Blackout!on May 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm
New Saturday Joyce and Walky! here!
Holy Lord Almighty, it’s a new Transformers Animated toy! It is a gift bestowed unto us from the heavens, shrouded in light and majesty. And it’s from Japan, because, you know. Fuckin’ America.
Transformers Animated is running now over there, in a surprisingly un-totally-rewritten way. (Though they remove a bunch of scenes to accommodate scripted infomercials for the toys.) And since the American toyline has kinda gotten waylaid, I jumped on their release of Blackout. At the moment, it’s uncertain whether Blackout will see release over here. Ratchet and Arcee were released as Toys”R”Us exclusives in February, and Rodimus and Ironhide will reportedly see similar release this fall, but otherwise that’s all we know of that’s coming down the pipeline.
So, hey, hello, Japanese Blackout. It makes it easier that he’s not very much like the other Japanese releases of the Animated toys. Most of them have been unevenly covered in metallic paint, which turns me off something fierce. Blackout emerges from this relatively unscathed. He’s mostly unpainted matte plastic, like the American line, with a few spots of metallic lime green. I am fine with this. But if he were entirely metallic gunmetal, this purchase would have been a lot more bittersweet.
(Speaking of bittersweet, Blackout only showed up on the Animated cartoon in his pre-Earth body. This toy is based on the body he would have taken would we have gotten Season Four. His very appearance mocks me with what could have been.)
Blackout is notable because he is an Animated character who’s based on somebody who originated from the live-action films. I don’t really remember Michael Bay’s Blackout resembling Wilford Brimley so closely, but I’m not complaining. Still, you can see the inspiration. The helicopter cockpit splits to become the chest in much the same way, with the engines remaining on his shoulders, and the helicopter blades still hang off the top of his back. He’s a great cartoony translation of the super-complicated live-action film design.
That said, in several ways he’s very much like Animated Lugnut. They’re both Voyager Class aircraft Decepticons whose cockpits split to form the torso and reveal their forward-jutting heads, and they’re both short and stocky with tiny legs. They both even keep their weapons in their vehicle tails, though Blackout’s is much cooler. Lugnut looked like he was basically carrying around a useless vehicle part on a stick; Blackout’s rotor weapon shoots a disc.
Blackout is basically a better Lugnut toy. As well as the more playtime-friendly weapon, he also holds together better in robot mode. When you transform his chest into robot mode, everything pegs very securely. Even seamlessly! You can barely tell that it splits apart in transformation back to helicopter mode. His torso looks like an indivisible geometric shape.
If there’s anything annoying about him, it’s his arm articulation. His shoulders can’t swing out from the torso, they can only rotate along an axis. If you want to bend his elbows (since otherwise the torso gets in the way), you have to rotate his arms at the bicep, revealing the giant gaps in his forearms where his hands store in vehicle mode. So he’s pretty good at clenching his fist menacingly and little else. (This may be enough for some people.) On the other hand, both of his fingers are individually articulated.
All in all, I think he may be one of the better Animated toys. He’s going to look way undersized compared to the rest of his Decepticon peers, since most of his Voyager Class mass went into making him as wide as he is tall (like both Bulkhead and Lugnut), but in a vacuum, he’s outstanding. He has a great gimmick, and his visual aesthetic looks great in both vehicle and robot modes. And, hey, if you like automorphing, when you plug his pelvis into his torso, the rotor behind his head automatically springs back. He’s pretty awesome.