Alternate Mode: Mining Vehicle
Thanks to i_amtrunks for lending me Metroplex for this review.
MINING VEHICLE MODE
Height: 19cm Length: 31cm Width: 16.5cm
A large while, grey, navy blue and royal blue mining vehicle, Metroplex is a blocky, disjointed affair with navy treads and a black shovel arm on top. There are various reds here and there, adding to the mix. While the colours aren't really combined well, none of them are bold enough to cause a clash. He looks fairly functional even if the layout of the colours is a little random. It feels like the colour layout was designed for the robot mode, which is the case with most of this vehicle mode, to be honest. There are two small Autobot logos stamped on the outriggers on either side which anchor the rear treads. While this is a by no means a bad colour scheme, it's very uninteresting.
While there are quite a few mining elements here, this does look like a robot kneeling over. The arm on top has a blue claw at the front and a blue & gold scooping wheel at the back. There are scoops on the base at the front and various sculpted pistons and gears on this toy, but the front half has enough split down the middle to make it obvious that they legs have been clipped together. The outriggers look like arms for good reason.
There are four hinges along the length of the black shovel arm, which rotates through 360░ on a ratcheting swivel. The claw itself opens and closes nicely, and there's a slot on top designed specifically for Drill Bit to attach. There are four hardpoints on either side and two on the front, all of which are useful for attaching MiniCons. There are two near the base of the shovel arm, but these two aren't really accessible with the base of the arm so close by. He cal roll along on six small plastic wheels underneath, although Metroplex tends to slide on smooth surfaces. The scooping wheel rotates, but does not spin.
Aside from the whole kneeling down robot thing, the stability of this mode is less than ideal. The cockpit looks good, it sits in front of the shovel arm's base, and is black with a transparent red window. Sadly the white section it attaches to floats around rather than clipping into place. There are two royal blue struts on either side of this which are meant to anchor the rear section to the front - something Hasbro neglected to do on their stock pics (which I have used). This helps the stability a little, but I'm annoyed that Hasbro didn't communicate them properly.
The key gimmick is nestled within the shovel arm. Plugging his purple Planet Key (code: lm74) into a slot on the left side of the arm, towards the back, will cause the wheel to split, with the halves poppping up and down. Inside is a grey section with a protruding LED at the back, the electronics are activated when you push the key right in. It's yet another generic blast-sound electronic gimmick that we've seen 30 times before. At least this one is in the weapon rather than the toy itself, mind you. It probably goes without saying, but the wheel can't rotate while open. While I appreciate the opening wheel, I don't think that it ends up being that great, because the feature inside is so passÚ.
Well, it's a mining vehicle that looks like a mining vehicle, despite there being overtones of the it is because Hasbro say it is syndrome. If there was less of the kneeling robot, this vehicle would work a lot better. It's not bad, but feels awfully simple for a Leader sized toy, and does not make use of the size. Aside from two blue cannons on either side of the cabin (which resemble the maroon antennae from G1), there's nothing here that really links this vehicle to the original Metroplex.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Detach the shovel arm and set aside. Unclip and fold back the blue struts, rotate the cabin & base right back, swinging the centre of the vehicle back to form his torso. Rotate the waist, unfold the front to form legs. Rotate the cabin to form the head and flip up his antennae. Rotate and slide up the shoulders, swing the forearms forward and open his hands.
Height: 34.5cm Width: 16.5cm
A very tall and lanky white robot with navy forearms, a lot of black in his torso, a black head with a gold face and transparent red eyes (with a great lightpipe), Metroplex suddenly does look something like his G1 counterpart. His lower legs are grey along with the shoulders, the latter now sport those two Autobot logos. While the colours aren't that unified here, the white dominates and the black, navy and grey are all subdued enough for this scheme to work. There are a few red highlights along with the gold on his head, providing just enough colour.
Metroplex is too tall here, if anything. The proportions are just wrong - he's nowhere near wide enough for his height and the legs just go on forever. While I understand that he is meant to be a giant, we're talking a Transformer with a major pituitary gland problem here. The reason for this is that he's meant to scale down for a work mode - but as the primary robot mode, and the one seen in the cartoon, this one is just a little bit too freaky for my liking.
There are now ten hardpoints to which you can attach MiniCons. Eight are on his sides - on the outsides of his ankles, knees, forearms and elbows. The last pair are on his chest and look like nipples. Drill Bit can attach to either forearm and works as an arm-mounted cannon. Poseability here is decent. His head and waist turn while the shoulders swing, his elbows bend and rotate, his hips swing and lift out to the sides, his knees and ankles are hinged. Aside from the head, all of Metroplex's joints are ratcheting, which is a good thing on a toy with a relatively high centre of gravity. He's fairly stable in a range of poses thanks to the tight joints and giant heelspurs.
The shovel arm is a weapon of sorts, but it's a dud one. He can hold it as a staff of sorts, using a handle midway, however it's too heavy for the sliders in his shoulders, so wielding it in any action pose is out. The electronic gimmick is just as pointless here as in vehicle mode.
The work robot mode is an improvement on the regular mode, since it shortens the torso somewhat and takes a _lot_ of length off the legs. Basically, the torso folds back, so the head and shoulders sit lower relative to his waist. The grey boots fold up and his legs spin around, with the shovel heelspurs becoming feet. The height drops to 26cm, and while the scale isn't as impressive, the robot looks more powerful - a worthwhile trade off. Surprisingly, he doesn't lose much poseability. The ankle joints are lost but everything else is retains. The overall colour scheme is quite similar, too.
For a Transformer which is centred on the robot mode, Metroplex's robot mode is very lacklustre. The tall shape is strange and the colours are fairly staid. The weapon fails and while poseability is nice, his robot mode isn't good enough to justify the "robot kneeling over" that is his vehicle mode. The work robot mode is a _lot_ better, if not spectacular.
Name: Drill Bit
Alternate Mode: Driller
Height: 2.5cm Length: 7cm Width: 3.5cm
A black vehicle with four black tyres, a gold cockpit and grey fenders, Drill Bit is dominated by two grey protrusions in front which carry twin black drills. It's fairly obvious that this is a robot face down and feet first but he works well nonetheless. The colours are notably darker than those of Metroplex, but they're also more focused. There's a single powerlinx port behind the cabin.
The play value here is limited to the protrusions lifting up and down and his black tyres rolling. Not much, but about what you could expect here.
While the robot form is clearly discernible, this is a decent little driller that makes for a good clip on weapon, so it compliments Metroplex well.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Straighten out the protrusions to form legs, fold the drills onto his calves. Flip the fenders over to form his arms.
Height: 6cm, Width: 3.5cm
Drill Bit has a black torso, royal blue thighs and grey arms and boots. Much of his torso and face are painted silver while there's some gold on his chest. The colours aren't as focus as the vehicle mode since the extensive silver competes with the grey. Still, the idea works fairly well.
His arms are permanently bent at the elbows and the tyres sit on the outsides of his shoulders and hips. The shoulders and hips swing while his knees bend a little, before the drills get in the way.
The robot mode is a little uninteresting, despite not carrying any major flaws. I would have liked less silver, which would have allowed the black and grey to compliment each other nicely. The bodyshape is good - better than that of Metroplex.
None that I'm aware of.
Metroplex is unusual in that the vehicle mode gives the impression that he's saving himself for the robot mode, but that mode doesn't reach any heights. The two different robot mode configurations is an interesting idea, but the "standard" one suffers from awful proportions. I wish the short work robot mode was the one featured in the cartoon - it's easily his best configuration. The shovel arm weapon should have been the highlight, but the electronic gimmick contained within is very formulaic - I'd have hoped for more from a Planet Key gimmick on a relatively simple toy of this size. Drill Bit is a decent little MiniCon despite a non-realistic alt mode, but like Metroplex he just never reaches any heights. There's lot here that is done fairly well, such as Metroplex's poseability and the proliferation of Hardpoints, but nothing that makes Metroplex memorable other than size (and pricepoint) - 4/10