Cliffbee.com: Alpha Trion Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Alpha Trion
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Space Cruiser



SPACE CRUISER MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 26cm Width: 23cm

   A mauve space ship with a tapered nose and twin solar-panel style wings, out to the sides on their own support struts (something like a trimaran). The wings are transparent crimson with white struts. There's also extensive crimson and some white on body of the ship, along with a few small gold paint applications. Alpha Trion is a repaint of Vector Prime and while mauve and crimson don't work on a space ship, they're Alpha Trion's colours - so what are you gonna do about it? (c8

   Okay so the colours don't quite work on this mould. Having said that, it's a good mould. The space ship is a good sci-fi ship - it wouldn't look out of place in say a Star Wars movie, and there are a lot of distinct design elements; the wings, nose and detailed sculpt are all quite obviously deliberate design choice. There have been quite a few Transformers through the years with alternate modes labelled as space ships by default, but the space ship concept is strong here, and the wings, shape and detail make this apparent. There is a bridge towards the nose, with an Autobot symbol stamped behind the transparent crimson window panels. Behind the bridge is a docking place for Beta Maxx, which is shaped specifically for the included Minicon - while he attaches to a powerlinx port in this docking bay, the surrounding depression wont accommodate any old Minicon. This isn't a problem, mind you - there are two more ports on the sides of the fuselage, towards the stern.

   There are moulded details all over this ship, with various cog and gear elements all over the fuselage and wingstruts. Some of these are painted crimson and some white. The wings have solar plates moulded onto them, and are roughly triangle shaped, with the pointy ends at the front. It's a great sculpt but the colours don't really bring the excellent detailing out here. There are four small white wheels underneath the ship, along with four mauve cannons and some crimson sensor arrays. Heck, there are moulded cog details under the fuselage, on what is destined to become the robot's back.

   There's quite a bit of play value here. Obviously Beta Maxx can plug into the toy, just in front of the bridge there's a white button that fires a single crimson missile out of the nose. Two Minicons can clip onto the sides and there's a slot on top (towards the back) for his gold Planet Key. The Planet Key has an Autobot logo moulded on the white underside, but the gold paint blocks out the sculpted detail inside it. I don't mind really since the key can be a Vector Sigma key in the this colour. As with many BotCon toys, the electronics have been left out of Alpha Trion to keep costs down, which doesn't bother me at all (regular readers will know I don't think much of electronics). I guess you can always buy a junker Vector Prime and transplant the mechanism if you want. The solar panels on the wings are two parts each and they can fold closed if you really want, adding to the play value. Annoyingly the kink in the starboard wing which has been present in this mould all along is still there, something I find really frustrating.

   The colours don't really do justice to this mould, since much of the detailing is overshadowed. There's no electronic gimmick either. But then this ship mode is really only a secondary concern, the robot mode is the real prize. It's not a bad space ship, but it's kinda spoiled in mauve and crimson. The attachment of Beta Maxx and the movable wings still provide play value, and the missile in the nose is still available. This alt mode does what it has to do - supporting the robot mode, so I'm happy enough, despite the regressions.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove Beta Maxx if he's attached, unfold the legs from underneath the swing the wings in. Fold the nose section down underneath, flip up the feet and detach the sword from his backpack (it's along one edge of the nose section). Lift up the shoulderpads, slide back the wristguards, rotate the head, pose the toy, give him his sword and (optionally) attach Beta Maxx to either wristguard as an arm cannon.

   While this is a pretty simple transformation for a mega, it's quite effective and the weapon options are well done. At any rate, the simplicity allows the cruiser mode to be a success.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 17cm

   Again mainly mauve, Alpha Trion has white thighs and forearms and crimson highlights. The head has been totally redone, and it's all Alpha Trion. The face is silver with silver goggles around blue eyes and a white goatee beard. As misplaced as the colours were in vehicle mode, it _really_ comes together here. The colours all line up, the head is fantastic and frankly the space ship mode is but a detail. The crimson wings give Alpha Trion his cape, the shoulderpads, whilst not the same, evoke the shoulderpads seen in the cartoon and the head is just wonderful. The gold Planet Key can plug into his chest, although I prefer to just set it aside.

   The robot mode isn't actually laid out as well as the space cruiser mode, but they've chosen a robot mode that fits A3, so who cares. The detailing is still great and there are some cool elements like small cannons on his toes and hip-pads. Beta Maxx looks really good as an arm mounted weapon and the sword - at 15cm long - is impressive and well sculpted. Somehow a sword just seems right for the character, too.

   The play value is pretty good despite the loss of sound gimmick. The missile launcher is not much use since the nose is now his backpack, pointing down. Beta Maxx's dock is also on his back but the ports on his arm are fun, and another weapon Minicon would work well on the spare arm. Poseability is good for a toy with such a focused vehicle mode - the head turns and the feet hinge at the ankles while the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips are all double ratchet joints. The ratchetting joints ensure that Alpha Trion doesn't need big heelspurs, although the ankles on mine are looser than I'd like, which limits posing somewhat. I can still place him in some great poses, however. The hip-pads hang over the top of his thighs, and they're hinged so you get the armour skirt effect without hampered hips. While the poseability isn't fantastic, it beats the poseability of most Transformers with such well-designed vehicle modes (especially at this pricepoint).

   A great, well focused, tribute to a character that until now never had a toy. The mould is a good choice, with the wings doing a good job of A3's cape while the shoulderpads are also good. The resculpted head is awesome and the colour map has been focused on making this mode succeed. Play value is good, although for an exclusive toy display value is probably more important to most, and between the well thought out colours, the head and his poseability, this one is a winner.


Name: Beta Maxx
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Jet

JET MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A purple jet with some white elements visible. Beta Maxx is a an awful name, but it's really meant to fit into A3's name (Alpha -> Beta). Anyway, he has twin tainfins and tailwings and in place of a cockpit, the front of the jet is basically a large barrel. Yes, in the tradition of Shockwave, this guy's a flying gun! There are actually two barrels, the right side one is longer and wider, and is roughly the same shape as Shockwave's barrel. The leftside barrel is smaller, shorter and rounded. This jet has basically been designed to double as a gun, and makes a good fist of doing both.

   The barrel section is painted purple over white plastic. Beta Maxx pretty much lies on his belly - there are no wheels underneath, just the robot bits and a powerlinx socket.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Flip over the tail section to form his boots and flip up his feet. Fold the barrels onto his back and you're done. The wings are his arms, and while they're not secured in plane mode, the joints are tight enough. Pose the arms as you want.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 5.5cm

   Mainly purple with white shoulders, thighs and feet, Beta Maxx has some gold highlights and a crimson face. The powerlinx socket sits on the waist, there are moulded fingers and the tainfins make for rather potent kneecaps. The face is pretty simple - especially compared to that of Alpha Trion.

   Poseability is okay - the shoulders rotate and the elbows are ball jointed. The hips and knees are hinged, and there are some leg poses available since the barrels on his back act as a third leg. While it's not a bad robot mode, Beta Maxx's robot mode is a shadow of the vehicle mode, largely because the vehicle mode makes a nifty accessory for Alpha Trion.


VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Alpha Trion was produced exclusively for BotCOn 2007, although I strongly suspect the factory contracted to produce him has produced a second run, since there are a lot on eBay without paperwork (mine is one). I've cone a comparison and the two runs seem identical.

OVERALL

   About damn time. That pretty much sums up this toy - it's a character we've waited twenty years to see as a toy, and the robot mode goes a long way to justifying that delay. While the mould is a Cybertron mould, the robot mode might as well be G1. Beta Maxx is really a minor detail and the space ship mode is a secondary concern. The robot mode is excellent - especially the head retooling, and while the colours don't quite do justice to a good space ship mode, the alternate mode does enough to make the figure work. The play value is decent and the poseability pretty good. The electronics have been gutted, but this is an adult focused figure. As with most exclusives, Alpha Trion is fairly pricey, but the extra production run makes him fairly easy to obtain, so if you're a G1 cartoon fan with the means, I definitely recommend taking this plunge - 8/10

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