Deluxe-class Autobot Mudflap
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
"With the All Spark gone, we cannot return life to our planet. And Fate has yielded its reward: a new world to call home. We live among its people- hiding in plain sight, but watching over them in secret. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to all Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here, we are waiting."
--epilogue from “Transformers” (2007)
With those words, a beacon was sent, alerting the cosmos to our presence in a way we never imagined. Some Autobots responded, but more Decepticons- learning of the death of Megatron- came to seek revenge, to take the throne of their faction for themselves, or simply to see that their leader was truly gone and wonder what would happen next. Two years after the All Spark Cube was destroyed, the Autobots have sought asylum in the United States, and they work closely with its government to form N.E.S.T. (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) to cooperate in tracking down arrant Decepticons hiding on Earth and keep the human race unawares amidst growing conspiracies. But with increasing alien activity across the world, it is suspected that the Autobots themselves may be encouraging Decepticons to come to Earth by their very presence here, and the relationship is beginning to become strained. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky has gone to college, but on his first day he begins uncontrollably spouting gibberish like his great-grandfather over a hundred years earlier. It is discovered that he now retains, deep in his mind, the full knowledge of the destroyed All Spark Cube! Learning of this, the Decepticons steal the last shard of the All Spark, and rebuild Megatron. Teleporting himself to another dimension, Megatron consults with his master- an ancient and evil traitor known as The Fallen, who is the leader of all Decepticons. The Fallen plans to harvest Earth’s Sun for Energon at the cost of destroying the planet as he would have thousands of years ago were he not driven off by the Dynasty of Primes- the original leaders of Cybertron. But to do this, The Fallen must recover the long-lost Matrix of Leadership from the secret Tomb of the Primes- which Sam now holds the only key to finding- to activate the Solar Harvester. And the last surviving descendant of the Dynasty- Optimus Prime- is the only one who can stop The Fallen now…
Mudflap is ever anxious to prove himself to other Autobots, but he frequently comes across as ill-informed, and his twin brother Skids will remind him of it every chance he gets. On Cybertron, they acted as carrier pigeons- transferring messages between the battlefront and the commanders rather than having that classified information broadcast in the open where Decepticons could easily intercept them. And when the All Spark Cube was cast into space, they became part of a network of Autobots who kept their faction united across the galaxy. In the interim millenniums as all Cybertronians searched for the Cube, Mudflap was able to keep in contact with his twin via their telepathic connection. Which is why, when they learned that the great Optimus Prime was calling out to them all, they were anxious to prove themselves to their leader… maybe not in combat, but to prove to their leader and his officers that they were able to escape any detection, anywhere, anytime. In preparation for coming to Earth, they also downloaded the languages there, careful selecting the local native dialogue to further blend in. Initially combining together with Skids as a disguised ice cream truck that they trans-scanned near their landing spot, Mudflap later lost the squabble over who would be the new green vehicle that N.E.S.T. had provided for them. Unfortunately, once on Earth, their talents were rather wasted, and the brothers were relegated to a back-up/reserve position. With so much time on their collective hands, Skids and Mudflap frequently found their idleness the perfect opportunity for some- uh… sibling ‘bonding’.
Mudflap, and his twin brother Skids, share similar body shapes and structural details, and are among the smaller of Autobots, not really made for front-line mainframe combat. So while he’s not as fast (or quiet) like a scout or spy, he can still get where he needs to more effectively by evasion. And standing only 11’ 4”-tall, Mudflap’s weapons aren’t much better- a single carbine in his enlarged left arm. What makes Skids and Mudflap rare among Autobots, though, is their ability to privately communicate with each other telepathically, allowing them to coordinate light attacks instinctively… if they can stop from attacking each other first!
In “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”, the voice of Mudflap is performed by actor Reno Wilson. He frequently appears in American television series and a few films, but he also portrayed the non-English-speaking Decepticon Frenzy in the 2007 “Transformers” movie.
The opaque missile projectile can be fitted to a hole under the back bumper, giving it the general appearance of an exhaust cloud. However, the projectile cannot be fired in Vehicle Mode.
The main gimmick for all of the fully-transformable figures from the 2007 “Transformers” toy line was Automorph Technology™: as one part of the toy was being moved, another section would activate and move by itself via internal gears, springs, and levers. (Usually this applied only going in one direction for transformation but not the other.) For the 2009 “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” toy line, the Automorph feature has been replaced with Mech Alive, which is not involved in transforming the toys. Rather it is a gimmick that functions only in robot mode to better imitate, in some fashion, the intricate movements and mechanics of the immensely-more complex CGI character(s).
Some figures are being reissued from the 2007 line since no significant changes were made to the character in that time-span, and will still include their original Automorph feature, but not the newer Mech Alive feature because they were manufactured two years previously.
Since this is a brand new toy which was not released in 2007, the “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” Deluxe-class Autobot Mudflap has the Mech Alive feature, but not an Automorph Technology feature.
When his enlarged-left fist is lowered, both two gray panels on his arm slide open and spring-powered missile launcher unfolds automatically! Until the launcher is exposed like this, the provided projectile cannot be placed in it or fired.
(I learned that during assembly in the factory, most Mudflap figures had their feet placed on the wrong legs! So be sure to switch them around so that the single big toe is on the outside. This will also make them fit slightly better in Vehicle Mode.)
Mech Alive is a special feature included in almost all transformable figures from “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”. In robot mode, specific parts of the figure’s body can be animated beyond simply posing it- panels shift, gears spin, and in some cases there is light-and sound tied in. This brings out a new level of detail to try matching-up against the immensely-complex designs of the computer-generated characters seen in the movie.
For the Deluxe-class Autobot Mudflap toy, it has one Mech Alive feature:
- When the dark-gray air grille on the front of his chest is pressed inwards, the headlights on the sides will extend outwards a little, and his head will bob downwards too.
(The opening panels & launcher on his arm does not count as Mech Alive because it is not specifically labeled as such.)
When I began the review for Mudflap, I set down one rule for myself to follow: I would not make comment anywhere in-review on the twins’ appearance & personalities in the film, which made national headlines for portraying [negative] black racial stereotypes. How the twins appear & act in the movie has nothing to do with the toy(s), and I am here now to review only the latter. The only thing I will say is this: why in thee hell should racism even come up in a Transformers movie?
I will say right up-front: I had no ambition to get this figure even though I had already acquired his brother, Skids. (However, since I already covered the green one for CDX, I was kinda obligated to cover the other as well…) Of the two, he was less aesthetically-pleasing in toy form, and I’d heard about the clunky backpack kibble. Turns out I was right in both…. and there’s more. His transformation and appearance are meant to be similar to Skids’, and it does this, but somewhere along the line things got a little too distorted. His torso doesn’t really look like it does in the movie, and his back is nothing but vehicle roof & window kibble. For some reason the designers though that having more space inside the Vehicle Mode than Skids does would work to their advantage when transforming him. Unfortunately, because of how his arms transform & swing about (and those blasted-ass roof panels again just like on his brother!), you spend a lot of time rearranging things to make it work when the process is intended to go another direction. (I also spend a lot of time realigning the roof panel and nose too, which is frustrating as hell!) Poseability is more-or-less the same as Skids’, though he has these two gray bars which stick out of his chest, making it rather difficult to get his arms past them and impossible to point straight forward. But, he is still structurally unsound in his torso because none of the transformation joints snap into place; there are a scant-few tabs and pegs, but they are more-or-less irrelevant in holding important stuff in place. So when you try to move any of his limbs, the torso collapses [figuratively] when you hold them! The other strange thing? No transparent plastic anywhere on him (even though his head was obviously meant to incorporate light-piping for his eyes). He also needed a bit more new paint on his robot parts rather than all the attention being on his Vehicle Mode. And I hate how you are forced to keep his front doors above his shoulder rather than behind them like they are in the movie. (Why can those side-view mirror-stubs move, again?)
The only redeeming quality of the Deluxe-class Autobot Mudflap figure could be how the missile launcher deploys & retracts automatically. But that is far from allowing me to give him a passing grade. Not recommended unless you absolutely must have a fully-transformable set of the twins.
There is a larger transformable version of this character as well, Human Alliance Autobot Mudflap. He features extra fold-out weapons, but no Mech Alive gimmick. Also included in that set is a unique poseable figure of the human, ex-Sector 7 Agent Seymour Simmons- who can both ride inside of vehicle mode and operate his weapons in robot mode- and a new in-scale transformable version of Autobot Arcee!
|Posted 28 January, 2010 - 04:04 by EVA_Unit_4A|