Alternate Mode: Dune Buggy
Height: 5.5cm Length: 9cm Width: 6cm
A pine green Mad-Max style dune buggy with some teal around the black plastic tyres, burgundy highlights and a big rear-mounted burgundy gun. The paint mask (and sculpt) is good for a basic, with yellow headlights and floodlights, dark silver grille and rollcage and a stamped Decepticon logo on the bonnet, just behind a black grille. The green, teal and burgundy work well together, about as well as three pastel colours are going to work together.
The cabin itself has an open roof, but behind this is a hard, black top where the cannon mounts, justifying the name. Other than a hollow undercarriage from the back and a visible robot head inside the cabin, this is a pretty good buggy at this size. The face is not visible and there's a little seat inside the cabin, so the head doesn't really trouble me, and unless you peer in you wont see the head anyway.
As detailed as this buggy mode is, the best part is the cannon. It _really_ suits Hardtop and can turn around in its mount. If you plug his blue Planet Key (code: s4mm) into the black base of the cannon, the inner section of the barrel flips out, extending the barrel. Both longer and shorter configurations look good, although in this mode the extended cannon is a little niftier. The ridged wheels spin quite well, making a lot of noise as they do so, he'll roll a foot or so if you push him off on a hard surface.
Other than the head inside his cabin, Hardtop's vehicle mode is pretty much all good news. The colours work and the level of detail is impressive. The buggy itself looks good and the weapon works well as does its gimmick. Unlike some Cybertron alt modes, Hardtop's weapon doesn't rely on the Planet Key to deploy - rather it enhances the weapon - a definite plus for me.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove the cannon, unclip the front wheels and lift them up on top of the bonnet. Flip the sides out and into the sides of the bonnet, then fold in the front of the car underneath the seat to form his chest, and fold the seat down to form his chestplate. Unfold the arms, rotate the waist and fold down the legs. Give Hardtop his gun and turn down the rear wheels on his boots as heelspurs.
Height: 9.5cm Width: 6cm
With equal amounts of pine green (fists, elbows, boots), teal (head, chest) and burgundy (groin, thighs, waist), Hardtop's robot mode is more colourful without looking muddled. The black seat is now his chestplate while there's a lot of gold on his arms. His face is silver with yellow eyes and is well sculpted, his feet are silver and the shins black. Other than the gold on his arms, which is a little awkward, this is a great colour scheme.
With boxy, poseable limbs, big boots and an overall stocky appearance this robot mode looks like something out of the Marvel G1 comics. There are hints of the buggy mode, notably the floodlights for feet and the mount on his left knee. The chestplate no longer looks like a seat, but still makes a nice feature.
The Planet Key gimmick still works although the gun suits better if it's not extended, since it can sit lower without scraping the ground. The black block sits on the right side of the gun, so Hardtop's best holding the gun in the right hand - otherwise the Planet Key will push into his chest.
Hardtop is well articulated, and nothing is impeded. The head and waist both turn, the shoulders and hips are ball joints while the knees and elbows are hinged. The heelspurs do a great job of stabilising the toy, the footprints are fairly big and the long gun can also act as a counterbalance in various poses. The end result is a very poseable figure with a wide array of stable poses, including quite a few that would cause most Transformers to fall over (leaning back, on one leg, etc).
I _really_ like this robot mode, Hardtop is a fantastically poseable little toy that also looks good. I'm not much of a fan of the gold arms, but this is really a minor thing. There's nowhere to stow the Planet Key other than in the back of the gun, but you can easily set it aside.
Swindle, is a repaint of Hardtop (and his brother, according to Swindle's bio). Movie Hardtop is also a repaint of Hardtop.
Easily my favourite of the Cybertron toys I've purchased so far (six, at the time I type this), Hardtop appeals to the G1 fan in me yet has the poseability of a Beast Wars toy. The colours and moulded details are good and the weapon is well designed and manages to not be reliant on the key, which is an asset in my opinion. If you only get one "Scout Class" Cybertron toy, this is the one to get - 9/10