Toy Review - Transformers Cyber Batallion Figures (Walgreens Exclusive)
Next up in our “Toys I’m Probably Too Old For” file are the Walgreens Exclusive Cyber Battalion Autobots. Like our previous review, the RiD Combiner Force Combiners, these are best served as a gateway into Transformers for the ages 5-10 crowd given their large size yet limited articulation. Size-wise, it’s safe to say these guys fall right around Voyager class. When it comes to articulation, well, that’s going to depend on the character…so with that being said, let’s take a look at each one.
Optimus Prime: Of course we have to start here. Prime is, in some ways, an up-scaled version of the Legion-class mold that has been bopping around for much of the 2000s. The transformation scheme is pretty similar and very simplistic but it is a different sculpt. Articulation is limited to shoulder swivels, an elbow swivel above the joint, a hinged elbow, no waist swivel but he does have a mid-chest swivel due to transformation and lastly hips that allow for both rotational movement and side to side (he can do the splits). Missing is some lateral shoulder movement, head rotation and very very noticeably…KNEES. [Actually, you’re going to find knees aren’t really included in any of these releases. – Ed.] While it also bums me out that there’s no rifle for Prime, it’s not a deal breaker…whereas for some collectors, I can see where the lack of knees might be. The plastic is pretty durable and looks okay, but just a little more paint would’ve really helped…especially given how much paint we actually do get on the mold. When was the last time you saw the rims actually painted on a Transformer? It’s been some time. [Well, unless you ordered from Japan…because Takara’s still classy like that. – Ed.] If you’re going to do the tire rims, you might as well put some silver on the fuel tanks and the robot mode thighs…but all things considered, I could probably do that myself.
Jetfire: It’s pretty easy to see where this mold will have future life as Starscream and his fellow Seekers Thundercracker and Skywarp. Yet enough variability exists with this mold that I’m okay with that…and that resides in the wings. The wings are adjustable so that you can put them full out to make a jet mode that more closely resembles an F-15…like the aforementioned Seekers, or you can tuck them in a bit to result in a sleeker F-14 Jetfire look. Transformation is pretty intuitive…although the head and its antennae might give you a bit of a problem when tucking them in for jet mode. Articulation features both rotational and lateral joints at the shoulders and at the hips, hinged elbows, head swivel and the antennae can move back and forth (as a single piece, not individually), no swivels on the arms though, no knees either…but there is some ankle articulation, due to the fact that it’s a transformation joint for flipping the feet up. Jetfire also gets bonus points for being the only one of these figures to actually come with weaponry as he comes with two guns. And there are holes on the sides of the arms so that said guns can be placed in a more Seeker-ific way. Plastic here is again pretty solid, however, while he looks really good on the packaging…the white is a little too clean here. If you’re a super awesome Gundam model kit painter, this mold would look AMAZING with black line highlights along the details sculpted into the figure…panel lines and whatnot. But as it is, the figure just looks like it’s missing…something.
Bumblebee: This is the one that I really had to talk myself into buying…for a couple of reasons. First, I’m starting to experience a Bumblebee-fatigue that might end up rivaling my Bat-fatigue or Wolverine-fatigue and second, of all these molds, Bee is the kibbliest…as you can see from his arms in the pictures. About three-quarters of Bee looks mostly okay when it comes to paint, but the lack of anything indicating his rear window is pretty noticeable. The bot mode feels almost overwhelmingly yellow. Sure, his forearms are black and his face is silver…but it feels like there needed to be more of those to colors to break up the rest of him. Now, granted, yellow isn’t exactly one of my favorite colors either, so a little personal bias might be slipping in there. All in all though, while I understand that in pretty much every branch of Transformers lore they are shifting away from Bumblebee as the “little buddy” of the team to more of a warrior and leader in his own right, there’s something to me in this mold that just makes it all seem like a bad fit. The car mode very much evokes the more Camero-esque vehicle modes Bee has inhabited since the first live-action film hit screens back in 2007…but something about this bot mode just doesn’t work for me. Articulation is on par with the others; rotational and lateral shoulders and hips, hinged elbows, a head swivel and a transformation joint that could serve as an ankle. Of the four, this one, as I’m sure you can tell, is my least favorite.
Prowl: I gotta admit that I didn’t want to get Prowl either…but I’m so glad I did as he’s the best one here. Initially, he seemed to me to be the plainest of the bunch…but there’s only really one place, the robot mode forearms, where his white plastic needs some degree of highlight. Otherwise, this guy is about as perfect a young-ages Transformer as you could hope for. Articulation is good with rotational and lateral shoulders and hips, head swivel, hinged elbows, transformation joint ankles and…even though they’re transformation joints and don’t really hold up well…DAMMIT…HE HAS KNEES! The paint job is solid though won’t be taking home any medals any time soon. [They give out medals for paint jobs? – Ed.] All in all, he evokes the character well in both modes. Honestly, he’s kind of the Millenium Falcon of this set: He may not look like much, but he’s got it where it counts. If you’re only going to grab one or two of these guys, make sure Prowl is one of them.
All in all, I feel like these are great for younger TF fans…or older TF fans who are looking to get their kids hooked on the same plastic smack that we all fell for as kids back in the 80s. [Seriously, comparing toys to heroin…what is wrong with you? – Ed.] For older collectors though, unless you’re a completist or run some sort of review website…you might be better served focusing your attention on the Generations line or more complicated fare. [Nice shameless self-promotion there. – Ed.]
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