We’re dipping our toes back into the Transformers pool today to look at a figure that is not from my new receivings pile, but from out of a tote in my closet. Yesterday, I was chatting with one of my fellow toy collector friends and we were talking about Gaia Unicron, when the subject branched out to Unicron in general. I lamented about how I sold my Armada and Energon Unicrons and that I never got to pick up the Amazon exclusive reissue. Well, eventually today’s figure came up and I commented that I picked him up back in the day, but was never motivated enough to open him because I didn’t see the merit of having a Deluxe Class Unicron. I was immediately assailed by a treatise on how cool a figure he is, which ended in with the simple directive, “Open that shit up!” So I did.
Out of the package, and we see that Unicron is a small Cybertonian tank. My instincts tell me to drop it on the floor and back away in horror, but truth be told, I’m really intrigued by the creativity of this design. Like all the toys from the Cybertron line, Unicron is loaded with awesome sculpted detail right down to the tiny panel lines and circuitry patterns on his armor. Besides looking rather badass, I can’t deny that if Unicron were a Cybertonian tank, this is exactly what he would look like. He has the same orange coloring and his rounded chassis is certainly reminiscent of the hemispheres of his planetary form. He’s still got the skeletal-like spines coming off of his sides, a pair of pincers on the front, and even a jagged opening hatch that looks similar to his planetary mode’s mouth. Part of me wants to see this mode in a different paint job, so I could be less biased, but then there is genuinely so much of Unicron in the design, I don’t think it would work as a different character. You win, Cybertron Unicron alt mode… well played.
Tank Unicron’s main armament is his firing missile cannon, which can be raised and lowered and moves ever so slightly from side to side. He also sports a nice little ball jointed gun. However, being a Cybertron toy, Unicron also comes with his own Cyber Key, which activates his hidden power up weapon. I rarely had much use for the Cyber Key features, but Unicron’s is especially cool because it opens the mouth hatch and reveals a three-barreled assault cannon. Yep… cool!
Transforming Unicron to his robot mode isn’t too bad, but there are a lot of ball joints supporting plates that have a habit of popping off. I also quickly learned to do myself a favor and remove all of the spines before even attempting to convert him. But that’s nothing compared to the task of changing him back into his tank mode. Study the configuration under the vehicle mode carefully, because if you don’t know what you’re doing transforming him is an exercise in tears and recriminations that will likely haunt your dreams for many nights to come.
In robot mode, Unicron looks all kinds of awesome. Just like his tank mode, there are all plenty of nods to the Unicron design that we all know and love. The shoulder designs are lifted directly from Armada Unicron, as are his pointy feet. But the dead giveaway is his head sculpt, which is pretty close to the horned planet gobbler of old, only with a more rictus grin. His missile cannon is placed on his right shoulder, which makes it still perfectly functional as a weapon in robot mode. The hidden Cyber Key-activated hatch makes up his chest, also allowing that weapon to be accessible while in robot mode. You can clip his spines back onto his leg armor to further the classical Unicron look, but they also make really cool weapons when placed into his hands.
The downside of Unicron’s robot mode is the ball joints in his hips and the hinges in his legs have difficulty supporting his upper bulk. He’s prone to fall backwards and those giant wheels on his backpack don’t help things any either. Another issue is while the armor plates on his legs do tab into place, the tabs don’t hold and the armor tends to fall away from his legs when I’m playing around with him, standing him, looking at him, or sneezing while two rooms away.
In the end, I’ve got to confess that this is a very cool figure. The tank and robot modes are both beautiful and very reminiscent of Unicron’s more familiar appearance. The Cybertron toys were always great for their detailed sculpts and wildly imaginative designs, and Unicron here is a perfect example of that. The fiddly nature of the transformation definitely requires patience, and I can’t help but wonder how this figure would have turned out if he were a Voyager or an Ultra Class. I think the transformation would have worked better, but more importantly it would have been easier for me get behind this figure as Unicron if he were bigger. He’s so detailed and complex that I think the mold would have worked fine in the larger scale without much tweaking and I rather think the end result would have been glorious.
Cybertron Unicron can still be had on the secondary market for cheap if you know where to hunt for him. On the other hand, if you want to get fancy, the mold was reissued by Takara in Japan earlier this year as Ark Unicron. The Takara reissues usually feature better paintjobs, but that comes with a price. While the Cybertron version shouldn’t set you back for more than $15 on Ebay, the Takara reissue will be closer to $45 at specialty e-tailers. That’s a lot of energon to fork over for a Deluxe, even if it is Unicron.