Voyager-class Decepticon Lugnut
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
Optimus was a young and optimistic recruit in the Autobot Academy, wanting to face off against real Decepticons in a battle as part of the Elite Guard. Unfortunately, he missed the war by a few million years, and eventually failed to pass the Academy. His ambitions and dreams crushed, Optimus was instead assigned command of a small maintenance crew for the tedious and boring duty of repairing and cleaning-up the Space Bridge network. But when the Autobot crew accidentally comes across the very powerful, life-giving All Spark which was lost at the end of the war, they are suddenly ambushed by the greatly-feared leader of the Decepticons, Megatron, and his own broken army of experienced soldiers in their search for the legendary artifact. The Autobots get away from the Decepticon warship, and Megatron is destroyed in a fluke explosion, but damage causes their ship to crash on an unknown planet. Optimus Prime and his crew go into emergency stasis lock for 50 years, and reactivate in the future underneath Lake Erie near Detroit, Michigan. The Autobots reformat their alternative forms to match those of Earth vehicles so as to blend in. As they begin to explore Detroit, they come across a human girl named Sari Sumdac, whose father owns the largest robot manufacturer on the planet. When she sneaks aboard their ship to see more of the transforming alien robots, Sari encounters the All Spark, and it rebuilds her electronic key card to carry many of its own powers. With Sari’s help in understanding Earth’s unusual cultures and customs, Ratchet, Prowl, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, and Optimus Prime swear to protect the All Spark from rogue Decepticons until Elite Guard reinforcements arrive.
Of all of Megatron’s followers, perhaps no other is more blindly-faithful than Lugnut. A powerful warrior in his own right, Lugnut’s fanatical loyalty is often tested and joked about by other Decepticons, but he would proudly destroy them all if only Megatron would order him to do so. Though the Decepticon leader only just tolerates the dimwitted hulk which adores him so, he keeps Lugnut close by more because of his strength, speed, and power- citing heavy explosive punches, paired laser turrets, a huge spiked mace, multiple specialized bombs, and unmatched physical strength. When the Decepticon leader was lost aboard the Autobots’ ship, Lugnut was absolutely devastated, but forever-vigilant as he searched the galaxy for Megatron with the multiple-personality triple-changer Blitzwing. Finally arriving on Earth, Lugnut was unexpectedly contacted by his deactivated leader, and ordered to recover the All Spark. Elated to find his master still alive, Lugnut assumed the disguised form of a heavy Earth bomber and proceeded to seek out the Autobots and the All Spark, with a confused Blitzwing (who could not hear Megatron) clamoring behind.
. . .
The voice of Decepticon Lugnut is performed by cartoon-veteran actor David Kaye. While he also covers both Optimus Prime and Grimlock in “Transformers Animated”, he is no stranger to the franchise- making his most-memorable debut as Megatron for both "Beast Wars: Transformers" (1996-99) & "Beast Machines: Transformers" (1999-2001), and then going on to voice three other incarnations of the evil Decepticon leader (and thus, Galvatron) in the 2004-06 Unicron Trilogy ("...Armada", "...Energon", & "...Cybertron").
Lugnut’s vehicle mode (back) is that of a heavy bomber which he scanned on the tarmac of an air force base near Detroit. Following the controversial animation style in the series, proportions of the bomber mode are exaggerated or stretched in odd ways. The primary colors are purple and turquoise, and there are black, yellow, and red highlights. The nose of the bomber is very reminiscent of the real Boeing B-29 Stratofortress bomber from World War II- using no indented cockpit on top of the nose, but rather a large array of many smaller windscreens all across it to make the entire nose a windscreen. And then the nose is flanked on either side by paired laser cannon turrets. A third laser cannon turret of different design sits on top of the fuselage between the wing mounts. The wings both feature an air intake on top, and a very large turquoise engine nacelle beneath which almost touch the ground. As the fuselage gradually slopes upwards moving aft, the tail features a set of rectangular turquoise engines sitting on either side, and each of those has two roughly “L”-shaped purple diagonal stabilizers. A molded detail along the fuselage on both sides beneath the wings is eight small non-painted triangular windows. A gold-printed Decepticon symbol is found on the top of both wingtips.
One thing about Transformers toys that were based on flying characters is their traditional lack of composition along their undersides when it comes to hiding their robot component; when you turn them over, all those robot parts hang around and completely spoil the disguised form. Now, you will always- let me say again, always- have something from the alternate mode(s) showing through the disguised form of any Transformer; that’s a given. But here, Hasbro worked very hard to keep this to an absolute minimum, with only Lugnut’s legs & feet showing beneath the tail, and the waist rotation joint for the transformation between the retractable wheels. And even then, the legs blend in very well with the lines and curves of the bomber’s shape. The only other noticeable give-away is the handle of Lugnut’s mace sticks out on top of the fuselage, but that can be ignored easily enough. Very, very good, Hasbro! I applaud and compliment your hard work!
. . .
For movable features, both nose and fuselage landing gear can be extended so that Lugnut can roll around, and all three turquoise turrets can free-twist around 360°.
Automorph Technology is a special feature which was introduced in the “Transformers: Armada” (2002-03) line, and returned in “Transformers: Cybertron” (2006); though it was not called such until the debut of the toy line based on the first live-action film “Transformers” (2007). What Automorph does is- depending on which toy is involved- use a series of internal levers & gears, triggers, and buttons to move one part of the figure without you having to move it yourself; it automatically transforms for you. Sometimes, an Automorph feature will be electronically-powered, though this is reserved for special larger sets only.
For Lugnut, there are three Automorph features, though only one of them is directly involved in his transformation:
- As the top half of the back fuselage is rotated downwards (after the legs have been moved out of the way first), the section above/between the wings automatically rotates around 180°, hiding the top laser turret and revealing Lugnut’s head. However, just before this process is completed, the nose section splits in two and suddenly springs apart to either side, both revealing the center of his chest and bulking his upper torso up to cover the inner wing sections a bit. When transforming him back, the aft fuselage will always turn the head in/out, but the nose sections must be swung back into place by you and held there until that fuselage section is back to horizontal.
The other two are for use in his robot mode only:
- When the engines beneath his wings become his lower arms, there is a pair of purple switches on both sides of them which, when slid forward, will deploy his clawed hands. Since this means he can open and close his hands at will with these switches, it is not directly connected to, nor required as part of, his transformation.
- There is a small button on the narrow end of his removed tail section. But to use it, you must insert the tab halfway-up into either of Lugnut’s hands. Then, when you press on that button on the bottom, the top array of engines/fins will spring apart to create a more-aggressive spiked mace. This will only work when he’s holding it! (According to marketing materials, officially when Lugnut slams the mace down on the ground, the mace pops out on its own, not by him/you pressing a button.) To retract the blades, the weapon has to be removed from his grip, and then you have to reset the engine covers by pressing them together until the fins fully extend again.
Lugnut’s robot mode (back)- as with his vehicle mode- very closely resembles his appearance in “...Animated”. The creators of the series at Cartoon Network have commented many times that Lugnut’s appearance was inspired by Marvel Comics’ big, mean, green comic book superhero, The Incredible Hulk. Lugnut’s Hulk is a counter to Autobot Bulkhead who, in turn, was inspired by Marvel superhero The Thing from the Fantastic Four comic books; hence why the two Cybertronians have a rivalry & connection that extends beyond simple Autobot/Decepticon allegiances, and are of similar size & strength to each other.
He has a rather hunchback look to his upper torso, his small turquoise face with five sensor eyes and large chin perched in front of his shoulders on top of his chest, not above them. (Big and stretched-out chins are a trademark feature on all “Transformers Animated” characters, so this is no exception.) His head is a little confusing- the large transparent-red monoeye on the toy possibly being mistaken for a nose, while the collective smaller painted red eyes further back looking like his ‘real’ eyes, giving him a demon- or vampire-like look. But in the series there is no doubt that he is a Cyclops. His upper torso and shoulders are very broad, allowing his huge arms and tiny elbows to hang without touching anything. His almost teardrop-shaped lower arms feature those integrated claws, which are much more pronounced in the series, but they here they blend in almost seamlessly. When you use that Automorph feature to open the claws, you expose the hole that his mace attaches to; in the series, this hole is actually a red detonator button for his explosive power punches. By contract, his legs are actually smaller than his arms, giving him the look of a very powerful upper body. And really, this is the only contradiction from his “...Animated” form, where his legs are like thick tree trunks to match his arms. On this Voyager-class toy, the legs are just thinner, but are still accurate in their length, shape, and function; and really this is understandable because of how well they blend into the fuselage in vehicle mode (something that I’m certainly willing to accept). Officially, you do not see Lugnut’s mace when he’s not using it, but on the toy you can keep it stored on his back in its collapsed form if you wish without worrying about him falling over. And finally, because Lugnut’s wings fold up against his shoulders, hiding the Decepticon symbols, a third gold symbol sits on his chest, hidden in vehicle mode by the bomber’s nose.
Even though Lugnut appears top heavy with small legs, this is just an illusion; he is actually very well balanced even on carpet. There is very little “kibble” [extra parts from transformation which hang off areas not associated with the robot mode] such as the wings on his shoulders, but the only amount that doesn’t fit [and isn’t seen in the series] is the top aft part of the fuselage where his collapsed mace is stored, but it doesn’t interfere with posing; perhaps only hampering how to hold on to him a little. As to his range of motion for posing, it is fantastic. In fact, the only things that don’t move are his waist, wrists, and head. And the cool thing is, this awesome range of motion is accomplished without a single ball-and-socket joint! Both axis of his shoulder joints are the only ratcheting joints he has- pitching up-and-over comfortably through 360°, as well as spreading outwards quite a bit. His elbow is actually double-jointed, and can pass beyond bending 90° forward! Additionally, the lower arm can twist side-to-side all the way around just above the elbow joint as well. His hips can only bend straight up 90°, but both they and the knees have swivel joints which allow for free-turning posing postions. Actually, the knee joints sit a tad further down than the molded “joints” are, so they bend a little lower than expected. The three parts of each foot can also bend down (though only because of his transformation). Though the top turret switches places with Lugnut’s head during Automorph, the two forward turrets remain intact on either side of his chest and can still be twisted up-and-down. And finally, a feature which has become more common in the last few years is the light-up eyes. In Lugnut’s case, there is a strip of transparent red plastic running across the back of his head, and when you shine a light through it, his monoeye glows. (Now, does it work properly? Heh... no! Not even a sparkle! It’s as if there’s nothing transparent in there to begin with. And, honestly, I actually expected it to work this time because of the simplified head design...)
Many people and longtime Trans-fans were once more greatly disturbed by the newest incarnation of those famous shape-shifting alien robots in disguise; for example, turning the famous Optimus Prime into a measly wannabe with no ambitions and trust issues, or the overall design style of merging & graceful lines/curves matching that of other recent cartoons such as Disney’s hugely-popular “Kim Possible” (2002-2007). And yet after a rocky start in trying to win back the minds of the fans, the show has become a hit on its own as much as it is a tribute to the original G1 series from 1984. Plus, “Transformers: Animated” is an original American series like “Beast Wars: Transformers” (1996-99) and “Beast Machines: Transformers” (1999-2001) before it, rather than being a dubbed anime production from Japan. The same can be said of the toys thus far in their initial releases. But as word has spread across the Internet, the toys have come to shine on their own- not just for their functionality, but for their absolute and striking similarities to their on-screen counterparts, which has never been as fully successful before- where proportions were usually off, colors were wrong, and functions were off or not mentioned. In other words, after 23 years, we are finally getting in our hands what we see on the screen in a way never seen before in Transformers history.
I’ll say right off that the biggest letdown for this Voyager-class toy was his size compared to his on-screen counterpart. In the series, he matches Optimus Prime in height (with Megatron towering over both, BTW), but even the Voyager-class Optimus Prime (Earth Mode) toy stands taller than this guy. Really, as far as toy size is concerned, he’s not much bigger than a Deluxe-class figure (such as Bumblebee here). (With Hasbro’s recent trend of making a character toy in more than one size, I can only hope they’ll make a bigger version of this guy as well…) Also, in vehicle mode, the large round engines beneath the wings look more like fat bombs or fuel tanks, but it’s kinda hard to tell either way. And if you want to pitch an arm backwards, the transformation joint will usually bend before the proper shoulder joint does; they could’ve tightened that up a bit. Beyond this, I have no complaints. Yeah, the legs and elbows are a little skinny, but I can live with that. The range of motion is awesome to say the least. (I think they could have forgone the light-tube eyes in favor of a twisting head.) The Automorph features are all pretty cool (I like the one in the mace best), and you don’t have difficulty transforming him in any way. While opening and closing the claws is a little tricky (it’s hard to figure out where to put your fingers), it’s a very cool idea, as was setting up the mace’s spring-out feature so that it would only work when he’s grabbing it. And so, I enthusiastically recommend that you pick up Voyager-class Decepticon Lugnut; he’s totally worth it!
Oh... and please forgive me my little GERWALK moment here; I couldn't resist.
--Renewing the Charge--
[DISCLAIMER: This last section is not supported, advertised, or endorsed by either Hasbro, DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures, or Warner Brothers Records. It is a fan-supported effort completely independent from all companies affiliates with the 2007 film "Transformers".]
Not even a week after "Transformers" entered theaters on July 3rd and became a blockbuster, scores of fans were clamoring for a copy of the original musical score by Steve Jablonsky. However, WB Records said in an official statement that the score would not be released for the foreseeable future. In protest, a fan-supported online petition was set-up to persuade the record company to reconsider. By the end of two months, over 5500 signatures had been recorded (your's truly at #1112).
Victory for the signers was claimed when “Transformers: The Score” was released in October that same year, containing just-shy of one hour of the original score. Jablonsky also personally wrote to the creators of the petition thanking them for their efforts. The CD would go on to become the 32nd best-selling soundtrack on Amazon.com at the time of its release.
However, victory was short lived. Because the CD was so popular, it disappeared from shelves rapidly, and was not restocked. By the end of 2007- a mere two-and-a-half months later- new CDs were no longer being produced, but were still being sought after. Reports of online price scalping were not uncommon when stores ran out, easily selling for double the original prices. (Don't worry- I got my own copy in October, and loved every minute of it!)
. . .
Well, the folks at The Knight Shift who brought you the first petition have come back, and they are saying "Give the people what they want". I recently learned that a new Petition 2.0 is now up, and is accepting signatures once more. This new effort is directed at Warner Brothers Records, and is asking for an extended reissue of "Transformers: The Score", with the potential for additional original tracks to be added.
(Yours truly is petition signer #563.)
If you signed the original petition, I both thank you and ask you to put forth your effort on this new petition as well. If you did not sign the original petition, but got the CD, please sign this new petition. If you are a fan of Steve Jablonsky, please sign this new petition. If you are long-time Trans-fan, or you simply enjoyed the film the movie, then please sign this new petition. I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the original CD release, and I want others to share in it as well.
|Posted 27 June, 2008 - 12:09 by EVA_Unit_4A|