Series: Japanese Generation 1
Function: Assistant Commander Knight
Alternate Mode: Racing Buggy
Thanks to Pulse for lending me Blacker for this review.
Height: 6cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 11cm
A black dune-buggy like racer with a central red block, which sits underneath the transparent orange wraparound window. There's a lot of chrome silver on this buggy, which I appreciate. The engine block at the back is silver along with a headlight bar on the front. His wheels are white with black rubber tyres - something pretty much unheard of in G1 after 1986! There are a couple of simple red stickers, including one on his bonnet with an Autobot logo. The black, white, silver and of course the rubber tyres all work well. The colours are simple but effective.
As much as I like the chrome and the rubber, I don't really like this car mode, visually. Blacker is big and chunky, in an oversized knock-off way - although the more expensive elements ensure that he doesn't actually look like a knock-off as such. Many of the details are quite simple - although the engine block is fairly detailed and the fenders on the side of the red block _look_ like arms (which they are).
The play value is okay here. The rubber tyres roll quite well and thanks to the spikes on them, he wont slide along. You can plug his white sword into a hole on the roof, although this is more for storage than as a weapon. You can also plug Roadcaeser's blue chestplate into this hole, complete with the gestalt head as a cannon, and while this isn't much more than a way to store the add on pieces, I'm happy the designer gave Blacker a way to store this stuff. Sure, it's very kibbly, but the head does work as a cannon. The wraparound window lifts up, revealing a cabin in which you can seat his mini Brainmaster figure as a driver. None of this is especially impressive, although it does spice things up a little.
An underwhelming car mode, really. There are some nice aspects but there are better Transformers cars with chrome and rubber. For his size, Blacker really needs more detail - this detailing would have been suitable on a toy half the size. Sure, he combines, but the engineering in this toy isn't impressive enough to carry such a simple buggy mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove the driver and weaponry, set aside. Extend the rear and split to form legs, stand him up. Fold back the front of the car onto his back, swing down the chestplate, insert the mini figure, close the chestplate which will cause the face to slide up into the head. Give him the sword.
Height: 16cm Width: 11cm
Again black and red, this time without chrome, Blacker instead relies on silver stickers on his elbows and waist. His torso, upper thighs and head are red while the boots and arms are black, the lower thighs are grey. His face is silver with yellow eyes. There are a few blue stickers here and there - again we have a sticker with an Autobot logo, central on his chest. The face looks really nice, and is the highlight of an otherwise uneventful robot mode. The colour scheme itself is uninteresting, without being bad.
Blacker has a very simple car mode and a laughable transformation. It should come as no surprise then that his robot mode is uncomplicated. The sculpt is generally a little better, but then everything visible is the underside of the buggy, so the designer had a blank slate. Even then they didn't do a great job - the feet are ill defined and the thighs very bland.
The play value is again pretty minimal. The Brainmaster figure offers a nice gimmick, and the toy really relies on this gimmick, failing to capture the imagination as an actual Transformer. The arms swing and this is all Blacker gets in the way of meaningful articulation. The head (well, helmet) is part of the torso. The sword has posts on the side, so he can kind of hold it like a gun, except it looks like he's trying to fire a sword, which is not impressive. Again the blue chestplate plugs in - this time on the outside of either arm as a shield, with the head along for the ride, again as a cannon.
The Brainmaster figure itself, which is unnamed as far as I can tell, is essentially a scaled down copy of Blacker - the limbs are black and the body and head red. The face is silver, with silver eyes this time, and is well sculpted. The arms swing and the legs move as one, allowing it to sit. It has more poseability than Blacker himself.
The robot mode is his better mode, if only for the fact that it ends up being a little more focused. It's still poor - the articulation is a joke while the sculpt is passable and his colours solid but unspectacular. The Brainmaster figure is the highlight here, which is not a good thing.
None that I'm aware of. Gripper is a repaint of Blacker.
More than anything else, Blacker suffers from being far too simple for his size. The sculpt, articulation and transformation are all a joke. The Brainmasters that combine to form Roadcaeser far too simple to offer any impressive engineering. The brain gimmick is okay, but isn't enough to make the Transformer work. If you could snap this guy up for retail he'd be okay, but he's not worth the premium his rarity will likely add to the price - 3/10