Review by EVA_Unit_4A
Payload’s vehicle mode (back) is that of a generic armored truck, whereas the majority of disguise modes used for the 2007 movie’s line-up are based on specific (and sometimes trademarked) models and classes of real-life vehicles. (Only Megatron, Barricade, and Frenzy had non-US military disguises in the movie, while the other four did.) The windows are small and narrow all around Payload, even on the cab. Large extended bumpers sit on the front and back of the vehicle mode, with bumpers protruding lengthwise from the sides. The large boxy section in back has two logos for the fictitious “Armed Security Service” company in red and white, with a small purple Decepticon icon integrated into it. The red-and-white stripe colors of the A.S.S. (hey- I did not chose a title that made up that abbreviation, people!) is reflected along the top of the nose section also. The entire nose/cab section is actually transparent plastic that has been painted that dark blue (this isn’t immediately clear, however, until he is transformed); though additional paint has been used for caution, cab, and break lights across the toy, as well as silver for the rear windows, hubcaps, and parts of the extended back bumper. The level of molded details is quite good for a figure this small- of note is the crosshatching marks as seen on real metal paneling now found along the sides and back bumper as well as grill-screens along the nose. Payload’s feature in vehicle mode is to, well… roll. We’ve certainly seen this before. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s not a combat vehicle, so there are no weapons to be seen. Need I say more?
Surprisingly, unlike the entire movie’s Deluxe-, Voyager-, and Leader-class line of figures, Payload has no Automorph feature to be used when he transforms! Whereas they all have at least one unique special feature in them (missiles, spring-loaded weapons, deployable mini-partners, etc.), Payload’s is the only one whose Automorph is not usable until after he is fully transformed. So even though it is advertised as such in both the instructions and on the container’s cardboard backing, it isn’t really an Automorph feature since it does not concern his transformation process. But I’ll get into that when we get there later… One thing I do want to mention is this one tricky part of his transformation. When you go to push his head and 'wings' backward on that small flat dark blue bar, you really have to be careful because you have to wiggle it like hell and then it suddenly clicks backwards. And the same is true when reversing the process. You just have to be really careful when you're doing this or else you'll bend or break it! Maybe it's just mine ('cause I haven't heard anyone else complain yet), but this is just way harder than it needs to be!
Payload’s robot mode (back) is cute, complex-looking, and back-heavy. From the side view, he’s got this huge black bar sticking out of his back, and two panels like implied wings on either side of his head. (I’ll get to those later…) The Cyclops-like head is what makes it identifiable with “Transformers: The Game”, which he comes from. In the official game based on the 2007 film (rated E10 or Teen depending on which platform you buy it for), Payload is not the name of just one character, but he is actually a series of mass-produced, identical-looking, please-blow-me-up! drones used by the Decepticons or Autobots depending on which side you play as. (The other drones that were made into toys are the Deluxe-class Swindle and Dreadwing.) The Autobot versions all have more, um… human-looking faces. So this toy- aside from the small logo on the side in vehicle mode- is clearly the Decepticon variant from the game. While the head is molded in dark blue and then painted silver, the back of it is a dark transparent ABS plastic which runs through to the monoeye. (Yep- guess what it doesn’t do…?) His arms are very detail-oriented, and have that similar design style to that seen in the movie- split & overlapping panels and exposed ‘mechanisms’. The same goes for his legs. Poseability is good in some ways, and lacking in others. While the head can twist side-to-side a limited bit, there is no friction in the joint, and so it just flops back-and-forth all by itself when you pick it up. One odd thing that I [and many other people online] can’t figure out is why it is that Payload’s head and surrounding neck panels can separate from his body! Clearly it is designed to do so because there are molded tech details in the occupying space (along with the trademark information), and it doesn’t stay on there very well to begin with. His arms can’t point straight down or forwards because the shoulders press up against the panel they are attached to. After you get to 90-degrees forward, then they operate normally. The wrists are ball and socket joints, but the panels that conceal them in vehicle mode rub right up against them, and prevent you from really twisting them around in robot mode. The waist joint can spin all the way around, but this mostly because it is needed for when he transforms. Ball-and-socket joints are in the hips, and then free-rotating joints are in his knees (one axis) and feet. The knees actually have two pearl-colored ABS ‘knee guard’ panels in front of them that cover the joints a bit when you bend them. Cool! Some have complained that because of that black beam and the ‘wings’ on his back, Payload is a bit back-heavy, but I’ve encountered no such problems; so long as he doesn’t bend his torso backwards to look up, he’s fine. (Besides, how many Transformers can do that successfully anyways…?) Depending on how loose or tight the joints are in them, the ‘wings’ can flop around a bit, and tend not to stay in one position easily. But that can be useful in a way…
Unlike just about all of the movie [and game] figures, Payload does not have an Automorph feature; which is utilized when they transform. Some figures, however, have an additional automated feature in weapons, such as the Leader-class Optimus Prime’s flip-around arm cannon; or the rotating panels on the weapon for the Deluxe-class '08 Camaro Bumblebee. Payload’s, therefore, is an automated weapon feature: when the vehicle mode’s front bumper on the back of that black bar is pressed forward, the lower half of his chest slides forward to reveal a large two-fingered claw. The claw extends about 2 ½” from Payload’s chest to the back of the pearl-colored claw. Constant pressure must be applied to the black bar to keep the claw extended, or else it will spring backwards suddenly. When the claw is retracted, the two halves spring back on their own as the bar slides backwards. If it is released suddenly, the claw will not retract correctly and it will have to be pushed out again to reset it correctly. Now, here’s another sticking point. When the wings on his shoulders are positioned correctly as mentioned in the instructions, they interfere with that vehicle’s bumper at the end of the black bar as it slides forward. Therefore, they need to be tilted inwards to make room for it. It is rather difficult to find a good grip on Payload when activating this feature without using both hands at the same time. Ideally, you are supposed to grip his lower torso/waist while pressing forward with your thumb, a motion similar to using a caulking gun applicator. But this implies that one of his arms will need to be moved to make way for your hand. Any other hand grip and it becomes difficult to maintain pressure on the bar and hold him steady without using your other hand. You know those big puffy coats that little kids wear in winter? They’re so thick, and the kids are so small, that it raises their arms up and makes them look chubby. Well, I think that this drone looks just like that. Not muscled or fat or blocky (as Transformers tend to be), but rather like he’s wearing one of those kids’ coats. And to top it off, he has thickening lower legs & feet that make him look like he’s wearing winter boots! (Having not played the game, I’d guess that he’s the slower muscle-bot of the drones.) But looking closer, the level of detail is quite pleasant and very reminiscent of the intricate designs seen in the film- particularly on his lower arms, upper torso, and lower legs. Posing him is also good despite that long bar in back. Transforming him can be a little tricky at times- the molds for the ABS plastic are so sharp-edged that sometimes rounded edges would have been nice for things to slip over and around! Why does his head pop off? That front bumper is also prone to popping off, and could’ve used a screw or some glue as many others have pointed out online. (Some complain that the panel on the claw pops off as well, but I haven’t encountered this… yet.) In vehicle mode, he looks just fine. A little more paint for windows and the red & white striping would’ve been nice, but I can live with what’s already there. I really like this guy. I find it rather difficult to think of him as a bad guy. He’s just too- ehh… cute to be a Decepticon! And despite all of his quirks, or not appearing in the movie itself and rather from a video game (I tend to avoid ‘filler’ toys that don’t appear on the screen), I still recommend getting Payload.
|Posted 29 November, 2007 - 03:04 by EVA_Unit_4A|