Ok, its come to this. I was pretty determined not to pick up any of the Transformers Prime toys for a number of reasons. Its true I’m pretty lukewarm on the show. I can watch it and enjoy it, but I don’t seek it out and therefore have only seen a handful of episodes. But let’s face it, if I only bought Transformers from shows I enjoyed, I wouldn’t have the dozen or so totes full of them that I do. No, the main reason was one of discipline. My Transformers collection has grown so out of control over the years that I can’t even display most of it and so I decided to limit myself just to buying the Classics/Universe 2.0/Generations themed figures. I’ll also admit to not being a huge fan of the overly stylized Transformer designs, but that never stopped me from buying a buttload of TF: Animated figures. Anywho, with things being so slow and no new Avengers figures showing up at the local retailers, I caved in this last weekend and bought a couple of TF: Prime Deluxes, The Vehicon and Ratchet. We’ll check out the first one today: The Vehicon!
I gotta say, I really dig this packaging. Sure, its a simple bubble on cardback, but the deco is gorgeous and really jumps off the peg at me. You get an extended card at the top with the series logo, a nice piece of personalized character artwork and a giant Decepticon logo with lightning shooting across it. Holy hell! The bubble has an insert showing the figure’s name and allegiance and has the “Robots in Disguise” monikor, which distinguishes it from the rarer and superior figures most of will never see “First Edition” versions of the line. Its best not to get me started on that nonsense. The figure is carded in his vehicle form with his “Snap On Blaster Cannon” mounted beside him.
The back panel of the card shows a shot of the figure in both modes and has a little bio blurb that is not only better than what we usually get, but better than it has any right to be, considering who this character is. You see, the Vehicons are the cannon fodder of the show, similar to the Vehicons in Beast Machines or the drones in the Fall of Cybertron game. They’re there to be blowed up and get the slag beaten out of them. That having been said, the bio gives them a lot of personality. But enough preamble. Let’s rip this guy open and check him out. We’ll start with the vehicle mode.
Awww yeah. That’s what I’m talking about. I’m pretty sure I’ve expressed my irrational love for Decepticon cars before, so straight away The Vehicon is tugging at my heart strings. Plus, I love this car mode! Ok, it is somewhat smallish and yeah, it is seriously lacking in the paint apps department, just some little bits of purple accent, but the design is killer. The wedge-shaped wall of a front end makes it look like it was built for ramming Autobot fools off the road. The rear spoiler fins give it a bit of a Batmobile look and the tranlucent plastic on the windows and front headlamps make me happy. There are sockets just above the rear wheelwells on either side that let you plug the Vehicon’s gun into. Its a shame Hasbro couldn’t have engineered some flip-up guns into this thing somewhere. Anyway, I love it.
The Vehicon is a bit of a shellformer, but his transformation is clever enough to make me easily forgive this sometimes lazy method of design. The entire top of the car from the back to the windshield splits and folds up into his legs. The result is you have no real car shell kibble, only a sleek and sexy looking Decepticon badass.
And badass he is! He’s got that lean and spindly look many of the TF:Prime robot designs feature, although he still remains very well proportioned. What’s really cool, though, is that despite being largely a shellformer, its tough to see where it all goes, thanks to the clever design of his legs. The only real car kibble lands on his shoulders and sides of his legs, and these pieces look strategically placed as armor. The head sculpt is great. It took me a while to place it, but it definitely has a little Battlestar Galactica modern Cylon thing going for it. I’m also a big fan of the little exposed part of bare metal on his chest with a Decepticon logo and a piece of clear plastic laid over it. Very nice! The Vehicon’s robot mode features more of a purple and black deco make for classic Decepticon colors. He and Skywarp could definitely hang out.
Articulation is, in a word, solid. He’s got balljoints in his neck, shoulders, and hips. His elbows feature a weird combo balljoint and hinge. His knees and wrists are also hinged. You can get some nice poses out of him. At first I wasn’t sure about his funky arm construction, but I’m growing to like it.
As a Deluxe, The Vehicon ran me $12.88 at Walmart. Yes, Hasbro has been scaling down their Deluxes and Voyagers and while this guy can still hang in scale with other Deluxes he does look diminished. We also seem to be getting less in the way of paint apps. Even with all that in mind, I think the price is pretty reasonable here. Its only about three bucks more than your average 3 3/4″ figure and let’s face it, this toy required a lot more engineering and careful tooling than a Spider-Man or Star Wars figure. No, the price is fine, and I was actually surprised to be able to find him on the pegs, since he is a very highly sought after figure and I’m sure some collectors are army building them. The final point here is that my initial foray into the TF: Prime toys has been a positive one. I’m very anxious to rip open Ratchet and check him out next week.