Cliffbee.com: Universe Onslaught Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Onslaught
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: SWAT Armoured Personnel Carrier



APC MODE
Height: 10cm Length: 19.5cm Width: 100.cm

   A pale blue-grey (which I'll refer to as blue) APC with some metallic kiwi green highlights here and there, Onslaught has transparent amber windows, headlights and a transparent amber lightbar on top. If you remove the S.W.A.T. shield on top you'll also reveal amber an spotlight along with some amber panels. There's a neon red button behind the lightbar which activates his gimmicks - a feature which lines up with the buttons on the Animated Activators. There are six black wheels, grey minesweepers on front and twin grey barrels on the turret (which is where the lightbar and spotlight are mounted). While the blue is not too close to that of G1 Onslaught, the basic idea is the same, so these colours do a good job of representing the intended character. There are white S.W.A.T. labels on either side along with "12782 MONZO", which I believe is a tribute to a Transfan.

   I've heard some complaints that this truck mode doesn't really represent the character, but I don't find that to be the case myself. Okay, it's clearly not a flatbed truck, but this is still a combat transport truck in the same colours, with similar twin grey cannons on top. If anything, the flatbed was a little dull in concept, so I can see why the designers beefed him up a little. It's a pretty good APC, too. I couldn't tell you if this is a realistic truck or not, but it looks very believable which is enough for me. The sculpt is detailed and the paint mask is well thought out. There are diamond grip areas, air vents and rivets on various panels. There's even a dedicated panel at the back to cover his knee transformation joints.

   As is the hallmark with modern Hasbro boxed toys, Onslaught is packed with electronics. Regular readers of my reviews will know that I generally don't care for electronics, but his are better than most, pressing the red button will activate one of two alternating sounds. The first is a single pulse of a siren sound, accompanied by a red LED flash in the lightbar. It's pretty pointless, sadly, since you can't create a persistent siren sound here, due to the alternating sounds. The second sound is a machine gun sound, which _will_ keep going as long as you hold the button down, as is accompanied by flashing red LEDs beneath his amber panels. Both sounds are well defined, but the siren needed to go for longer. Thankfully you can interrupt by pressing twice, allowing sirens interspersed by gunfire. The other gimmick is very well engineering but the sound is badly defined. Five wheels roll freely while the centre left wheel is geared, rolling him back or forward will activate a sound which I can best describe as a toilet flushing sound - I'm not sure if it's meant to be an ignition sound or Onslaught breaking through a wall. It's too easy to activate for me, especially considering how indistinct it is. I'm either taking a gear or the batteries out once I finish this review.

   As bad as the third sound is, the mechanism that activates it _is_ complex and well designed. I'm also impressed with the way the red button works - if you cover the turret with his S.W.A.T. shield, you also cover the button, but there's a subtle button on the back, which presses the button when you push down. The minesweepers on front fold down, the turret rotates 90 to either side and there's a hatch which opens on top of the cockpit, suitable in size for you to place a Lego figure or something similar.

   While I wouldn't count it as a flaw, the wheel-activate sound is too indistinct, which is a shame since the activation is really clever. Onslaught's electronics are hit and miss, but still more interesting than most. The play value here is pretty good, but I dislike the designed-to-pop-off nature of his grey barrels - they come off far too easily. Overall however this is a great APC mode - it does a great job of updating the character, retaining similar colours and the trademark barrels. The colour scheme, paint job and sculpt are good making this worthwhile. The flaws are annoyances rather than killers, and while this is his weaker mode, it's still rewarding.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the shield and set aside, fold down his headlights. Lift up the rear panel, fold up and slide forward. Open the green panels on either side of the cockpit, fold away the blue part. Swing the sides back to form legs, stow the front wheels inside the "cages" within his boots. Fold the shin panels in and stand him up. Split the front and rotate out to the sides to form his arms, unfold the forearms, swing out and rotate his fists. Fold down the cockpit to form his chest, fold and clip his waist into place. While folding down the chest reveals his head, the hatch stays in place - you need to fold it back. Lastly, swing out a post on his left forearm and attach the S.W.A.T. shield.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 24cm Width: 16cm

   A blue, grey, silver, green and black robot - again the colours resemble those of the original. Blue dominates again, while the green is present on the torso and feet, the grey on his fists and kneejoints. The shoulders and face are silver while his head, mouth and thighs are black. Onslaught has amber windows on his chest along with an amber eystrip. There's a false winch on his groin, which matches one on the front of the truck, actually - also false. There's a purple Decepticon logo stamped on his left shoulder while the "S.W.A.T" markings are now on his ankles. The colours again work well here, the silver on his shoulders looks good and the face really does look like that of the original.

   While there are clearly elements here designed to tribute G1, there are some nice new features as well. The grey barrels protrude at the back, as in G1, and the black head and thighs are also reminiscent of G1. The shield, windows on the chest and impressive pointed shoulders are all new, and all are visually impressive. Onslaught's legs are designed in a way that he stands with his legs slightly apart - combined with the shoulders and elbows that protrude, this gives him a very mighty and powerful look. There's more than a hint of not-to-be-messed-with here. Fit For Natalie points out that the chest is designed to mimic that of Onslaught as seen in the G1 cartoon.

   The play value is worthwhile, even ignoring the electronics. The shield - which is more of a hand-to-hand combat shield than a riot shield - attaches firmly and looks good, while there's a black barrel which can deploy from the right forearm, giving Onslaught a ranged weapon. Curiously there are holes in his fists but nothing included to place in them. I don't mind, since he has a ranged weapon and a defensive shield. The poseability is great - his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows swing in and rotate. The fists also rotate so you can lift the forearms if you want - although this puts the gun or shield underneath and exposes the cavity where the fists stow. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees bend and rotate. His feet can swing down and while there are no heelspurs, his footprints are big enough that he doesn't need there. The head turns, and sits in a facing slightly down position, so when you turn it, he actually looks up a little. The waist is fixed, which is my only complaint - it's a victim of Hasbro's standard "build it around an electronics block" formula.

   All three sound gimmicks are available here - and unchanged. Considering how pointless the siren sound is here, I really do think they should have just dropped it and let the machine gun sound work its magic. There's a small black button on the left side of his groin which activates the generic sound - it's not as easy to accidentally activate as the wheel is, thankfully. The eyes light up very nicely with the first two sounds - I'm just going to stick to a double press to force the machine gun sound over the siren.

   The fixed groin and siren sound are the only real issues here - but these are pretty minor things. This robot mode looks good, thanks to good colours including a really nice use of silver paints and some clever G1 aspect placements. The new visual features here are positives, too - the shoulders, shield and chest all look good, and it's nice to see the truck front forming his chest in a very g1 style manner. The powerful look, poseability and weapon options are all positives. While this one isn't the dead ringer for his G1 counterpart that some Classics toys are, this is still a great update for the character - and it really feels like Onslaught in an urban setting.

VARIATIONS

   Hardhead is a repaint of Onslaught. BotCon 2010 Clench is a retool of Onslaught.

OVERALL

   A great toy with good detailing, a good colour set and clever placement of painted details, Onslaught is at once something new in the Transformers line - we've never had an urban APC before - and a good fit for an existing character. There's a lot of thought in this design and while he's centred on an electronics block, it never manages to dominate this toy, which has an elegant and satisfying transformation. Both modes work well without any major flaws and while some aspects of the electronics fail, the machine gun sound is worthwhile. If you're a fan of G1 or the design style of the Classics - and especially if you're a fan of the Combaticons, I'd strongly recommend this toy - 9.5/10

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