Cliffbee.com: Calcar Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Calcar
Series: "European" Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Battle Analyst
Alternate Mode: Convertible Car



CAR MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 6cm

Dimensions include his weapon, which is about half the height quoted.
   A crimson convertible of some sort, this is a very curvy car, that I suspect is not based on an actual production model. He looks like he's designed as an open cabin vehicle, albeit in bright crimson - the result of a motorcade car and Barbie's convertible getting intimate? Aside from the crimson, his front bumper is black, as are the tyres, which are turquoise-wall (as opposed to whitewall), the windshield is transparent yellow, the hood baby blue, the inside of the cockpit grey and the rollcage rails on the sides painted copper. The gun is green with grey barrels. It's a rather muddled colour scheme, and while it's not terrible, it's pretty average. A little more thought could have made Calcar's vehicle mode a lot nicer.

   There are some really cool details in this mode. He has front seats, a steering wheel and gearstick and petrol caps (moulded onto both sides, for symmetry I assume). Plus, unlike his fellow Trakkon, Fearswoop, he doesn't have a gaping hole demanding to be filled if you remove the gun. The gun works fairly well aesthetically, the green doesn't really match the crimson, but nothing matches anyway so it's something of a moot point.

   The wheels spin, but that's all the car itself does - the play value is in the gun. On the front there's a sticker on top of the gun that's got a target on it, which hints either that the gun does stuff or that he's got a deathwish. If you look into the viewfinder at the back and turn the grey knob on the right hand side, you'll see little yellow laser bolts and the thing will click audibly. Meanwhile the barrels will spin, making this a gatling gun. Odd that a gatling gun would have laser fire, but then it has a sticker on top representing a store of bullets, so it's clearly a very confused soul. This gun is a nice gimmick, despite the mixed signals. The clicking and gatling effect work well together, and the laser fire in the viewfinder is cool, even if it doesn't fit properly and can be made to go backwards simply by turning the knob the other way!

   Colours aside this is a decent vehicle mode. The edge of the windshield is painted crimson over transparent yellow plastic, and this plastic wears a bit too easily, but otherwise it does what it has to do. I just wish the guy designing him wasn't colour blind.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the gun, flip the rear section over to form the legs - this works counter to most Transformers in that the _undersides_ of the car are the robot shins. Flip the feet down from the shins. Fold the front bumper out to become the hands, lift out the front fenders to become the arms and bring them down to his sides, rotate the hood so it covers the seats, becoming his chest and revealing his face. There's a crimson collapsible stand built into the gun, if you swing it down he can hold his gun just above eye level, thanks to small posts on either side. It's too heavy for him to hold without the stand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 9.5cm

   Calcar still has the random colour thing happening. Again, crimson is his main colour, his arms, feet, thighs and head are grey, his chest is transparent yellow (it's the windshield), the rest of his torso is baby blue and his hands are black. he has a bronze painted mouth and transparent yellow eyes - the lightpipe works quite well.

   Calcar is one of those "not quite G1, but not yet G2" toys that was sold in Europe and Australia after the line was canned in the United States. Some common features of this era are lightpiping, blocky robot mode, neon colours and a return to integrating vehicle mode parts into the aesthetic of the robot mode (something missing from a lot of 1988-1989 toys). Calcar has lightpiping as already mentioned, but his robot mode isn't really that blocky, since he was a curvy car. The windshield on chest gives him a vehicle mode remnant. Lastly, the crimson, baby blue and transparent yellow really fits in with the colour theme of the era. He's a cold, calculating, crimson, walking computer - according to his tech spec. Another feature of this era was overhyped and unimaginative tech specs - and Calcar's again fits - he's crimson but calculating. I'm not sure if the name is a play on "Calculating Car" or if it's borrowed from Portuguese (Calcar means "to trample") - which is possible since this is a brainchild of Hasbro Europe.

   The facemask looks like a breathing mask, which is silly, but the lightpipe easily outweighs that. His proportions are pretty good - he's stocky but not blocky or overstacked. The colours come off slightly less random now since the turquoise-wall and the bronze rollbars are no longer prominent. It's still a little muddled, though.

   Calcar has fairly good arm articulation as a by-product of his transformation. The shoulders rotate and his arms can lift out to the sides - which is more than most of the unposeable late G1 stuff could manage - at this stage the ball and socket joints of G2 had yet to appear. Adding to the play value is the huge ass gun that he can wield - it's taller than he is and the gimmick can be activated in this mode too, although he gets in the way of you looking into the viewfinder.

   This is Calcar's better mode, thanks partially to the loss of some colours, but also because the proportions and articulation are fairly good for this era. It's not fantastic, but it's still fun.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he was originally sold in a box (in G1 packaging) or on a card (G2 packaging), since he was released at the very end of G1.

OVERALL

   Calcar's always been my favourite of the four toys in his line (the Trakkons, and their Autobot counterparts, the Lightformers). Yes, his colours are mixed and - let's face it - he's pink, albeit a fairly subdued shade, but both modes are designed fairly well and the transformation is interesting. The gun, his main gimmick, works fairly well and doesn't burden him at all. If you can get him at a decent price, I would get Calcar. For North Americans, I'll stop short of recommending you import Calcar, but if you only want one of this set, he's the one to get - 6.5/10

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