Cliffbee.com: BW Neo Hardhead Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Hardhead
Series: Beast Wars Neo
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Ground Forces Commander
Alternate Mode: Pachychepalosaurus



DINOSAUR MODE
Height: 12.5cm Length: 18cm Width: 7cm

   A purple and aqua Pachychepalosaurus with metallic aqua all over, Hardhead has aqua claws and forelimbs with a champagne gold dome on top of his head. His eyes are yellow with black slit irises while his teeth are white and the inside of his mouth is orange. The aqua robot feet on his throat are very visible robot kibble. The colours are very distinct, and while they're a little garish, Hardhead more or less gets away with it since the purple hasa nice metallic sheen and the two main colours aren't fighting with anything else.

   It's a Pachychepalosaurus that used to be a Velociraptor, since Hardhead is a retool of Dinobot. It's an interesting reuse of the basic mould, and a creative one, which I appreciate. The head, lower jaw and belly have all been remoulded. The most significant change being the bony dome which these dinosaurs had on their head, which has led to the entire head being redone, although the skin pattern is similar. There's an added gimmick, which I'll expand on later. Hardhead still has the random post on his back that Dinobot and Grimlock had.

   Poseability is reasonably good. His forelimbs are on ball joints, and while they're restricted to some extent, they move in pretty much any direction you'd expect a bipedal dinosaur's to move. His lower jaw opens and shuts, to reveal the orange inside of his mouth and push the dome on his head out. It slides out maybe half a centimetre, and slides back in when you close his mouth. I suspect this is meant to be a headbutting sort of action, although it's not really very threatening. Still, it's cool they engineered this - it's fun and legitimately makes Hardhead more than just a repaint. Lastly, the hip are swivels with hinges that swing outwards, the knees bend and the front and rear toes on the feet are hinged.

   It's a nice resculpting that offers something over and above Dinobot, although the colours don't really upgrade. The new gimmick is a good upgrade but the aqua does cause some problems, especially the robot feet on his throat. I actually like the way the purple and aqua work together, but I'll admit it's the sort of colour scheme some will love and others will hate.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the tail and set aside. Fold the tail's base over onto his back, fold the robot legs out from his belly, rotate them and fold down the feet. Flip out the heelspurs, rotate the side panels 180. Flip the beast head down over his robot head and onto his chest. Fold the front claws up onto his back, rotate the arms down to his side and fold down the claws on his hands. Open the two halves of his tail, detach the sword inside if you like, arm him.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 7cm

   Again a mixture of purple and aqua, although the champagne gold is more prominent. His torso, forearms, helmet and boots are purple while the shoulders, claws, thighs and feet are jade. His face is silver with yellow eyes while the dome is on his chest and there's also champagne on the outsides of his boots. The colours work well together here - Hardhead's robot mode is surprisingly attractive. They're also markedly different from both Dinobot and Grimlock's colour schemes.

   The facial sculpt is impressive, as is the sculpt on the outside of his boots (the champagne area). Hardhead's head has been totally redone compared to the raptor. Like the raptor versions of this mould, the chest is his beast head, and you can still partly open the lower jaw, pushing the dome on his chest out.

   Hardhead has some problems in this mode, all carried over from the original mould. His shoulders are higher than they should be - on either side of his head. The head itself is kind of surrounded by torso - there's a ridge behind it and the side panels on either side with the shoulders attached. His forearms are formed from the Pachychepalosaurus legs, but rotated. They went for the cheap option of putting holes on one side of these limbs, and so his forearms have big holes on the sides, although being composed of a darker plastic Hardhead gets away with this better than Dinobot does. He doesn't have actual hands, rather he has opposable claws, which can wrap around his weapons, so they end up working reasonably well.

   Hardhead has a fair bit of poseability in robot mode. His shoulders are swivels, but have hinges so he can lift his arms to the sides. His elbows are also dual joints, and his opposable claws open and shut. His head is on a ball joint, but it's got a lot of plastic around it so it's effectively a swivel. The hips and knees are also ball joints, and these are far less restricted. Add the hinges on both his feet and heelspurs and you've got a very poseable robot mode.

   The aqua sword sticks into a hole between his claws and follows the line of his arm - he holds it as a stabbing weapon, not a slashing weapon. The other weapon is a purple spinning blade affair, and the two halves of the tail fold out to form a large blade with an orange top surface. What's really cool about this is that pushing the button on the base of this weapon in causes the blade to spin quite rapidly for about 3 seconds. Sadly on my Hardhead the hinges aren't as tight as they should be, so they tend to close slightly.

   A good colour scheme and great play value mean that while this mode has proportion problems, it's a fun robot mode. The shins are retooled, the head has been completely redone, the chest is also a different mould, so while it's clearly based on Dinobot, Hardhead is more than a simple repaint. Of course the colours here are so distinctive that you'll notice them before the retooling, but they work well so I don't mind.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he's a retooling of Dinobot/Grimlock as mentioned. The mould has been revisited many times - Dinobot, BW Grimlock & TFU Grimlock amongst others. Dinotron is a repaint of Hardhead. Thrustol from Beast Wars Second is a major retooling of this mould.

OVERALL

   They've dealt with a lot of the mould problems in Pachychepalosaurus mode, most of the robot mode issues still remain, however. The retooling is significant enough that this is not just a repaint, which increases the appeal of this toy. Hardhead's colours are distinct and while I like them, I can see others disliking them - they're hardly subtle. Whether or not you'd want both versions of the mould - and whether or not you want both Hardhead and Dinotron - I'll leave up to you, but for what he is, Hardhead has something to offer - 6.5/10

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