As promised, it’s another Transformers Thursday on a Friday, because Force Awakens hogged up the rest of the week. Today, I’m continuing on with my look at the new Protectobots and with Blades and Streetwise behind me, I’m up to opening my third of the Deluxe limbs. Let’s check out Rook!
There’s the obligatory packaged shot. Again, I’m warming up to these packages and the fact that Hasbro is bribing me with a free comic book doesn’t hurt. If you aren’t up on your G1 history, Rook is the imposter of the group. Much like Alpha Bravo was for the Aerialbots and Off-Road for the Stunticons, Rook is a newly created character and in this case he’s standing in for Groove, who right now appears to be a Takara exclusive and only available in their Protectobot Giftset. Will Hasbro bring him Stateside like they did with Slingshot and Wildrider? We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, let’s start with Rook’s alt mode.
Rook is an armored SWAT vehicle, and I have to say it’s a pretty good addition to the Protectobot team. Let’s see, we’re going into battle… do we want a motorcycle or an urban tank? Tank, please! Every time. He’s basically a slab of armor rolling on six wheels and I’m particularly pleased with the detail that Hasbro packed into this guy. The body is covered with panel lines, little hatches, windows, and even some axes, cutting torches, and gas tanks bracketed to the sides. The deco is pretty simple, mostly white, blue, and black, but the touches of yellow and silver are nice and the “POLICE” and “SWAT” tampos look great. Even the plastic on this toy just feels nice.
Rook has three weapon ports on the top so you can get a little creative with what you want to do. He’s also got a rather obvious peg sticking up out of the middle. This is one of the few examples, where I think the foot/hand combiner port improves the vehicle mode as a weapon. Not only does it cover that peg, but it adds some major urban pacification power to the tank and the gun can still be pegged onto the back. There’s even port on the front if you want to stick the grey weapon in there. For what is essentially a box on wheels, Hasbro really went the extra mile on this guy.
The transformation here is simple and yet oh, so good. I’ve probably said this before when talking about the CW Deluxes, but I love the level of complexity on these. It’s just enough to deliver great robot and alt modes, and yet fast enough to make playing with them fun. As a kid, I would have considered these perfect toys because you could go from robot to vehicle fast without having to stop playing to transform them.
And, holy crap, Rook’s robot mode is a sheer delight. He’s the bulkiest of the CW Deluxes I’ve seen so far, which makes sense because he’s a riot tank. And yet even with those big, blocky arms, the proportions on this guy are absolutely perfect. The top shell of the tank forms a neat backpack and I can’t even tell you how much I love the way two of the wheels land on the torso inside his arms and without getting in the way of the arm articulation. If I had one little nitpick it would be those plates hanging off his forearms. Those babies are screaming for hinges so they could be folded up. Oddly enough, Rook’s hands do not feature sockets to hold his weapons. Instead, he has sockets in the knuckles, which works for me because they look like integrated cannons. Plus, you can still plug his gun in there if you want to. You can even do the same with the foot/hand combiner part.
Rook’s portrait is sharp, unique, and full of personality. He’s got a grim expression as if he’s about to bash in your front door and bust you for downloading pirated Robots in Disguise cartoons. He’s also got what looks like a rollbar running right across his nose. God, I hope that’s there because he likes to headbutt Decepticon scumbags. Also, he wears his Autobot emblem on his forehead, which is pretty cool as it reminds me of a policeman’s cap with the insignia on it. Oh yeah, and I love the way the “POLICE” tampos wind up on his shoulders, along with those silver gas tanks.
I have no idea what Rook’s weapon is supposed to be. It sort of looks like a folded up robot arm, but I’m guessing it’s just some kind of energy weapon. I don’t hate it, but for me it just doesn’t live up to the amazing weapons that came with Blades and Streetwise.
I never had quite the same affection for the Protectobots as I did for the Stunticons or Aerialbots, and that’s probably why I’m being so forgiving of Rook as a stand in for Groove. That having been said, he really is an absolutely fantastic figure and quite possibly my favorite of all the Combiner Wars Deluxes so far. My only question will be how well he will integrate into Defensor, as I’m so used to seeing Groove as the right leg, and in this case it looks like Rook is intended to be the left arm. I guess I’ll know the answer in a couple weeks when I finish opening the last of these guys and get them combined. Next Transformers Thursday, I’ll wrap up the Protectobot Deluxes with a look at First Aid!