Review by EVA_Unit_4A
This Autobot Armorhide figure is a Target-exclusive release for the live-action film “Transformers” (2007). It is a repaint of the original Autobot Armorhide from the “Transformers: Cybertron” (2006) line. Armorhide was designed as an exclusive US-release during the “…Cybertron” run, so he does not appear in the original Japanese anime series “Transformers: Galaxy Force” (2005) or the later English dub. All molds, details, transformation, and special features are the same between the two toys; only plastic colors and paint applications have been changed. This is the second repaint for this toy since its debut in the “…Cybertron” series; the first being a BotCon 2006 homage to the G1 Autobot Huffer. Armorhide’s vehicle mode (back) is that of a cab-over truck with a removable towing crane. It’s a very simple toy to work with, probably why so many people liked it. He rolls around on six dark gray ABS wheels with silver-painted hubcaps, two beneath the cab and four thicker ones in back. The mold details on the cab section are well defined, though the grille, bumper and windows are all painted silver. Additional yellow paint fills in some stripes and parking/warning lights. The back half is all solid ABS plastic with no paint other than the hubcaps. Aside from rolling around, Armorhide’s long rifle can fit into a hole between the four wheels in back to form a towing crane. Though it can’t really lift anything lest it’s attached to a string, there is a small light gray hook at the top which can swing back and forth a little. The base of the rifle is marked with a silver Sector 7 logo.
Armorhide’s transformation is very easy to learn and execute. Unlike most of the original designs for the movie, he does not have a more-recent Automorph feature anywhere in or on him, mostly ‘cause he’s too small to fit one in. (Back to basics- I like that! Automorph is a nice gimmick to have around, but if they make 'em too often, it loses its novelty.) The only step that may prove tricky for larger hands would be trying to spin around Armorhide’s head- there’s very little space to work with in there, and his head is really small (almost Mini-Con-small). Also, though they don’t really address it, you have to slide the knee joints horizontally away from each other after you separate & extend the legs. Though the knees will still function, it’ll be a bit awkward if they’re not moved around that little bit. But, equally so, you need to remember to slide them back or else they won’t fit back together smoothly.
Armorhide’s smaller robot mode (back) is more familiar to Transformers fans- blocky with rounded edges, simple to execute, clear details- than the designs in the movie, which had complex molds & details, highly complicated designs, and featured more steps for the transformations than average. In some ways, it’s a relief from the seemingly chaotic robots seen on the big screen! Unlike just about all of the movie designs, Armorhide’s head does not feature a transparent backing for light to shine through, so his eyes are painted yellow. His upper torso is this huge blocky… um thing, with a very small (robot anorexia?) lower torso, and then smaller limbs attached. The arms carry two of his back wheels each, and feature ball-and-socket elbows. The legs are equally simple- with the two windshield parts forming knee guards, and wide feet hidden inside the lower legs. No new paint apps are revealed when he is in robot mode. Armorhide can easily grip that honkin’ rifle in either hand, though it will restrict the elbows’ motion a bit. Poseability for such a small toy (he’s just shy of 4” in robot mode) is as expected from a basic & simplified Scout-class figure- acceptable, though sometimes lacking, but this makes him affordable at $7.99 to parents who can get their kids something small and quick while they are in the store, or for grandparents who may know even less about Transformers as a whole to get as a small treat to spoil them. The legs are quite flexible, the feet can tilt back as far as you want because of how he transforms. The arms can’t tilt too far away from the body, but the elbows can swing just about anywhere you want; the neck and hips are also ball-and-socket joints.
One of the regular features/gimmicks of the “…Cybertron” line was that they all had a Planet Key- a transparent ABS accessory that is separate from the toy, and allows access to spring-loaded features & weapons. While the tab on the front of a Key is identical (meaning you can use the Key from one toy on any of the others), there were at least nine different Key mold designs throughout the line- the four common Earth Planet, Speed Planet, Jungle Planet, & Giant Planet Keys, two Cybertron-tech-inspired Keys for Autobots & Decepticons, a rarer Planet X Key used by just a few of the characters, and two exclusive Keys designed just for Optimus Prime and Megatron. When inserted into the semi-hidden port in the figure- typically accessible in either vehicle or robot mode- a Key would act as a trigger for the secret feature. As a bonus for US buyers, each Key had a unique printed code on the back which, when entered on the official Transformers Cybertron homepage, would grant them access to a special snippet of information or behind-the-scenes information about that particular character or toy. Armorhide’s Planet Key is a repaint of the Planet X Key, and thus has a deceptive Decepticon logo molded into the back of it (which, sorry, I can’t get a clear shot of), and it has another silver Sector 7 logo printed on the front. (There is no Planet Key code printed in back for this repaint.) When his Key is inserted in the middle of his back, the front grille and bumper flip up to reveal a rack of eight yellow missiles waiting to fire off. Though they can’t be removed, the missile tips subtly slide forward a hair-or-two as the Key is being inserted. If the crane is not in place, the Key can be inserted in vehicle mode as well to reveal the missile rack. As an additional bonus, Armorhide can store his Planet Key on his rifle when in vehicle mode. (He can do this in robot mode if you wish, but it adds too much weight for the arm joints to handle.) Storing a Planet Key on/in a figure is limited to US-released figures only; the only other that I am aware of that can do this is the Ultra-class Starscream toy.
Many TF fans declared blasphemy when the original “…Cybertron” Armorhide came out; cab-over trucks usually being exclusive to Optimus Prime. But the quality of the toy, regardless of how out-of-scale it was, won many over, and few complaints exist today in regards to the original. (There have been other characters in the past called “Armorhide”- some being Decepticons- as far back as the original G1 series in 1984, but they are usually associated with armored military vehicles.) But I got him anyways not knowing its true origins, liking it all the way. And so, this was a [rare] case of me getting a repaint just because it is a repaint, and I liked the design that much. I can’t really complain about anything here. Perhaps they went a bit overboard with the majority of it being molded in black- my big complaint here being that perhaps the colors used aren’t ‘realistic’ like most of the other Scout-class repaints released during the 2007 movie line. The head is also a bit tricky to move around, as are those knees, when transforming him. But a lot of people liked this guy when he first came out in 2006 even though he was a US-exclusive. So, I recommend getting Armorhide if you missed him the first time around or if you like it as the repaint.
|Posted 28 February, 2008 - 04:07 by EVA_Unit_4A|