Cliffbee.com: Universe Heavy Load Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Heavy Load
Series: Universe 2.0
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Cement Mixer

Thanks to liegeprime for loaning me Heavy Load for this review.



CEMENT MIXER MODE
Height: 12cm Length: 22cm Width: 8cm

   A yellow cement mixer with a grey drum, Heavy Load is a repaint of Cybertron Quickmix with six black plastic wheels and a black platform underneath the drum. There are some pea soup green plastic elements at the back, a prominent grey protrusion at the front and transparent amber plastic in the cabin windows. The colour scheme is realistic enough - aside from the pea-soup green which is at once out of place and dull enough to not really be noticed. There's a black Decepticon logo stamped on the right side of the drum. It's a fairly plain colour scheme, and is functional enough to work well on a vehicle like this. It's duller than Quickmix, and about as realistic.

   The detailing here is pretty good, Heavy Load's sculpt is impressive and there are some nice elements such as smokestacks behind the centred cabin, painted silver. There are external fueltanks underneath the drum, headlights on the front and a complex pouring apparatus on the back. There's some kibble on the back, which looks like generic machinery tacked onto the back. This machinery is actually the left arm of the robot mode - and it's painted intricately, so it's fairly obvious that this is a robot mode piece.

   The play value here is very good. Heavy Load is unusual amongst modern mega sized toys in that he doesn't have some sort of electronic gimmicks - and his play value is better for it, since the design focuses on action features rather than trying to accommodate a battery pack and speaker. The drum turns through 360° thanks to a ratcheting joint at the back - there are twenty positions. His Minicon partner, Drill Bit, can plug into hardpoints on top of the roof and at the back (on the left arm). The wheels roll fairly well considering he has no axles nor rubberised tyres. There's a keyslot on top of the drum, if you unclip the base of the drum from behind the cabin and plug in his black and yellow Planet Key, the drum will split revealing a green orange missile launcher that houses a single lime blue and amber missile. The missile is fired by pressing a black button on top of the launcher. The bucket on top of the pouring assembly can clip into the top of the drum, forming a targetable weapon. There's a little lid which flips over the bucket, the bucket then lifts up off its base to form a mini console for Drill Bit - there are even tiny handles that flip out. Drill Bit then stands on the chute manning the missile launcher. While the lime green Minicon might seem a little weird here, this level of integration is fantastic. Drill Bit can also attach in vehicle mode - resting on the chute whilst plugging into a hole underneath the lid.

   While the arm sitting on the back is disappointing, this is still a good vehicle mode. The colours work well and provide something different from Quickmix. The detailing is good while the play value is excellent, thanks to excellent interaction between Heavy Load and Drill Bit. I like the fact that there's no garbled sound gimmick shoved in here - and find the creative missile launcher based gimmick far more satisfying than yet another sound gimmick.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip and open the drum if you haven't already. Split the front, the cabin will actually split front to back, with the window section moving to the right and the back half moving to the left. Swing these pieces over to the sides, swing out the grey protrusion, split and fold the two plates down to form feet. Swing the rear wheels underneath (onto his back), swing the drum out to form his right arm and swing the left arm into place. Fold down the chestplate, rotate the head to reveal his face. Slide the shoulders down, position the arms and deploy the missile launcher if it's not already. Incidentally, in Hasbro's stock picture (which I've used), the shoulders haven't been slid down.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 17cm

   The green is a little more prominent now, on his feet, chest, fists, shoulders and head. The yellow is limited to his boots and some painted aspects of his arms, chest and head. His elbows and thighs are black while the drum halves surround the missile launcher that is now his right arm. His face is painted light grey and his eyestrip is transparent amber with a very poor. There's a brown headset on the left side of his head, which is a nice feature. The colours are mixed here, but nothing stands out so he looks okay, but this colour scheme is dull, as was the case in his vehicle mode.

   This is an attractive robot mode, even with the obvious kibble in the form of the drum as a right arm. Mind you, the missile launcher makes this pseudo-arm a feature rather than a liability. I really like the headset, which is by no means necessary - the fact that the designer added a piece of plastic specifically is impressive. There's a silver twin cannon mounted on the outside of his left arm, giving Heavy Load weaponry on both arms, although the right arm is far more prominent. The cabin pieces in his knees do look a little strange, but this is a minor point really.

   Heavy Load has at once good play value and limited poseability. The head turns, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while both elbows swing in but can't lift up. The left forearm has slightly more elbow movement than the right, mind you, since it doesn't have to double as a truck mode missile launcher. The hips swing and lift out the sides while the knees bend and rotate. Most of the jointsso far are ratcheting, in fact only shoulder and knee rotators along with the neck aren't. The ankles can swing inwards and rotate. The heelspurs anchor Heavy Load well, and the proliferation of ratcheting joints combine with the large feet and versatile ankles to help stabilise a toy with a lot of weight on the right side. The end result is a toy that makes good use of his slightly articulation. The missile launcher on his right arm retains almost all of the play value it had in cement mixer mode. I say almost since the two different ways that Drill Bit can attach are rather useless now (although still) possible. There are four hardpoints on Heavy Load's robot mode - one on the right kneecap (the cabin roof), two on the chest and one on the outside of the left forearm. Whilst Drill Bit can't really attach to the missile launcher in a meaningful way he _can_ mount as a third weapon on the left arm, thanks to the hardpoint there.

   While the kneecaps are a little awkward, the rest of this robot mode looks pretty good and the play value is innovative and efficient - Heavy Load's poseability is great considering the limitations on movement here. The colours are the only really negative, simply because they're dull & uninteresting - but they still work. The level of detailing is consistent with the vehicle mode, rounding off a good robot mode. The only caveat is that the missile launcher/drum arm is a defining characteristic of this robot mode - and whilst I appreciate the creativity, if you hate this arm, you're going to dislike the robot mode.


Name: Drill Bit
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Drill Machine

DRILL MACHINE MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 10cm Width: 2.5cm

   A long bright green drill machine on treads. There's a transparent amber tip at the front of the long drillhead, which I assume represents a diamond tip although most industrial diamonds are grey or black. Anyway the treads and painted black and have small moulded links and internal gearing, but no actual wheels. There's a little amber sight on top (for the arm-mounted weapon mode, I guess, and just behind the drill are some drilling teeth.

   The upper portion containing the drill can actually rotate through 360°, and while this is for his transformation that does mean the joint is quite tight and will happily hold a position. While this is an unusual vehicle mode, the originality is nice and it integrates quite well with Heavy Load (even if the theme of the two vehicles isn't quite the same). There's enough detail here to clearly define this vehicle, making Drill Bit's vehicle mode cool is unusual.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   The treads simply unfold towards the front, revealing the torso. Rotate the drill itself through 90°, fold the ends down to form his arms. Lastly, flip down the sight. Incidentally, the sight automatically flips up when you transform him back - a little latch not only locks the drill halves together but also pushes up the sight.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 4cm

   Again based on green with grey on his thighs and one hand. His chest is purple, the head black ad his eyestrip is red. There is a powerlinx port on his chest. One arm is the back of the drill, with a grey tip, while the other - which is slightly longer - ends in the amber diamond tip. There's no pre-determined arrangement here - the arms can end up on either side so I guess we get to choose.

   The play value of this robot mode is pretty good. The arms swing while the hips and knees also bend, allowing Drill Bit to sit down. As I've already covered, Drill Bit can grasp the handles of Heavy Load's missile launcher assembly.


VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A good set with well thought out play value. The key gimmick is much more rewarding than yet another sound gimmick - and still allows the toy to transform and pose without having to lug around a large block. The colours are okay, and while I prefer those of Quickmix, there's nothing _wrong_ with the colours here - Heavy Load is dull, which is surprising for a repaint, and a little less interesting. The detailing on Heavy Load is impressive and really adds to the toy. The set integrates better than most Armada sets did, making the addition of a Minicon (unusual in for a Cybertron mould) a definite plus for Heavy Load. While his poseability is a little limited, overall Heavy Load's play value is good, and offers something different. While I wouldn't recommend both him & Quickmix (since they're both fairly pricey toys), I'd recommend Heavy Load if you missed Quickmix (or prefer these colours) - 8.5/10

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