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Blackjack's review: Power Up VT6

Name: Power Up VT6
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Real Gear Robots (Scouts Class)

So, in 2007, the first live-action movie hit the theatres. Brand-new deluxe, voyager and leader class toys were made for the show characters, but due to the complexity of the show designs, none of them would fit (or warranted) a release of a Scouts class toy.

So instead, Hasbro brought out some molds designed for the previous cartoon, Transformers Cybertron, and released them as a way to fill the Scouts class hole, whilst repainting other Energon and Cybertron toys as Walmart exclusives. But these previously unseen molds -- sold under the subline of Real Gear Robots -- all transform into tiny electronic devices in the spirit of the objects transformed into Transformers by the Allspark in the movie.

One of these Real Gear Robots was Power Up VT6. For some reason nearly all the Real Gear Robots have these additional string of numbers and/or letters at the back of their names. Power Up transformed into a generic handheld game device that looked like a retro version of a PlayStation Portable or Game Boy Advanced.

Power Up also happened to be my very first purchase of a Transformer, an interest kindled by the Bay movie which would soon blossom into full-out insanity. I've owned some RID and Beast Machines toys as a kid, also some knockoffs, but I've never knew they were Transformers, let alone characters. And besides all of them had been sold/given away anyway.

So, I was pretty happy to see that Power Up came with a little character bio, a little description telling me that Power Up is a mischievous trickster brought to life by the Allspark, and is able to hack and delete data from any nearby computer system. And it even ended with this precious line 'be careful when interacting with him, because spacial receptors in his screen can scramble your brain right through your eyeballs'.

Come on, he's an evil little hacker who can scramble your brain when you look at his screen! And the bio totally rold me to be careful, which was precious.

And he comes with tech specs! He's got a strength of 9, so it meant that when I was a kid he could totally smack Bumblebee and Jazz down.

Of course, dear little Power Up, or indeed any of the other Real Gear robots, never appeared anywhere in fiction, so Power Up never got the chance to hack or scramble a kid's brains. He was a nobody. But he was my first Transformer, and thus featured quite importantly during my old playtimes alongside the rest of my Movie cast.

I used to be harsh with Real Gear Robots on account on them being so simple, but that was wrong and I was stupid. Here are proper, subjective reviews of them now.

Alternate Mode
Power Up transforms into a handheld console similar to a generic, rather old-fashioned rectangular gaming console. It's all rather boxy, with some curves. It's got two small buttons under the screen (Start and Select, I suppose), a working D-Pad on the left, and four buttons -- red, blue, green and yellow -- on the right side. All of these could be pressed. On the top corners of him are purple tabs, probably 'R' and 'L'. Also, on the center of the top you can see the top of his robot head, but, eh.

Power Up's sides, where you're supposed to hold him and where the main buttons are, are black. The rest of him are gray, except for the buttons. The black are painted, mind you, so my Power Up has had some paint chipped due to being an old toy and being played with often, but considering how old he is, they are pretty minor.

There are some molded details resembling speakers, which, like a real gaming console, would be unobstructive compared to the bright buttons. He's a pretty small handheld device, but not so much smaller than a real one as compared to, say, Longview or Zoom-Out. Besides, they do make actual Game Boys smaller than Power Up, the Game Boy Micro being significantly smaller than him.

The big screen show Cybertron Jetfire's alternate mode (probably a left over from the Cybertron line) shooting at you and a targeting reticule. There's some generic power up or whatever bars. The lower left a panel informing us of 'plane/transform', which probably means it's a Transformers game and we're playing a Decepticon and is trying to shoot down Jetfire. There is a Decepticon insignia on the lower right, and on the upper left is '096/100', which could easily be points, HP or time. Generic game stuff.

Looking at the screen hasn't scrambled my brain yet, which is good.

Well, maybe it has and Power Up's directing me like a puppet, who knows?

Robot Mode
Power Up's transformation is a very adorable one-step transformation -- you grab both sides of him, and pull, which reveal that the sides are legs. Due to gearing inside him, this action pushes out his head and shoulders, and all you need to do is to peg the two halves of his crotch together securely, and re-orient the legs. Ta-da, Power Up is transformed! This clever gearing system amused me as a kid, and still amuses me now.

He is a rather generic humanoid robot. Not much kibble, or any distinguishing features... he's pretty generic. Pretty close to G1 Soundwave, actually. Flat chest/abdomen, similar silhouette and position of kibble, but that's what you get when you transform out of a rectangular box.

Power Up's added some more colours which are revealed with the gearing gimmick, which coincidentally similar with the Automorph gimmick in the line. Power Up's head is black, with a green crest and faceplate, and eyes that glow a sinister shade of green when light-piped. His shoulders are black, his upper arms and hands are a fetching shade of purple (the arms are, by the way, the 'L' and 'R' pads in the game boy mode). His crotch and shins are purple as well, and the rest of his upper legs are black. Parts of his feet are green to match the paint on the face.

His head can turn around; it's on a pin joint. The shoulders are double-hinged so he can shrug as well as rotate. His upper arms are connected to the shouldes with a hinge and to the lower arms with a ball joint. His pincer-like hands are hinged. His thighs are ball-jointed, half of his upper legs are on pin joints and the knees are hinged.

And since he has no kibble to block his articulation, he has a pretty wide range. Having the weight distributed close to the ground helps balance as well. Of course, he comes with no weapons, and couldn't hold any due to having immobile pincer hands, but he's got a strength of 9, dammit! He don't need no weapons! And he can induce epilepsy in anyone who sees his screen. He looks cute, to boot.

Power Up, and indeed all of the Real Gear Robots, don't fit well into the movie aesthetic, but as a toy, he's a pretty decent transformer with a unique alternate mode. He's not the greatest toy out there, but he is a pretty solid toy.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 8/10 I'm very fond of how he transforms with the aid of gears in a single step, and yet produces a robot with the full range of articulation you'd expect from a Scouts class toy. Runabout, eat your heart out.

Durability: 10/10 Aside from some minor paint scrapes (which I fixed quickly with black paint while writing this review) he's survived rough play, falls, getting squashed, stuffed in a pile of toys, forced dismemberment, rough transformations and much more for five years now. I had thought the inner gears would break or snap, but no, Power Up stays strong despite all odds. Having few ball joints (which I popped on-and-off like a psycho) means that compared to ROTF-era Scouts like Dirt Boss or Dune Runner (who I wasn't as savage towards as I was to Power Up) who have problems standing now due to joint wear, well...

Aesthetics: 5/10 He's certainly a tiny game console, and the robot mode is pretty generic-looking. Also, being a movie toy, he certainly doesn't look like something out of the movie lines, and even in Cybertron standards he looks woefully under-detailed. I love him, though... he's got a rather fetching colour layout.

Articulation: 8/10 Stands up pretty well for an older toy, and he's well-balanced to show off his entire range of articulation.

Fun: 8/10 He scrambles brains. In all seriousness, he's fun to transform back and forth, and when I was a kid I liked to pop his head and legs apart to simulate battle damage and pop them back again.

Price/Value: 5/10 Hard to say, he was a little simplistic for a Scouts class toy, but I think it adds to his charm. He was cheap, though, and I brought him with my own money, so he's, like, G1 Bumblebee or Gears or something.

Overall: 7.5/10 He's no star, certainly. Pretty forgettable. Nothing at all special about him, robot mode, alternate mode or otherwise. He is a very, very average toy. There isn't anything wrong with him, but on the other hand, he doesn't have anything special going for him. Not even fictional appearances. Power Up isn't a toy that you have to hunt down, but he is a spectacularly fun toy to fiddle around with, and having accompanied me for a considerably long time, I feel obliged to recommend this rather fun and solid toy to you, if you can find him for a cheap price. I love my Power Up.
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