Cliffbee.com: Dai Atlas Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Dai Atlas
Series: Japanese Generation 1
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Supreme Commander
Alternate Mode: Plane, Drill Tank, Base

Thanks to heroic decepticon for loaning me Dai Atlas for this review



PLANE MODE
Height: 13cm Length: 29.5cm Width: 30cm

   A blue, black, orange and white block with a silver nosecone and white wings, there's a liberal dose of "because we say so" about this plane. There are black rubber treads underneath, with grey runners on the sides. The colours don't really mesh that well, but I don't think the designer was going for that. It's mixed without being garish, and none of the colours clash. There are red & black stickers on the wings and the white tailfin, and Autobot logo stickers on the wings as well, rounding out a fairly average colour scheme.

   As mentioned, this mode is essentially a block with wings. There are quite a few plane elements here mind you - this is his main alt mode, after all. The wings, nose and tailfin are joined by black thrusters on either side of the "fuselage" (ie block). Still, there's not much in the way of aerodynamics, and I seriously doubt that Dai Atlas would ever get off the ground. To be honest it looks more like a tank than a jet, which is kinda sad considering there's also a drill tank mode.

   The play value here is based around the treads. If Dai Atlas has 2 AA batteries in the compartment underneath, he can roll along either forward or backwards. It's not especially impressive in this mode, mind you. Alongside this mode, Speeder can man a small gun platform composed of grey runners (just for this platform), a blue stand and an orange gun.

   Not an especially impressive plane mode, since it's a block with extensions, but I guess when we consider that it's one of three alt modes, it's okay. This is probably the least satisfying of those modes, mind you.

DRILL TANK MODE
Height: 14cm Length: 29.5cm Width: 16.5cm

   This mode is essentially the block with plane elements removed. The wings are set aside, the tailfin is replaced by the blue platform/orange gun and the thrusters are swung forward. There's a hatch on top which folds back, revealing a black gun, and his black handgun plugs into a hole in front of the now open cockpit. Speeder can ride in this cockpit. Unusually for a Micromaster vehicle, there's no post inside for Speeder's feet to plug into.

   The treads - and their gimmick - remain here, and the nose of the jet forms a fairly poor drill. It lacks a thread but has the sculpted (but unpainted) cockpit of the jet mode visible behind it. It does spit as the treads move, which is nice. The blue gun platform at the back provide somewhere for a second Micromaster (or Speeder) to stand.

   I prefer this mode to the plane for a couple of reasons - not least that the treads make a lot more sense here. The shape of the toy is more tank than plane and there's more play value. It's not at all realistic, of course, but then that's not at all the point of this toy.

BASE MODE
Height: 29cm Length: 28cm Width: 34cm

   A largely blue and black base with the white wings on either side and a white tower (the front of the plane) at the back. Much of the toy's engineering goes into this mode - the vehicle mode might be similar but this mode is a Dai Atlas unfolded completely. There are orange ramps which plug into either wing while two blue ramps plug into the front. There are no Autobot logos here (none on the tank mode either, come to think of it), but there's a different set of red stickers on the wings - which are underside up.

   The treads are the focus point here, with the thrusters now unfolded to form ramps. The idea is that you place a Micromaster onto little orange plates on one of these ramps, lift up a lever and watch the Micromaster roll down onto the tread, which is now a conveyer leading the to blue ramp. It's a nice idea even if the top ramps are a little rough for it to work every time. The blue gun platform plugs in between the conveyers, and now it turns as the motor operates. Both black guns are underneath the tower, lined up with the orange gun on the platform. The edges of the wings form ramps, so along with main ramp gimmick, this base has two white and two orange ramps on either side.

   This is his most impressive mode, since it's actually a good Micromaster base with lots of ramps and a decent gimmick. It also combines with the base modes of Road Fire & Sonic Bomber to form a very impressive base.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE (FROM PLANE MODE)

   Detach and set aside the drill and wings. Lift up the top of the plane, fold right back, revealing the lower half as his legs. Flip up the boots. Open tow blue panels on his... skidplate... allowing the middle of the top section to move. Fold back the nose, fold the middle section forward to form his torso, and reveal the robot =head which hides under the nose. Plug the wings into the back of his arms, slide out the fists. There are three handheld weaponry options, but I'll come back to those.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 30cm Width: 29cm

   Again a mixture of black, blue, orange and white. Dai Atlas has grey fists, a gold crest, a silver face with red eyes and extensive red stickering on his wings and chest. The Autobot logos are visible on his wings. I get the need for the silver face, but think this mode would have done better with less red and no gold - it's easily the most jumbled colour scheme on this toy, and it's not very coherent. It's not bad, but it's not unified either. It's colourful in an anime way, mind you, which is what saves this colour scheme.

   More than any of his alt modes, Dai Atlas has an impressive size here. he's tall, wide and solid. The thrusters work well as his arms, the legs are blocky and the wings give him a majesty. Basically he _looks_ like an anime hero. At this size there's room for a very good facial sculpt. While much of the detailing here is generic, the face is well executed.

   As mentioned there are three handheld weapons. The first is fairly simple - his black handgun (which comes with two orange plates). The second is a rather unstable fusion of the two blue ramps, the grey runners, a decidated orange handle piece and the blue platform. It's a sort of shield-gun but it looks poor and isn't worth the effort - I really get the feeling this was an attempt to do something with some of the accessories which would have been left aside here otherwise. The last option is the two wings, which clip together as a sort of melee shield - the pointy front edges of the wings give it an attacking use as well as the obviously blocking use. It's actually a pretty useful weapon, although it's big enough that you have to balance it right to stay in his hand.

   Poseability is limited to swinging shoulders and hinged elbows. The motorised action now sees Dai Atlas slde along the table thanks to heelspurs hanging out the back that feature small, guiding, wheels.

   A typical late-G1 Japanese toy, in that he's blocky and quite colourful. This robot mode is mainly impressive in size, but the wings work well both as wings and weapon, while the face is well done, so he has some nice features despite being a colourful brick.


SPEEDER
Alternate Mode: Corvette Indy

CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   An all white car with black tyres, Speeder is very much devoid of colour but does have a decent sculpt. The profusion of white makes any UV damage quite evident (the front piece of heroic decepticon's is slightly yellowed, and it's easy to spot). Apparently this is a concept car, and it looks like it - there's a Le Mans feel about his vehicle mode, and it doesn't look like something you'd see on the street.

   The sides of this car don't sit flush against the main body, which is disappointing. The only lay value is the rolling wheels, which is standard for a Micromaster car. This is an underwhelming vehicle mode, thanks largely to the lack of colour. Painted windows would have made a huge difference here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold over the rear to form legs, fold over the front to form his chest and reveal the head. Stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A white robot with black on his thighs, groin and head. The face is unpainted - making the choice of black on his head very unfortunate, since making out the face is very difficult. The colour scheme itself is nice, mind you - the face just holds this colour scheme back.

   As is to be expected of a Micromaster, the only poseability here is swinging shoulders. For some reason the shoulder joints are on his waist - the arms look ridiculous in any position but pointing down, giving him less play value than most Micromasters.

   A nice colour scheme and good overall shape aren't enough to save Speeder's robot mode from the terrible shoulder joints. The unpainted face makes him even weaker, but the shoulder joints are enough to make this a poor robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. He combines with Road Fire & Sonic Bomber to form Big Powered.

OVERALL

   Dai Atlas is a versatile playset with four modes and an included Micromaster, but the plane mode is disappointing and the colours are a little random. Still, the base mode is good with lots of ramps and an interesting way to use his motorised component. His robot mode is blocky, which is to be expected of the era. Speeder is a poor Micromaster who desperately needs some paint. I don't hate this set, and I do like the base mode, but Dai Atlas has some weak modes and Speeder is a poor Micromaster. Dai Atlas has a lot of accessories, which means the likelihood of lost pieces is higher. If you're a fan of Micromaster bases, there are better examples which are easier (and cheaper) to obtain, so I can't really recommend Dai Atlas. He's okay but probably not worth tracking down - 5.5/10

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