We’re kicking things off the week with a look at one very cool toy. He’s Landmine, and he’s one of those Transformers that I would have absolutely adored to own as a kid. He was on the shelves back in 2004 and despite being one of the more pricey assortments, I loved the mold so much I still picked up his repaint Landquake. Ok, in fairness, I was pretty much buying every Transformer released back then, but suffice it to say I still adore this pair to death. The only difference is the coloring, so I’m going to focus on the original release, Landmine, for the purposes of this feature, and I’ll toss in some comparison shots at the end.
In his vehicle mode, Landmine is a… um… ok, I have no idea what he is, but hot damn is he cool looking. He’s basically a half-track wrecker from the future that looks like it would be right at home cruising the dusty trails in a Mad Max film. Some of my favorite aspects include the cool wedge-shaped cabin with clear windows, the massive spiked ramming plow mounted on the front bumper, the sweet angled fenders, the exposed engine on the hood, and the smokestacks coming up off the sides, behind the cabin.
The tracked trailer portion features a working tow hook that can be retracted with the push of a button and featuers electronic sounds. You also have a missile launcher, which can be angled to fire front or back. Landmine truck mode is one really cool and imaginative design. The orange, black and blue deco would not have been my first choice, but it all kind of works on some weird level. But what truly impresses me is the level of detail in the sculpt. From the sculpted panel lines and the bolts, right down to the bucket seats inside the detailed cockpit, Hasbro put a lot of love and details into this guy.
But the fun of Landmine’s vehicle mode doesn’t end there, because Landmine’s cab can also separate and leave the bulk of his tracked mode behind. There is an extra set of wheels concealed behind the trailers tank treads, allowing the cab to go rolling off on its own. The trailer can become a tracked drone or remain as a weapons platform. Hasbro put a lot of cool ideas and play value into Landmine’s vehicle mode. So, let’s check out his robot mode.
Landmine is pretty easy to transform into his basic robot mode. I probably haven’t touched this figure in almost a year, and I was still able to convert him without any problems. His basic mode is made up solely of the cab portion, and while this makes him a little smaller than you might expect, he’s still a nice, proportionate and sizeable figure. There’s some really cool design elements here, particularly the way the plow splits into three to form his feet and his codpiece. The plow feet give him spikes for kicking in Deception booty and I like the way the exhaust pipes angle off of his shoulders. His chest is comprised of the truck’s cabin, complete with sculpted Autobot emblem and an Energon port to place an Energon starburst, or whatever the hell Hasbro called those things. The rest of the truck folds up into a neat little backpack.
The head sculpt is outrageously cool, particularly because of the tinted clear visor that juts out over the eyes, and yet the head still utilizes the light piping gimmick. The sculpt really gives a lot of character and depth to Landmine’s head and it almost looks like the visor could lift up, even though it doesn’t. My only gripe here is the bright red face. I guess if it was good enough for Tracks…
You get a great amount of articulation too! His head rotates, and his arms feature universal movment in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and hinged elbows. The legs feature universal movement in the hips and swivels and hinges in the knees. Most of the hinges are strong ratchet joints too.
The only thing Landmine is really missing is a gun or any other kind of offensive weapon, which is probably why his quote is “My fists are deadlier than your guns.” Maybe they aren’t though, because Landmine can make use of his tank drone/battle platform as power armor…
Unfortunately, as you can see the concept in execution doesn’t work out all that well. It basically involves him wearing the treads as arms and the rest of the trailer as a huge backpack, along with an G1-inspired transforming sound effect. The backpack is way too heavy, and it seems like a lot of trouble to go through just to get a shoulder-mounted missile launcher. Especially when you balance it out with a useless shoulder mounted tow-hook. The huge claw arm extensions aren’t much better. But as poorly as the whole armor thing is excuted, I don’t mind it. Kids might very well enjoy it and I can just pretend it doesn’t exist.
As previously mentioned, Landmine was repainted and reissued the same year as Landquake, which was intended to be a new character, rather than just a powered up version of the original. Landquake sports a more sensible white, black and blue deco. So if the orange turns you off, you do have options. Personally, I would love to see this mold redone in black and purple as a Decepticon. Either way, he is a really wonderfully designed toy with a kick ass vehicle mode and a very good basic robot mode. There’s a lot of play and display value here, even if you completely toss out the idea of the power armor.
As for value, I seem to remember laying out about $25 each for these guys back in the day. You can usually find them on Teh Bey from time to time with prices ranging all over the damn place, but if you’re patient and prudent you can probably get either one loose and complete for around $20 or maybe less.
Tomorrow, we’ll keep the Energon ball rolling with a look at another one of my favorites… Scorponok!