Cliffbee.com: Armada Galvatron Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Galvatron
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Tank

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Galvatron for the purpose of this review.



TANK MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 25cm Width: 15cm

   A light grey tank with a burgundy cannon, dark grey treads and various lilac details here and there. There are also matte charcoal battle damage style paint splotches here and there. Galvatron sports a colourless panel with a Decepticon symbol moulded on it, on the front right corner of the turret. Galvatron is a repaint of Megatron, in fare more tasteful and sedate colours. He's not very realistic but the colours work well enough together. The realism is scotched by a gap between the front treads, where the robot head (face concealed, antennae obvious) is easy to see.

   There's far too much here getting in the way of this tank mode as a disguise - this is Galvatron lying down and it looks like it. He's laden with gimmicks, which severely impacts on the realism, despite a fairly detailed sculpt. There are so many gimmicks that every piece of real estate either has a piece that move or some sort of generic mech detailing. That's not to say there isn't merit to all the play value here, but Galvatron's tank mode isn't a great disguise. Mind you, I'm happy that he doesn't carry the day-glo colours Megatron has.

   There are a total of eight hardpoints available in the default position. On the front left tread there's a series of three burgundy plates which flip out via a switch, allowing you to access three more. On the front right tread Galvatron has a bronze fold out ramp of sorts, there's another hardpoint on the underside. Galvatron has two different missile systems. Pushing back on the main cannon will cause it to fire a single fluorescent bronze missile. There's a hardpoint on the top right of the turret which slides back and locks into place, releasing a twin-launcher on the _left_ of the turret. Again the missiles are bronze, these ones are fire by triggers on top of the launcher. In theory you need to plug in a MiniCon for the slider to work, but in reality you don't need one.

   There are other gimmicks, I'll try and touch on everything quickly. The rear left tread has a storage compartment, the rear right tread has a fold out ramp, there's a lilac claw which I think catches MiniCons who venture onto the ramp. There's an array of light and sound gimmicks activated as you fire the missiles or plug a MiniCon into the live hardpoint on the back of the turret. There's a readily visible speaker on top, in the centre, of the turret while there's a red LED embedded behind the Decepticon logo. I'm not convinced of the merit of the Decepticon logo glowing _red_.

   This is more of a playset than an alternate mode, really. While Optimus Prime managed a decent truck mode, Galvatron is only vaguely convincing as a tank. He's a long way from being realistic and really looks more like a toy tank than a Transformer tank. Which goes against the whole concept of "Robots in Disguise", really. Perhaps the main thing that I find unsatisfying about this tank mode is that there's not really a single playset here - rather a really basic and poorly conceived tank with a whole bunch of random gimmicks crammed into it.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull the rear treads back to form his legs, rotate the waist. Flip up the feet and heelspurs. Rotate the turret 90 and swing the cannon down to form a hip-gun. Open the burgundh panels on the front treads, swing out the arms and close the panels again. Stand Galvatron up, slide down the plate covering his face.

   While the faceplate and arm cover plates put this transformation ahead of MiniCons, the layout is simpler than quite a few MiniCons. Galvatron barely transforms, and at his sizepoint (ultra) he's spectacularly simple.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 25cm Width: 15cm

   A light grey, charcoal, black and burgundy robot, Galvatron has a more darker scheme now, with the light grey now limited to his boots. The bulk of his torso and arms are charcoal while the hands, elbows and shoulders are lilac. There are Decepticon logos on his shoulders - raised and painted - sadly the relief is also painted as was common in the Armada line. His thighs are also lilac Galvatron's feet are painted black. His head is burgundy and bronze with huge antennae, featuring a black face with red eyes. Galvatron sports enormous charcoal shoulder pylons which are obviously the treads. The colours here don't really work that well since the areas you're more likely to focus on are dark while the less prominent aspects - the boots - are lighter. Again the colours are an improvement over those of Megatron, but I can't say I'm overly impressed with Galvatron's colour scheme.

   Ironically, Galvatron's tank theme is stronger here than the tank mode in a way. The treads on his shoulders are so prominent that they clearly defined him as a tank. Sure, it's a transformed tank, but the toy tank aspect doesn't come through. The giant cannon on his right hip also helps in this regard. The huge shoulder pylons actually help offset the antennae - which still look strange but without the pylons they would looks ridiculous.

   Galvatron's robot mode is relatively simple, with the sculpt being largely generic although not poor as such. His facial sculpt is complex, if not especially impressive. The torso sculpt is similarly detailed, but much of that detailing is generic. It fits into the overall mood here - Galvatron is big and simple. He doesn't quite have the majesty that I think the designer intended, mind you - the antennae are more comical than regal and the cannon is just plain awkward. Thankfully the bright red that plagued Megatron's robot mode is absent here.

   Most of the gimmicks from the tank mode are left behind there, although the cannon still fires its missile in the same fashion - which is why it has been wrapped around to the side. Some of the hardpoints are still available - on the boots and pylons, while two more are revealed on his forearms. The hardpoint on the left forearm is live - sliding it forward causes a small black blade to slide out of his forearm and flip up (as if handheld). While I don't care for most of the gimmicks on this toy, this one is creative, unobtrusive and actually enhances the robot mode, rather than just distracting you from it.

   The poseability is quite limited, although as Armada goes it's not all that lacking. I've heard a lot of negative about his poseability, and while it's nowhere near the average Beast Wars or Beast Machines toy, Galvatron is no worse that some of the other bricks Armada gave us. Anyway, his head turns, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides, the elbows hinge and rotate. The right shoulder is limited by the cannon, the left has no such issue. The right fist rotates, the left hand is not a fist, the thumb and the fingers are each on springs, his hand can open (it'll snap shut once you release). The legs _are_ unposeable - his hips lift out to the sides and that's it. The heelspurs are small, but then they really don't have to do a lot. Galvatron's waist turns, but with such static legs, this doesn't really do much for his actual poseability.

   While it's a big brick, I find this robot mode to be more rewarding than the tank mode - mainly because I love the blade gimmick. I also appreciate the fact that the gimmicks available here are generally less visually obtrusive. While it's a mediocre robot mode, I find it far more focused that the tank mode, which is all about cramming as many gimmicks in as possible, to its detriment. I do prefer his colours in tank mode - the unbalanced dark over light just doesn't quite work here.

Name: Clench
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Truck

VEHICLE MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 4cm

   A small black truck thing with a single driver silver cabin at the front and two large bronze cannons above the roof. Clench has four black plastic tyres and burgundy front fenders. I call this a truck but it looks more like a Sci-Fi Lunar rover than anything else. He's a little dark but is much better than Leader-One (Megatron's Minicon), who was cursed with fluoro red cannons.

   The cannons can lift up and down a little, the wheels roll, and that's it for the play value. The name isn't as interesting as Leader-One - in fact it's rather generic.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unfold the top back to form the legs, stow the cannons inside the back of the boots. Stand up and position his arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm, Width: 4.5cm

   A black MiniCon with burgundy arms and thighs, Clench has a yellow eyestrip and a silver painted chest. The powerlinx port is on his groin. Overall, this is a good colour scheme, although again it's very dark. The pervasion of dark here is more balanced than Galvatron's robot mode colour scheme.

   The rear wheels sit on the outside of his hips, protruding notably. The forearms are permanently bent, and he can swing his shoulders, knees and hips. Clench's legs are more poseable than those of Galvatron, incidentally.


VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, Galvatron is a repaint of Armada Megatron, and Clench is a repaint of Leader-One.

OVERALL

   A playset and little more, really. The tank mode will displease fans looking for a robot in disguise, because Galvatron basically lies down and becomes a pile of random gimmicks. Some of the gimmicks have merit, but overall the tank mode is not a very satisfying tank. The transformation is ridiculous, the robot mode passable. Clench essentially works, although he's not really memorable. The colours are better than those of Megatron, but they're still pretty forgettable. Despite the slight improvement in colours, this is a disappointing flagship toy - 3.5/10

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