Cliffbee.com: Scorponok Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Scorponok
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Headmaster Commander
Alternate Mode: Scorpion, City



SCORPION MODE
Height: 21cm Length: 45cm Width: 26cm
Exact dimensions depend on what you do with the pincers and tail.

   A grass green and purple robotic scorpion, Scorponok's colours come together quite well, especially considering that there's some bright orange around. Grey supports on his head and four twin-cannons and there are some chrome silver panels on the back. By keeping the purple and green shades quite subdued, adding in a very neutral grey and keeping orange to a minimum, this colour scheme is quite nice. The designers who slap a host of bright colours on a lot of the modern toys could learn a lot from how Scorponok's colours scheme has been put together. He's not the prettiest Transformer, but he's far from garish at the same time.

   The bulk of the scorpion is purple, with green blocks above the base of the tail. The tail itself taped from a purple first segment to a narrower grey segment to an orange tip. His claws are purple while the "shoulders" are green, as are the eight legs poking out to the sides. The head has two orange mouthparts and a colourless lid that swings forward, allowing Lord Zarak to ride inside. You can also open the grey hatch behind the head and stow Lord Zarak inside the cavity. The first option is better for play, the second for storage.

   There's more poseability here than you might expect. The elbows are hinged, the claws open and close, the shoulders have two hinges each. All of these joints allow the arms to move sideways, all are based on ratchets and the end result is a wide array of arm poses. The shoulders also have rotators, which adds a little more. The legs have hinges at the base, allowing them to lift up, independently, for walking poses. The tail has two joints, allowing the stinger to sit in various positions. The four twin-cannons can swing side to side, and provide the only weaponry here. Not that the claws aren't threatening enough - they're big enough to hold a lot of Transformers - I just placed Hound in one claw, he easily fits and the joints are more than strong enough to support his weight.

   There are two wheels with rubber tyres underneath Scorponok's body, and when you push him along they roll, dragging the tail along with them. The rubber allows them to grip the table, and an internal mechanism will cause the legs to ripple, simulating arthropod walking. While this gimmick isn't mind blowing, it works as hoped and that success makes it very cool. I wouldn't say it's central to the toy, more of a nice bonus.

   A big ass scorpion that makes good use of the colours Scorponok wears. The pincers are very poseable, the rippling leg gimmick is certainly worthwhile and Lord Zarak can ride in two spots. While it's broadly anatomically correct, this is a blocky robotic scorpion, not a realistic beast like that of his Beast Wars namesake. The sheer mass of this toy is impressive -Scorponok is the second largest G1 toy (and noticeably larger than everything bar Fort Max), and there's play value in having this enormous scorpion creep up pretty much any Autobot.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the tail up and underneath, clipping onto his back. Unfold the rear blocks to form legs, flip out the feet. Swing the claws out to to sides, swing down to form arms. Take the guns off the back of his legs, attach to his shoulders, pointing all four cannons on his shoulders up. Transform Lord Zarak into head mode and insert behind the visor under his helmet. Give Scorponok his gun, which slots inside the right claw, and shield, which can clip onto the outside of either claw.

   This is a fairly simple transformation, which allows enough room for another transformation - to city mode. Unlike Metroplex, the larger blocks of this toy generally do something rather than simply moving around each other as Scorponok converts to city mode.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 35cm Width: 30cm

   Scorponok's scale is again impressive in it's own right. The torso, thighs and forearms (claws) are purple while the upper arms and boots are green. The chestplate, shoulder cannons, feet and shield are grey, along with the helmet. The head is cream with a silver face and red eyes. The gun and antennae are the only places we see orange now - other than some minor paint applications. There's a large Decepticon logo on a sticker on his chest, rounding out a well thought out colour map. The loss of orange makes this an attractive robot mode, helped along by his distinct features. There's a (relatively tiny) rubsign indent on the groin.

   He's big and blocky, but not as simple as he could be, which is nice. The arms are well sculpted, with the ridged claws being a highlight. The legs are large blocks, but there's a fair bit of detail on his thighs, chrome plates on the outside of the boots and some large stickers keeping things interesting. The torso is fairly short, but this works since it helps accentuate his powerful arms. The helmet is quite complex and the facial sculpt quite good. The face itself is a lot smaller than it should be, since Scorponok's Headmaster facet is the same size as the other 1987 Headmasters - the others are a _lot_ smaller than he is. It doesn't look bad, since the head is detailed and at a glance you see the visor rather than the face.

   The arms are just as poseable as in scorpion mode, with the pivoting shoulders coming into their own. The claws still open and close, the elbow hinges aren't all that useful here, but are still able to move. The hips swing, allowing Scorponok to sit down - and even then he's taller than a lot of Transformers around him. The cannons on his shoulders can move around a little, although they'll point up and out in one way or another.

   As with all Headmasters, Scorponok's robot mode is dependant on you having the partner - also the detachable helmet in his case. You can detach Lord Zarak and stand him next to Scorponok if you want to. Scorponok has a built in tech specs meter underneath the chestplate. When you plug in Lord Zarak, a readout appears on the meter(SPD 4, STR 10, INT 9). This is the only gimmick we get in robot mode - but there's enough happening on this toy to keep me happy.

   A good robot mode with some nice detailing and again a good colour scheme. Scorponok is quite poseable in the arms, and the play here is better than most base Transformers. If there's a weak point, it's the dependancy on the helmet and Headmaster. Without Lord Zarak this mode is a loss, and it looks odd if you lack the helmet. Neither are cheap to replace on their own (the helmet is harder to find but is cheaper).

TRANSFORMATION TO CITY MODE

   The robot lies on it's back, the legs splay out to the sides and rotate, deploying ramps at either end. Two panels lift out from either leg, smaller ones for show and larger ones reveal sockets into which you can plug in a lift and some claws. The arms rotate back and straighten, becoming towers covered by the silver plates. The tail attaches to his groin becoming a ramp while the chestplate folds down, touching the ramp. Four little grey antennae attach in various locations while the shield folds up and plugs into the cavity underneath the chestplate, becoming a third tower.

  

CITY MODE
Height: 23cm Width: 59cm Depth: 33cm

   The city is a large cross shaped, with the side arms being longer. it's mainly purple with green side arms and orange ramps on the end of these. The twin towers at the back are silver with a smaller grey one in the middle, there's an orange platform in the middle along with the orange and grey attachments. There's nowhere specific for the four grey twin cannons to go, though one pair can stay attached to the shoulders and the other can attach to the undersides of the orange ramps. The colours are a little more confronting now but the orange is limited to the extremities, so it comes off okay.

   Scorponok looks more like a fortress than a city, but is as much a city as Metroplex and co. The towers give some scale, as do the lift and the antennae arrays. The floorspace he takes up in this mode is quite impressive. While there are some scorpion bits around (the legs in particular just sit on the sides, behind the wider arms), this is more building than beast. The side ramps are wide enough to fit a Stunticon or similar sized toy, although the curved front ramp is really designed with Fasttrack in mind.

   When Fasttrack is on the orange platform, a mechanism allows you to launch him down the curved ramp. Press a little black button and the ramp lifts up, tipping Fasttrack down the ramp. While it's not the most impressive gimmick, the mechanism is contained within the chestplate piece - so it's a nice bonus really. The lift is a platform attached through twin hinges, and while it can't really lift anything it can be positioned. The claws on the other side can similarly be positioned. This is all we get as far as play value goes here - aside from the obvious sit-him-down-alongside-everyone-else as a city.

   A decent fortress mode, with some nice decorations if not the play value of some later equivalents. Scorponok doesn't centre on a lame motorised gimmick, nor does he simply unfold in an attempt to look impressive. The main shortcoming compared to most other base modes is that there's not really anywhere for smaller TFs to go on this structure.

Lord Zarak
   Lord Zarak has a cream torso and head with a silver face - just like the giant head he becomes. He has purple arms and legs and his hips and knees bend, allowing him to sit while his shoulders swing. He has a tiny moulded nose and mouth, which are fairly well sculpted, if tricky to see at this scale.

Fasttrack
   A grey figure about the size of a Minicar, Fasttrack folds up to form a drone-like vehicle. He has six orange wheels (on axles) and twin orange handguns which can attach to his vehicle mode. He doesn't actually attach to Scorponok, instead being designed to compliment the ramp gimmick. He has no paint or stickers and a fairly low detail face. The arms can detach, and are fairly easy to lose as a result. Not much on his own, Fasttrack is really just something to use with the ramp.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although Mega Zarak is a (Japanese exclusive) retooling of Scorponok.

OVERALL

   One of the better G1 bases, Scorponok has a nice scorpion mode, a good robot mode and a decent city mode. The colours work better than you might expect, the poseability is impressive and the Headmaster gimmick actually transfers to this scale well. The sheer mass of this guy is impressive on its own - he's surpassed only by Fort Max in that department. Scorponok's biggest liability is his detachable pieces - Lord Zarak and the helmet in particular - headless Scorponoks aren't hard to find but the head and helmet are tricky to acquire. Assuming you're willing to pay the going rate, Scorponok is a toy I recommend to G1 fans - 8/10

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