of those toys that's a bit of a juggle of shifting flat panels and bits that clip into slots and sliding panels that have to be secured. It all works, but its just a bit of a fiddle and not quite as refined as the work that gave us Generations Springer. Its the sort fiddle-fest you get with ROTF-era Transformers. The head also fits a little too well under the cockpit / nosecone. Whilst this avoids warping the softer plastics of the nose, it isn't easy to get the head back out when transforming back to robot mode. And then there's the shoulders. The problem with these is that they don't lock into place. A simple tab to lock these into the torso of the robot would have cured the toy's biggest flaw. 6.5/10

Durability: Being made of a lot of compressed panels, Doubledealer doesn't feel especially fragile. The shoulders outwardly seem a bit a fragile, but the plastics used seem to be slightly softer than those used on the arms and legs. There's a fair degree of flexibility in these to cope with all the twists and turns which means only the most hamfisted and impatient will end up causing any damage. The nosecone is made of a very soft plastic, and it will be interesting to see if this warps or discolours over time. In common with all recent Transformers, he doesn't feel particularly dense or heavy. On the plus side, there's no obvious signs of stress fractures or warping developing as with some of the materials used recently. 7/10

Articulation: Pretty standard for a mainline Transformers figure, with movement at the neck shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. Some swivel joints in his arms and legs give him an above average range of movement. Doubledealer has no waist joint, but doesn't miss it with everything else he's got going on. Its more than enough for this type of toy. Again though, those shoulders do take a bit of the shine away from the articulation in the arms. 7/10

Fun: With his bold colours, mercenary credentials and triple changing ability, there's no way Doubledealer couldn't be fun, even allowing for the tank mode being a bit rubbish and the problematic robot mode shoulders. 8/10

Price/Value: I don't like paying more than the UK RRP for new Transformers. I picked this guy up for 23 plus postage from Kapow and I think that's a fair price. Paying much more than this and I wouldn't be happy with him. 8/10

Overall: Doubledealer has surprised me by how much I like him. He seems to work this mould much better than Blitzwing. The weapons are pleasingly beefy and he looks ready to jump into action. The colours are nice and crisp, there's some decent paint applications and it just feels like there's a bit of effort been put in which I really appreciate. The shoulders really do let the toy down though and whilst the disclaimer on the box is at pains to point out that “some poses may require additional support”, I am surprised that such an obvious blunder got through the design, manufacture and testing process. Hasbro really should know better. Going into this figure aware of this flaw, its nowhere near as crippling as I expected from the wailing and gnashing of teeth seen elsewhere on Generations Blitzwing. 7/10
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