Sunday, 3 February 2013

Return of the Beasts, Lazerback

Lazerback

Lazerback, my first try of the new line of toys from Hasbro and the Transformers Prime line.  They have reinvigorated the line with beast modes and cleverly named it “Beast Hunters,” at the same time reviving the love for Predacons and yet kind of just messing about a bit.  It reminds very strongly of the Snake-men line that ran with He-man and the Masters Of the Universe on the 2000s a bit too much for some reason.  Especially since in regard to the Autobots and Decepticons, we are getting already released figures with a slight bit of retooling to make them look like they are from a Mad-Max movie…

 

I bought this guy mainly to see how the beast modes are, just to get a feel for them, plus I do quite like the look of the Beast mode and also make a sweeping judgement on how the ‘Beast Hunters’ line would hold up.  How does it compare to the regular Prime line?

 

 

Well, it’s a bit hit and miss.  While I really like the beast mode, whatever beast it is meant to be, the robot mode is somewhat lacking and it is easy and quick to transform but this is due to some lazy designing really.  You see, once in robot mode, you kind of think, ‘What’s the point?’

 

A bit like his name.  I am confused, is there some homage to Laserbeak?  Or are they making a reference to razor back  (Usually a wild boar) and just wanted Lazer in there.  I mean it’s not even like he is armed with lasers, he has an acid gun…  Perhaps they just want to save the Japanese Transformer fans the hassle of mispronouncing Razorback and so have made the English speakers use the Japanese phonetic version instead?  Who can say?  So many possibilities.

 

In an interesting change for the line, the blister card has been made generic, so no pretty individual artwork of Lazerback alone.  It has also been shrunk as well.  The blister has dropped in height a tad too, but Lazerback is a wide figure, so it stands out a bit and so the bubble looks very fat.  On a slight side note, I did spy Beast Hunters Bumblebee and he was on the smaller card and blister as well.  In robot mode.  Posed like he was having a poop.  I also noted that there is a little ad for the IDW comics on the bottom right corner of the card back.

 

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It almost looks like a scout class figure.  Not a deluxe.  I suspect that at $28 a pop, it might be a hard sell for these guys, purely from the shrinking package size alone.  On the plus side though, you don’t really notice how small a deluxe you have.  He is larger than recent fOC figures however.

 

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It has some nice images of him on the back, good to see some Tech stats on the side, although I think he seems a bit overpowered, but that has been a regular occurrence lately.  One thing that I noticed almost straight away (last pic) is that the beast head is not properly plugged in, so robot head is quite visible.  Although I think this stems from trying to cram him in the blister.

 

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Once out of the box, you will have to mess about and form him up a little bit to get the proper beast mode.  Or transform him into robot mode.  I’ll start with the robot mode.  One thing I will say right now, considering how simple this toy is in regards to transformation, the instructions do a pretty bad job of telling you how to do it.  They leave out a couple of steps that definitely make him better.  Yet the instructions have a good 20 odd steps to do it in…  And the sheet is MASSIVE!  It does have some info on Lazerback’s weapon as well as a little part of a story that continues with different toys, best of all though the story kind of gives you a bio for Lazerback.  So they have written one, it should however be on the box.  I know for a fact that often the bio has made me buy a figure I would otherwise pass on. (Movie Crankcase for example).

 

Lazerback

 

Robot mode (and beast mode actually) as you can see is quite red, I was thinking it might look a bit horrid, but really the colours aren’t too bad.  In a way, it kind of links back to the G1 Predacons without some of the classiness.

 

Sculpting is nice and he looks tough enough.  The gun can be mounted on his back and angles over his head.  I have a couple of problems with the gun though.  That damn missile is the main one, with it sticking out the back of the gun so much, it actually gets in the way of the inside of his arm joint, so he can’t actually hold the gun straight.  WHAT?  That is so badly designed it slapped me in the face the moment I tried it.  It’s especially annoying as there is a little tab on the peg of the gun and a corresponding slot in his hand for the aforementioned tab, WHICH CAN’T GO IN!  I guess I could clip the missile down, but I shouldn’t have to.

 

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It is nice to see a lovely crisp new Predacon insignia on the shoulder guard.  Also note that the instructions leave the yellow ‘hair’ bits up but they do get in the way of the gun and there is a nice little cut for them to fold in to and hide away a bit better.

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His does have a nicely sculpted face as well.  It reminds me a bit of Overhaul/Leobreaker from Cybertron/Galaxy Force.  No light piping though, which makes me sad but his eyes are really small anyway.

 

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Robot mode is rather well articulated too, mainly due to his awful chicken legs.  I hated this style of leg in the movie lines and I still hate them now.  Although Lazerback’s are probably the best I have seen for this style.

 

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One strange thing on mine is this weird colouration.  The purple claws has some brown marks mixed in with the plastic, the knee has white as does his bicep.  I wonder if this is just a badly mixed plastic, or some residue from moulding or what.  Recycled plastics even?  Very odd.

 

He is reasonably tall, much bigger then FOC Optimus that’s for sure although most of it is faux bulk of sorts as the chest has split to hide the beast had.  But then with such a simple toy, any smaller and it would be even more disappointing.

 

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One thing that interested/amused/annoyed me though was after playing with it for a bit, his had came off.  The whole yellow piece just came out of the clip it was in and was floating around, it took a while for me to work out how to get it back again.

 

As well as his acid gun he comes with a whip, which is the tail of the beast mode.  It doesn’t look like a whip and is tricky to get onto his hand as it is a rubbery plastic, once you do get it on his hand it looks silly, so it’s just a waste of time really. Yet another beast mode with a tail that changes into a weapon??  Yawn.

 

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The robot mode is really poseable though, mainly due to the legs, which have a lot of joints in them.  Even the arms themselves have a surprising amount of articulation.

 

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And this one is one I thought of, following the instructions closely, you end up with Lazerback in ‘Mate attracting display’ mode.

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Oh yeah.

 

Now let’s check out the beast mode.

 

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As I said at the start, I like the beast mode quite a bit.  It’s tough looking, big claws and stuff and looks like a fun toy.  The colours aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be.  In fact, I think this mode would work well for one of the Firecons in a Classic configuration.  The gun sits nicely in the back and can be raised up, a rather nice weaponised mode.  Stealth force perhaps?  It’s a shame the beast head doesn’t move up and down, as it always faces a bit too far down.  I think the front arms should have been a bit longer raise the head up a bit more.

 

The gun has some nice ambient sculpting, but the red cover i made of the soft plastic, as is the yellow hair bits and tail.  It poses well and has plenty of articulation in the legs.

 

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The beast mode is burdened by blemishes, more on the shoulders and some black splotches on the gun rubber.  It is also burdened by the robot hands being visible in the front legs of the beast…

 

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You can get it to crouch rather low.  But this then brings the crap transformation to the fore and you can see that essentially all he does to transform is crouch.  It is a bit more complex, well the beast head folds into the chest and the hands flip out of the legs.  That’s it.  As a result, the beast mode has a hole in his chest.

 

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Underneath there are some jet exhaust looking bits.  Well I HOPE it’s jet exhaust…

 

That is almost all I have on this guy, one final thing that bugs me though is this:

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Between the yellow plastic and the back of the head is a gap, but it’s obviously meant to fir together, but the robot head is too big so no matter how much I try, I can’t close that gap.  It annoys me no end!  Almost as much as that stupid missile!!!!!!

 

So in the end, this isn’t a great toy, but I don’t really think it’s a bad one either.  Sure the robot mode is very naff, crouches to transform and has insect robo-legs, but the beast mode is pretty cool and it is quick and intuitive to transform.  I think the biggest issue with this figure is that it is lazily designed.  And its it is obvious really.  Crouch, fold the head, close the chest piece and bammo, beast mode.  It’s not even like his beast legs become robot arms or anything.  In this day and age, one would expect a bit more from their toys I think, especially since this is obviously not a real animal, so they have an incredible amount of leeway in how they could design it.

 

Sure its beast mode is fun all right, but it is a lazy design and that is a let down, but after having spent some time with just the beast mode, it is rather good and I can easily not transform Lazerback and just be happy with the beast.  I know that in my first paragraph, I said this was going to be the one I judged the whole line on, but the fact of the matter now is that I feel that would be wrong.  Hopefully there are some better engineered figures in the line that make me go “Oh yeah, that is clever.”  But this isn’t one of them.

I am such a softy….

Otherwise I will just have to stick to the Masterpiece line I guess

3 comments:

  1. I dislike nearly everything about this figure.

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  2. hmmn i probably won't be getting this guy.

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  3. As much as I like the beast mode, I wouldn't recommend him much... Hopefully Thundertron is better (He is on the way...)

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