Cliffbee.com: Movie Scorponok Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Scorponok
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Scorpion



SCORPION MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 24cm Width: 11cm

   A grey and brown robotic scorpion with red eyes. Both main plastic colours are metallic, although the soft tail segments are a duller, slightly lighter shade of grey. Most of his body is composed of the metallic grey, the claws and legs are brown along with extensive painted details. There are a few black elements here and there, most notably the three prongs on his stinger. There are quite a few painted details which tell us that Scorponok was assembled from Earthen military hardware, "NO STEP", "DANGER", " RESCUE", CAUTION: FUEL: EXPLOSIVE" and similar murals. There's a black Decepticon logo immediately behind his head. The colours used are fairly boring in themselves, but combine well here and the metallic finish makes this a really nice colour scheme.

   The sculpt here is well thought out - lots of flat panels, angles and rivets, helping with the military assembly theme. The rounded elements are fairly minimal, and used in places that make sense - rotating joints for the most part - and the arms which are designed to resemble turbines, complete with brown fans on the front. Adding to the machinery integrated into this robotic scorpion there are four black wheels visible on the body - which are designed to look like gears. The two at the base of his tail roll as he moves forward or backwards while the two in the centre - lying sideways, roll when the rear pair move. The claws at the ends of his arms have three prongs each, which kink, sort of like the interlocked blades of a blender - mechanical and menacing.

   The play value here is great, with two effective gimmicks. The six legs are on restricted ball joints, the shoulders lift and swing outwards while the elbows rotate and swing outwards. The tail pivots from side to side while there are three hinges along the length of the tail - which is curved and designed to sit overhead. There are actually about a dozen moulded segments, but I'm glad there's not too many hinges - or the thing would be prone to collapsing. The tail is stable, the hinges allow Scorponok to move the stinger back and forward around 10 centimetres. The stinger itself fires forward - pressing a button on top fires the tip about 8 centimetres. The claws open out - it's possible for Scorponok to lift his prey up and sting them with his tail. The stinger doesn't actually detach thanks to a catch at the back, so you can't lose it. While some might see this is a missing gimmick wasted, I think it works well enough, and means there's one less piece to lose.

   The second gimmick is ever cooler. Scorponok rolls along on three wheels. The first is a brown wheel hidden underneath his head, while the other two are the two visible from above near the base of his tail. Through a well designed mechanism, this circular motion transfers through the middle gears and poseable arms to the front of his arms - the turbines and claws will rotate rapidly. The mechanism is very solid and works spectacularly well in most poses - just make sure the shoulders aren't upside down (which doesn't really rule any poses out anyway). This gimmick is really the centrepiece of the toy - and is a worthy one.

   Lastly, there's a brown hexagonal post between the two rear wheels, which turns as the mechanism operates. It seems to serve no purpose - but that's not the case. Along with two holes on the sides, it docks with the underside of Blackout's chopper mode, and allows the gimmick to activate as you pull the trigger on Blackout's tail. The two gimmicks combine very well, justifying choice of these two as the TRU exclusive pack (which I purchased). The stinger actually rotates underneath in this configuration.

   A great scorpion mode which is by far the stronger of his two modes. The design theme is well executed and fits into the movie. The gimmicks both work well - the spinning gimmick is worth the price of admission alone here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Very simple. The sides lift out and swing back to form legs, the arms swing back and the head flips over. All that remains is to stand Scorponok up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12.5cm Width: 10.5cm

   Scorponok is again grey and brown, with the grey now more prominent. The head is the scorpion head - and not really a humanoid head at all, with the same red eyes. All four black wheels are on his torso, with the actual rear wheels on his groin. The tail is between his legs, and really detracts visually here.

   This robot mode is really an afterthought - the head and arms are the same as the scorpion mode - and are more suited to that mode. The arms do work fairly well here, the legs are dedicated, but the head doesn't work and the tail just sits there. In truth this robot mode has been added into the scorpion concept to allow Scorponok to be sold as a distinct toy, and while he's much more rewarding that the small immobile scorpion figure that comes with Blackout (and the box set, funnily enough), this robot mode is pretty pathetic at deluxe level.

   The poseability is quite good here - the arms retain all the poseability of beast mode, and the gimmick still works well - although you may chose to rub the gears on his waist rather than the wheels on his groin. It just feels more wholesome. The hips are ball jointed and the knees hinged, but the tail gets in the way to a lot of poses. The stinger gimmick can still activate here, but there's little point now with the stinger behind his back and out of sight. I am slightly disappointed that the scorpion legs just hang there on the outsides of his legs - no effort has been made to hide them - but really considering how poor his head is and the giant tail between his legs, this isn't an issue - and they don't get the way of the limited leg movement anyway (that's the tail's job).

   There's an alternate "fan" mode (isn't there always? in this case it's as good as the official one, hence my bringing it up). Basically you open the claws as feet, using the arms as legs and the legs as arms, There are no hands of any description, not even claws, but since the highly poseable beast arms are now his legs, action poses become a possibility. The tail becomes the neck and the stinger his head. It's worth noting that there are two red eye-like patches on the stinger and that the claws actually stabilise (ie the gimmick disables) if you open all the claws - actually enhancing a mode that feels just as official as the proper one.

   A bit of a sideshow, sadly. The robot mode isn't actually awful - but it's very half baked. The arms work well and the gimmick is retained, but the effort here is minimal, the head sucks and the tail really gets in the way. The transformation is laughable, and when you consider how much of Scorponok actually went into this mode, it's a reasonable outcome. The end result is secondary to the whole concept of the toy, and feels like it's been thrown in so that Hasbro could market this toy as a deluxe Transformer and not a cheaper accessory.

VARIATIONS

   None as such. Sold with Blackout or on his own.

OVERALL

   I'm glad I got this guy with Blackout - because he adds a lot to that Transformer (and TRU mispriced them - I paid mega price for the set). Scorponok's mecha scorpion mode is great, but the robot mode is an afterthought. As good as the combination with Blackout is, as effective and fun the gimmick is, Scorponok is frankly a rip off at deluxe pricing. If you can get in him on special or find the TRU set discounted as I did, then I'd recommend him - but only if you have/get Blackout. As a basic, I'd be glowing about this toy. As a deluxe - 6/10 with Blackout (and I'm fully aware that this is higher than I gave Jazz), 3.5/10 without Blackout

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