Cliffbee.com: Undermine Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Undermine
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Dinosaur



DINOSAUR MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 15cm Width: 4cm exact dimensions depend on pose

   A grass green and dark green dinosaur, Undermine has dark a green body and tail along with dark green ankles, while the head, forelimbs, feet, thighs and sail on his back are grass green. There's some grey on his shoulderplates and gold highlights here and there - notably on his claws and sail. The bodyshape and head look like those of a T-Rex while the limbs suit the velociraptor. The sail, along with the spiked grey ball at the tip of his tail, make Undermine a mecha monster rather than an accurate dinosaur, while the mix of sauropod elements are enough to make sure he's identifiably Dinosaur-like. SD informs me that Undermine is (somewhat loosely) based on Spinosaurus.

   Spindly yet ferocious looking, Undermine's menace is supplied by the spiked ball on his tail and open clawed velociraptor claws. The sail on the back adds some bulk to the figure, and sports moulded cannons on either side. There's a Decepticon logo stamped on his right hip while his eyes and the inside of his lower jaw are painted red.

   There's a lot of play value here for a basic, since this is a poseable beast mode. Both jaws open and shut, the head lifts up and down, the shoulders are hinged and there are three hinges in the tail. His hips rotate and lift to the sides, giving full movement. The knees, ankles and mid-foot false ankles are all hinged, making for very versatile legs. I've currently got Undermine in a stomping pose on the table, with his tail up as a counterweight.

   There's a slot at the back of the sail into which you can plug his green Planet Key (code: s48a), pushing it in firmly will cause a grey blade to flick forward from the top of the sail. This blade will only sit behind his head, so it's not the most useful key gimmick, but I like the fact that the key can slot in part of the way and stay put without activating the blade. The green key also matches the toy's colour scheme which is a bonus.

   This is a nifty dinosaur, and while the concept is a little odd, the mashed dinosaur aspects come together fairly well, making a cool beast mode. The poseability is great for a basic and the colours work. The gimmick doesn't quite work, but it's not a liability either. My main complaint here is about two gaps on either side of the ball on his tail (if they wanted to make it hollow, the underside would have been the best spot for a gap). All told a good beast mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the tail, swing down his pelvis and fold away the tail's base. Split the beast head and swing out to the sides to form his arms, rotate the shoulderplates and then swing the arms into position. Straighten the legs and give him his tail as a handheld mace.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   Again two shades of green dominate, with the darker green on his chest, shins and upper arms and the grass green on his forearms, groin, thighs and feet. The head is gold with eyemask and red eyes, and has a piranha sort of look about it. There's no distinct mouth, there's more of a beak in fact. The grey peeks out here and there, again this is a nice colour scheme.

   There are some interesting aspects to the transformation which create some unusual aspects here. The sail sits directly behind his head, which is the front tip of that sail. There's a hint of a hunchback and the sail is effectively a giant crest. The beast head is now the forearms, with the lower jaw halves on top (usually when a beast head splits it's the other way round - Undermine's beast head is upside down now). The legs are a simple straighten-out affair, but this I can deal with since the other aspects are interesting and it gives both modes poseable legs. The foreclaws sit on either side of the chest, although for some reason Hasbro's picture on the card shows them in attacking poses - which looks ridiculous. You can swing them back if you prefer, or deploy them if you feel the need.

   For some reason there seem to be few Cybertron toys that can stow the Planet Key in both modes, but Undermine is able to do so - the slot is on the back and remains available. Again you can stow it or push it right in to deploy the blade, which is more useful now since the beast head is no longer in the way. It sticks up and forward, giving Undermine a sort of headbutt of doom option. The mace is a lot cooler, and more useful with the three joints, but at least the blade is workable now.

   The poseability is again good here - the head is fixed since it's part of the tail, but his shoulders are ball jointed and the elbows hinged. He has claws rather than hands, and both upper and lower claws can move. The holes in his "hands" are rectangular slots designed specifically for his mace - Undermine isn't going to be swapping weapons with anyone.

   While this is an unusual looking robot mode, it's a fairly inventive one, and Undermine is certainly distinct. The poseability is again good and the gimmick is a little more useful. I wouldn't expect him to appeal to everyone though - the head and sail do look odd and the lack of true hands will bother some. The beast mode is probably a little stronger, mainly because it feels a little more cohesive.

VARIATIONS

   The Japanese version, Dino-Shout, has a pale green plastic where Undermine has dark green. There are no variations of this Anglophone version that I'm aware of although Repugnus is a repaint of Undermine.

OVERALL

   A nice beast mode, good colours and a decent if unusual robot mode make this an interesting toy. Undermine's robot mode isn't going to appeal to everyone, but the poseability itself is enough for me to like this toy. His key gimmick is underwhelming but at least it doesn't really hinder the toy. At the basic pricepoint, there's enough here to make this toy worth a look - 7/10

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