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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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ganon578, PHD's review: Perceptor

Name: Perceptor
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Scientist
Group: Universe Commemorative Series

“One's ultimate truth lies in one's molecular structure.”

Unquenchable thirst for knowledge; seeks it to exclusion of all else. Main role is to study the best ways the Autobots can adapt to Earth. Extremely smart. Scientific specialties are metallurgy, molecular chemistry, electrical engineering. As microscope, capable of powerful magnification. Lens barrel converts to powerful light cannon. Carries concussion rifle in robot mode. Absent minded. Lenses are his weakest part.

Perceptor is a character that I have an odd relationship with. As a scientist myself, I get a kick out of his logical and scientific nature. On the other hand, he never really does much in the cartoon aside from a few appearances, one ‘starring’ role in one episode, and his notification to everyone in The Transformers: The Movie that Optimus Prime’s wounds are fatal. As a figure, I first thought Perceptor was kind of goofy and would probably not be worth my money. However, I decided to pick him up, and he’s steadily grown on me as time goes on.

Microscope Mode: This mode is Perceptor’s featured alternate mode (he’s somewhat of a triple-changer). As a cartoon character, the microscope mode is how Perceptor does a majority of his scientific work. As a toy, the mode is done quite well; as a practical microscope, not so much. The microscope mode is easily recognizable as a microscope, though I don’t think that it looks much like a real microscope. There is a nice amount of molded detail, though it’s mainly random mechanical buttons, etc. that have been molded in. The stickers on the sides of the microscope mode are realistic, and sport ‘15X’ on the side, which I believe refers to the magnification of the lenses. The only bad part is that 15X magnification is not really good for a microscope. There are chrome ‘dials’ on Perceptor’s sides, and one dial on the lens barrel itself, which actually does work. If you look in the eyepiece and rotate the dial, you do actually get a small amount of magnification out of it. This feature is actually kind of neat, and kind of surprising for a toy designed in the 1980’s. Also on the lens barrel is a large chrome edged Autobot symbol which really stands out. The mirror plate of the microscope is mostly chrome, with a small window for viewing specimen. Perceptor’s main colors (in all three modes) are maroon, turquoise, and black, with a little chrome mixed in for good measure. Overall, the microscope mode is the highlight of the alternate modes, and for Transformers, this mode is really unique.

Tank Mode: Although this mode is referred to as 'Tank' mode in this release, it was originally described as a 'Mobile Laboratory' in the G1 instructions. It's an odd change, but maybe 'Tank' mode sounds cooler than 'Mobile Laboratory'. Either way, this mode really seems like an afterthought. Hasbro/Takara must have thought Perceptor needed some sort of fighting mode, so they threw in this quick rearrangement of legs. Other than that, there’s nothing too special to note here. I think this mode was used once in the cartoon. Regardless, a quick flip of the legs and sliding out of wheels results in a ‘tank’ mode for Perceptor. He even features tank treads on the side! Woo-Hoo! And as you can read from the bio, his lens barrel turns into a power ‘light cannon’! Not entirely sure what damage that can do, but it must involve melting Decepticon optics. Unless that description is an ‘80s rendition of a laser. In which case the lens barrel might actually be deadly. Overall, the tank mode is not too exciting, but I guess it qualifies Perceptor as being somewhat of a triple-changer.

Robot Mode: Perceptor’s robot mode is probably the mode I display him in the most, with the microscope mode being close behind. What’s nice (and kind of ironic) is this toy comes with a decent arsenal of weapons. The lens barrel now sits as a shoulder cannon, and he comes with a rifle, which I believe is his primary weapon used in the cartoon. He also comes with a black and red missile ‘launcher’. Yes, I used quotes on ‘launcher’, because there is actually no spring for the missiles to launch. They come out of the gun, and you are supplied with 3 of them, but alas, no launching. I’m told you can modify this with a spring of your own, I just never got around to doing it. It’s an omission that is disappointing for a toy like this. Perceptor features a nice amount of chrome on the chest, and a small silver-lined Autobot symbol on his torso. For articulation, you won’t find much here. The arms have two joints each: one at the shoulder and one at the elbow. However, these are only swivel joints, so don’t expect dynamic poses. The legs actually feature four joints each: the hips swivel out and also spin, and the knees bend and also spin. It’s nice to have that much motion, but balance becomes an issue, and you can’t pose him very well. One disappointing lack of articulation is the neck. Granted, his head rises by a cool little gear on his back, but the head does not swivel at all. Plus, there’s no waist movement. Not that G1 toys had much articulation anyways, but it would have been nice. Overall, I think this is Perceptor’s premiere mode (though the microscope is nice too).

Final remarks: Perceptor is a decent figure (for the time it was designed) with a wacky color scheme and a decent amount of fun. He features three modes (if you count the tank), and actually has a working microscope. He’s quite unique as far as Autobots are concerned. On the downside, he is a Toys 'R Us exclusive, and also a little on the pricey side if you’re just looking for a fun, inexpensive Transformer. If you’re an Encore or G1 collector, he’s definitely worth a look.

Marks out of 10:

Transformation: 5. Serviceable. Nothing tricky, fun, or imaginative, but it gets the job done.
Durability: 7. Solid, but the plastic might wear over time. Chrome might wear out too.
Fun: 6. ‘Three’ modes, and a working microscope. Not too bad.
Aesthetics: 5. He just stands there. That’s about it. Funky color scheme.
Articulation: 5. For his time, he was pretty good. Today, not that great.
Value/Price: 7. As a collector’s piece, he’s great. As a toy, there are much greater things you can do with $35 US.
Overall: 7. He’s solid, and a nice collection piece. Designed decently for his time.
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