Cliffbee.com: Dirt Digger Team Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review








Name: Dirt Rocket
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Racing Motorbike

MOTORBIKE MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   A lemon yellow racing motorbike with a black saddle, purple flame-like painted details on the sides, a metallic cobalt blue windshield (metallic paint, not plastic) and silver headlights and tailpipes. The tyres are black plastic and Dirt Rocket sports a Decepticon logo stamped on his fueltank, which faces backwards. While lemon yellow might seem odd for a motorbike, this colour scheme works well enough since the yellow contrasts with purple and black well. The painted details are quite thoughtful - the headlights work well and the exhaust pipe paint extends to the pipes heading back into the engine (a really nice touch).

   The play value here is pretty minimal, as you might expect. Dirt Rocket's wheels roll fairly well, and the tyres are wide enough for him to stand easily on a flat surface. There are powerlinx ports on either side of the engine area.

   A pretty good bike for the size, thanks to a clever paint job. The sculpt is fairly sparse on detail - although the major aspects are all there. There have been better Transformer motorbikes, but for his size, Dirt Rocket is a damn good effort. This is easily his better mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the front, swing down to form the legs. Flip up the top panel of the fuel tank (where the allegiance symbol sits) to reveal his head. Split the saddle, swing the halves out to the sides and down to form his arms. You're meant to swing the handlebars back to form feet, but you'll find Dirt Rocket is almost impossible to stand if you do this, so you might want to leave this step out.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 4cm

   Again mainly yellow, Dirt Rocket has a silver face, black arms and some purple paint on either side of his torso. The torso is basically everything behind the fork of the bike, with the tailpipes and rear wheel sticking out the back. The legs are the front of the bike split in half - and very much look like it. The legs look awful but the arms come out okay, as does his head, despite the panel behind it. The only allegiance symbol is the upside-down Decepticon symbol behind his head.

   There's not much poseability here. The shoulders are ball joints, which does give him arm movement, but there's nothing in the legs - they're too unstable. As mentioned above, the suggested configuration is really difficult to stabilise - since you're being asked to stand him on the curved windshield. If you leave the feet untransformed, Dirt Rocket stands with the front wheel halves acting as heels and the windshield acting as toes. He's still not that stable, but standing him up isn't too difficult.

   While the formation of this robot mode is novel, it's not really a success. Sure there are worse Minicons - and Transformer motorbikes are always a challenge for the designers, but I think the designer was just trying to do too much at this scale.

OVERALL

   An interesting idea, Dirt Rocket puts more focus on the bike mode than robot mode. As a result his bike mode is really quite nice and the robot mode is a bit of a mess. The robot legs are a mess, and the suggested feet are unstable (although that's easy to get around). I get the feeling this design could have worked better at a larger scale - 4/10


Name: Grindor
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Monster Truck

TRUCK MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5cm Width: 4cm

   A charcoal monster truck with yellow windows and green flames painted on his hood, Grindor has green plastic struts supporting his tyres. The painted flames and green plastic of the struts match quite well. There's a silver Decepticon logo stamped on his roof and some yellow on the back, rounding out a dark colour scheme. Hasbro seem to be fond of black and dark grey Decepticons lately, and Grindor fits into that trend well - the colours have an evil feel about them.

   The moulded detail here is fairly poor, but I don't mind so much since it'd be lost amongst the charcoal and overshadowed by the bright green. There are headlights, taillights, a rear license plate, lines on the roof and rear vision mirrors along with door handles, although none of these details have much definition. It's enough to keep me happy on a toy that's about looking big and bad.

   There's not really much play value here - Grindor's wheels roll and that's it. As I said, this mode is more about looking menacing than anything else. There are two powerlinx ports underneath the front of the truck. Overall it's a decent truck with a nice theme.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the hood, swing the halves down (they attach via the wheel struts), and clip the front and rear tyres together to form legs - with the hood forming feet. Rotate the legs and swing down, open the rear of the truck to form the arms and reveal his chest. Lastly lift up the head from the roof of the truck and you're done.

   The tyres as legs truck has been attempted before in Blastcharge, but Grindor does a better job - the legs don't flop around at all, the hubcaps clip into each other nicely and nothing swings around when you don't want it to. This successful transformation innovation is a highpoint of the toy.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 4.5cm

   A charcoal robot with green in a few places, namely the outside of his legs and hips (the struts), shoulder joints and toes. There are yellow bands on his arms and the crest on his head is paint yellow, although the face is an unpainted charcoal, which is disappointing. The Decepticon logo now sits behind his head - the truck cabin is a backpack now. The colour scheme isn't terribly successful now, and the unpainted face doesn't help. The bodyshape is quite unusual, Grindor is very wide with huge legs and no knees. The emphasis is clearly on the transformation concept rather than the robot mode, and while I wouldn't say I hate this robot mode, it's definitely unusual.

   There's not too much poseability, but thankfully the legs are quite stable, unlike those of Blastcharge. The legs can swing at the hips and the shoulders are ball jointed, so some posing is possible here, mainly in the arms. Again Grindor is really about looking powerful. The powerlinx ports are now on the back of his heels.

   Not the best robot mode, but I'm more annoyed at the colours than the shape. Granted the shape isn't ideal, but at this scale such an ambitious transformation was always going to produce an unusual robot form. Grindor still works fairly well, shapewise, and the limited poseability is appreciated.

OVERALL

   Probably the most ambitious of the tree members of this set - and a definite improvement over Blastcharge as far as the legs are concerned. The colours work well in truck mode, not so well in robot mode. Overall I do think the design is clever enough to work, and while he's not as successful as Oil Slick, Grindor is still worthwhile - 6/10


Name: Oil Slick
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Muscle Car

CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 6.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A light red muscle car with purple flames painted on the front, black painted windows and grey plastic tyres. The front grille is also grey plastic and there's a black Decepticon logo stamped on the roof. The front of the car is slightly longer than it should be, so Oil Slick looks like a cross between the car seen in Dukes of Hazzard and a stretch limo. The colours work well enough, although the purple paint is a little brighter than I'd like. I'm not sure why the designer went for grey tyres, although Oil Slick gets away with it.

   The sculpt is fairly good, with grille slits, headlights, door seams and door handles and well defined side mirrors. The back end is a bit of a mess - there's basically a gap where the taillights should be, where the knees are. There's not much play value here, which isn't unexpected. The wheels roll and there's a powerlinx port underneath the passenger cabin.

   A decent car mode with nice details, although I would have preferred a darker shade of purple. The flame motif does work well, mind you. Oil Slick really looks like the type of car you'd expect to see doing fishtails on a major highway.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing the rear fenders out and back to form the boots, rotate the waist. Split the front and swing down to the sides, forming his arms and revealing his head. Stand Oil Slick up and deploy his hand weapons if you like (I'll come back to these). Oil Slick's legs incorporate an unusual transformation feature not seen since the Stunticons (Dead End & Breakdown). Usually boots will flip over (like most Micromasters) rather than out to the side, which results in a cavity on the outside of the boots rather than the back.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 7cm Width: 5cm

   A red robot with purple hands and a grey groin, Oil Slick has a silver face with a purple eyevisor (which looks like he's wearing a night vision scope). There are some black paint apps on his feet while the rear tyres are visible on the outsides of his thighs. The purple works better now, since the grey is a little more central (rather than just being the tyres).

   The bodyshape is distinctive but not awkward. The torso is fairly short, the arms are wide & huge (being the front of the car) with shoulderpylons (the doors, complete with side mirrors but not windows). The feet are designed so that Oil Slick stands in a natural "at ease" stance, with his legs slightly apart. There are no elbows since his arms are large blocks, but this works better than one might expect thanks to the weaponry (which I recommend deploying). Concealed in the right arm is a hacksaw blade while the left hides a two-pronged claw (which does not open or close). Both weapons are grey and add to the look of this robot mode. Oil Slick looks good anyway, the weapons just add to the coolness. His shoulders and hips are ball jointed while the waist turns.

   A good robot mode and Oil Slick's better mode despite the cavities on the outside of his boots. The integrated weaponry is a really cool touch and I like the relaxed stance. Better heelspurs would be nice - Oil Slick can be tricky to stand in some poses, tending to fall backwards. Still, this is one of the best robot modes amongst the Classics Minicons.

OVERALL

   A nice, inventive Minicon. Oil Slick works better than many of the more ambitious Minicons. Sure, there are some unusual elements here, but nothing really fails. The colours could have been better but still work, the poseability is decent and the weaponry is nifty - 7.5/10
VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

TEAM OVERALL

A trio of ambitious Minicons, with two hits and one miss. Oil Slick is the star here, with some really nice design features and no glaring flaws. Grindor is more ambitious and while not everything works, he does what he has to and is still fun. Dirt Rocket's bike mode is good but the unusual transformation doesn't yield a great robot mode. I'd recommend this set, since two toys work and the third, whilst not fantastic, still sports a nice vehicle mode - 6/10

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