Cliffbee.com: Manta Ray Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Manta Ray
Series: Generation 2
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Ocean Defence
Alternate Mode: Racing Boat



BOAT MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 12cm Width: 6.5cm

   A blue twin hull racing boat with yellow bows and a yellow engineblock between the sterns, Manta Ray has a low transparent red windshield and green detailing here and there. There's a large blue propellor on the back of his engine while the hulls proudly sport the advertisement "POWER BY AUTOBOT", with Autobot in large green lettering. There's a pretty obvious yellow Autobot stamp in the cockpit, rounding out a fairly typical G2 colour scheme. While it's a little brash for a racing boat, it's not totally unrealistic. Manta Ray's colour scheme does work although it's fairly bright. Thankfully there are few colours, keeping this colour scheme simple was a good idea.

   He's sleek and streamlined and the mould is low in detail, which makes sense in this case anyway. Most of the detail we have is sticker or paint effects, the engineblock is the most detailed part sculptwise, with an intake turbine on the front. There are tailfins at the stern, which the engineblock plugs into.

   The engineblock can pivot up and down through about 60, there are small legs underneath allowing Manta Ray to stand level on a table. I'm not sure if he floats but I have my doubts. The idea of the Rotor Force is that pressing a button somewhere on the toy will fire the propellor. If you wind up the propellor until it starts clicking loudly. You then press a yellow button on top of the engineblock and the propellor will shoot off and fly across the room if you have him in your hand (I just sent mine into the furthest corner of the room). Ok, so it's a silly gimmick, but it's fun and it _works_ just as it should, making it fun and worthwhile.

   The colour scheme isn't fantastic but it's good enough. The gimmick works well and provides good play value, but my favourite aspect of this boat mode is the boat itself. We haven't had many boat Transformers through the years and Manta Ray is unique amongst them, which in itself makes him worthwhile (since it gives him a unique transformation). Combined with the gimmick you have a good boat mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the engineblock, pull forward the bow sections of the hulls to form his legs, flip down the yellow ends to form the feet. Deploy the sterns to his sides to form his arms and stand him up. Slide the windshield on his back up to reveal his head and push his chestplate into place. Lift up the forearms and give him the engine as a handheld rotor launcher.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 7cm

   Again mainly blue, Manta Ray has yellow shoulder struts, thighs and feet while his eyes are transparent red with an effective lightpipe. The green paint runs down the outside of his arms and legs and down his sternum, and gives the impression that Manta Ray is wearing a racing suit. I really like this aspect, it shows the designer was thinking about this toy. Granted, the colour scheme is again fairly bright but it works well in this context - plus there's less yellow now so he's a little more subdued.

   There's not a lot of poseability here. The shoulders lift out to the sides on two hinges, the elbows are hinged while the hips can lift out to the sides. The elbows are the only joints that aren't needed for the transformation, so essentially he's pretty static. The hip and knee hinges (the knees hinge inwards only) give him enough wiggle for Manta Ray to adjust his stance - which is useful since the heavy engineblock can sometimes tip him over to the side.

   The detail is again fairly low but the theme is great. His forehead resembles the bow of a boat while the racing suit look fits very well. The tailfins hang off the back of his shoulders and this works visually. There's not really a lot of racing boat remnants here but the theme is definitely present.

   It's no surprise that Manta Ray's play value here is all about the rotor launcher. It's just as effective as in boat mode, and sits higher now so it'll travel further if pointed horizontally. It's a tad heavy for Manta Ray but it looks fine in his hand despite its size.

   Yes this is a toy based around a single gimmick but the boat theme is done very well and this makes the robot mode interesting on its own. Of course without the launcher Manta Ray is pretty much a statue, so the play value it provides is welcome. A good robot mode despite his lack of articulation.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   My favourite of the four Rotorforce toys, Manta Ray has a novel boat mode and transformation, a well thought out robot and a launcher gimmick that really works well. Other than his side-heavy launcher I have no real complaints. The transformation is elegantly simple with surprisingly little kibble for such a distinctly shaped vehicle mode (especially at this size), making Manta Ray an awfully well put together Transformer. The colours aren't great, but in a G2 context they're average. If you only get one Rotorforce toy, this is the one to get - 9/10

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