Cliffbee.com: Universe Octane (Tankor) Toy Review

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Name: Tankor
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Propeller Plane, Jet Fuel Tanker

Note: It looks like Octane, it smells like Octane, but I get the feeling Hasbro's marketing people wanted to protect the "Tankor" trademark. I'm referring to this toy as Octane, because when I look at this toy, I am not reminded of Tankor. And we've already had a Tankor toy in the Universe line anyway.

Thanks to Pulse for loaning me Octane for this review (I have since acquired Octane).



PLANE MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 17cm Width: cm

   An off white propellor plane with two black propellors on each wing, a navy blue tail, black and purple along his wings and black cockpit windows. The basic idea of the colour scheme is similar to the G1 toy which inspired this figure, albeit the chrome silver and grey are gone here. THe colours essentially work for this plane, too, even if the purple is a tad unconventional. Despite the loss of some colours compared to the original this plane still feels like Octane.

   As was the case on the original - and is common on triple changers in general - there are gaps and some kibble here. There's a slot in front of the tail, a gap between the top-set wings and a bunch of dark kibble under the base of the wings. The underside carries a grey piece which is destined to become the truck's tank. Despite these issues, it still works quite well thanks to a detailed sculpt, well formed wings, a well defined nose & cabin area and distinct propellers.

   There isn't much play value here - there are three small wheels underneath allowing him to roll on surfaces like carpet while the four propellors all spin freely. There are black guns mounted underneath his wings, close to the fuselage, and while they don't fire they do give Octane some attack here. The rear half isn't entirely stable, and has a tendency to wiggle up and down. kurdt the goat pointed out to me that the wing shape is backwards - the edge at the front with the propellors should be at the back & vice versa.

   A pretty decent cargo-style plane, with some issues. I like the fact that we have a cargo plane - and a propellor plane at that - amongst the endless stream of generic fighter jet Transformers. The colours work well and there's a lot of Octane in this plane. The kibble is a little distracting, but this mode is certainly worthwhile.

TRANSFORMATION TO TRUCK MODE

   Detach and set aside the grey base piece and guns. Swing up the tailfins, rotate the tail section forward. Split the rear section, rotate the halves 180, turn the vehicle over. Swing the wings down, fold the rear half down, clip the halves (which are now the cab) together, locking the folded wings away. Fold the exposed chest panels together, split the cockpit of the plane and swing the halves up and back to form the rear of the truck's wheelbase. Clip the grey tanker piece on top, plug the guns in on the sides to form exhausts (something Hasbro neglected to do on their pic, and I've used that one above).

TRUCK MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 16cm Width: 5.5cm

   The off white really take a back seat here, with the cabin being a navy affair with metallic silver painted windows while much of the tank is grey with a silver section at the very black. There are hints of purple and lots of black along the sides, including eight tyres and the smokestacks. These colours really match those of G1 Octane's well, even if the blue on that toy was quite a bit darker. I'm not sold on the mixture of silver and grey on the tank - I would have preferred all grey, assuming Hasbro didn't want the extra cost of all that silver paint. Otherwise, this is a good colour scheme.

   Again there are some kibbly areas and a few gabs - the area between the cabin and the tank is obviously a folded up plane tail and the nosecone shape is visible at the back, on either side. There's some mechanical junk on either side along the bottom, but Octane gets away with this on a fairly functional mode such as this. The tank is actually rectangular rather than oval in cross section - more like a airport tanker than a regular one, which fits into the character well, since it provides a nice link between the alternate modes. The smokestacks do look like guns, but they still work as smokestacks, so I don't mind so much.

   There's even less play value here. Six of the eight wheels roll (the third pair, from the front, are false) and you can rotate the smokestacks forward as guns. He doesn't roll that well since the propellors - which are in between the front wheels - are at table level - but there's no flex in the middle in this mode.

   Another good alternate mode with some kibble issues, which is typical for triple changers. I don't like the visible nosecone at the back at all, but otherwise I'm pretty happy. Again this is a style of vehicle we just don't see much in a Transformer, which is enough to make this truck worthwhile.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside the cover and guns again. Swing the nosecose halves down, turn him upside down, fold down the chest panels and slide the chestplate up, revealing his head. Unclip and swing the cockpit halves down to form his forearms. Unclip the cab halves, swing the cab down to form his legs and swing the wings and and split them, so they form a feature behind his arms. Flip out the windshield halves to form feet, extend the thighs. Open out the grey cover to form a giant serrated weapon and combine the guns as a quad-barrelled handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 15cm

   A black, off white, purple, navy and silver robot which has a similar layout to the original Octane. His torso and thighs are largely black with some silver - and a Decepticon logo on his chest, the only one on this toy. His arms are white and purple while his head is purple with a silver face and red eyes. His shins are white while the feet are navy and silver. The wings sit behind his shoulders and the nosecone halves form shoulderstacks. The colours are a tad muddled, since the blue feet are a little out of sync with everything else, but the spirit of the original toy's colour scheme is retained, at least. For the most part, this is a good colour scheme.

   I like the wings as a feature and the shoulder pylons are a good idea, although the feel a bit kibbly to me. The boots are clunky, which is faithful to the original toy's feet, actually. His hands are an odd shape since they're the window part of the cockpit, but otherwise this is a well formed robot. The head is very faithful to the original toy's and the chest makes for a good update to the original. I'm not sold on the giant serrated weapon, but I do appreciate the effort.

   Poseablity is quite good here. Octane's head turns, his shoulders consist of two restricted ball joints, his elbows are ball joints and his wrists rotate. The hips are ball jointed while his knees bend and there are rotators helping them out in his thighs. The feet are fixed and have effective heelspurs. The waist is fixed, and the fixed feet limit the range of posing a little, but they anchor the available poses well. I prefer the look of Octane wielding two separate guns rather than the giant serrated weapon (which I've left aside), partly because it'd be impracticably large in actual combat and partly because it hides so much of the toy.

   This is probably Octane's strongest mode, since it can handle the kibble a lot better, and doesn't need to hide any of the more distinct vehicle elements. I quite like the poseability and the tribute is strong. His wings look good and the head is well sculpted, but the larger weapon is awkward.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although I believe the Japanese version will feature silver chromed guns, which I guess enhances their role as smokestacks.

OVERALL

   I don't understand why Hasbro is doing Triple Changers as deluxes in the Classics/Universe lines - Astrotrain has some major flaws and Octane does suffer a little from trying to do so much. While he would have worked better at a larger scale, Octane's a distinct improvement over Astrotrain, as well as over the original G1 toy. Both alternate modes are unusual amongst Transformers, and while they carry some kibble, they both work fairly well. The robot mode is pretty good, even if the tanker cover piece isn't much of a weapon. This is a good update to the original Octane. I really wish Hasbro's marketing people hadn't slapped a random name onto this figure - Octane wasn't available but "Decepticon Octane" would have been a _lot_ better than Tankor. If you enjoyed the Classics, or if you like Triple Changers, I'd recommend getting this toy and forgetting about the name on the packaging. There are some issues here, and I've heard that there are quite a few plastic quality issues on this toy. I really like it, but there are significant flaws, and the plastic issue means I'll hesitate in actually recommending this toy - 7/10

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