Cliffbee.com: Armordillo Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Armordillo
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Desert Combat
Alternate Mode: Armadillo



ARMADILLO MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 13cm Width: 5cm

   A darkish orange armadillo, Armordillo is not quite ochre, instead more of a dusty orange, with grey-brown claws and tail. There's a tasteful brown spraying of paint down his back along to the tip of his nose and his eyes are black. Armordillo is apparently meant to be a Giant Armadillo Priodontes maximus, and while they're a brownish colour the colour match is fairly good. While it's a somewhat dull colour scheme, it's appropriate enough so I'm not complaining. You'll have to excuse me using the species name in this review, but I'm trying to avoid using "A" words in every sentence.

   Armordillo's anatomy is pretty accurate to that of P. maximus, which is nice. His long front claws are slightly hooked, while the Giant Armadillo's are slightly more hooked. Armordillo has moulded scaling on his back, representing the scutes (bone plates) of P. maximus's shell and a short think tail, which is slightly shorter than on the real animal. He has pointy teeth protruding from his mouth, painted white, which isn't at all accurate - they tend to eat mainly insects and have stubbly teeth to grind the exoskeletons. Despite the teeth, this is a pretty decent attempt, and I'm pretty happy with both the effort and unusual choice of animal. Sure, it's odd but it's more interesting than yet _another_ dinosaur TF.

   The play value here is very limited. While P. maximus is fairly flexible considering it has a bone shell on it's back, Armordillo's main body is fixed. The front claws have ball joints on the elbows and shoulders, the shorter hindlegs can swing back and forth and the tail can swing up and down on a hinge. The last one isn't terribly lifelike, mind you, since the hinge is really here for the transformation. The curved tail means you can hang Armordillo from a cord or string (or whatever) like a bat if you really want (c8

   Aside from the silly teeth, my only other complaint here is the fact that his hindlegs are detachable weapons, which means that they detach fairly easily, and run the risk of being misplaced. There's a little undercarriage junk but he's close enough to the ground (or table) that it's not really an issue. Sure, it's a dull colour scheme, but it works for an armadillo and he's pretty true to the Giant Armadillo.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Being a very early Beast Wars basic, Armordillo has an auto-transform gimmick. Lift the tail up and he transforms. All you're left to do is swing down the arms, position his feet so he'll stand and detach the weapons and place them in his hands (or to the side, I suppose). While the auto-transform takes the challenge out, I'm glad that it works fairly well, and that things don't get stuck halfway as on some of the other early basics.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 5cm

   Again dusty orange and grey-brown, with red eyes. The orange beast head is now his chest, while the orange foreclaws are his forearms and the boots are also orange. The upper arms, thighs and groin are all grey-brown, along with the claws on his feet - which are _not_ part of the beast mode at all. The weapons are also grey-brown, with orange hindlegs hanging off the back of them. Again this is a fairly dull colour scheme, but it would have been difficult to add another colour without it looking out of place next to the beast mode colours. Black would work, or very dark brown, but neither would really brighten things up. There is more of the grey-brown now, so it is a little more interesting than his beast mode.

   As mentioned, the toes are beast claws, which is an interesting touch. Along with tight skin sculpting on his boots, the end result is a very organic robot mode. In fact the only robotic part is his waist, which is largely hidden behind the beast head. I don't mind this so much, since angular robotic parts would look odd in these colours. His head is sort of robotic, although it makes heavy use of circles in it's design.

   The shell of the beast forms the robot's backpack, which is predictable really. It's quite close to his body and doesn't in itself cause stability problems - but he has very short feet and small heelspurs, so you have to get the pose right for him to stay standing, and unfortunately the weight of the backpack (if not position) means he has little meaningful leg poseability. I don't blame the backpack as such since heelspurs would have solved the problem - and I don't see why Armordillo doesn't have sizeable heelspurs.

   While his effective poseability is limited, Armordillo is a very articulated toy. The neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are all ball jointed, and while the hips and shoulders pop fairly easily, reattachment is also easy. The right rear leg becomes a mace weapon and the left leg a pistol, and they can mount on the holes halfway down the arms. He doesn't have true hands, rather long claws, hence the holes being midway. I don't like the claws in place of hands much, though at a basic pricepoint (especially a spring loaded one) it's hard to see how they could have avoided this. The weapons themselves are fairly well sculpted, but look kinda silly with the legs hanging off them.

   If you don't like the way his weapons work, you can easily unclip the legs, but keep in mind the pegs to attach them in beast mode are on the weapons themselves. Other than the goofy weapons, the feet really bug me here. The articulation is really good, yet Armordillo ends up with little leg poseability. His arms are very poseable, but the weapons look silly, so it seems the poor guy can't win. There are some nice details here - the sculpting is great and the colours are more interesting, but this is the weaker of his two modes.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although the Japanese version, Armour, comes as part of a versus set with Snapper. For more info on this set, visit Planet Sabretron's review of Armour. There's an ochre repaint from Japan called Bump, and a Robotmasters repaint called Psycho-Orb (again from Japan).

OVERALL

   The armadillo mode is actually quite good - and I'm giving him points for the unique choice of animal. The name isn't terribly inventive although the pun is quite appropriate. The overall sculpt is great but some design flaws really drag the robot mode down. Assuming you can find one that still has the hindlegs, Armadillo is worthwhile for those who like the more diverse Beast Wars toys, and a must for Transfans with Armadillo pets. For everyone else, he's interesting enough to be worthwhile if you find him fairly cheap - 6/10

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