Cliffbee.com: Battle Droid Commander/Armored Assault Tank Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Battle Droid Commander
Series: Star Wars Transformers
Alternate Mode: Armoured Assault Tank



ARMOURED ASSAULT TANK MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 12cm

   A beige vehicle with some "flesh" coloured paint here and there, some brown on the armour skirt on the front, a black antenna on top, some gunmetal on the side and some silver on the various weaponry. It's a typically understated colour scheme, with detail in the paint job. The colours are functional and with the various shades of brown it's neither attractive or garish.

   This is a vehicle which appeared in The Phantom Menace, and was fairly prominent. As with all Star Wars Transformers, it's very faithful to the film. It's effectively a hovertank with a prominent armour skirt at the front and a hatch on top, towards the back. There are small triple cannons on either side and a larger single cannon on the turret, which is at the top at the back.

   There's a little bit of play value - more than on most SWTFs actually. The side cannons rotate through 360 (up, down, back, forward) while the turret rotates though 360, although in another plane. The large cannon is actually a firing missile - as is common for SWTFs - and pressing a button on top fires it. The hatch opens up venus flytrap style to reveal a small cockpit, for one of the pilots SWTFs once came with. There are four small wheels underneath allowing the vehicle to roll, and it rolls very well. The missile launcher, which detaches for robot mode, only slides into place rather than clips in, so if you tip the toy over, or grab it by the launcher, it'll slide right out. While this is a minor flaw, it's one which shouldn't have reached production.

   Aside from the annoyingly loose missile launcher, this is a very good vehicle mode. The paint job is typically detailed yet subtle while the play value is above average for a Star Wars Transformer. Granted it features in what is generally considered one of the weaker Star Wars films, but I can't hold that against this toy - it's true to the film.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside the missile launcher. Open the hatches underneath the armour skirt, swing down the arms. Fold out the two halves of the armour skirt. Unclip the support struts on either side, swing forward to form the legs, straighten the knees and pivot the feet into position. Extend the front section, pivot the skirt halves up, bring the legs out from underneath the groin. Extend the thighs and bring the legs together, pivot the armour skirt halves back down and into the flat position. Swing the arms out to the sides, bring down to the sides. Fold back the turret to reveal the head, turn the head forward. Plug the missile launcher into either hand and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17.5cm Width: 12cm

   A beige robot with the gunmetal on the shins and some beige paint here and there, there's a slightly lighter beige plastic on the arms, head and the thigh extensions. The eyes are red while the mouth is silver. Much of the vehicle mode's paint is on the armour skirt hanging behind the thighs, but there's still enough paint on the droid itself here. There's also some silver present on the weapons.

   While there's the inevitable kibble which is often present on Star Wars Transformers, the basic body shape here is quite similar to that of the battle droids seen in the films. Okay the armour skirt is a significant difference and the two triple cannons sitting on posts in front of the shoulders depart from the movie form as well, but the typically lanky form of SWTFs fits here. The hands (which are the darker beige) are in an open, relaxed pose and the head is the long, overly robotic one seen in the films, which suits a Transformer much better than the psuedo-humanoid heads on many SWTFs.

   The shoulder cannons can again rotate through 360, allowing them to point up or even backwards. The missile launcher again fires the single missile, but it doesn't sit in either hand especially firmly, so you're just as likely to dislodge the entire launcher as you are to fire the missile. The articulation is good, but this doesn't quite flow through to the poseability, for a couple of reasons. The head turns through about 40, his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows hinge _outwards_ and are supported by rotators just below the shoulders.

   The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees are hinged with rotators just below them, supporting the ankles which feature double hinges. While the only jointing which is really limited based on that roll call is the elbows, the kibble gets in the way - the arms can only swing forward a little thanks to the posts in front of his shoulders. The legs are similarly limited by the armour skirt behind them, although this is a minor hindrance. The heelspurs are a little shallower than I'd like, since this toy has a backpack, but they're as large as they can be considering they have to cram inside the tank mode. The other factor limiting the poseability is one I find frustrating since it should have been avoided - the arms pop off very easily since the shoulders are stiff while the rotators below them pop off with little force - you basically have to grasp the upper arm _and_ shoulder when moving the arms at all.

   A somewhat compromised robot mode, but it's actually pretty good as SWTF modes go - the shape is excellent, the colours work well since both modes get away with the same colours and the articulation is generally good. The missile launcher doesn't stay in hand well at all and the shoulder rotators are just plain annoying, so this is more display piece than a playable toy.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   As is usually the case with SWTFs, the vehicle mode is the better one here. The robot mode is above average in the line, although it has significant flaws in the form of the shoulder rotators, weird elbows and the loose missile launcher - which surfaces in the vehicle mode, for a different reason. Aside from the loose launcher, the vehicle mode is great, so this is one SWTF I'd recommend if you like that subline - 7/10

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