Alternate Mode: Surfer Van
Height: 5cm Length: 13cm Width: 6.5cm
A black Dodge Magnum (thanks for Fit For Natalie for the model name) with a green skull on his roof and skeletons on the doors, Cannonball is a distinctly different repaint of Red Alert. Cannonball has transparent purple windows and a purple stroberack (a relic from Red Alert's rescue theme), and the purple looks good alongside the black. The centre of the stroberack is gold while the fenders and hubcaps are silver. This is a colour scheme I can't recall seeing on a Transformer before - the purple is a rather unique plastic, and while he's kinda garish, I like the innovation. The purple does look good, even if the skeleton on his doors look really stupid.
There are a couple of aspects that break up the realism of the mould, and while this was an issue for Red Alert, Cannonball looks very much like a custom so modifications aren't really an issue. His tech specs tell us that he's an interstellar pirate, so the skull on his roof makes sense for the character, and is believable enough as a surfer wagon custom - even if the skeletons are a bit of a stretch. Anyway, there's a port at the back for his blue Planet Key (code d2rz) and random black posts on his roof - although these posts are unpainted, unlike those on Red Alert. There are quite a few moulded details here which help the overall look - Cannonball has yellow headlights, moulded wipers, supply boxes on the back, doorhandles, taillights and mirrors on the sides. So while he's not quite realistic, he's detailed enough to still look plausible.
Cannonball rolls surprisingly well on his wheels, all of which will roll on a hard surface, rather than slide as on many Transformers. You can plug the key into the back and it'll happily sit there, pushing it in all the way will cause the side rear panels (loosely contiguous with the rear doors) to pop out to the sides, allowing two blue guns to spring forward like those on Backstreet. The gimmick isn't really anything new but it works quite well without really asking too much of the engineering. I'm happy with it - useful without hampering the toy.
A good mould the first time around, now with a distinctive colour scheme. The skeletons on his doors look crap, but if you can get past that (or have the skill to get rid of 'em), then Cannonball's a nice repaint. The gimmick works well without being innovative. The realism of Red Alert is largely lost here - but that's not unusual for a repaint.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unclip the front and fold down to form his shins, flipping out his feet from underneath. Swing down the rear underside, flip out the heelspurs and fold away the rear wheels. Clip together two shins and calves to form rather chunky boots. Unclip the back of his roof and fold down, which will unlock the door panels. Pull out his shoulders and extend the door-shoulderpads. Straighten his arms, fold down his groinplates and pull out Cannonball's head.
The transformation is probably the niftiest aspect of the toy. That the boots form from both the front and back of the car is quite amazing, moreso when you realise the legs are poseable. The left hand is a laser that doubles as an attachment post. If you fold down the shinpads (the bonnet and windshield halves) you'll find a black hammer head and a gold claw, both of which can attach to the laser. The groin plates are also quite unusual and exhibit a nice attention to detail.
Height: 12.5cm Width: 9.5cm
The black isn't quite as prominent now, limited to his torso, hands and boots. The arms, legs and head are gold while his chest features a lot of silver paint and a stamped Decepticon symbol. Cannonball's mouth area is silver while the left side of his face is painted black - I guess this is the Cybertronian equivalent of an eyepatch. The eyestrip is purple with no lightpipe while his ears are transparent purple. The shoulderpads on the outsides of his shoulders are the car doors while the halves of his windshield form kneecaps. There's more black here than there was white on Red Alert and the colours really do make Cannonball a pirate. Best of all the skeletons aren't really prominent now, since they're on the outsides of his shoulderpads (which can be angled back). Unless you loo at this toy with the doors front-on, the colour scheme is great.
The doors on his shoulders and front of the car on his shins give us some visible car elements, and both work visually. The tool options on his left hand help make this an attractive robot mode. The gold claw attachment works well as the pirate's hook.
The play value here is pretty good - the spring loaded guns can deploy over his shoulders. The versatile left hand tool is nice and the storable attachments only make it cooler. Poseability is pretty good considering his unusual transformation, too. The head turns, the shoulders are ball jointed while the elbows, knees, hips, feet and heelspurs are hinged. There are actually outwards hinges just above his hips (hidden in his groin) that allow the legs to lift out to the sides, and while you wouldn't want to spread the legs too far this is quite useful for natural stances. Considering the compound boots, I'm very happy with the knee hinges, and can't complain about the hips. The hinged feet and heelspurs give Red Alert stability, as do the heavy boots themselves.
Without the skeletons getting in the way visually, this innovative repaint really shines in black and gold - even if the purple isn't as pronounced. The pirate theme works well with the claw and the black paint on his face helps out. This is a strong robot mode mould anyway, and I'm happy that Cannonball's rather distinct colours and unusual theme make him quite distinct from his predecessor.
None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, he is a repaint of Cybertron Red Alert. Cannonball also shares the mould with BotCon 2010 Kup (who features a new head sculpt).
A strong mould with a really innovative transformation and good play value, redone with a distinct and unusual colour scheme. I really like the combination of black, gold and transparent purple, and they make sure that Cannonball has a vastly different feel to Red Alert. Unlike many modern Transformers given new names, Cannonball's name is quite cool - and ties in well to his bio, reminiscent of the old Marvel-penned G1 bios. The only thing bringing him down is the addition of those ridiculous skeletons on the doors. They don't ruin Cannonball, but still drag down a great repaint. The mould is good enough that I'd recommend Cannonball if you can't find Red Alert, and if you can get past the skeletons (I can), then I'd recommend him based on the nifty pirate theme alone - 7/10