Toy Review - Transformers X G.I. Joe H.I.S.S. Tank Megatron & A.W.E. Striker Bumblebee
Long-time Transformers fans will know this for sure, while newer ones…well…maybe in the Studio Series or related movie lines…I will say that it’s more infrequent these days though, but sometimes one mode is sacrificed for another. This is most common with triple-changers more often than not, one mode suffers for the sake of the other two but it also happens quite a bit with licensed modes…those based on real-life vehicles (such is the case with movie figures) or popular fictional ones (anyone remember the Star Wars Transformers sub-line?).
Such is the case for these two new Transformers X G.I. Joe bots, the Cobra H.I.S.S. Megatron and the A.W.E. Striker Bumblebee.
Before we get into that, at least a little commentary should be provided on how long it took for this to occur. Their first comics crossover would occur back in 1986, followed up by another one in 1993 as Transformers was looking to relaunch as Generation 2. Both titles would meet their end in 1994 before re-emerging in the nostalgia wave of the early 2000s, the Joes in 2001 with Transformers close behind in 2002. Even though both properties would bounce to new publishers (G.I. Joe from Image to Devil’s Due to IDW, Transformers from Dreamwave to IDW), each iteration of these properties could always be counted on to crossover with one another. Given this lengthy history of crossing paths with one another, it's more than a little stupefying that this is the first time we’ve gotten crossover toys.
Given what we got…I can’t help but wonder if we shouldn’t have waited a little longer.
Okay, in all fairness, that sounds a little more negative than I mean, but there are some negative aspects to these figures. As I alluded to in the opening, while we have fantastic vehicle modes for both toys, even with enough room for any of your 3 ¾-inch Joes (old-school or otherwise) to pilot and interact with them, the robot modes for each are almost an afterthought. Many of the bits and bobs from the vehicle modes do their level best to interfere with articulation and posing. It’s worth noting that the level of articulation that Transformers fans have grown accustomed to throughout the War for Cybertron line and now into Legacy is very definitely absent. Although it’s impossible due to how he transforms, Megs definitely needs a waist swivel and Bee could’ve used a ball-jointed head and ankle rockers…which nothing about the transformation outright forbids, strangely enough. There’s also one significant QC issue: Bumblebee’s joints in some places are exceptionally loose while on the opposite end of the spectrum holy crap it feels like some joints on Megs are more likely to break than move. Each figure has some hollowness but some of that is permissible, either for transformation or to allow Joes/Cobras to interact with the bots. Some, however, exceed even the level of hollowness we’re seeing in the mainline toys. The biggest example of this is the hollow underside of Megatron’s fusion cannon. Ugh. It just looks horrible and I’ll be looking forward to any upcoming Third Party or 3D printed filler sets. To close, I do have to say something about the plastic used. It’s not bad or cheap…but it is…different. Spending most of my time playing with Transformers, I’m more used to a harder plastic in the figures, however the plastic here is more pliable, fitting more with the plastic used on Joe vehicles. Now, this pliability doesn’t mean you need to be on guard for warping or anything like that (or maybe you will, I dunno, I just got these a couple of weeks ago!) but as a heads up, these guys are going to feel very different to you if you’re a Transformers collector while a Joe collector may not notice anything strange or off-putting.
That being said, I wouldn’t go so far as to write these guys off. Yes, there’s the fun factor of seeing Transformers turn into these iconic vehicles (especially the H.I.S.S. tank!). And the ability for these toys to interact with the smaller Joe figures would be great if I had any. That said, I am making it a point to hunt some down because I think there are some great display options available here. While poseability isn’t up to the standard of the mainline Transformers (Bumblebee’s huge ass wheels definitely pose a problem!), what we get is sufficient to pull of some dynamic poses. Megatron’s transformation process is full of interesting twists and turns that ultimately end up being rewarding…and likely worth a quick look through the instructions or a transformation video before attempting on your own. Bumblebee’s transformation is about what you’d expect and is pretty quick, easy and intuitive.
The biggest deciding factor on these guys, I feel, is the price. With everything that’s going on economically right now, the asking price of $90 for Megatron and $69 for Bumblebee feels a little steep, Yes, each one comes with a vintage style carded G.I. Joe figure…Baroness with Megs and Stalker with Bee, but at most that accounts for maybe $15 of the price? [Which, if we refer back to our recent Super Powers review, seems a little overinflated if you ask me. – Ed.] That leaves Megs at $75 and Bee at $54, still a little too steep, especially since these are two properties that Hasbro owns outright and thus eliminating any prospect of licensing fees (which would boost the prices of any Star Wars or Marvel Transformers…or any other licensed property that the recent crossovers have been covering such as Jurassic Park or Top Gun). Do I regret getting these guys at the price that I did? Not really. Do I feel they’re actually worth what I paid for them? Also, not really. Granted, I don’t expect these two to be marked down anytime soon…but if they do drop in price, I’d suggest that’s when you grab them as the value to cost ratio will be a little closer to 1:1 that what they are now.
Oh, I did nearly forget the packaging…and that’s a damn shame because what we’re given here is one of those instances where as a collector I really don’t know whether or not to keep or toss the boxes. The artwork is a great blend of what you’d expect to see on a classic G1 Transformer box on one half and what you’d expect from a classic G.I. Joe vehicle on the other. Each one truly exemplifies that old line “two great tastes that taste great together”!
Given their price, I can’t say I can fully recommend either Megatron or Bumblebee, at least not to Transformers fans. The bots are simply a step down from what we’ve been getting in the mainline for a number of years now. Put simply, these feel like they’re more designed for Joe fans who are Transformers-curious as opposed to Transformers fans that are Joe-curious. That said though, I did have fun with these guys during the photoshoot and, as I mentioned earlier, I wager they’ve gotta be even more fun when you’ve got, say, Destro piloting the H.I.S.S while Baroness mans the rear turret…or Stalker and Duke riding in the A.W.E Striker while Snake-Eyes aims the giant gun at the tank off in the distance. That feels like it should be a blast. In the final analysis, it feels like for every positive to these toys, there’s a matching negative…and with a 50/50 split like that, well, that’s what our Plain Cat rating is for. At the very least, we hope the attached picture galleries will help you make up your own mind!