Cliffbee.com: Alternators Rumble Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Rumble
Series: Alternators
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Honda Civic Si

Thanks to Lord Zed for loaning me Rumble for this review.



CAR MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 7cm

   A dark red two door sports car with colourless windows and headlights, silver hubcaps and black rubberised wheels, Rumble has black bordering the windows and on his grille. There are transparent orange indicators on both front and rear lights - the red taillights also have colourless reverse lights. There are silver Honda badges on the front and back and a Hawaiian license plate on the back, white with a rainbow in the background, bearing the state's motto ("ALOHA STATE") along with his name, in black text. This is a good colour scheme which works visually and does a good job of conveying the colour scheme of the original toy (I won't get into the red/blue thing). The red plastic looks pretty good, too. It's distinctly better than some of the plastics used on earlier Alternators (such as Meister).

   Unlike most other Alternators, this mould has no Binaltech pedigree - indeed this mould was never used in that line. The detailing here is still up to the high standards set by Takara, however. The lights have parabolas inside, there are sculpted windshield wipers, doorhandles (with keyholes!), grille lines and also a petrol cap on the left rear fender. The side mirrors are chrome, along with the tailpipe underneath his rear bumper. It's pleasing to see that Hasbro improved on earlier Alt-only toys (such as Decepticharge), ensuring that this car mode retains the realism which made the BT/Alt lines so well received. Inside the cabin there are two seats, a steering wheel on the left, a gearstick, a silver radio section and air vents. It's apparently fairly, common for the seats to be assembled on the wrong sides - and Lord Zed's is affected. One really nice aspect to Rumble's sculpt is the speakers visible inside the rear window. There are the now obligatory brakepads with calipers, although they're unpainted which is slightly disappointing.

   The Civic is a "ricer", so you'd expect a lot of bling such as a huge spoiler and shiny mags, but Rumble keeps things fairly simple with a small spoiler and fairly subdued mags. Essentially he's factory accurate - more or less - which works within the context of the line. As with most BTs/Alts, Rumble can open his doors. The hood also opens along with the boot/truck at the back.

   A good vehicle mode with great attention to detail, as you'd hope for in this line. The colours suit the character well, the finish is great and the external detailing is great. I would have liked to see some paint on the calipers and the swapped seats are a flaw, although I expect you could swap them if you really wanted to. On the whole I am very happy with Rumble's vehicle mode. While it's not perfect it's very good - and more satisfying than his robot mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   As with most BT/Alt moulds, the transformation is quite involved and fiddly, although in Rumble's case the basic layout is very simple. The rear splits to become the arms, the front flips out and to become the legs, with the waist rotating and chest panels folding over. There's nothing especially clever or impressive with this transformation - as is the case with some BT-originating moulds.

   One aspect that I do like is the way the license plate does _not_ split during transformation - instead it sticks out slightly on the left shoulder.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 14cm

   A dark grey and red robot with some black and gold. I don't see why grey is so prominent compared to black, on a toy that's so obviously based on a black and red one. Anyway, the upper arms and chest are grey with some black and gold while the groin, thighs and feet are grey. His head is grey with a black face, light blue eyes (odd for a Decepticon) and a gold crest. The red is limited to the fringes of the upper arms, his boots ands the doors hanging off his hips. The lower arms are chrome silver, which I'll come back to. Overall, it's a nice colour scheme, but there's just not enough black and too much grey - for no compelling reason - to really make this colour scheme a good representation of Rumble's colours. There's a gold Decepticon logo on his chest.

   Despite the overuse of grey, this robot is quite clearly still Rumble. The spool holes are still on his chest, thanks to specific moulding on his chest, with good use of gold paint. The head is a good updating of the original - the overall shape is more rounded and less flat (since it's no longer such a flat alt mode) but the crown and face are those of Rumble. The lower arms are Rumble's famous piledrivers, which really ensures that this toy is Rumble - but they're also his biggest failing. There are no forearms, just the piledrivers, so we're not given the option of proper forearms, and the articulation is inevitably compromised. The piledrivers are released by small black buttons inside his shoulders, but there's no pounding gimmick - and being spring-loaded, you can't really make then pound manually, since you'll eventually damage the springs.

   The poseability here is fairly disappointing for an Alternator. His head turns and the waist can turn a little, although this is very restricted due to the groinplates getting in the way. His shoulders are restricted ball joints while there are no elbows nor of course hands. The piledrivers tend to flop around as you pose the shoulders, since they need to be somewhat loose for the spring loaded mechanism to work. Honestly, slide tabs would have been much better in this regard. His hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and rotate. The ankles are ball jointed but they're a little looser than they should be and the heelspurs aren't too substantial. I find Rumble's posing to be pretty bad for a toy in this line - the arms barely move, really, and the nature of his feet means that Rumble falls backwards if you try anything too interesting. The guns on his back - which are Rumble's guns - cannot be handheld, what with the lack of hands.

   A reasonable display piece despite the random swapping of black and grey, Rumble does a pretty good job of representing the character - the sculpt is great. The poseability falls down, especially in the very limited arms. I would have preferred _no_ piledrivers to having the half-baked versions he ended up getting. While I concede that it would have taken a lot more work to give this figure forearms _and_ piledrivers (the Galaxy Force tribute managed it, at a Basic pricepoint!), it should have been possible with the simple transformation he has - since the upper arms are huge chunks. Even if the piledrivers weren't so gimmicky without any play value - if they lost the cheap feeling springs - this would be a better toy. Overall, it's a reasonable robot mode, but well below the standards of Binaltech.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A good Honda Civic mode with an excellent overall finish despite the unpainted calipers. The finish is better than on many Alternators, and isn't far behind the best finishes that BT gave us, which is saying something. The relatively simple transformation gives way to a rather disappointing robot mode, which does a poor job of giving Rumble piledrivers. The sculpt is very well done, but the impact of this is tempered by the choice of grey over black, which doesn't really make sense. The robot mode looks to have been great in concept, but halfway through the designer stopped paying attention. If you're a fan of Civics or Rumble (or Frenzy, I suppose), you'll probably like this toy, but otherwise I'm not sure it's worth chasing down this hard to find figure - 7/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.