Alternate Mode: Motorcycle
Height: 5.5cm Length: 11.5cm Width: 5.5cm
An orange motorbike with black wheels, saddle and saddlebags, Lugnutz has grey plastic on his engine, handlebars, exhausts and lights. There's some silver on the saddlebags and gold flames on the fuel-tank and front wheel cover. His headlight is painted blue and the taillight red. There's a white license place holder at the back with a Decepticon symbol stamped on it, which really reminds me of Binaltech (and that's a good thing). This is a very realistic bike mode, especially when you consider that this guy is a basic. The paint job is quite involved and the colours work well since they've tried to keep Lugnutz as realistic as possible.
Lugnutz really reminds me of the Laser Cycles, since I don't think we've seen any other motorbike Transformers this realistic. He holds his own against early G1 in terms of realism, and I suspect he's a real bike (or a slight modification to avoid copyright issues). The sculpt is great, with texture on both lights, lines on the compound engine, silver wheelspokes and tread on both tyres. The exhaust pipes are quite detailed while the handlebars have brake levers on them. Lugnutz even has a fuel cap on top of the tank (albeit a very simple one). There are brake discs on the front wheel (both sides, for symmetry I guess) and indicators on the front.
The wheels both roll although the front tyre can't steer (it splits when he transforms). The handlebars lift up and down as part of his transformation, so I guess the rider can adjust to please. Plugging his blue Planet Key (code: s3y6) into the left saddlebag causes a cannon to pop out from the _right_ saddlebag. This grey cannon sits at an angle of about 20° and there are three smaller cannons moulded below it. You can plug the key in gently without activating the mechanism, allowing for storage. There's no kickstand as such but a post on the left exhaust (actually the handle of his gun) does the trick - Lugnutz will lean to the left slightly.
I really like this bike mode. The sculpting, painted details and accuracy are of a level that we rarely see in the main Transformers lines anymore - which is regretable, really. Scale issues aside this guy wouldn't look out of place amongst a group of Binaltechs. The key gimmick is nice without being exceptional, and it doesn't ask Lugnutz to make any compromises which I appreciate. This is one of the best Transformers motorbikes ever, and a damn fine vehicle mode for a basic.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
A lot of contorting gives us the robot mode. The engine becomes his arms while the cradle for the engine becomes his legs. The saddle becomes his groin and the fuel-tank his chest (the head lifts out from the fuel cap). The front splits in half to form shoulderpads of sorts while the back section becomes a backpack. Oh, the left exhaust becomes his gun.
Height: 11cm Width: 11cm
Lugnutz has an orange chest, black lower torso, thighs and feet, grey boots and arms while his face is silver with a yellow eyestrip. On and he's wearing an orange motorbike on his back. The front wheel sits on either side as shoulderpads and the backpack is the back of the bike - yet the kibble actually looks reasonably good. The wheel halves are almost features and don't look as bad as one might expect. The colours again work fairly well, since the orange is surrounded by neutral colours.
It's quite clear that the designer prioritised the bike mode, since this robot mode is kind of limited. Having said that, Lugnutz is far from a disaster. The limbs are all fairly well formed, the torso is kinds squished in there, but it's really just the kibble that limits this guy. OK, his arms are a little shorter than they should be, but still look fine. The headlight and handlebars sit on his left shoulder, giving Lugnutz some asymmetry.
The shoulders are ball jointed and there are two hinges per elbows, but the kibble limits his shoulder movement. The hips are ball jointed and the knees are hinged. Lugnutz has heelspurs allowing him to stand despite the backpack. He's slightly pigeon-toed and ball jointed knees would have been nice, but it's not a major issue. The poseability is actually pretty good for a toy with so much kibble (and for a bike Transformer in general), although the limitations are significant.
The key gimmick is still available and the cannon ends up being a shoulder cannon, sitting on his right side. It actually looks pretty good though it hampers the arm movement even more. Lugnutz's gun, which actually has a name ("Dutch") looks like half a trombone, and this might sound weird but Dutch looks pretty good. It's quite long and Lugnutz has to straighten the right arm to hold it (Dutch's shape prevents Lugnutz wielding it in his left hand). The bio note on the back actually tells us that Dutch is Lugnutz's only true friend but leaves the question of sentience up to you - I kinda like the idea of a sentient gun for some reason. I'd just like to add that as silly as a gun called Dutch is, Lugnutz is a far worse name.
While this is a somewhat limited robot mode, there's a damn good reason so I don't really mind. The articulation is pretty good although the kibble prevents the arm movement. The kibble looks okay, and Lugnutz actually looks better than he's entitled to. The colours work and there's good detail - carried over from the bike mode. While this is undoubtedly his weaker mode, it's pretty good considering it came from an excellent bike mode - especially for such a small toy. And his gun has a name (c8
None that I'm aware of. His name is Roadstorm in Japan. Hightail is a repaint of Lugnutz.
Like Backstop, Lugnutz is a fairly daring idea that manages to work. The bike mode is really good, at the standard you'd expect of an Alternator, with sensible colours and a lot of attention to detail. Play value is fairly limited but the key gimmick works quite well and is available in both modes. The robot mode isn't all that strong, but like Backstop, it has a decent excuse. The robot mode is far from a disaster, mind you, and still looks good despite its limitations. On the strength of his bike mode and the ambitious concept, I'd recommend Lugnutz (and Dutch!) - 8/10