Cliffbee.com: Dark Crumplezone Toy Review

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Name: Dark Crumplezone (which I'll shorten to DC for easy of reading)
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Racing Car



CAR MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 23.5cm Width: 18cm

   A midnight blue Cybertronian racing car, Dark Crumplezone is actually a repaint and resculpt of Crumplezone. DC is roughly arrowhead shaped with stabilisers on the front and rear fenders, and three transparent orange tyres. He has a prominent single front wheel (strictly speaking this vehicle is a tricycle) and two partially concealed rear wheels. There are collapsable winglets at the rear, which are transparent orange, along with nearby engine cowlings. There are silver and metallic orange painted highlights, including silver cockpit windows. The engines themselves are a dark burgundy colour, rounding out a fairly consistent and attractive colour scheme. As the name suggests, this is a particular form of Crumplezone - an undead version in fact. The midnight blue and burgundy are suitably dark (with the blue almost becoming black) although the orange is fairly bright.

   DC is quite obviously not based on an Earth vehicle, although there are plenty of recognisable aspects defining this vehicle as a racing car (other than the wheels). There's an engine block between the engines, the stabilisers and general shape - not only the arrowhead shape but a tapering towards the front. This car looks like it's built for speed, yet there's a brutish feel as well, thanks to a profusion of angles and hard, flat surfaces (almost like a stealth jet).

   The wheels roll remarkably well, and it doesn't take much of a push off for DC to roll on his own - he'll travel further unassisted than most Transformer cars. There's a key slot at the back of the engineblock, plugging in his red Planet Key (code: v2r2) causes the engines to flip out and forward, forming very aggressive missile launchers. The orange winglets will open out (if collapsed) as the launchers deploy, adding to the visual impact of this gimmick. If you push the key hard (either initially or after the launchers have been deployed), a laser firing sound will be emitted from the engineblock. While I'm not really a fan of sound gimmicks, I don't mind this one since it wont trigger every single time you activate the launchers - in fact you really have to try and activate it. The sound itself is clearer than most sound chip recordings, which is nice. There is a single hardpoint just in front of the engineblock.

   There are small grey buttons on top of the launchers which will fire the burgundy missiles about a metre. The grey plastic of these triggers isn't used anywhere else on the toy (ok, there's some inside the shoulder joints), and there are quite detailed painted details on the launchers. There are fan motifs on the front of the launchers - engine turbines, and the missile tips work as the centre of the turbines, although they're longer than they should be.

   An unusual vehicle, but the distinctive colours and shape work quite well. The dark plastics hide much of the sculpt here, but this actually works in his favour, giving Dark Crumplezone a massive, powerful look. The play value is pretty good - even if the key gimmick isn't so special. The missile launchers are effective and the wheels are remarkable, while the sound gimmick is better than most and manages to keep out of your way, unlike some hair-trigger sound gimmicks we've seen down the years (Armada Starscream being a low point). The stabilisers on the rear fenders are easily detached, and come strapped to the inlay tray of his box - easily thrown out if you're not careful. Other than these removable fins, there aren't really any aspects of this car I can complain about.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the front fenders from the wheel, swing underneath to form legs. Unclip the rear fenders, pull out to the sides, allowing clearance for the cockpit to swing down as his chest. As you swing the chest down, you have to simultaneously flip out the head from inside the cabin and fold away the front wheel (which is easier than it might sound). Swing out his fists, slide the front fenders down and flip up to form his feet.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 20cm

   As the proportions imply, this is a stocky, powerful robot with broad shoulders. DC has massive arms, reminiscent of a gorilla's forearms which proportionally huge compared to human forearms. The midnight blue dominates his robot mode, with burgundy on his upper arms and groin. There are orange and silver elements here and there - notably his silver lower jaw and the orange rear wheels on his forearms. The colour scheme isn't quite as pretty as that of the car mode - but then this robot mode is all about brute force, the sleekness has been abandoned.

   Big and brutish, DC is quite top heavy but has large flat feet, so stability is not an issue. The lower jaw reminds me of the MOTU figure Tap Jaw, with large serrated teeth on a jaw that lifts up and down. The engines form a sizeable backpack, which flips out over his shoulders when you plug the key into his... skidplate. While this makes the figure even more top heavy, DC's feet are easily able to cope.

   Both the launchers and electronics are available here and Dark Crumplezone is fairly poseable. His head turns and the jaw opens and shuts, while his shoulders can swing and lift out to the sides. His elbows are always bent, and can swing from around 40 up to 90, while there are rotators below his elbows, giving him decent arm motion. The waist rotates, his hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees bend and there are rotators just above the knees. DC's ankles are hinged as part of his Transformation, which aids in posing a little. The top heavy nature of this figure naturally restricts what sort of dynamic poses can be achieved, but the leg joints are tight enough to make sure some useful poses can be achieved.

   The key gimmicks are both available here and the missile launchers over his shoulder look quite good, adding to the already colossal look of this robot. The key can stow in the slot, despite the fact that it's hanging down. There are holes in his fists and rounded shafts at the tail of the missiles, however these are of different diameters - regrettably, DC can't use his missiles as clubs.

   While this robot mode is fairly simple for a mega, he is meant to be brutish, and the character is meant to be uncomplicated rather than clever. There's enough play value to make DC's robot mode worthwhile, although he displays better in vehicle mode. I'm glad that the key gimmicks and launchers are still available but disappointed that the missiles can't be used as clubs.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, as mentioned he's a repaint and retool of the original Cybertron Crumplezone toy.

OVERALL

   Dark Crumplezone sports good colours and simple yet well executed gimmicks and a distinctly brutish feel. The car rolls well - my favourite aspect of this toy. The car is distinct and interesting while the robot mode has a gorilla-esque feel and decent poseability which is hampered by the toy's bulk. The basic Transformer is decent without being spectacular - I'm not sure I'd recommend this figure as a repaint (I skipped the original) - but there aren't any glaring flaws here. Of the two versions of this mould I'd say DC is slightly better simply because the colours feel more "evil" and suitable to the brutish character, but neither really qualifies as a great toy - 6/10

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