Cliffbee.com: Atomic Lugnut Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Lugnut
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Bomber Plane



PLANE MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 20.5cm Width: 20cm

   A dull green plane with black highlights and compound black windows on his pea-soup green cockpit, Lugnut has black Decepticon logos on either wingtip, outlined by gold. The oversized bombs under his wings are black with yellow "danger" stripes while the tailfins are pea-soup green with a yellow radiation hazard logo between the fins. Unusually for a character powerup repaint, he's notably duller than the all-about-purple original. There are WWII fighter-style teeth on either side of the nose. While these colours are slightly more realistic, that's only because he's based on a muted green. Neither colour scheme are especially realistic. The original has a more coherent colour map, but this repaint still works well enough.

   This is very much a cartoony bomber plane, even in these relatively muted colours. He's quite rounded while the nose is unusually flat rather than pointed and the missiles are oversized for effect. Having said that, Lugnut has an elegance about him that many of the more deformed Animated toys lack - the fact is that this plane looks like it _could_ exist. The lines are simple but there are still seams here and here, in fact Lugnut has more detail on his sculpt than many Animated toys - I guess with an elegant shape like his he doesn't need to dumb down to have an animated look about him.

   There's some play value here, and I'm glad that it doesn't rely on silly gimmicks. The front and rear wheels can retract - both are twin wheels on an axle, with the rear pair having a wider axle. Both sets are black, by the way. There are three black twin-barrelled guns - one on the roof and one on either side of the cockpit, and all three can rotate through 360. The nose section that springs open so easily on the original is tight enough here, thankfully.

   A good plane mode and a rather elegant cartoony vehicle mode as Animated toys go, Lugnut relies on simple visual aspects like the flat nose and oversized bombs to achieve this look, rather than ridiculous deformation or unbalanced proportions. The play value is simple but works well for this toy while the sculpt and paint job are well considered. The colours aren't quite as good as those of the original, but they still work well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside the top of the tail. Unclip the underside of the tail and fold out as his legs. Rotate the waist and flip out the feet and heelspurs (there's actually two parts to each heelspur). Flip up the wingtips, swing the bombs down to form his forearms. Fold what's left of the tail down to form his back, which will cause the panel supporting the topside gun to flip over and reveal the robot head, as well as causing the cockpit halves to spring out to the sides, forming his chest. Slide the side fins on the bombs forward to form his hands (well, claws). Fold out the base of the his staff and place it in either hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 14cm

   A dull green robot with black highlights again, while the danger stripes are now on his wrists and the black windows on either side of his chest. The feet, thighs and forearms are black while his head is pea-soup green and his face a single transparent red cyclops-style eye. The Decepticon logos on his wings are hidden now, but there's a gold Decepticon logo visible on his chest, again black with a gold outline. The radiation logo is on his staff now. The colours work very well here, and while they lack the distinctive feel of the original, they're well thought out for the robot mode.

   Lugnut of course has a rather cartoonish bodyshape, with the the bombs for forearms and the cyclops face, this suits. The shoulders are ridiculously wide, the face simple with a giant chin-like protrusion (although it's more of a collar in truth) and the legs curved. The simple face, bomb arms, claw hands and wide shoulders all give him feeling of brute force. The claws are essentially the front of the bomb opened up, with prongs on either side. The proportions here are heavily stylised but the overall look is unified, so I have no complaints. The "Atomic" designation relies on the radiation symbol - there's no green glow here. The idea is that he has been energised by radiation, but the mould is identical.

   Lugnut's play value is fairly simple yet well thought out. The weapon (which the packaging calls a "turbo mace") plugs into either hand, and doing so will activate a live hardpoint built into the handle (yes, you can plug a MiniCon in). This activates a slamming gimmick. While he's holding the staff, tapping it on the desk (or pressing on the bottom) will cause the tailfins at the top to open out and reveal more danger stripes. You can't open this one up without the handle plugged into his hand (or MiniCon), trying to force it will do nothing, except maybe break the mechanism. Either way, it's a nice action feature with a very satisfying mechanism. The packaging calls the powerlinx ports inside his claws "turbolasers", so I guess they double as ranged weapons. I'm not sure what turbo technology (forcing gas through) will do for either a mace or a laser. It sounds powerful, I guess. You can open the claws in plane mode, if you want to give him lasers (sorry, turbolasers) in that mode, although they're really intended for the robot mode. The side mounted cannons from plane mode are now on his chest, and can be aimed.

   Poseability is good here, although as with any top-heavy toy posing can take a little work. The head and waist are fixed while the shoulders swing and lift out 45 to the sides. His elbows are hinged while the claws can open and close. Lugnut's hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees are hinged with rotators. Thanks to the double heelspurs in either foot, the range of stable poses is well above what you'd expect of a top heavy toy like Lugnut - it makes up for the fixed waist and neck in my book.

   A good robot mode, and the repaint works better in this mode. Lugnut's unusual shape is in proportion with himself. His weapon feels more ceremonial than dangerous, but with the guns on his sides and the "turbolasers", Lugnut isn't short of firepower. There are no real flaws here.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   One of the better efforts from Animated, Lugnut has great engineering and a cartoon feel which doesn't cause proportion problems nor rely on a lack of detail. The weapon is unusual and not especially threatening, but it's very well engineered, so it's still fun. The poseability is well and truly above what you might expect, thanks to the clever design of his heelspurs. The repaint isn't compelling, but I'd recommend this mould in some form (I found Atomic Lugnut on clearance so I opted for this version) - especially to fans of the Animated line. The original has a better colour scheme but some minor flaws which aren't an issue here - 9.5/10

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