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Blackjack's review: Spy Shot 6

Name: Spy Shot 6
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Real Gear Robots

Back in G1, there are a bunch of Transformers that transform into normal electronic devices, as leftover from the Microman line. Megatron and Browning turned into guns, Soundwave and Blaster into tape decks, Perceptor into a working microscope, Reflector into a camera, and so on and so forth. Now, flash-forward into 2007, and the live-action movie hits the theaters. In the movie, the Allspark is able to turn things like mobile phones or X-Boxes into robots, so Hasbro took the opportunity to bring out some unused moulds from the tail-end of the Cybertron line, and release them as Transformers brought to life off-screen by the Allspark.

Spy Shot 6 is one of these Allspark-born Transformers (despite his bio stating that he had spent years spying on Decepticons...) who turned into a camera, which brings to mind dear old Reflector from G1. But Spy Shot is an Autobot spy. He was, I think, the third or fourth toy I brought when I started my adult-era collecting, and his bio left a lasting impression on me. I remember a good chunk of his bio is describing what a silent and patient spy he is. A proper and competent spy, mind you, not a trolling voyeur like Zoom Out. I also remember Spy Shot being able to fire beams of focused laser through either his lens or eyes. And as a kid, that was Spy Shot’s main power. He would sneak into Decepticon bases, hide, spy, get discovered, and get out safely with help of his awesome laser eyes.

I loved Spy Shot as a kid. I used to have two of him till I broke the lens of one and gave him away to a cousin. He used to rumble with Zoom Out and Meantime and Power Up while the toys that turned into vehicles have their own battles.

Of course, 70% of the Spy Shots brought by fans are probably fodder to make easy Reflector kitbashes. You monsters.

You just wait. Twenty years from now, kids growing up with Spy Shot toys instead of Reflectors will be buying Classics Reflector off the shelf and kitbash them into Spy Shot. You just wait.

Alternate Mode:
Spy Shot transforms into a very small digital camera. It fits into the palm of my hand. I get that there are digital cameras this small, and it’s kind of justifiable that way. He’s got loads of join lines, but other than that he turns into a rather believable looking camera. He’s got a rather realistic-looking lens system, all of the correct details – a nicely segmented flash bulb, a view-hole you can peep through, the button clicks quite well (although I’ve kind of destroyed mine) and on his rear there are some buttons you’d expect to appear on a digital camera. Zoom in and out, a D-pad, things like that.

Spy Shot is predominantly a shade of gray, a bit plum-ish in my opinion. The area around the lens is picked out in loads of beautiful silver and black paint, and an Autobot insignia and ‘SPYSHOT6’ is tampographed on his lower left corner. On his bottom there are what seems to be charger plugs and the like, painted out in silver and vermillion. There is a button on his left side in silver, and the main clicker is black with silver rims. Unfortunately, this leaves the rear section pretty bereft in paint applications, and the buttons are painted in black. One of the buttons, which is unmistakably the ‘choose your mode’ wheel most digital wheels have now, is cast fully in black with no stickers on it to indicate what mode Spy Shot is in right now.

There is a digital screen showing Cybertron-series Ransack doing nothing, with some general camera screen details. The time is ‘7:47’, a reference to the 2007 movie’s release date. There is the zoom in/out bar, a ‘no flash’ symbol (quite obviously, because Spy Shot is spying, after all), a sign showing that Spy Shot’s almost run out of battery, and several random readouts.

Overall, it’s a rather satisfying camera mode. A little bare on the back, perhaps, but the front more than makes up for it. Plus, clicking on his button is very, very satisfying. When I was younger I abused the button so many times that it doesn’t work as well now.

Robot Mode:
Compared to his ilk, Spy Shot’s transformation is surprisingly complex, with loads of fiddly parts. Thankfully his joints are tight enough, and he transforms into a gorgeously asymmetrical robot. His right shoulder contains the view-hole, the right shoulder is larger and contains the flashbulb and part of the silver rims, the right foot is black while the right foot is gray, each foot has a different button on the side… his entire torso is the lens, which is fitting because it is the center of a camera, and breaking it up would lead to a very unrealistic camera mode anyway. While the main colours from before are retained, Spy Shot adds more a blue-greenish shade of gray for his hands, joints, hips, thighs and helmet. More vermillion appear on his legs so that both his legs have matching details (representing charger plugs).

Spy Shot’s head is quite boxy, and, I believe, based on the detailing on his forehead, it’s supposed to represent the inner workings of a flashbulb. From what I’ve seen of a camera that’s been taken apart, it’s a good match, right up to the small, glowing red light (painted here!), and I think it’s a good attention to detail, befitting a supposedly movie-line toy. Spy Shot’s main face is silver, although it’s obscured by his black goatee and goggles. The black goggles amplify the extremely scary, soulless beady red eyes that catch light-piping extremely easily. His eyes look so dead and zombie-like that it’s sometimes hard to imagine him as the good guy… on the other hand, it is very, very easy to have this awesome light-piping act as his laser attack, so it’s a good thing.

Childhood memories aside, Spy Shot has an insanely disproportionate amount of joints, especially compared to his Real Gear compatriots. His head is on a ball joint, his shoulder is on ball joints not to mention hinges to aid in transformation, his elbows are on ball joints, his claws open and close independently, the thighs are ball-jointed, and his knees are kind of triple-jointed due to joints on the middle of his knee. And while this might bring to mind a fragile toy, Spy Shot is not. He retains his balance nicely, and the fact that a good chunk of these joints aren’t ball joints means that he’s a very sturdy and balanced toy. He can assume loads of poses, which isn’t half bad for a Scouts class toy from a Cybertron line.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 8/10 Very, very well designed for what is basically a box that sprouts limbs and a head. It was a little complicated compared to its peers, but it leads to a much more articulated robot mode.

Durability: 7/10 Despite his multiple joints and paint applications, Spy Shot has survived years of rough play. One of my Spy Shots had, as mentioned before, had the clear plastic on his lens shatter, but if you drop a dumbbell on a real camera it would shatter even worse.

Aesthetics: 8/10 Spy Shot does look bare from the camera’s back, but from the front, or in robot mode, he is rather extensively decorated, and he looks rather fetching. I do like his black repaint as well, but Spy Shot is the version I grew up with.

Articulation: 9/10 He’s got quite a range of articulation for a small toy, which was pretty surprising for a Scouts-class toy during its day. Compared to ROTF-era Scouts who self-destruct due to loose ball joints after two or three years, Spy Shot still stands quite well and can pose better than them. Screw waist joints, right?

Fun: 8/10 He’s got laser eyes! And he turns into a camera and CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK

Price/Value: 8/10 I got him cheap at that time. He’s certainly worth your buck for a small toy.

Overall: 8/10 Despite my disproportionate love for the simple Power Up, I’m not short on love for the much more complex Spy Shot. He’s on the other end of the spectrum, and is very, very good. He’s got an excellent looking robot mode with loads of articulation, is quite durable, and has a rather believable alternate mode. He may not be the best toy out there, but Spy Shot is a great toy. And he’s got these creepy zombie eyes that burn into your soul.
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