Cliffbee.com: Movie Barricade Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Barricade
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Mustang Saleen Police Cruiser



CAR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 15cm Width: 6cm

   A black Mustang with white doors, Barricade's colours mimic those of Los Angeles police cars, although he's more of a generic police car than one belonging to any specific force. The doors sport the word "POLICE" in silver while there are purple police badges on the front fronts, with Decepticon logos as centrepieces. There's a big "643" on the roof and the tag "POLICE" in white on his spoiler, while the rear fenders display the motto, "to punish and enslave...". The wheels are black plastic while the windshield, door windows and headlights are colourless plastic. The front indicators are painted orange and the taillights painted red. Rounding out the colours, Barricade has a transparent stroberack on his roof, once side is tinted red and the other blue. The colour scheme is pretty good - a very believable US style police car, obvious Decepticon markings aside. The stroberack is excellent, and I really like the fact that the designer resisted the urge to put some huge insignia on him (such as those on Cannonball).

   The level of detail here is pretty good for a deluxe, which is indicated by the number of police car elements in the paint mask. It would have been easy for the designer to skimp on these, leaving a boring black car, but instead the fine details are there, making him very black, but still with an eye for detail. The sculpt is quite good - the front is clearly the trademark Mustang style, while the word "Saleen" is moulded at the back. There are air intakes on the bonnet, doorhandles and rudimentary brakediscs on his wheels. Being a fastback, he only has two doors.

   The play value here is the only real shortcoming of a a good vehicle mode. Barricade's wheels roll and that's really all we get. It is possible to pull down his impact bars and release Frenzy, although this is intended for the robot mode (and not worthwhile in any case). The hood and doors are all fixed in place, and move during transformation in ways that don't allow for movement here.

   A good car mode, which is predominantly black by design with many subtle features making for a good souped up police cruiser. I've always loved the design aesthetics of the Mustang, which endears me to this vehicle mode, but it's still a detailed car with some excellent points. Play value is limited, which is his only real flaw here. G1 saw only one Mustang (Trip-Up of the Hot Rod Patrol), we've now had three in recent years, I'm enjoying the glut.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull the sides out - the fenders and doors come loose, but not the side windows. Swing the back section down to form the legs. Split the legs, pivot the hips, straighten the knees and fold down his feet. It's actually possible to stop here and create something of a gerwalk mode, which I'm mainly noting since it's able to stand despite being rather backheavy. Swing the sides right out to form arms, swing them down to his sides, bend the elbows. There are joints at the top of the arms which seem to be extra - they don't serve any purpose except for aesthetic reasons. The shoulder pads on top of these can stay as pylons, fold out to the sides as pads or turn and face forward to resemble the tips of batwings (my preferred option). Slide the hood apart, lift up the head, fold down the roof and swing the side windows _up_ and you're done.    I've read reviews commenting on difficulty with reverse transformation, but I have no trouble with this - possibly a dodgy toy (hopefully not a common QC issue).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 12cm

   Barricade is again based on black - and this time the white doors aren't doing as much to offset this. There's some metallic purple on his groin, silver paint here and there, and a boatload of black. The face is gold with dulling glowing red eyes - the lightpipe works well but is designed to be dim, for that extra evil look I suppose. For some reason Hasbro's promo pictures add a lot of sheen to this mode, when it's really all about being dark and brooding. Which is an effect I like, since I think it fits into the bat there here really well.

   I've already covered the wingtips, and the colouring. The long arms end in claws, for a similar effect to Beast Machines' Nightscream, without all the floppiness associated with that toy. The face has an alien feel, as with most of the movie toys, but it's also batlike - this is actually the first bat aspect that struck me, and I've seen at least one other reviewer comment on it. Okay, so he has Batman style ears, which I guess helps set things up. The bat theme is nice, but what impresses me most about it is that it's all hidden within a pretty realistic Mustang. There's not a hint of this in car mode, and now we have a distinct animal theme in robot mode. There are still car elements here of course - the chest is the front of a Mustang and the wheels sit on his arms, but that stuff is along for the ride. The windows rising above this back are unusual - innovative if not especially warranted here.

   Play value is fairly good here. There's a small button on his left wrist which causes the hand to pop forward in a punching motion. The button is black (of course) and is easy to miss, but I'm happy to report it does require some force - it's not one of those "look too long and I deploy" things.

   As I've already mentioned, if you fold down the impact bars (now on Barricade's chest) Frenzy pushes out, you can slide him out and unfold him. He doesn't really transform, despite Hasbro's claims. You unfold the legs and head and end up with a spindly and unimpressive mid grey figure, standing about 7cm tall with red eyes. Frenzy certainly looks alien, and while his shoulders swing, he's hardly worth deploying, and quite frankly isn't worth the resulting gap in Barricade's chest. The idea is admirable but it doesn't work. I'm not complaining, mind you - it's easy enough to simple leave the thing permanently stowed.

   Poseability is good but not fantastic. His head is fixed, and his waist is almost fixed - there's no articulation there but it doesn't actually click into place when you transform Barricade, instead relying on the tightness of joints to stay in place. For the most part it will stay put, but picking him up and repositioning the legs will sometimes loosen the waist. Anyway, his shoulders and hips are ball jointed, the "thumbs" (first talons on each claw) lift up, the elbows are hinged and the knees have rotators and hinges - which works so well together they might as well be ball joints. His knees actually have a double kink in them, similiar to Beast Machines Cheetor, without the ungainliness and stability issues.

   On the whole this is a good robot mode. Granted the waist should click into place, but he gets away without this (barely, it has to be said). The colours and sculpt conspire to give Barricade an excellent bat theme, neither claw punching gimmick or Frenzy get in the way of the Transformer itself even if neither are spectacularly successful. The claw, whilst a minor gimmick, does work well - and is a nice little bonus really. I can see the designer looking at the completed robot mode and thinking "I can do something more with the arms" - and this is the way I like gimmicks to be done. Frenzy isn't really worthwhile, but can be ignored easily enough. It's worth noting that Frenzy effectively takes the spot of a handheld weapon, which I guess is a downside - although the punching gimmick is almost a melee weapon anyway.

VARIATIONS

   Barricade was sold on his own or in a two-back with 1970s Bumblebee. A later release saw carolina blue paint apps added to the robot mode, while there was also a diorama set featuring Barricade - this one came with a black Frenzy, who was screwed into place. There is also a Recon Barricade repaint.

OVERALL

   On the whole Barricade is a good toy. There are some really creative elements here, such as the bat theme, the transformation itself and the entire Frenzy concept. Granted, the last one doesn't really add much, but doesn't get in the way so I'll give them points for trying. Both modes look good in black, and the black police car with subtle bad guy markings compliments his dark, brooding, robot mode. The mustang is well done, the lightpipe is robot mode well executed. The waist is perhaps his main shortcoming, ignoring the misfiring but avoidable Frenzy figure 8/10

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