Cliffbee.com: Payload Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Payload
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Armoured Truck



ARMOURED TRUCK MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 12.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A navy blue armoured truck with silver running board on either side and a silver bumper and grille at the front. The tyres are black plastic with silver painted hubcaps. There are red and white badges on either side with the wording "ARMORED SECURITY SERVICES" and tiny Decepticon logos. There's a similarly painted red and white stripe down the hood, orange indicators on the front bumper, red taillights and some orange lights on the roof, rounding out a sparse yet still attentive paint job. The windows are smoky transparent plastic, which looks black without a light source behind it. It's a good colour scheme which is both credible and aesthetically pleasing.

   One thing I'm enjoying about the movie line is the fact that we're seeing some new alternate modes. We've never had an armoured truck before - well not a civilian one. Payload is the type of truck that services banks, ticket booths and the like - a bit metal box on wheels. There are some seams and hinges visible on the sides, which isn't ideal but it doesn't ruin the illusion either, thanks to the dark colour. There are well sculpted hatches, handles and the like on the sides and back of the box, and "diamond" grip on the running boards. On mine at least the top doesn't quite stay flat at the back, popping up off the tabs meant to hold it in place. While this is minor, it's not easily fixable since the problem lays in the slightly curved roof sections.

   There's no play value here other than the rolling wheels, although I wasn't really expecting that much, since there's a whole chunk of gimmick in robot mode. There are two tiny posts on the running boards which look like they do something, but they're pegs holding the robot mode together.

   On the whole I like this truck mode. I'm really happy to see something different, and this is a pretty good first up effort. The colour map and paint job are quite sensible and the sculpt is good. I'm not pleased with the loose connection at the back of mine, but otherwise everything fits together well enough. He's not spectacular, but then armoured trucks are fairly functional vehicles and Payload is convincing enough to keep me happy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the grille from the front, it'll pop off during transformation if you don't. Pull the front fenders out and back, clipping the tiny posts into the rear wheels. Fold the top of the truck back and down, slide forward slightly. Lift up the cabin, which becomes his feet, rotate and split the legs. Fold down the feet, stow the toes, pull up the kneecaps up and rotate back the plates on the sides of his shins. Split the roof of the truck and collapse the halves to form wings, fold down the back of the truck to form his chest and head. Swing the front fenders down to form arms, open the forearms to reveal the hands, swing out the hands and close the forearms. Reattach the grille to the same spot.

   It's a pretty complex and clever transformation, especially once you consider that the truck mode holds together well overall.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 11cm

   A navy robot with silver hands, knees and a silver waist. Payload has the "drone" face - a giant camera for a face, surrounded by a silver frame. There are light blue painted patterns on his chest, forearms and thighs. The colours work well although I'm still not warming to this whole camera face thing. At least his bodyshape is better than the two previous drones (Swindle and Dreadwing).

   So Payload isn't quite as odd looking as his predecessors, and this really helps lessen the impact of the camera on his face. The wings which sit above his shoulders are nothing unusual and his limbs are well proportioned. What is quite remarkable is just how little there is of the truck mode here. The hood and windshield of the truck are actually the soles of his feet, the wings are the sides and back, the outsides of his forearms are the front fenders while the outsides of the boots are the sides of the cabin. Whilst I usually appreciate alt mode elements on the robot mode, I'm actually very impressed that this toy has so little on the front of the robot mode without obtrusive chunky kibble. There is a giant post (maybe 5"/12cm) sticking out the back, and the wings are a distinct feature, but there isn't really anything getting in the way.

   Payload's play value is pretty good. If you push the post in his back right in, it pushes through like a plunger, his silver waist pops out and two claws fold out from either side. The spring in this gimmick are quite strong, so everything will slide back into place once you let go, but the action itself is quite impressive. The articulation is good although there are some restrictions on the meaningful poseability. His head turns maybe 20 each way, the waist rotates through 360. His shoulders are ball jointed while the elbows are hinged with rotators. His wrists are ball jointed but in reality they don't move much. The hips are ball jointed and there are two hinges per knee. There are hinges at the ankles which are essentially for transformation, and no actual heelspurs but then his feet actually have arches. The ball jointed hips aren't quite as tight as I'd like, meaning the weight of the post on his back limited dynamic posing somewhat. Payload's hands are moulded open, and he lacks a hand weapon anyway.

   The grille stuck on his back isn't the only loose piece. The silver waist piece and the blue plate which includes his chest and head are also not glued on. Both can fall off during transformation, although they generally behave. I actually tried gluing both on, but neither seem to want to attach permanently. While it's not a huge issue, this is something that should not have been an issue.

   A decent robot mode, but at the same time there are some annoying flaws here. The loose pieces are top of the list, and the slightly loose hips are second. I can deal with the face, partly because there's a clear theme emerging now - and because he doesn't have to wear it alongside odd features or proportions. I generally like how this figure looks, and the gimmick is pretty cool, but I wish he stayed together.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A better toy than the two previous drones, but Payload is held back by some problems which should have been addressed. The ill-fitting roof, loose pieces in robot mode and stability issue in robot mode all hold back what should have been a great toy. He's still pretty good - the armoured truck mode basically works and the fact that he's the first wins points in my book. The transformation is satisfying and clever, the gimmick is successful and the robot looks nice. Not quite up to the standard of most movie Deluxes, but by no means the weakest in that group - 7/10

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