Cliffbee.com: Heinlad Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Heinlad
Series: Beast Wars Neo
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Dimensional Explorer
Alternate Mode: Tanuki



TANUKI MODE
Height: 14.5cm Depth: 13.5cm Width: 11cm

   Heinlad is a tanuki, a brown racoon-like creature related to dogs found in only Japan, which are often represented in good fortune statues. He's designed to stand upright and is a rather fat little creature with some darker brown on his toes, tailtip, hands and collar - fading to the rusty brown that dominates the toy. There are some outbursts of white plastic and his claws and eyes are silver. The most notable feature is an analogue clockface with a yellow border on his belly, complete with the hours and hands. His rum and the top of his back are outbursts of blue and white robot elements, so I don't recommend placing Heinlad on all fours - although it is possible. The colour scheme is conceptually quite good, although the outbreaks of white and, to a lesser extent, blue, hamper it. I won't count the clock in the same vein since it's meant to stick out, but it does break up the beast mode.

   Essentially the upright stance is meant to represent a statue - tanuki statues are quite common in Japan and the quadruped stance is the proper animal mode, but he's really designed around the statue mode, so I'd run with that. The huge chunk of robot on the rump really does look poor if he's on all fours, and the fur patterning, which is quite extensive, is broken up by hinges on his back anyway. A common feature of tanuki statues are prominent testicles - which is because male tanukis have disproptorionally large gonads. Heinlad has lathe mechanical testicles below the clock, which to westerners would seem rather perverse, but it's a defining feature of the creature so I have no problem with it.

   In keeping with the statue theme, Heinlad comes with two accessories, a white bottle of sake and a white book, both of have white cord handles allowing Heinlad to hold them in his hands. They don't really bring play value, but make sense in the context of the statue theme, so I can accept them. The poseability here is reasonably good. The head can lift up for the quadrupedal stance and turn about 30 to either side - which is impressive considering it splits in half for the transformation. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows, wrists and hips are ball jointed. The thumbs can lift up and there are two hinges at the base of his bushy tail.

   I'm generally impressed with this tanuki, even if it's very unusual. I like the Beast Wars Neo toyline for bringing us some alternate modes we'd have otherwise never seen, and the tanuki is something Hasbro are every likely to explore. Heinlad is more statue than actual tanuki, but the sculpted fur is impressive and the accessories are a nice touch. He's dominated by the clock, which makes sense considering the character has the ability to manipulate time.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the accessories and combine them to form a missile launcher, with a brown handle folding out of the book. Split the testicles out to the sides (man that sounds bad!), fold back the beast legs. Fold the back down and split to form his legs, swing the tail back between his legs, rotate the boots, fold out the panels on the calves to allow access to his feet, flip out the feet and heelspurs. Split the chest/head and swing down to the sides, allowing the arms to become... arms, and revealing his robot head. Fold the beast head back, position the arms, place the missile launcher in his right hand and load one of the missiles attached to his boots.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 12.5cm

   Heinlad has a rather mixed colour scheme here, with blue boots, groin and helmet, white feet, thighs, forearms and face, a brown torso, brown upper arms, dark brown shoulderpads (the beast chest) and hands, along with dark brown hippads (the gonads). And that's all before we consider the yellow clock on his chest. There's a brown mask which can fold down over his red eyes, sort of like laboratory eyewear, expect it reminds me of Dr Brown from Back To The Future, which is fitting for a Transformer that can travel through time. The mask has transparent green goggles on it, rounding off a rather muddle but not unattractive colour scheme.

   Heinlad is built to focus on the clock, and there's a good reason. It's a functional alarm clock! You'll need to supply your own AAA battery, once you do so you have a working clock, and by turning a dial on the back you can set the time, and the alarm time. To set the alarm, you'll need to lift the head about 6mm, which looks weird, but is a fairly standard mechanism for portable analogue alarm clocks. He emits a "beep" style of alarm sound. Yes, I woke up to him to try it out, and he got he out of bed.

   The clock makes for a good display focus, the testicles as hippads are slightly offputting, although the red spark crystal visible within the right side one is quite humorous. The robotic legs don't blend so well with the largely organic upper half, since the colours and style of sculpt are different on either half, although the sculpted detail is quite good.

   Heinlad's play value is pretty good for a toy which has an entire clock inside. The head turns, which really impresses me - not because it would have difficult to engineer but because it would have been easy to leave out. The shoulderpads are fixed but the arms can rotate around, and there are hinges allowing the arms to lift up. The elbows and wrists are ball jointed while his thumbs are hinged and opposable. The waist turns, his hips are ball jointed while the knees are hinged with rotators and the heelspurs can lift up and down to facilitate opposing. I find the heelspurs default position makes him backheavy, but they're stable enough (on my mint Heinlad, who I just opened) to support a range of poses. The gun gets in its own way to an extent, but he can still aim it. He comes with two missiles and while you can leave one attached to the outside of either boot, they don't stay on very well so I recommend leaving one aside.

   An interesting robot mode which seems very at home on the dresser. The colours could have been done a lot better, but he still works visually since it's all about the clock. The clock isn't anything special as portable alarm clocks go, but it's far more interesting that most of Hasbro's embedded electronics efforts - and less obtrusive, so I quite like it. Plus he wears his spark crystal in his testicle. You can't beat that.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Unsurprisingly, Hasbro has not released this toy at all, being from the country where guns are okay but natural sexuality is frowned upon.

OVERALL

   One of the more unusual offerings from the Beast Wars era, Heinlad is worth getting simply because he's so unique. The tanuki mode is nice, and while much of the cultural history of it is lost to those outside Japan, it's still interesting. The robot mode is a little mashed up, but with a functional alarm clock it's a rare occasion where the electronics really bring something to the Transformer - and without limiting the engineering. If you have the chance, go nuts (pun very much intended) and grab Heinlad - 8/10

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