Cliffbee.com: Botcon 2009 Banzai-Tron Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Banzai-Tron
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Speedboat

Thanks to fatbot for loaning me Banzai-Tron for this review.



SPEEDBOAT MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 25cm Width: 11cm

   A dark grey speedboat with some purple along the sides, Banzai-Tron is a repaint of Energon Mirage representing the G1 Actionmaster. Both the grey and purple have speckles in them, and there's some lime green and orange painted details behind the bridge, which features a transparent yellow window. There's some black in the form of winglets on the sides of the hull and four missiles on top of the hull, rounding out the colour scheme. The purple is a lot darker than on the Actionmaster - in fact the grey & purple remind me of Anime Astrotrain - but otherwise the colours do match the G1 toy quite well. There's some white Cybertronian text on either side which reads, "To the victor go the profits" (so I'm told - my Cybertronian is quite rusty), a nod to his original tech specs. It's a good colour scheme which tributes the character nicely as well as working well visually (achieved by keeping the brighter colours to a minimum). It's easily better than the random mix which was Mirage, and about as good as Dreadwing (Energon repaint).

   Long, sleek and armed to the teeth, this is a vessel designed to zoom in and sink the enemy. Banzai-Tron has twin missile launchers on either side of the stern and a rack on the deck with two more missiles. The missiles are long black affairs which double as gunbarrels and will fire about half a metre. There are also four purple missiles on the underside of the foils at the bow, which can detach and drop (with some effort) but do not fire. They're mainly for decoration and add to his arsenal.

   There are six wheels underneath the boat, allowing Banzai-Tron to roll along the table. I'm pretty sure he doesn't float. There's a grey yellow button between the launchers that lays flush on the deck, pressing it back will cause the launchers to pop up on their yellow supports. As is usually the case with BotCon toys, the electronics are stripped out here.

   The boat mode holds together quiet well, and while the sides are little more than giant panels, they do the job. You can detach the rear panels and fold them out to form wings, but the powerlinx ports on top of the stern to which they attach will flop around, making the wings somewhat loose. I doubt there's a real boat that looks like this, but it's believable enough as an attack boat of the future, colours aside. The only real break in the hull is the back, but then you're not going to display this guy stern forward anyway.

   This is a pretty good boat mode, and the boat mode itself makes Banzai-Tron pretty unusual amongst Transformers. Since the Actionmaster toy gave us no real hints to his former alt mode, a boat works perfectly well for Banzai-Tron, and this one will work just fine - it's well armed, sleek and Banzai-Tron's colours are laid out well here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Complex. The bow of the boat unfolds into backpack and side-plates, while the stern ends up becoming most of the robot itself. The head and legs are tucked underneath the stern, the arms are the top of the bridge while the bridge itself becomes his chest. The bow panels end up on his forearms. Far too complex to explain here, and trickier going the other way since you have to fold the arms just right.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18.5cm Width: 15cm

   The grey blue that dominated the boat is still his main colour, but there's a lot more happening here. There's green painted on his wrists, shoulders and shins while there's purple on his torso, fists and thighs. His face is red while his eyes are transparent yellow with a fairly useless lightpipe while that orange behind the bridge is now on his chest, along with a spark crystal. The colours more or less line up to those of the Actionmaster and the head's colours are very close - it helps that the head happens to be the right shape. There's a purple sculpted Decepticon logo on the left side of the spark crystal on his chest, rounding out a good colour scheme.

   Well proportioned with a tall crown-like forehead, Banzai-Tron really does look like an extension of the concept introduced in 1990 - at a glance you wouldn't even pick that he's a repaint (if you didn't know the mould, of course). This is a well armed robot, with powerful with the launchers hanging off his forearms. You can extend the wings on his forearms if you like, and the deck launchers can also deploy overhead. The wings don't really add anything other than width but the overhead missilerack looks awesome - it's meant to be a powered-up mode thing, but I'd recommend deploying them as standard, since the pop-out rack trick doesn't really bring any play value now.

   Ignoring the various weaponry Banzai-Tron has twenty-four points of articulation, which is pretty impressive. What really impresses me is that most of it is useful, thanks to the bow-panels which hang off his waist and can act as stabilisers. The head and waist turn, there are two joints per shoulder, _four_ per elbow, two per knee and hip and hinged ankles (with useful heelspurs). The button on his back can activate the firing sound and all four launchers are usable in this robot, making for a very playable robot mode. The rotators in his knees pop out very easily, while the hip joints are unnecessarily tight, which severely hampers the effective poseability in the legs.

   The face is very sinister, which is appropriate for a Decepticon which such a menacing arsenal. The torso is a weird fusion of panels, including the electronics pack, but it comes together reasonably well aside from the yellow back. The giant bow panels hanging off his waist are big and kibbly, but from the front they don't really detract and help make him stable. The purple missiles on these panels are a non-event now, but then with the kick-ass overhead missile launchers, that's no loss.

   A good robot mode despite a profusion of panels, and Banzai-Tron's paint job really sells this tribute. The colours work despite there being more bright paint here and he's armed to the teeth, so he displays well despite the kibble on his back.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Banzai-Tron was sold exclusively at BotCon 2009 and was likely limited to a single production run, making variants unlikely. As mentioned he is a repaint of Energon Mirage/Dreadwing.

OVERALL

   An excellent repaint of a good mould, Banzai-Tron serves as an excellent tribute to the G1 toy - partly because the head shape happens to match, but also because the paint job is well executed. Of course it helps that the Actionmaster carried no clues to its former alt mode, but that blank slate helps here. This toy has a lot of play _and_ display value, despite the massive panels hanging behind the robot mode. Much better than the make-up gun job on Energon Mirage, and more meaningful that Dreadwing. This is the best version of the mould yet, so if you only want one version and have the funds, grab this guy - 9/10

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