Unlike Wreck-Gar, Lugnut, and Kup, Perceptor doesn't happen to be in my Hall of Awesome. I mean, I like Perceptor well enough, I guess, but he's always just kind of there, y'know? Being a scientist. Being a buzzkill. Being a favorite subject of slashfic, apparently. (Slashfic writers love their repressed nerds.) Besides, I think I got all of the "How I Feel About Perceptor" out of my system when I talked about his Toys"R"Us reissue a while back.
But right at the beginning, let's get this out of the way: Perceptor's a bit of a shellformer.
If you've got Perceptor's legs, you've got 75% of his vehicle mode. It all wads up in there, the entire back half of his truck mode. During transformation from robot to truck, you unfold all these panels and treads and assemble the back half of the truck. Next you wad up his robot mode inside this truck shell you've created, and seal it off with the truck hood that's on his back. It is not terribly compelling, and it can be very frustrating at times. It's not, like, Side Burn level or anything, but it's just not my favorite transformation style.
But on the positive side, I think I am positively in love with his robot mode. I'm not sure exactly what it is that does it for me. Maybe it's his lankiness. I've always thought Perceptor should be more lanky. I mean, he's a nerd, right? He shouldn't be the same pile of rectangles that everyone else is. I love how his forearms taper organically. Maybe what's happening is that his more angular shape puts me in mind of his All Hail Megatron redesign appearances in IDW comics, particularly his role in Last Stand of the Wreckers, which anyone who reads this blog regularly should know that I have a boner for. The shape of the chromed piece on his chest definitely calls out to his design in that series, though I don't know if this specific call-back was intentional, or whether it was merely a side-effect of Hasbro's intentions of retooling Perceptor as Reflector. Reflector's chest is shaped like this, after all.
(It is because of his design's similarity to LSotW Perceptor that I am happy to lend him Blurr's sniper rifle.)
Back to Perceptor's chromed chestpiece. Yes, Perceptor has chromed parts, which is eyebrow-raising for a mainline Hasbro product. It just doesn't happen that often. I guess someone at Hasbro thought it was important? Me, I can take it or leave it, in theory, but I do kind of think it makes him stand out a bit too much from his peers. Plus, well, you know how much I like the C joint system, with the clips? The dials on Perceptor's wrists have C joint rungs sculpted into them. Two per. Sweet, right? No, because the vacuum-metalized coating makes these rungs too thick to work with the clips.
It took me a while to notice this, and at first I was wondering why Perceptor felt so, well, gimmickless, compared to the rest of his contemporaries. He doesn't have a handweapon, only the truck-lights-become-his-shoulder-cannon thing. (I'm not sure how the cannon's crosshairs helps, what with it being set behind his head.) I kept thinking I must be missing something crucial. But no, it's just that his compatibility with the rest of his wave is hindered by his chrome. Kinda annoying.
I do like his choice of altmode. Frankly, I never liked the microscope. He didn't even ever look like a microscope so much as a robot folded into something that sort of looked like a microscope, if you were mostly blind. So I'm happy that Hasbro remembered Perceptor's third mode, his mobile tank/cannon/thingy, and ran with that instead. Yay, half-track SUV!
Anyway, his chest opens up, the end.
TFSource.com is considering sponsoring Shortpacked! in the future, so in a practice flexing of my web-muscle, here's a link to their RtS Perceptor order page. He's (of course) sold out at the moment, though, so maybe a link to the Japanese United version would also be prudent?