Transformers Universe: Tankor by Hasbro

I had planned on keeping the Robots in Disguise thing going for Transformers Thursday, but I ran a little light on time this week, so instead I dug around in one of my drawers for a quick suitable substitute. Today we’re revisiting Hasbro’s Universe line. Not Universe 2.0, mind you, but the one that came before that. The one that consisted mostly of questionable repaints of a lot of toys few collectors ever wanted to see again. One of those releases came to us from the pages of Beast Machines and it was a boxed set of Tankor and Obsidian repaints. I have no idea what happened to the Obsidian figure (no great loss!) but the Tankor mold has always been one of my favorites. I looked at the Beast Machines version on FFZ a long while ago, so let’s see how Universe treated him.

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Why do I love Tankor so much? Because he’s a kick ass Cybertronian tank and for unknown reasons that may have little to do with his configuration, his turret and cannon remind me of the tanks from the original Tron. I dig his four sets of treads, all brimming with sculpted detail, his front capture claw, and the Cylon-like visor and grill on the front of the turret. He just looks all sorts of mean and nasty. It’s a fantastic design, which was obviously the result of a lot of love. Of course, the turret turns and the cannon can raise and lower and it also fires a missile that is sculpted to look like an energy blast.

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Tankor had a pretty wild paint scheme to begin with, so his Universe counterpart isn’t too bad off. The green is a slightly different shade, the grey and red has been replaced with a weird tan, and he has some crazy purple and silver splotches that I like to think of as some kind of energon damage. All the great striping and chevrons that were on the original toy’s fenders are still here, the pallet has just been changed up a bit. And yes, if you’re wondering, the hatch that opened to reveal his Predacon spark crystal on the original toy, now opens to reveal a painted Decepticon insignia. Cool!

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Transforming Tankor into robot mode is both simple and clever. His legs do a cool flip to wind up on the other side of his torso and the translucent red plates wind up as armor for his arms and shoulders. As a robot, Tankor’s design is just as grizzly and warlike. His huge, bulky arms have built in saw blades and his hands are serrated lobster claws of death. You do not want a hug from Tankor. It’ll f’ck you up! The deco remains about the same as when he’s in tank mode with the tan replacing the grey and some gold detailing on his chest rather than the yellow from the Beast Machines figure. I can’t say I like it better than the original toy, but it’s cool that it makes him unique amidst my little army of Tankors.

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The head sculpt is fantastic! Tankor sports a deep set visor with light piping that reveals a single Cylon eye and if you move his head it seems to travel from one side to the other. He also has a giant bear trap of a jaw that is articulated. Mounted on his left shoulder is his enormous cannon, proving that he doesn’t lose any firepower no matter which mode you find him in.

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And so in the end, Tankor didn’t do too badly at the hands of the crazed colorists in charge of the Universe line. It’s not an improvement, but like I said, having one uniquely colored Tankor gives me a commander for my drones, and that’s cool. I will, however, concede that this release was a wasted opportunity for a better repaint. I would absolutely love to get this guy in traditional black and purple Decepticon colors, or maybe just black and steel grey. But truth be told, I love Tankor no matter what color he is, and I try not to think about how sad it is that he’s a perverted reincarnation of poor, noble Rhinox.

Transformers Beast Machines: Tankor by Hasbro

Here’s a first… a Beast Machines figure on FigureFan! I won’t take the time here to debate the merits (or lack thereof) of the TV series, but I did have a lot of Beast Machines toys at one time. They’re all gone now, except for my little armada of Tankors. Why? Because a lot of the Beast Machines toys don’t hold up for me, and yet Tankor is still one of my favorite Transformers of all time. Insane? Perhaps, but even still, I love this guy. Its a bit of a departure from the Energon and Cyberton stuff we’ve looked at so far, but he was in the tote, so he’s fair game.

Beast Machines had a lot of appeal for me back in the day because it saw the return of machine based alt forms for the Predacons, or as they became known, the Vehicons. As much as I adored the Beast Wars TV series, I was never a big fan of the toys, so when the action finally moved back to Cybertron and we got toys based on Cybertronian alt forms, I was absolutely delighted. I still wasn’t a big fan of the Maximals, but I sure bought all the Vehicons. I probably adopted Tankor as one of my favorites because for some reason back then I thought he resembled one of the tanks from Tron. In retrospect, I’m not sure where I came up with that, but I still love him all the same.
In his tank mode, Tankor is a great looking little alien war machine. You get two sets of molded black tracks on each side with some excellently detailed bright silver gears and wheels. The chassis is mostly green with some orange detailwork. There’s some funky translucent clear and orange plastic up front and a capture claw for a front bumper. The turret is designed to look a bit like Tankor’s robot head, signifying that it’s not really a vehicle, just an alternate Cybertron form. It rotates 360 degrees and has one big launching cannon that can raise and lower.
Transforming Tankor is pretty involved for a Deluxe Class toy of this age. There are some really clever shifting of parts here and when you’re done you get one very cool looking robot. The head sculpt is awesome as its more robotic than a lot of the sculpts we’re used to nowadays. His cannon lands on his shoulder for additional firepower. Its big enough to look imposing, but not so big that it looks ridiculous. Admittedly, Tankor has some Popeye forearms going on, but the fact that they each have spinning buzzsaws in them is enough to make me overlook the proportion issues.
Tankor’s articulation includes a head that turns side to side. He has ball joints in his shoulders and hips. His biceps have swivels, his elbows are hinged, and his claw hands open and close. His legs have hinged knees and swivel just below the knee.

Even if you aren’t a big fan of Beast Machines, you really should consider picking up Tankor. He can often be had for pretty cheap, which is why I own so many. I started picking them up when they went clearance with all the other Beast Machines toys and every once and a while I used to grab one off of Ebay. He was released later, in a box with Obsidian, as part of the Universe line of shitty repaints, (not to be confused with Universe 2.0)  and while that one has its merits, I still prefer the original. He’s a super fun and great looking toy.

[I’m taking Sunday off to try to shake this damn illness, so rather than start something new, I’m going to extend Transformers Week for one more day to include tomorrow. I’ll be back on Monday to kick off a week of comic book goodness with some new Marvel and DC figures. In the meantime, I’m off to make another batch of Nyquil Jello Shots and crawl back into bed.  -FF]