Cliffbee.com: BotCon Elita-1 Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Elita-1
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Attack Boat

Thanks to fatbot for loaning me Elita-1 for this review



ATTACK BOAT MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 14cm Width: 8cm

   A pink and black speedboat with transparent blue windshield and outriggers Elita-1 is a repaint of Thunderblast. Her deck is largely black while the open cabin features two silver seats and a dashboard with various dials and controls, but no obvious helm. Behind the cabin she sports a large light pink block shaped weapon, which has four moulded pseudo-missiletips at the front. There's also a single pink deckgun towards the bow, which a stamped Autobot logo behind that. The colours are fairly simple really, based mainly on the (darker) vivid pink while the (lighter) musk pink and black are secondary, with the blue providing some contrast. The colours are very feminine, but suit the character despite the corniness of the colours used.

   This is one the best - if not the best - hulls I've seen on a Transformer boat, which is made possible by a very cheaty transformation. Still it works, and I'll credit the designer for that. The shape is good, the only detail are streamlines running from bow to stern and there are no random gaps, as we usually see. She will happily lie flat on the table too, which is a great feature. The deck looks sufficiently boat like, too, with a clearly defined cabin rather than token windows somewhere pretending to be a bridge. The huge gun at the back can turn to the sides without her losing balance, which is impressive. I'm not sure how that would go in the water, but I'm not going to soak a borrowed toy to find out!

   The play value here is pretty good. The gun near the bow rotates through 360 and there's a little console of sorts on the portside, so that a human (well, creature at the same scale as her seats) can man this deck gun. As I've already mentioned, the rear gun also rotates - again through 360. The gun itself actually detaches from the base fairly easily (for use as a handweapon), so you might find yourself reattaching it after you turn the base. The base also has a hinge, it lifts up to about 30. Plugging her blue & pink Planet Key into the back of the gun will cause the front to fold down and the top to spring out as a missile launcher. The blue outriggers detach to form missiles for this launcher, which looks fairly impressive even if the range is maybe a foot. I'm not going to test this toy to see if it floats, but I don't think she would.

   A pretty good boat mode, if a simple one. The simplicity works in her favour since she concentrates on being a boat without too many gimmicks, and there's no kibble to speak of. I like the gun at the bow and while the key gimmick in the larger gun is somewhat underwhelming, it's contained there which means the gimmick doesn't get in the way of the toy itself. The colours are awfully bright, but this suits the tribute.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   If you want to call it that - Elita-1 is quite possibly the most blatant shellformer ever. Lift up the panel on the stern, split the sides of the hull and fold right up, revealing the pretty much intact robot underneath. Unclip the stem (tip of the bow) which becomes her feet and rotate the legs into place. The feet are, amazingly, the only part of the robot visible in boat mode. While the oblique angle her thighs transform at is interesting, the rest of the robot is pretty much undisturbed inside the hull.

   The transformation allows for such a well shaped boat mode, but it wont please fans who appreciate complex and clever transformations. The robot mode ends up with a lot of kibble as a result. I don't hate the toy, but the transformation just lacks the cleverness of many shellformers (such as those from BW Neo).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 10cm

   Elita-1 is even more pink now, with the light pink on her torso, hands, forearms, thighs & weapon while the majority of her backpack, upper arms, wrists, groin, head and legs are the darker pink. There is again some blue - on the thighs most notably - but no black. Her eyes are transparent blue with a pretty decent lightpipe. There's a darker pink matrix-like sculpt on her chest. The colours are even more pink than her muskstick-like G1 cartoon inspiration.

   As with many female Transformers, the robot's body shape is distinctly feminine. Her waist is borrowed from Barbie and she has long slender legs with high heels and long shins. The limbs are quite rounded which seems to be a common theme on fembots, perhaps as a way to keep things slender. This overly feminine shape is possible, of course, since the robot tucked away inside the hull, doesn't have to worry about being a boat. The overly feminine shape bugs me not so much because it's so stereotypical but because there's no boat in it. Of course, on this repaint, the pink combined with the shape make the entire affair ridiculously feminine. Her head, which is simply that of Thunderblast repainted, matches the head seen in the cartoon very well 0

   Again the play value is fairly good, but there's a significant footnote. The gun fits into either hand and her hips and shoulders are ball jointed while her elbows have two hinges each. Her knees and ankles are hinged while the head and waist are fixed (since there's a plate behind them). The footnote is the boat on her back which causes significant stability issues and therefore limits the poses available. I find she needs to be wielding the gun to help offset the weight on her back - even then you're still limited in what you can do.

   I'm not sold on this robot mode, simply because it's not at all innovative. Sure the robot shape is really good and there's a decent sculpt, but she just hides under the hull and ends up being a robotic Barbie doll with a boat on her back. I'd be keener if the cape wasn't so blatantly obvious as her alt mode opened up. Still, she does display fairly well other than this aspect - once you find a stable pose. The profusion of pink looks quite silly here - but it does suit the overly feminine look of the character, which makes this a fitting repaint.

VARIATIONS

   Elita-1 was sold exclusively at BotCon 2009 (although some unsold stock ended up for sale through the Collector's Club website), and was likely limited to a single production run, making variants unlikely. As mentioned, she is a repaint of Thunderblast. There is an earlier, movieverse, Elita-One (with a different spelling), essentially representing the same character.

OVERALL

   A great boat mode which unfolds to reveal a very obviously female robot underneath - and both are doused in pink, just in case you missed that she's a female Transformer. I do like the boat, especially her hull and the gun at the bow, but I can't help feel shortchanged by the transformation and the resulting robot mode. As repaints go this overly female toy suits the insanely pink character, so it works quite well. While I'll stop short of recommending a limited toy, this is a good repaint which does a good job of representing the cartoon character (certainly better than the movieverse toy) - 6/10

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