Onslaught USA Edition
Review by Wallas
Remember that Universe 2.0 Onslaught that Hasbro released in first wave of the toyline? Here's a hint. Dkun reviewed it some time ago.
Well, guess what. Being those evil mischief makers that people in TakaraTomy are, they decided to pull a prank on all us good people relying on the toy company founded by Polish immigrants for our healthy mecha dosage. Namely, not only they designed Ultra Onslaught, but upon seeing Hasbro's version they said: "That's not how this character's supposed to look like. Let us show you Gajins how it's done." And what they said they did. Thus we (or rather Japanese fans) were introduced to a colour-wise upgraded version of the classic Combaticon that puts the US of A edition to shame and effortlessly brainwashes us G1 fans into lusting for -this- variant. Thanks a lot, Takara.
Luckily I found the whole Henkei Ultra trio on sale in one of the very few (and not existing any longer at that) anime toy shops in Poland for 30 dollars a head and opted for liberating them from the store shelf. Anyway, let's dig in.
Upon releasing Onslaught from his packaging (which, unlike most Henkeis, is a Universe 2.0 Onslaught's box with add-on stickers), we get this nicely looking turtle-type SWAT tank/ armoured transporter. It's a very solid alt mode in terms of structural integrity, at least for a Transformer toy. Everything locks in, nothing falls off or moves out of its designated place. A few lines showing the separation of parts can be spotted here and there, but thanks to Onslaught's colour scheme they are barely visible and don't affect the appearance of the vehicle. I wish some other TF toys had that one covered...
At this point I'd like to address what differs Onslaught from your American variant of this toy: the amazing, shiny colour scheme. This is designed to be much closer to the original Generation One Onslaught and it looks amazing. The colours are vibrant and eye catching (though the main hull colour is in fact closer to deep, dark green than to dark blue like the images suggest) and the olive paint apps are applied flawlessly, as are the decals. Looking at this toy is pure joy and reminds me of the mental blackouts I have when I look at Generations Thrust.
One interesting thing to point out is that unlike other Henkei toys, neither of the three Ultra Class Toransuformas have a single chrome part, which is so characteristic for the line. I'm not sure how does that work, but probably this is to stress how these Henkeis are basically upgraded US versions that were not initially planned for the Henkei line up. To further my theory, note that these do not come in Japanese boxes, which I explain by TakaraTomy not wanting to use extra money on designing new, bigger Ultra-sized boxes for just three Transformers. The cost cut is also embodied by no chrome. Frankly though, the chrome parts on other TFs are hit just about as often as miss, so I'm not longing for them, especially when here this would be most likely applied to the vulcan barrels.
Looking from the side, it is clear something's not right with the middle wheel axis of this tank. This is because the middle wheel is part of the toy's electronic system and is responsible for one of the three sounds Onslaught can produce. By rolling the tank on the floor, we trigger a switch that activates the engine sound. Quite nice.
Also, looking at the slightly odd angle of the vulcan barrels, these weapons are definitely anti-personnel tuned. That or designed to shoot enemies some 5 metres before the tank.
One thing that makes Onslaught's alt mode slightly better than Powerglide's (reviewed by me earlier) is that aside from the knee joints on the back, there is absolutely no indication he has a robot mode in this form. Much appreciated when you lay this toy next to anything based on the Universe 2.0 Silverbolt mould.
This little sign normally means absolutely nothing to someone living in Europe, but apparently "Monzo" is the nickname of an American Transformers fan who does a lot of data collecting for Hasbro, enough to warrant a honorary mentioning on a toy. I can imagine Monzo's grin whenever he looks at this toy.
The cow catchers (at least that's what I hear these tools are called in military slang) can be independently lowered to allow Onslaught to wipe obstacles out of his way, and Deluxe Transformers are perfect of the role of those bothersome objects.
Sadly, the adjustable headlights are just as unpainted pieces of clear orange plastic as they were in Universe 2.0 . Looks like TakaraTomy tweaked the old paints apps, but added none of their own.
The vulcan turret in this mode is by default covered by the huge plate of the shield that is put here mostly for storage purposes, as it it serves its main function in the robot mode. It's a nice piece of accessory that latches on thanks to a small clamp underneath and the signalling lights. The good thing about the shield is that it does not obscure the view of the four red LEDs built into the turret all that much. Of course its better for the shield to be removed to see them in full glory, but they are still visible with it on; more than that, the top includes a separate hinged piece that acts as an extension of the electronic switch and activates the lights and sounds when depressed in a fashion similar to your standard spring-loaded gun triggers on modern TFs.
But seriously, why keep the shield on when the turret beneath is so nicely detailed? The interesting thing about the side LEDs is that their compartments are semi-coated in some sort of reflective film so that the light feature is more prominent when activated. Why is the trigger for it red is beyond me, since this is the only red plastic part on the entire toy (with only five small painted touches to add to it). My theory is that this way the location of the switch is more obvious for first-time users.
Speaking of the electronic features on the turret, they are pretty basic: LEDs blink when the button is pushed down and sounds of sirens and machine gun fire can be heard in turns for as long as you keep your finger on the trigger. The good thing about the siren sound is that in the US version (or at least in initial runs) it died after the first sequence, making for a rather odd sound effect. TakaraTomy fixed this in their release.
The turret can spin about 90 degrees to the left and right. Further movement is blocked by the virtue of electronics installed both in the turret and the main body. Can't really say I miss this feature, especially when as a Transformer geek I'm used to lack of turret mobility caused by the transformation mechanics.
Time for some comparisons. We'll start off by adding Universe 2.0 Hound and Universe 2.0 Brawn to the mix. While optically Onslaught is the smallest Ultra of his series, he's still decent-sized.
This guy you should recognise as I reviewed him here before, the American version of Universe 2.0 Powerglide.
Sadly I don't possess the original G1 Onslaught or his Encore version. At least I have Car Robots Dolrailer that shares most of the mold with Combaticon captain. You can clearly see that while these two are two different concepts, they do share some base themes like the twin barrel main gun.
That would wrap up the vehicle mode. Logically, we shall now proceed to robot mode.
The robot mode is just great. I really like how Onslaught-ish is is, from the colours to imposing, combat-friendly design that emanates from this toy. It just feels right for the Combaticon squad leader. I'll admit, at the beginning I wasn't sure if the cone-like structures with the cow catchers should really be attached to the shoulder guards, especially when they are semi-hollow to accommodate part of the torso in alt mode, but somehow they grew on me and now don't bother me at all. What disturbs me more straight out of transformation sequence is the odd "short pants" effect visible on the thighs where parts start to be coloured differently at the horizontal rotation joint. This weird sight is also characteristic for toys such as G1-coloured Masterpiece Starscream (ver. 1.0) and Henkei Powerglide and instantly reminds me of Animated Ratchet and Beast Boy, among others. No idea who decided the legs must be dual-coloured, but he was clearly trying to sabotage this toy.
The back is typical for your everyday Transformer- not really all that good for promoting on the shelf. It's not really all that bad as in the case of such monsters like Beast Wars Rhinox where all you see are panels of alt mode, or Universe 2.0 Silverbolt where his alt mode literally hangs off his back. Its more of a personal nagging that the riot shield hides so much of the robots upper body away from the view. Otherwise there's actually very little of kibble here. And the shield problem can be fixed easily enough, exposing the very nice looking cannon turret again.
The head is excellent. It's the same mould as the US counterpart, but with different colours scheme it looks exactly like Onslaught should. No offence to owners of the American version, but to me it looked a lot like a Spawn crossover. This on the other hand is very true to G1, especially the silver faceplate which was one of Onslaught's trademarks.
The eyes are made of a single piece of engraved clear plastic that allows the red light from the LED inside the head to pass through. Sadly the eyes have no reflective film like the turret lights, so whenever the electronics is turned on, this Decepticon starts showing similarities to Principality Of Zeon's mobile suits.
The torso section is ok. I like how the transformation makes the tank windows become Onslaught's chest panels (I believe a similar effect was used for his G1 animated model), but otherwise there's little to report. The torso is also where the two AAA batteries for the electronics are stored under two layers of armour plating (the panel from the tank front and another screwed-on panel beneath). This of course means no waist rotation, but it's more of a bonus with Classics/ Universe 2.0 Voyager and ups than a standard.
Now it gets gimmicky. The right arm of the robot sports a spring-loaded flip-out blaster that is (sadly and rather surprisingly) Onslaught's main offensive weapon in this mode. It looks fine and the fact it's part of the arm makes it reminiscent of the classic Decepticons, but it's hardly big enough to intimidate or kill anyone. Unless this is a closet Noisy Cricket variant. This guy clearly needs a bigger gun.
The other arm is used for defence and has a flip-out mount for the shield, which in my case is preferably placed here rather than on the back as our robot looks more action-ready that way.
Especially that the shield is actually big enough to be plausible as a protection tool, unlike some Gundams where it seems more of a decoration than part of defensive equipment.
Now, a quick poseability test. It's decent for a TF of this size. It's a stable toy for that kind of play, even if the transformation claimed all joint opportunities below the knees. Of course, this Decepticon is way too bulky to have a dynamic feel when he's posed and it ain't no Revoltech either, but if you are not one of those demanding people wanting "magic of action" all the time, it should be A-ok for you. I guess my only true gripe about the joints is what I call "Gundam elbows" where the bend has to be facing the main body in order to look good and expose the maximum amount of weapons and details, and to hide the bending hinge, which is kind of annoying as it makes posing the shield-arm difficult.
Hmm, yes, the nice thing is that Onslaught can use his turret cannons in robot mode without bending forward and exposing his precious bottom to enemy fire coming from behind. He seriously needs all the fire power he can get.
I'm going to slowly wrap up this review, so its time for a comparison shot with fellow Ultra class Hasbro-type Powerglide. Both look good, but for me Onslaught still seems better on the shelf as having something more intimidating about his overall appearance.
Onslaught tagging along with Car Robots Baldigus (RID Ruination for most of the world). Yeah, despite the latter being a combination of 5 separate robots, both mechas on this picture are virtually of the same height when counting up to the barrel tips. It's funny to keep these two on the same shelf, but they don't fit together somehow, the differences in the style of their designs resulting from over 20 year gap between their development are just too prominent for my taste.
Time for a final conclusion. Onslaught is a nice toy for me. Not perfect, but far from tragic or even bad. The alt mode looks neat, with gorgeous colour scheme and good functionality for what it is. The transformation is simple and intuitive; quite fun, too. And robot mode? For the looks purpose it's very good. It slightly loses its touch due to the way the gimmicks are built into it (and he seriously needs some properly-sized gun for himself!), but if your main intention of buying this toy is to have an updated G1 Onslaught that will mainly sit on your shelf, this is definitely worth picking up, especially over the US version.
|Posted 11 November, 2011 - 04:47 by Wallas|