Cliffbee.com Generations Select Gulf Toy Review

Individual Review




Name: Gulf (AKA Skalor)
Series: Generations Select
Allegiance: Destron
Alternate Mode: Coelacanth Monster



MONSTER MODE
Height: 10cm Length: 15cm Width: 7cm (all will depend on pose)

   A blue coelacanth monster with a pale pink head, a magenta dorsal fin and magenta forelimbs. His colours are essentially the same as G1 Skalor, although only the toes are pink whereas the entire lower leg was pink in G1. There's a mixture of pink plastic and paint - the shades are identical - most of the plastic is on his belly in this mode. He sports yellow eyes and there's a purple Destron logo on his forehead while the teeth are painted silver. The deco is in many ways straightforward, but it syncs with the rather bold colour of Skalor and keeps thing simple otherwise - so yes, visually this works well.

   Gulf is actually a heavy retool of Blot, but it's not readily apparent in this mode. The entire front end is new - compared to the beast head of Blot - and that includes his vestigial forelegs. The middle section including the functional rear legs is unchanged, while the tail section is new (an add-on). Blot stands upright whereas Gulf's body is horizontal; which helps. Annoyingly, my Gulf's hips aren't tight enough for him to stand without tipping forward - he has to prop up with his forelimbs. While I'm aware this isn't the case on every copy, it ruins the poseability of mine in coelacanth mode since the hips are secured with rivets so I can't pop them off to add a coat of clear nail polish (or any other of the usual tricks used to tighten ball joints). I do like the choice of a coelacanth monster, though, and feel that this big bulky shape suits that particular type of fish.

   So yes, mine has no real posing available.. but both legs rotate and the hips can ratchet out to the sides. This doesn't do anything useful on mine, but can work well for poses where he's actually standing on his back legs. His feet also have rather tight ankle ratchets, which can help with posing - while the large feet can help with stability. Gulf has three weapons - two of which are the bile guns that are meant to be placed onto holes on either side of his body - they look there and can rotate right around so he can shoot upwards and backwards. They can also combine into a twin cannon or plug into a hole under his lower jaw - which sits on a hinge. The third accessory is his tail section, which detaches to become a weapon in robot mode - which is a great idea, but there's a swivel which deploys the barrels and it _really_ needed a ratchet or at least some notches, because as soon as you touch it it'll spin out of position to some extent - it's held by tension and while it's not _loose_, it is right at one end of the creature and really needs more than tension.

   A good looking animal mode, and the colour are kinda garish - but they're perfect for Gulf. His two cannons work well too and the joints he has are useful. I'm not sure how common the issue is, but I really find the hip joints being too weak on mine to support his weight (and them being riveted) really ruins my enjoyment of this mode. Well, that and the tail spinning out of place - which is a clear case of something that should have been picked up & corrected at the sample stage... but wasn't.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside his tail. Unclip the top and swing down to form his legs - clipping the beast legs onto the outsides of his boots. Unclip the beast head, swing back onto his back and clip into form a backpack. It clips onto two tabs on his back - but not terribly firmly or intuitively. This will reveal the robot head and arms (which actually just kinda cram inside the fish head); swing the arms down to his sides and flip out his fists. Fold the beast forelimbs back, give him his weapons and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 6cm

   Gulf is again blue and pale pink - the latter is now more prominent. The chest, forearms and some aspects on his boots are pink while most of the remainder is blue; his feet and fists being magenta. There's a blue central stripe on his chest - the combiner peg - which sports a purple Destron logo. He has a gold face with red eyes and a couple of yellow details. The torso is pink plastic, that area was his belly in beast mode. Its a good looking robot mode, despite the backpack behind his head, with a colour scheme that is again faithful to G1 - but with a vastly better body shape.

   It's far more obvious that Gulf is a retool of Blot in this mode. His head, forearms, the plate where his allegiance symbol and backpack are different but the remainder is the same. The paint mask is quite different, so I'm happy to say that Gulf doesn't just feel like a recoloured Blot. Like Blot, he had a rather awkward G1 robot shape - both benefit from this well proportioned robot mode.

   The play value is what lets Gulf down - and again it's the joints - and things that should have been handled better. The head, shoulders, elbows and hips are ball jointed while his knees are hinged with rotators and his waist rotates. All of _those_ work well, but the hinges that fold out the wrists should have a notch in them to secure into place - and all his weapons are too heavy for the tension they're relying on. Both the blue cannons & their combined form look good... but the combined form _will_ cause them to sag... and on mine the individual cannons can too - on a brand new toy - so no doubt it'll only worsen the more the joint is used. The tail-gun is a mess... it still rotates out of alignment easily and it's way too heavy for his wrists. You can plug it into the inside of his backpack but if you do, you can't store the blue cannons there. He can strike dynamic poses, and he's stable, but pretty much every time you grasp his torso, the backpack will unclip.

   A really nice looking robot mode that uses awkward colours well and does a good job of being Gulf/Skalor. He has good poseability too, but the retooling causes lots of problems. The tail gun is, frankly, useless - I want to just glue the thing into tail mode and set aside in robot mode. His wrists should have been better - like the tail them locking into position should have been identified on a prototype and fixed. I love the look of the combined cannon... but he can't successfully use it anywhere, which really sucks.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. He forms the left left of King Poseidon.

OVERALL

   You know, it's not often a retool takes a great mould and screws it up. But this is one of those occasions. The beast and robot modes both look great - the robot mode shape cleans up G1 Skalor's robot mode limitations. They captured the colours of the character well, the colour balance is good and the paint job is excellent. The blue cannons are good and the way they combine is great. And yet... the tail piece is a waste of time (yet you can't just forget about it - it's essential for beast mode), the wrists should have been able to support his weapons and that backpack in robot mode is not stable. I'm forgiving of things that are unavoidable side effects of an awkward alt mode (kibble, poseability being limited by something having to support weight), but I can't forgive the fact that this figure's engineering feels like no-one bothered to check the prototype. He looks great, but doesn't play well at all - 5/10

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