Transformers Energon: Landmine by Hasbro

We’re kicking things off the week with a look at one very cool toy. He’s Landmine, and he’s one of those Transformers that I would have absolutely adored to own as a kid. He was on the shelves back in 2004 and despite being one of the more pricey assortments, I loved the mold so much I still picked up his repaint Landquake. Ok, in fairness, I was pretty much buying every Transformer released back then, but suffice it to say I still adore this pair to death. The only difference is the coloring, so I’m going to focus on the original release, Landmine, for the purposes of this feature, and I’ll toss in some comparison shots at the end.

In his vehicle mode, Landmine is a… um… ok, I have no idea what he is, but hot damn is he cool looking. He’s basically a half-track wrecker from the future that looks like it would be right at home cruising the dusty trails in a Mad Max film. Some of my favorite aspects include the cool wedge-shaped cabin with clear windows, the massive spiked ramming plow mounted on the front bumper, the sweet angled fenders, the exposed engine on the hood, and the smokestacks coming up off the sides, behind the cabin.
The tracked trailer portion features a working tow hook that can be retracted with the push of a button and featuers electronic sounds. You also have a missile launcher, which can be angled to fire front or back. Landmine truck mode is one really cool and imaginative design. The orange, black and blue deco would not have been my first choice, but it all kind of works on some weird level. But what truly impresses me is the level of detail in the sculpt. From the sculpted panel lines and the bolts, right down to the bucket seats inside the detailed cockpit, Hasbro put a lot of love and details into this guy.
But the fun of Landmine’s vehicle mode doesn’t end there, because Landmine’s cab can also separate and leave the bulk of his tracked mode behind. There is an extra set of wheels concealed behind the trailers tank treads, allowing the cab to go rolling off on its own. The trailer can become a tracked drone or remain as a weapons platform. Hasbro put a lot of cool ideas and play value into Landmine’s vehicle mode. So, let’s check out his robot mode.
Landmine is pretty easy to transform into his basic robot mode. I probably haven’t touched this figure in almost a year, and I was still able to convert him without any problems. His basic mode is made up solely of the cab portion, and while this makes him a little smaller than you might expect, he’s still a nice, proportionate and sizeable figure. There’s some really cool design elements here, particularly the way the plow splits into three to form his feet and his codpiece. The plow feet give him spikes for kicking in Deception booty and I like the way the exhaust pipes angle off of his shoulders. His chest is comprised of the truck’s cabin, complete with sculpted Autobot emblem and an Energon port to place an Energon starburst, or whatever the hell Hasbro called those things. The rest of the truck folds up into a neat little backpack.

The head sculpt is outrageously cool, particularly because of the tinted clear visor that juts out over the eyes, and yet the head still utilizes the light piping gimmick. The sculpt really gives a lot of character and depth to Landmine’s head and it almost looks like the visor could lift up, even though it doesn’t. My only gripe here is the bright red face. I guess if it was good enough for Tracks…
You get a great amount of articulation too! His head rotates, and his arms feature universal movment in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and hinged elbows. The legs feature universal movement in the hips and swivels and hinges in the knees. Most of the hinges are strong ratchet joints too.

The only thing Landmine is really missing is a gun or any other kind of offensive weapon, which is probably why his quote is “My fists are deadlier than your guns.” Maybe they aren’t though, because Landmine can make use of his tank drone/battle platform as power armor…
Unfortunately, as you can see the concept in execution doesn’t work out all that well. It basically involves him wearing the treads as arms and the rest of the trailer as a huge backpack, along with an G1-inspired transforming sound effect. The backpack is way too heavy, and it seems like a lot of trouble to go through just to get a shoulder-mounted missile launcher. Especially when you balance it out with a useless shoulder mounted tow-hook. The huge claw arm extensions aren’t much better. But as poorly as the whole armor thing is excuted, I don’t mind it. Kids might very well enjoy it and I can just pretend it doesn’t exist.
As previously mentioned, Landmine was repainted and reissued the same year as Landquake, which was intended to be a new character, rather than just a powered up version of the original. Landquake sports a more sensible white, black and blue deco. So if the orange turns you off, you do have options. Personally, I would love to see this mold redone in black and purple as a Decepticon. Either way, he is a really wonderfully designed toy with a kick ass vehicle mode and a very good basic robot mode. There’s a lot of play and display value here, even if you completely toss out the idea of the power armor.
As for value, I seem to remember laying out about $25 each for these guys back in the day. You can usually find them on Teh Bey from time to time with prices ranging all over the damn place, but if you’re patient and prudent you can probably get either one loose and complete for around $20 or maybe less.

Tomorrow, we’ll keep the Energon ball rolling with a look at another one of my favorites… Scorponok!

Transformers Energon: Terrorcons Divebomb and Insecticon by Hasbro

Welcome back for more terrific Terrorcons. Last time we looked at Battle Ravage and Cruellock, now it’s time for the last two: Divebomb and Insecticon. Like their Terrorcon bretheren, these guys are Scout Class figures with alt modes based on cybernetic style beasts. Divebomb is a falcon or an eagle or some kind of bird of prey while Insecticon looks like some sort of dung beetle. Let’s take a look…

I have absolutely no idea what kind of cyber-birdy Hasbro was going for with Divebomb’s alt mode, but I do know I love it. I’m particularly fond of all the mechanical details in the sculpt, like the air intakes and the fans on the wings. His wings are ball jointed where they meet the body and are hinged about halfway across, giving him a good deal of poseability in his beast mode. His legs are also ball jointed and hinged at the talons. I can’t believe we’ve gone this long without seeing a Laserbeak style repaint of Divebomb, but I can only hope that one day it may still happen. Maybe when I’m ambitious enough I’ll take one of the five or six of these guys I own and give it a try myself, but my past luck customizing Transformers has been less than stellar.


With such a great beast mode, you might expect Divebomb’s robot mode to be really crappy, but it turns out to be my favorite of all the Terrorcons. In fact, it gives off a major Gundam vibe to me, at least in the legs. He’s definitely not what I would consider a conventional looking Transformer. He’s got great poseability and he has an awesome pair of energon blades that attach to his arms. I also like that his robot head has a slight bird motif to it, just to carry the theme along. Divebomb is an amazingly fun figure and very well rounded for being a Scout Class.


And last up is Insecticon. I haven’t heard a lot of opinions about this figure, but the few I have heard seem to suggest a real love him or hate him attitude. I’m definitely of the love him version, despite the fact that he’s such a squat little guy in his robot form and definitely lacks the dynamic articulation of his peers, but I’m getting ahead of myself. His cyber-beetle mode is great. I love the sculpting in his legs, complete with hydraulics and the teeth in his mechanical pincer. His legs are all on ball joints and his pincer can move up and down. His energon drill attaches to his head and nearly doubles him in size, although it’s pretty ungainly and I tend to prefer to display him in bug mode without it.

Like I said, he’s pretty squat in his robot mode and a lot of that is due to his interesting transformation. He’s got a crazy looking face sculpt and not much use in his stubby arms, although he can hold that huge drill as a weapon, and it still looks just as ungainly. But in the end, I honestly think that this is a fantastic homage, not so much to the original G1 Insecticons, but rather the three less popular G1 Deluxe Insecticons.

And that finishes off the Energon Terrorcons. These guys are still fairly easy to find on Ebay and shouldn’t set you back a lot of scratch. If you buy them loose, just make sure you get all the Energon goodies with them, because they make up a huge part of these figures’ overall fun factor. I used to have a bad habit of picking up extra Terrorcons when I was out on toy hunts and couldn’t find anything else to buy, but like I said yesterday, there aren’t many army builders to take advantage of in the Transformers universe, so it was always hard for me to resist.

Transformers Energon: Bulkhead and Quickstrike by Hasbro

It’s hard to believe it’s been a week already, and yet it’s Friday and I’ve still got a few more transformable choppers that I wanted to get to. Today we’re looking at a few more Autobots, this time from the Energon line. Bulkhead and his repaint Quickstrike. I can’t remember what size class Bulkhead came in, but I’m thinking he was probably an Ultra because he does have electronics and when you combine him with his booster pack, he’s pretty friggin huge. Don’t ask me what the electronics do, though, because it’s been ages since I’ve had working batteries in this thing. It is noteworthy, though, that all of his electronics are in the booster, so Hasbro could, theoretically, pack the figure alone in a future Voyager Class re-release and they’d be doing new fans a favor.

Let’s start out with Bulkhead in his super-duper alt mode. It’s an attack helicopter sitting on top of a huge set of booster rockets. Yeah, as the first part of his name suggests, this guy has a lot of bulk to him. Granted, strapping a helicopter to that jet-propelled weapons platform kind of defeats the purpose of being a helicopter in the first place, but it’s formidable looking to say the least.

Releaving Bulkhead of his booster platform, we can get a better idea of how awesome his chopper mode is. He’s got two retractable landing gear, and a third on the tail that spins the rotors when you pull it like a trigger. He’s got a nice, embossed Autobot insignia behind his cockpit, and no less than four firing missile launchers mounted on his wings. [Take out the missiles before transforming him, lest you want to spend ten minutes fishing them out from behind the sofa like I had to! -FF] It’s a very solid helicopter, and the colors are no doubt an homage to G1 Springer. I guess my only complaint here is that his arms above his wings don’t actually peg into anything, but the ratchet joints give you a good idea of how they’re supposed to sit, and they certainly don’t flop around or anything.

Before getting to Bulkhead’s robot mode, it’s worth noting that his booster platform can transform into a two-legged weapons drone. I guess this thing could stomp around and blast Decepticon fools on its own, or Bulkhead could operate it like a cannon. Either way it’s a pretty cool bonus, and almost as big as the Bulkhead figure itself.

Transforming Bulkhead isn’t terribly difficult, although there’s a lot of fidgity bits to get right, like flipping his legs around, flipping up his missile launchers, etc. But when you’re done, you are rewarded with one seriously awesome looking Autobot. I really love everything about this guy. His proportions are great, the way his missile launchers hang off his hips is cool and you can even flip his fists so that he has cannons for hands. The tail boom that hangs off his back doesn’t get in the way at all, and you can even remove his rotor blade assembly and he can hold it in his hand like a weapon. Oh yeah, Bulkhead also has a huge handlebar mustache! Remember in the 1986 movie when all of the sudden Transformers started showing up with sculpted facial hair? Well, Bulkhead is obviously hip to that style.

Of course, Bulkhead can also make use of his booster pack by wearing it like a backpack. There are all sorts of permutations to do with it, you can even turn the thrusters into giant claws, but my favorite just has it positioned like a jetpack with the two laser cannons pointing forward. Yeah, he’s very backheavy in this mode, but he can actually stand up and support it if you try hard enough.

Bulkhead has excellent articulation. His head rotates, his arms have universal movement in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and hinges in the elbows. His legs have universal movement in the hips and hinged knees. His ankles have lateral hinges so that his feet can stay flat even in a wide stance.

Hasbro waisted no time in repainted Bulkhead in Energon as Quickstrike. At the time, I wasn’t really a completist anymore, not like I was with Armada, but clearly I liked this mold and the repaint enough to drop some money on Quickstrike too. It’s a really nice and very high quality repaint. I really like the black and silver and the way it compliments the red in his helicopter mode and the white looks nice on the tailboom too, although I’m not a big fan of the Chinese lettering. But in robot mode, this new color scheme is just unbelievably great looking. The red and black looks striking and the silver on his legs, cockpit and face really makes the figure come together. It’s a little tougher to make out Quickstrike’s mustache, though, since it isn’t painted a different coller than his face.

I really recommend owning this mold if you don’t already. It’s a great Transformer and a really fun toy, with lots of different play options and features. If you only have it in you to buy one, I’d actually recommend Quickstrike over Bulkhead, just because the paint deco looks so nice and the quality of the paint job is really far superior to what I’m used to finding on these toys. On the other hand, if you are a big Springer fan, than Bulkhead might scratch your itch better than Quickstrike. Either way, you should definitely try to hunt down one of them for your collection.