Cliffbee.com: BotCon Clench Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: BotCon Clench
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: SWAT Armoured Personnel Carrier



APC MODE
Height: 10cm Length: 19.5cm Width: 100.cm

   A midnight blue APC with six black plastic tyres, twin pink cannons on top and noticeable glitter throughout the blue plastic. Clench has transparent yellow windows, headlights and lightbar on top. There are some dayglo green & pink painted panels, a black and blue panel on the front along with a copper false winch. He's a retool of Universe 2.0 Onslaught without the shield, and while both are centred on a dark blue, Clench has much brighter secondary colours - as he's tributing his namesake from the European G1 era (noted for some garish colours). In a rare outburst of dull colouring he has black minesweepers on the front. It's a deliberately garish colour scheme, and one that matches the original Clench toy quite well.

   While the original Clench was a tow truck, this is an urban combat vehicle. It's a pretty good APC, too. I couldn't tell you if this is a realistic truck or not (well, not in these colours I guess). The sculpt is detailed with diamond grip areas, air vents and rivets on various panels. There's even a dedicated panel at the back to cover his knee transformation joints. Notably there are no Decepticon logos here.

   As tends to be the case with BotCon toys, the electronics are stripped out - making Clench a rather simple toy for his size. He also comes with a grey shield that can clip on top of the lightbar. It's not pictured in the BotCon promo pic (but then, they also have the headlights down). The wheels all roll freely and the turret can swing to 90 either side. There's a non-functional button behind his lightbar, part of the now abandoned electronics. The minesweepers on front fold down, the turret rotates 90 to either side and there's a hatch which opens on top of the cockpit, suitable in size for you to place a Lego figure or something similar.

   The colours are garish but faithful to the original while the play value is still good once the electronics have been stripped out. It's a nice vehicle mode which fits Clench's role as a commander, too. It's a good use of a nice mould, and one that's not really any poorer for the loss of battery operated gimmicks.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach & set aside his shield, fold down his headlights. Lift up the rear panel, fold up and slide forward. Open the panels on either side of the cockpit, fold away the ends of these panels. Swing the sides back to form legs, stow the front wheels inside the "cages" within his boots. Fold the shin panels in and stand him up. Split the front and rotate out to the sides to form his arms, unfold the forearms, swing out and rotate his fists. Fold down the cockpit to form his chest, fold and clip his waist into place. While folding down the chest reveals his head, the hatch stays in place - you need to fold it back.

   While it's not apparent in vehicle mode (or all that much in robot mode), the transformation reveals that the mould hasn't held up all that well - especially around the legs. It's surprising given that this mould hasn't been overworked, but Clench's legs do need some extra effort during transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 24cm Width: 16cm

   A midnight blue and hot pink robot with copper coloured shoulders, a copper mouth and a purple G2 Decepticon logo on his right shoulder. The pink is prominent on his hands, thighs and the cannons sticking out behind his head amongst other places while there's also some dayglo green - most notably his eyes. The blue & black patch now sits on his waist (resembling the chest sticker of the original). Clench has a new head, designed to match that of G1, and somewhat surprisingly there's no attempt at a lightpipe. Again the colours are garish against a midnight blue background and it works well again - especially the tribute.

   There's a fair bit of G1 Onslaught here, but in these colours you don't really notice. Clench looks mighty & powerful, with the barrels protruding at the back, minesweepers oh either side along with his general width. His legs are designed in a way that he stands with his legs slightly apart - combined with the shoulders and elbows that protrude, there's more than a hint of not-to-be-messed-with here.

   The play value is fairly straightforward - it's not really any less without the electronics. There's a black barrel which can deploy from the right forearm, giving Onslaught a ranged weapon. Curiously there are holes in his fists but nothing included to place in them. There's a post on the outside of his left forearm, which holds Clench's shield. The poseability is great - his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows swing in and rotate. The fists also rotate so you can lift the forearms if you want - although this puts the gun underneath and exposes the cavity where the fists stow. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees bend and rotate. His feet can swing down and while there are no heelspurs, his footprints are big enough that he doesn't need there. The head turns, and sits in a facing slightly down position, so when you turn it, he actually looks up a little. The waist is fixed, which is my only complaint - it's a victim of Hasbro's standard "build it around an electronics block" formula.

   The fixed groin is the only real issue here. This robot mode looks good, thanks to good colours working the tribute well and a very mighty look. His poseability is pretty good and his play value works despite being built around a now neutered electronics block. The colours are of course necessarily garish - but that's the point.

VARIATIONS

   A limited retool of Onslaught as mentioned, Clench was likely limited to a single production run, making variants unlikely. Hardhead also shares the mould.

OVERALL

   A good tribute to the original toy, even if the mould chosen isn't especially similar. The colours used - especially the glittery paint - really nail this as the character Clench. It's a nice mould too, but was one that was designed around electronics, so stripping them out was always going to leave the cupboard a little bare. The bright colours & resculpted head are enough to distract us from the missing electronics, since they were pretty average anyway. Both modes work well without any major flaws and it's a good tribute of a rather obscure toy. If you like/get the BotCon 2010 theme, I'd recommend this toy - 9/10

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