Cliffbee.com: Energon Wideload Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Wideload
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Crane




CRANE MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 11.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A grass green, black and grey crane with yellow windows, Wideload's colour scheme is easily better than Duststorm's, who shares the mould. The green isn't really dominant enough to the toy and make for a good G1 homage, but the colours combine well making this a nice colour scheme. The tyres are black with gold hubcaps and there are some minor painted details such as gold headlights, a purple cog on top of the operator's cabin and a gold spool for the crane's cable at the base of the crane arm. The crane arm itself is grey, the driver's cabin black, the wheelbase green and the operator's cabin green. The black at the front of the toy is painted but matches the black plastic on the wheels and other spots well.

   There's a spark crystal on top of the crane arm, which is the only allegiance symbol Wideload has in this mode. Wideload is your standard truck-crane, with a rotating platform at the rear which houses the crane arm. The crane arm sits on the right hand side and the control cabin on the left, and directly below this cabin is his robot head. The face isn't visible, but it's somewhat obvious, although in black it's far less obvious than the baby blue head of Duststorm. There's a grey supporting bracket underneath the arm, just behind the driver's cabin. For the record, this crane has two sets of wheels at the front and a single set at the back, which is believable although unusual.

   The play value here is decent for a basic. The crane arm can sit firmly on it's supporting bracket, or lift up and extend to 15.5cm in length. The hook at the end is solid moulded, which I can live with on a basic. The ratcheting joint allows the arm to stay in the air, so even on a worn toy you should find it won't slump. The real letdown in all of this is the unsecured nature of the robot hips, just behind the middle of the vehicle. There's nothing keeping these ball joints from moving, so doing anything with the crane arm will almost certainly result in Wideload's truck base flexing up or down - as trucks are _not_ known to do. The wheels roll smoothly, although if the arm isn't folded down holding the hips steady the truck itself will sag.

   His blue Energon weapon is a giant claw which attaches to either side of the hook. It looks okay and can open and shut manually, but doesn't look terribly menacing. A ranged weapon would have been a lot more useful here.

   My only real complaint here is the flexing hip joints in the middle of the truck mode. Relative to Duststorm - who was released first - Wideload has a great colour scheme, so while a G1 Constructicon homage would have been nice, I'm perfectly happy with the colours Wideload has. The name is a little baffling, but a lot of crane-trucks are wide vehicles so I can live with it.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the arm from it's bracket and fold the bracket down. Swing the front bumper down to form his heels, swing up the front windows to form his feet and separate the legs. Rotate the platform 180, fold down the head and swing it backwards so it's in the centre of his shoulders. The control cabin unfolds to become his right arm while the crane arm becomes the left arm. The claw can either fit into his right hand or onto the end of his long left arm.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 7cm

   Wideload's robot mode has a lot more grey, thanks to the grey panel on his chest and the long grey left forearm (the crane arm). His head, shoulders and boots are black while the groin and right forearm are green, His face is gold with transparent blue eyes, and I'm happy to report they're glowing nicely with my eMac behind him. There's a purple Decepticon symbol on his groin, outlined in white. While this would have made more sense on the chest, there aren't really any smooth surfaces there since the chestpanel anchors the crane arm and cabin in truck mode.

   The right hand is buried within the shell of the control cabin, which I can accept, but I wish the forearm wasn't hollow. The left arm forearm is ridiculously long and ends in an underhanded hook that doesn't move. There are some instances of weapon-hands that work really well (Shockwave, Inferno), which are clearly stylistic choices. In this case it's a case of lazy design, although the lighter colour means it works slightly better than Duststorm's does, since the crane arm moulding isn't drowned in dark plastic. It's still a kibble arm, of course, but the grey works better on it. The chest works a lot better than on Duststorm, since the light grey plastic shows all the detailing, which was simply lost on the underdone Duststorm. Granted, the chest is still a little bare, but Wideload doesn't look unfinished.

   The claw makes for a useable weapon here, and it doesn't look so out of place. OK, a shortish melee weapon might seem silly on a robot with such a long arm - which would be great for swinging at foes - but it works as intended, so I'm happy.

   Considering that his hip joints are the weakest point in vehicle mode, I was really disappointed when I first transformed Duststorm and discovered he has gimpy, narrow thighs - there's no good reason for the thighs to be so poorly designed that they suck in both modes. The mould is unchanged - the tights are Wideload's biggest flaw in robot mode. His head sits on it's own little platform, towards the back of his shoulderblades, which looks a little odd and compounds the gimpy thighs.

   Poseability is in theory quite good but in practice a little hampered. The head turns, the right shoulder is a ball joint with a swivel below and a hinged elbow while the left shoulder and elbows are double hinged. The waist rotates, the hips are ball joints and the knees hinged. The feet and sizeable heelspurs are hinged, but the hinges really only serve the transformation. The hips on mine are tighter than on Duststorm's, allowing for more meaningful leg poseability. A flow on effect from this is that the left arm can move further away from his body - the hips on my Duststorm simply give and the toy will fall over if the left arm isn't close to the body.

   While the gimpy thighs are annoying, the colour scheme here is about twelve times better than his predecessor and the hip joints work a lot better. So while the proportions are a little off the colour scheme and increased poseability make Wideload's robot mode reasonable one. The improvements here make all the difference and serve to highlight just how badly they messed up Duststorm.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of Duststorm, as mentioned.

OVERALL

   With vastly improved colours and tighter hip joints, Wideload is an improvement on Duststorm in pretty much every way. Yes, his robot mode has some proportion problems and the crane-forearm is a little lazy, but Wideload is worthwhile if you like the Energon line. Wideload is a great example of how much difference colour scheme can make, and if you only get one toy of this mould he's the one to get. Of course, you'll need him if you want to create Constructicon Maximus - 6/10

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