Transformers Universe 2.0: Inferno by Hasbro

I’m just about done closing the gap of older Classics/Generations figures missing from the FFZ Archive. In fact, unless I discover a hold out among my storage totes, Inferno here may very well be the last one. That means that if I don’t find a Roadbuster this weekend, next week I may be dipping back into the Unicron Trilogy toys for Transformers Thursday fodder. Hey, nothing wrong with that! Anyway, the Generations line has been mostly about Deluxe figures, and I’ve been happy about that because the Deluxe Class has always been my personal ideal size for Transformers figures. Inferno, however, like a lot of Universe 2.0 figures, bucked that trend by presenting us with a Voyager Class figure. It was a logical enough choice, since the original Inferno was notably taller than the regular Autobot cars. As usual, the box is long gone, so we’re going to jump right in and check out his alt mode.

tfginferno1

tfginferno2

Yup, you guessed it… Inferno is a fire truck. I have actually looked at his cousin, Reveal the Shield Grappel, so this mold has appeared on the pages of FFZ before, despite the fact that Inferno came first. Inferno isn’t one of those traditional full-blown hook and ladder firetrucks, but rather a somewhat truncated one with a water cannon on top. I know next to nothing about firetrucks so I’m not sure if this is something real or not, but it certainly looks convincing enough and I have a feeling that by nixing a ladder on top, Inferno dodged the same kibble-arm bullet that poor Grappel suffered.

tfginferno5

Indeed, Inferno is one of the most realistic looking vehicles to come out of the entire Classics-Universe-Generations line. The sculpt features some insanely intricate detailwork, particularly on the sides where all the little vents, plating and fire-stopping doo-dads are recreated. The white paint and lettering and numbering on the sides also goes a long way to make this a great looking toy. And finally, you get lots of clear plastic for the windows, headlamps and roof lights, all of which gives the vehicle some major class in my eyes. Sure, if you view the vehicle from the top down you can make out a set of robot arms and hands, but otherwise, this vehicle is practically without fault. I’d dare say that Inferno looks so good, it’s almost like he belongs in a different line altogether.

tfginferno3

tfginferno4

The water cannon on top can swivel, raise and lower and shoots a translucent blue missile made to look like a blast of water. So, is that really supposed to be water or an actual weapon that looks like water? Or can he switch between water and a real weapon? It would be embarrassing to try to take out a Decepticon with a blast of water, or conversely, to try to put out a fire by shooting energy weapons at it and blowing up the building. Am I overthinking this? Ok, let’s transform Inferno and check out his robot mode.

tfginferno8

Hot damn! Not only is Inferno’s vehicle mode great, but his robot mode is a damn fine piece of work too. In fact, when viewed from the front, I’d say he’s very near perfect. His broad chest is comprised of the front of the firetruck and there’s some really neat stuff going on with the way the panels fold up behind his shoulders and on his forearms, the front wheels fold into his hips, and how his front bumper just drops to become his pelvis. All those clear plastic pieces are on display here and once again go a long way to give him that extra special realism and classes up the figure big time. By Primus, I love this guy!

tfginferno10

Generations always impresses me with the head sculpts, and Inferno here is no exception. The portrait is very evocative of the original G1 character with a clean, silver painted face and some gorgeous light piping for his blue eyes.

tfginferno9

tfginferno11

tfginferno12

Yeah, Inferno has a few blemishes. The biggest for me is the way he’s a bit two-dimensional in design. Like I said before, he looks nearly perfect from the front, but get a side view and he looks a bit like he’s missing his back half. View him from behind and he looks rather hollow. His arm cannon is also a little awkwardly placed. It’s slung down under his arm, which is fine for when you actually want him using his arm as an arm, but I’d much rather it land on the outside of his arm, as it would make it easier for him to aim convincingly.

tfginferno7

tfginferno13

tfginferno14

Ah, but none of these quibbles can extinguish my love for this figure. Eh? See what I did there? Extinguish? YEAH! I’m drinking, baby!!! Inferno is a gorgeous figure and I definitely see him as one of the high points in what is already a pretty remarkable line of figures. I was certainly happy to see the mold get re-used in Reveal the Shield as Grappel (pronounced “Solar Storm Gra-pelle!”), although thanks to some annoying crane arm kibble, Inferno remains my favorite of the two. And I’m only now realizing how sad that huge Protectobot Hot Spot-shaped hole in my collection is making me, so I highly doubt this is the last time we’ll see this mold appear here on FFZ.

Transformers Reveal The Shield: Solar Storm Grappel by Hasbro

I’m almost through the Deluxe Class figures I picked up from this series, but rather than finish them off, I thought I’d jump over to the one big guy. He’s one of the Voyager Class toys in this series and he’s none other than Solar Storm Grappel.

rtsgrap13
Whaaa? Yeah, just like Turbo Tracks, Hasbro seems to have mislaid the copyright to the name Grapple. Fair enough, but where the hell they came up with Solar Storm Grappel is beyond me. Again, it’s just a name on a box so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. It’s enough to know that he’s a repaint/remold of Generation Inferno, just like the G1 Grapple toy was a repaint/remold of G1 Inferno.  I’m not terribly keen on the decision to go with making Inferno/Grapple as Voyager toys because I think they turned out a little too big to fit in comfortably with the other Classics, although as Deluxes I think they would have been too small. Too bad there wasn’t something inbetween. As with all the Voyagers in this line, the figure comes boxed in his robot mode, but I’m going to start with his vehicle mode.
rtsgrap1
rtsgrap2
As expected, Grappel is a yellow boom crane with some hazard stripes painted on the sides. He looks really good as Hasbro did a great job designing this vehicle form to work well as both crane and fire truck. The crane is fully articulated and even extends. There are still a few slight issues with locking all the panels together. I realize this could just be my own sucky transforming skills, but truth is I can rarely ever get either toy to completely line up and lock together perfectly. It’s not a big deal, but still worth mentioning. With the exception of the boom crane replacing Inferno’s water cannon, none of the other changes to the mold are evident in Grappel’s vehicle mode. Lots of crazy detail and the use of clear plastic really makes this vehicle stand out on the shelf!
rtsgrap3
rtsgrap5
rtsgrap4
Transforming Grappel is identical to changing Inferno. It’s fairly simple for a larger toy, but there are some clever things at work here. The way the side panels for the cabin all fold away neatly behind his shoulders is particularly nifty. There is definitely some very clever engineering at work here.
rtsgrap8
rtsgrap9
rtsgrap10
In robot mode we can now see some of the tinkering Hasbro did with the Inferno mold. Grappel’s forearms are rounded instead of squared off and he obviously has a brand new head sculpt, which is faithful to the original G1 character. These changes are all great, but it’s the crane hanging off the side of his arm that bugs me about Grappel. There’s so many other things Hasbro could have done to make this right without having to effect the mold hardly at all. Most easily, have it removable so you can peg it onto his back or something. Either way, this is a really lazy design that we’ve seen with crane Transformers in the past. The crane is intended to come protrude down his arm like a weapon. I find it a little less cumbersome to fold it back so it’s pointing away from his hand. Either way, it’s a giant albatross on what is otherwise a great looking figure.
rtsgrap11
rtsgrap12
rtsgrap6
rtsgrap7
I’m still really digging on this toy, warts and all. He’s a solid homage to the G1 character and a logical reuse of the Inferno mold. I still think the large size makes these guys feel a little out of place amongst the other Classics, particularly when displayed with a figure like Classics Optimus Prime, but maybe I just need to get used to it. If it weren’t for the crane arm, I could love Grappel a lot more, but as things stand Inferno remains my favorite of the pair.