Transformers Cybertron: Cybertron Defense Red Alert by Hasbro

There have been plenty of Transformers named Red Alert over the years, and I’ve looked at a couple here on FigureFan, including the Armada version and the Generations version. Today we’re checking out one of the Cybertron versions, which is supposed to be the same as Armada and the Deluxe Cybertron Red Alert only reformatted into a kick ass new body. Confused? Don’t worry, I hate the Unicron Trilogy cartoons, so that’s the last reference you’ll see about the origins of the character. Let’s just look at the toy…

Going from a rescue vehicle to a missile carrier… not too shabby as far as upgrades go. The first time I saw this toy I thought it was only a matter of time until Hasbro repainted him into Machine Wars Soundwave. Oddly enough, as far as I know, that hasn’t happened yet. In any event, Red Alert is a military style armored truck with a massive missile on his back. Hasbro packed a satisfying amount of detail into the sculpt, with ladders, vents, and hatches all molded into the sides, and there are Minicon Ports on each side if you want to stick some little robots on him to power him up. Red Alert rolls along nicely on eight wheels, has a hinged gun that can raise and lower, the giant missile gantry can be raised into a firing position, and the missile itself is removable from the launching gantry. As solid as the truck mode is, the missile itself is just sick with sculpted detail. There are tons of panel lines, vents and wires, and multiple paint apps.
Speaking of paint apps… Alas, Hasbro tried to remain true to Red Alert’s ambulance colors, and I’m not at all fond of the fact that the truck is white. There are some nice mud splatter paint apps along the wheel wells, but otherwise the coloring on this toy’s vehicle mode is disappointing. The toy was later repainted as a Toys R Us exclusive, but the new red and blue color scheme didn’t help any. I’d still like to see him released in more traditonal military colors.
As a Cybertron toy, Red Alert has an action gimmick that can be activated by inserting his CyberKey into the port in the back of the gantry. All of my CyberKeys are in a ziplock bag somewhere at the bottom of one of my totes, so fortunately, you can also activate it by sticking a pen in there. In this case, Red Alert’s missile splits open to reveal a cool red translucent missile launcher. Yes, folks… the missile has a hidden missile launcher! Talk about fucking overkill! Red Alert is taking no chances.

Transforming Red Alert is fairly easy, although there are a lot of hinged panels to fold in just the right way. You also need to start out by pulling apart a pair of very strong pegged pieces on the front, which requires enough force to make you think you might be breaking him. I also recommend pulling off the missile before hand. When transforming him, you also discover that he has two compartments in what will become his legs. These hold his mallet and claw accessories. His gun also detaches during the tranformation.
Ok, so let’s deal with the obvious. How does this guy get by day to day with that ridiculously huge missile on his shoulder? It would have been so easy for Hasbro to add an extra hinge so that thing could tuck away onto his back, but sadly its left to just sit there. You can take the missile off, which is what I obviously recommend, but then you just have this empty launcher gantry jutting out. It looks better, but still not optimal. Fans of this character will be happy to see that the head sculpt retains a lot of the design from his previous two toy appearances. This is probably my favorite of the three, and he still has that Robocop thing coing on. It also features some mighty nice light piping.
The rest of Red Alert looks pretty ok. He looks really powerful, like he would be a slow moving killing machine. His overall profile reminds me a lot of the Armada Overload toy, probably b ecause of the hunched shoulders and deep, blocky torso. He clearly looks best when viewed dead on from the front. His legs are also chunky and hollow once you take out his accessories. The mallet and claw are kind of a nice nod to Red Alert’s interchangeable hand from Armada, only this time they plug into his gun, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The gun isn’t actually held in his hand, but rather can peg into either of his forearms to form an arm cannon.

Red Alert sports some pretty good articulation. His arms rotate at the shoulders, are hinged at the elbows, and swivel at the bicep and wrist. His legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. He can also swivel at the waist. There’s no head articulation at all.
I think I would have really enjoyed this figure as a kid. He’s got a lot of different play features and just feels like he would have been tons of fun to play with. As an adult collector, however, he doesn’t do a lot for me. His missile carrier mode looks nice parked on my Transformers shelves, but his robot mode just has too many impractical design flaws. Back in the day, when I was buying every Transformer I could find, I was pretty happy with him, but nowadays I would have  easily taken a pass and left him on the shelf.

Transformers Energon: Scorponok by Hasbro

Opening the first tote of Transformers for the first time in about a year, I wanted to first tackle the ones I was most excited about seeing again. Apparently 2004 was a great year for Transformers, because so far the first two figures that jumped out at me were both released that year. Last time we checked out the Autobot, Landmine, so let’s be fair and look at a Decepticon today. It’s Scorponok, and he is in a word: Awesome. Scorponok is a much simpler figure than Landmine, and I no longer own the inevitably released repaint, so this one shouldn’t be nearly as long winded as yesterday’s entry. Let’s check him out…

Behold, Scorponok’s primary alt mode. It’s like a construction vehicle had sex with a robot scorpion. At the core of this awesome monstrosity is a truck cab with two laser cannons, an extended hood and retro-looking grill sitting atop two triangular tank treads. The “tail” bends up over the cabin with a hook. Attach a Minicon and you can deploy a pair of laser cannons. He’s got a pair of giant claws jutting out from the front and the claws can retract to reveal hidden missile launchers. The amount of detail on this sculpt is so crazy, I don’t even know where to begin. There are panel lines everywhere, hinged moving parts, sculpted guns, swiveling guns, vents and grills, its all a lot for the eye to take in. The coloring is just as wild with green camo, orange, brown and loads of cool looking yellow translucent bits. The orange scoops on the front claws even have a nice paintwash, which is something you just don’t see Hasbro doing with a lot of Transformers. There’s a lot of love in this mold.
The toy does feature electronic sounds, but this thing had a hair trigger, so I took the batteries out a long time ago and quite frankly I can’t remember what noises it makes.
Scorponok is technically a Triple Changer, as he does have an official jet mode. Overall, its a fun extra mode, but as is often the case with these secondary modes, its a little funky. The engines that hang off the top of the back don’t really lock into anything and are just flapping in the breeze. Still, I’ve seen worse.
Going to robot mode, Scorponok is one big tower of Decepticon love. Actually, he’s a little too stocky to be a tower of anything, but he’s still a formidable looking robot. The transformation isn’t terribly surprising. His treads become his legs, his scorpion claws become his arms, and the cab becomes his chest, complete with sculpted Decepticon logo. Scorponok doesn’t really have hands, but the claws can still open up to reveal missile launchers and he has cool little energon blades on his forearms.
The tail just hangs off the back and there are a number of things you can do with it from trying to keep it out of the way to putting it over his head to utilize the laser cannons. Normally tail kibble like this would be a problem, but Scorponok is a sturdy enough figure to be able to handle it without toppling backwards. Every last bit of amazing detail from the vehicle mode carries forward to his hyper-detailed robot mode. The head is a great sculpt with a flip up visor that creates a nice nod back to G1 Headmaster Zarak.

Scorponok’s deco remains pretty much the same in robot mode as it does in his vehicle modes. The paintwash on his hands looks great and he even has some silver scuffing on his toes that looks like the paint was worn off from him walking. Once again, I really dig the yellow translucent pieces.
Scorponok represents everything that I loved about the Energon figures. He’s a crazy and imaginative toy packed with so much sculpted detail that its hard to believe he’s in a line that is a continuation of Armada. His extra mode is not great, but its kind of fun and most importantly it doesn’t ruin the toy, even if it does overcomplicate it a bit. Whether sitting in his crazy Scorpion Death Machine mode or standing in his robot mode, this guy is definitely one of my favorite Transformers on the shelf.

Transformers Energon: Landmine by Hasbro

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!

Transformers Week Begins Tomorrow…

No new feature today. Yesterday’s St Patty’s Day festivities were epic and right now I’m focusing on lying in bed, moaning, and trying to coax my liver into processing the quarts of Jameson, Bud Light, and Bailey’s & Guinness cocktails that are seeping through my system. I crawled out of bed long enough to write this and then I’m going straight back to bed for the rest of the day to play a little game called, “Oh god, Oh god, I don’t wanna throw up any more.” sleep it off.

I know we just came off a themed run with my look at Wave 17 of DC Universe Classics, but truth be told, I haven’t gotten a lot of new stuff in recently. Plenty of pre-orders, plenty of stuff in transit, but precious little showing up on old FigureFan’s stoop this past week. I have been army building some Classic Doctor Who figures, but nothing I haven’t already looked at here before. I’m kind of surprised/miffed that Disney didn’t plan any figures to go with the John Carter of Mars film, because I would have been all over that shit, but it seems like they’re mishandling the promotion of that movie on every level imaginable. Anyway, I didn’t feel like resorting to a week of Random Tote Theater, where I just pop open a tub and go with the first thing I see, so I decided to do a Transformer week this week. Here’s why…

Space is becoming a problem for me and my collecting ways, and when that happens, I tend to survey my collection, decide what’s taking up the most space and see if its time to part with it. My general rule is that if stuff in a tote, and I haven’t seen any of it in a while, it might be time to let it go. I was thinking that was the case for many of my Unicron Trilogy Transformers, so a couple of days ago, I pulled a couple of totes and started going through them in preparation to list them on Ebay. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t do it. I started fiddling about with them, and I realized just how much I still love these guys. They’re not all gems, but so many of them are really great toys, and I just couldn’t part with them.

And so that’s what’ll be going on starting tomorrow. If things don’t start picking up around here soon, I’ll have to come up with something equally creative for the following week.