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Numbat's Review: UN-20 Frenzy and Rumble

Name: UN-20 Rumble and Frenzy
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Transformers United Scout Class Twin Pack

Since the Classics line in 2006, preceding the first live action Transformers film, we have had similar lines which provide modern updates of classic characters (usually G1, but not always) filling the gaps between Bay’s blockbusters. The 2010 offerings were released in a hodgepodge of confusing sublines by Hasbro, including Reveal the Shield (RTS – with the classic rub stickers), Generations (without rub stickers) and Hunt for the Decepticons (HFTD – generally Movieverse, or similar style). Takara, on the otherhand, released all of the Classics-style figures under a single banner – Transformers United. Subsequently, the United line became itself a random assortment of Hasbro moulds as yet unreleased in Japan, but at the point Rumble and Frenzy were released it retained its Classics bent.

Continuing to promote the American names for Transformers (no doubt to improve the accessibility of Bay’s films in Japan), Transformers United figures used the Hasbro names.

Rumble and Frenzy are, of course, Soundwave’s humanoid minions, which transformed into cassettes in G1. They have had a couple of updates since – including the Alternators version of Rumble (a Honda Civic complete with cassette chest in robot mode – released in 2006) and Frenzy in the first live action Transformers film (released in 2007) who transformed into a boombox (Soundwave-esque) while retaining the character’s mischievous character (although Bay claims he invented Frenzy, I think Hasbro and fans may disagree… - and sadly only seeing a Fast Action Battlers release as a transforming toy). [There has subsequently been another version of the characters for the Prime Robots in Disguise toy line, used as Rumble in Frenzy’s colours by Hasbro, and both Rumble and Frenzy by Takara, this time transforming into a car – however, the mould only provides a subtle homage to G1 designs.]

It was surely only a matter of time before a more G1 themed homage was produced, and United Rumble and Frenzy hit the Asian shelves in 2011. However, the expectation was these moulds would see a Hasbro release, even if only as a single character at the Scout Class price point. Unfortunately, this was not to be, and the two Scout sized figures remain available only at overinflated prices due to their limited release. These were perhaps the first high profile characters that did not see a Hasbro release in recent years – the more talked about examples being several Dark of the Moon (DOTM) figures (including Deluxe Soundwave, Deluxe Leadfoot, Deluxe Que / Wheeljack and Human Alliance Soundwave) and Prime First Edition (FE) figures. Compared to the subsequent examples, United Rumble and Frenzy seem less serious omissions, but exactly what has been going on in Hasbro’s marketing department lately I have no idea.

I was fortunate enough to be offered United Rumble and Frenzy by Knightdramon at a very reasonable price, and I jumped at the offer. I can safely say, it’s a real shame these guys never saw a wider release…

As both Rumble and Frenzy share the same mould, I will just review them alongside one another.

Alternate Mode:

Unlike their G1 counterparts, United Rumble and Frenzy no longer transform into cassettes. They have instead been given an upgraded Cybertronian tank alternate mode. Measuring 3” (7.5cm) long, they are jam-packed with moulded detail, and are lavishly painted.

Frenzy is mainly navy blue, with pale blue plastic used for some parts, guns and panels picked out in silver and treads in gunmetal grey. There is a red laser target or somesuch on the turret, and there are gold details on the rear (the chest cassette front, but this does not look particularly out of place with stylised angular shapes looking like plates on the tank).

Rumble is mainly black, with some parts cast in a rich red plastic. As with Frenzy, silver is used for various panels and the guns, while gunmetal grey brings out the treads. Gold is used for the robot mode chest details which are at the rear of the tank.

The main turret can rotate, as can a smaller front turret mounted with a single gun. The two main guns on the turret can also be angled up and down (in fact they are mounted on using C-clips and ball joints, and so have a wide range of motion). An additional C-clip on the main turret can be used to add additional weaponry, should you see fit. If you think Frenzy and Rumble could do with some more weapons still, the cannons themselves also have C-clip mounting points!

Both Frenzy and Rumble have Decepticon insignias on the turrets, which our purple with a silver outline.

These small Cybertronian tanks seem a nice upgrade for Rumble and Frenzy – you can imagine them with these modes prior to coming to Earth in G1. They are both aggressive, explosive and mischievous warrior characters, unlike their master Soundwave (an impassive spy), and nippy wee tanks suit them well. It is, however, one of the more radical upgrades of G1 characters with bespoke moulds from Classics-style lines.

Robot Mode:

The transformations are more complex than you would expect for this size, and really good fun. They are definitely toys you will fiddle about with on your desk. The only irritating thing about them, though, comes to the fore during transformation: even a slight brush of the silver panels on the sides causes the spring-loaded pile drivers to trigger. I fear that in time these will no longer latch in place at all – much as has happened with the arm cannons on my Cybertron Supreme Primus.

The resulting robot modes are extremely good likenesses of the G1 animation models – much better, in fact, than the G1 toys themselves (perhaps not so surprising!). Even the tank treads are hidden in robot mode, with ingenious colouring of the inside of the pieces (blue on Frenzy, red on Rumble). If you follow the instructions, the tank cannons protrude high over the robot mode heads – I prefer to swivel the turrets around and have the cannons a bit shorter, which is more G1 faithful. Arranged in this way, Rumble and Frenzy stand 4” (10cm) to their head, or 4 ¾” (12cm) to the top of the cannons (when stored on their backs).

As you would expect, Frenzy retains his navy blue base colour scheme, and Rumble his black. Frenzy has more pale blue on show in robot mode (parts of his arms, waist and upper legs), which is mirrored in red on Rumble. Both have the classic G1 cassette chests, with details painted in gold, and their legs mirror their G1 design with red, silver and gunmetal paint applications.

The head sculpt is a truly stunning homage to the G1 design, with phenomenal attention to detail. Frenzy has a navy blue helmet while Rumble has a black helmet. Both have silver faces and red goggles.

The articulation is superb, with 15 meaningful points (seven ball joints, six hinges and two swivels). Sadly the transformation precludes a waist joint, but frankly, at this scale the number of dynamic poses which can be struck are endless (although perhaps not quite so endless as the even more articulation endowed RTS Windcharger). They also have superb balance, despite the tank turrets and pile drivers stored on their backs. Unfortunately, mine seem to have some loose joints – while not interfering with poses yet, I’d worry this will become an issue in the future.

You can easily pose Rumble and Frenzy with their pile drivers extended (involves a simple transformation of the arms, which is good fun!) pummelling the ground – the high degree of articulation coupled with the length of the extended pile drivers allows the figures to strike a great pose. The only slight downside to this is that a section of the tank treads do become visible while the pile drivers are deployed.

Those spring loaded pile drivers are great fun, and a wonderful inclusion, but they do cause problems. As already noted, they have a hair trigger. Also, when not in use they are stored hanging off Rumble and Frenzy’s arms at a random angle, looking a bit like a cape! However , that’s not a disaster, and it’s a compromise I’m happy with in order to gain this integrated pile driver feature on these figures.

The tank guns can also be unclipped from Frenzy and Rumble’s backs and attached to C-clips on their wrists, allowing them to be used in the same way as the gun accessories of the G1 figures.

All in all United Rumble and Frenzy are superb figures. The mould is great, and the colour schemes of each carefully chosen to provide the best possible G1 homage.

It’s really unfortunate that they did not see a Western release by Hasbro, and I hope they will in the future. If you can fine them at an affordable price in the meantime, I’d encourage you to pick them up!

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 8 – United Rumble and Frenzy have a more involved and complex transformation than you’d expect, and it’s great fun. It’s just a shame the pile drivers hang off the arms at an odd angle in robot mode though, and the hair trigger of the pile drivers can be irritating during transformation.
Durability: 7 – Both Rumble and Frenzy seem fairly durable for such small and complex Transformers. However, both have loose joints which may get worse in the future. The spring-loaded pile drivers are also on a hair trigger, and I am worried they may cease to latch in place in the future.
Fun: 10 – Rumble and Frenzy are superb fun! Their robot modes capture their G1 characters so perfectly and are so well articulated, they are pure joy to pose and play with. The fact that their arms convert into spring-loaded pile drivers is just a dream! And, finally, their tank modes, while a departure from G1, are great fun with loads of turret and gun articulation and options for upping the armament with C-clip weapons. United Rumble and Frenzy could not be more fun!
Aesthetics: 8 – United Rumble and Frenzy look great in robot mode (sculpt and paint applications!), and can strike any of their iconic poses. It’s a shame the pile drivers hang off their arms like a cape when not in use though, although this is really a minor compromise for the fun they add.
Articulation: 9 – Rumble and Frenzy are well articulated, and can strike a plethora of poses. However, they do lack waist articulation due to their transformation design.
Value/Price: 3 – As the United Rumble and Frenzy moulds never saw a Western release, they fetch a premium. At around £45 GBP ($70 USD) or more for two Scout Class figures, they are not good value.
Overall: 7 – United Rumble and Frenzy are really fantastic figures, and a huge amount of fun. It’s a real shame they have not seen a Hasbro release, and as a result they are expensive and not good value for money. But they are great fun, and among the best Scout Class figures out there, and two of the best G1 homages to have come out of Classics-style lines, so if you can find them at a price you can afford I recommend you consider picking them up.
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