Cliffbee.com: Transmetal Spittor Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Spittor
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Surprise Attack
Alternate Mode: Frog

Thanks to Sofaman for loaning me Spittor for this review.



FROG MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 9cm Width: 9cm

   A red frog with a black underbelly, Spittor has yellow barcode-like patterns on his back and some yellow also on his feet. His eyes are blue, his lower jaw and upper hindlegs are black. The poison arrow theme of the Spittor is pretty much lost here, since the orange splotches are no longer present. Effectively the two toys are different characters anyway, since the original is a Predacon and this guy is a Maximal. The colours here are a little odd, but I can deal with them on a repaint. Incidentally, Spittor's not actually a Transmetal - this repaint was sold in Transmetal style packaging.

   This is a pretty good frog shape, but it's not really slender enough for a poison arrow frog. So losing the splotches here has it's advantages. Not that frogs have barcodes of course, but he's a better generic frog that he is a poison arrow frog. The limbs are well proportioned and the skin is textured with glands and lumps, like those found on a real frog, and the toes have discs, making this a detailed and accurate moulding.

   The hindlegs have ball jointed ankles, knees and hips, allowing full poseability - including the still shot mid leap snapshot we often see in nature films and such. The front legs are solid pieces with ball joints at the shoulders, which is fine considering that frogs don't really do so much with the front legs anyway. The lower jaw opens and shuts, and just behind the lip are small domed teeth, which is a nice touch.

   Which brings me to Spittor's gimmick - there's a black button just in front of his tail, pressing it causes his "tongue" to shoot a couple of centimetres out from his mouth, something that frogs are of course known to do. I use the term tongue lightly because at the end of the protruding black shaft is a red bulb, which just happens to be the robot head. No, you can't rotate it so that he fires his face - which I consider a good thing, but I suppose it depends on your sense of humour. The spring controlling this mechanism is quite strong, as is the catch keeping the head stowed, so while it might be a freaky look for Spittor, the engineering is spot on.

   I like Spittor simply because he's a frog - when you consider how many reptile Transformers we've seen down the years, it's a nice change. And this time around they haven't tried to make him a specific frog and he's better for it. This _is_ a good frog and a decent repaint as well. The play value is great for a basic - the poseability in the legs is as good as I could ask for and the gimmick works very well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the robot legs from underneath, extend the hindlegs. Fold the forelegs up onto his back and fold down the beast head to form his chestplate, which will reveal the robot head. Pivot the robot shoulders up into position and pose his hands and feet.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 6cm

   Again primarily red, Spittor has black upper arms, groin and thighs. There's some yellow left on the chest - which is the frog head - and the blue eyes are also visible. Spittor has blue eyes and a gold mouth. The facial sculpt looks quite alien - especially his unusual mouth. The colour scheme is a little better here, since there's not as much of the barcode patterning.

   While the frog mode was quite well formed, this robot mode is a bit of a mess, sadly. The arms are the long hindlegs of the beast mode, and so instead of hands he has giant frog feet which flop around on hinges. The beast forelegs are really obvious kibble sitting behind his shoulders, and while on their own they're ok, on top of the arms it's all too much. The legs are fairly well formed and his feet look like frog feet, despite being hidden in frog mode. The chestplate sticks out further than I'd like, in a very Micromaster way rather than a Jazz way. I wouldn't mind all this so much if his wrists hand moulded hands or something, but with his hands effectively being giant feet, it really looks bad.

   The upside of the robot arms' origin is great articulation - Spittor's shoulders and elbows are ball joints, along with his hips and knees. The wrists and ankles are hinged, although the latter can be a little weak for a toy that's quite top heavy. The gimmick still works in this mode, although I'm not sure why you'd want to give Spittor a narrow 5cm long neck.

   The play value is the best aspect of this rather disappointing robot mode. If the ankles were a little stronger I'd probably say it saves the mode, but as it is I'm neutral. The colours work quite well, and I suppose the option of using the gimmick is a plus - despite the odd effect.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, this is a repaint of the original Spittor. No actual variants that I know of.

OVERALL

   Losing the poison arrow theme makes this a better frog, but the replacement paint job isn't fantastic in it's own right - the original beats this one for realism overall, despite the fact that the shape suits better here. More to the point, this version is likely to cost you a lot more, so unless you really dig it, this is a repaint you can safely skip - 5/10

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