Cliffbee.com: Energon Beachcomber Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Beachcomber
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Racing Buggy

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Beachcomber for this review



BUGGY MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 25cm Width: 14cm

   Beachcomber is a blue and off white racing buggy with some yellow detailing and black windows on the enclosed cabin. He's a repaint of Cliffjumper in colours loosely reminiscent of G1 Beachcomber, but the buggy mode is more of a tribute than these colours. The engine block at the rear is an unpainted white which is rather disappointing. The struts supporting his rear tyres are yellow while the and the spoiler on his roof is white and blue. The tyres are black plastic with gold painted hubcaps. While the colours are okay - and certainly better than Cliffjumper both in terms of aesthetics & tribute - it's a fairly mediocre effect since the yellow weakens the tribute and the engine block really needed to painted. At a scout level this colour scheme would have worked well enough, but it's just not focused enough at this size.

   Beachcomber is quite big for a mega/voyager, but the level of detail here is sadly lacking in many areas. The engine block is quite complex and the false rack-and-pinion on the front wheel struts is nice - although it's completely unpainted so it's wasted on dark brown. Much of the front is otherwise bare surfaces, although there are the red sports lights - although this begs the question - why red at the front?. Beachcomber also has blue unpainted sports lights on his roof in front of a spark crystal and dead hardpoint. His white twin missile launchers clip into the front of the cabin which restricts the view from the windshield, but you can't really leave them off because there's just a _gap_ underneath.

   The play value here is underwhelming, and that's being nice. There's a blue button on the engineblock which activates a revving sound. The section dedicated to this sound is pretty big, and I don't know that the sound worth having to build the toy around this block. The black missiles fire maybe a metre. So the play value is simple overall. It is overshadowed by just how unstable this buggy mode is. The cabin doesn't actually sit flush against the block below it while the rear wheel struts tend to flop around. The spoiler floats above the engineblock, and while the joint at its base clicks into position, it doesn't look right and the fins are on hinges with too much give in the "default" position. The fenders on either side don't clip onto anything - as with everything else, they rely on the rigidity of transformation joints. Tiby's Beachcomber has has fairly tight joints, but he still has a sloppy feel about him thanks to these various loose pieces. I'd hate to see one with bad QC.

   It's big and underwhelming but this repaint represents an improvement over Cliffjumper's buggy mode, thanks to a better colour set and something resembling a tribute. The detailing is fairly low and what detailing there is has been left unpainted. The number of pieces that rely on tight joints to stay in place is ridiculous. While it's not a _bad_ buggy mode, it's just lazy in too many ways.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the cabin and fold out to the sides, remove the missile launchers and set aside. Fold the electronics block back to reveal the robot head, swing the rear wheels up and around to form features behind the head. Collapse the spoiler onto his chest, swing up the yellow cabin halves to form shoulderpads and swing the brown arms down from within. Flip out his fists ands give Beachcomber his missile launchers. Split the front, rotate the sides. Fold down the fenders to form killer kneepads, fold up the feet and and fold out the heelspurs.

   This is essentially a basic transformation - or maybe a simpler deluxe - since most of the front half goes into the "powerlinx" combining feature. The legs look like an afterthought since there's so much kibble, and the electronics block, while out of the way, obviously limits the transformation of the back half of this vehicle. It's not a bad transformation, but it belongs on a much smaller toy.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 21cm Width: 27cm

   Beachcomber is again blue and white with yellow as a supporting colour. There's more red now - on his eyestrip, an Autobot logo and the lights on his toes. The chestplate is the blue spoiler while his forearms are black. There are white squares on both shoulderpads, the left side has a raised Autobot logo, painted red. The colours are fairly coherent with the blue and white well mixed - this repaint is now much better than the cacophony that is Cliffjumper's robot colours. There's some more black in the shape of big black and gold tyres behind his shoulders - a nice feature. Again the tribute is weak at best.

   The upper body is generally well formed, although the chestplate is a little forced. Beachcomber's boots are a mess, however. The fenders become awkward spines on his knees while the feet are the front of the buggy with the front wheels shoved between. Basically there's a whole lot of kibble on the front of the boots. The spines on his knees protrude maybe 5cm from the kneejoints themselves - longer than the thighs - which is hard to ignore.

   Beachcomber has decent poseability, although the awful boots get in the way of what should have been good poseability. His head turns while the shoulders ratchet and lift out to the sides. His elbows are ball jointed while his hips swing and lift out to the sides. His knees bend but the joint is a little higher than it should be. He has _huge_ heelspurs and the feet are big as well - the clown boots are actually big enough to get in the way of his poseability. The missile launchers fit one in either hand, and there's no way to make a compound weapon which is surprising considering how common that sort of thing is in Energon - and the fact that they sit side by side in vehicle mode anyway.

   A mediocre robot mode with bad legs, but Beachcomber's colours are fairly good (and easily better than those of his predecessor). The poseability is decent but the overall play value is fairly low for this size. The boots really hold this robot mode back.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although Beachcomber is a repaint of Cliffjumper as mentioned.

OVERALL

   Beachcomber's tale is one of two flawed modes. The colour scheme works well enough even if the tribute is weak - and is made to look good by the awful colours of Cliffjumper. Energon didn't do large Autobots especially well, and this mould is no exception. The robot boots are a mess and the vehicle mode is anything but stable with a giant electronics block for a basic feature. The transformation is fairly simple and while he does the whole powerlinx thing, the mould offers little value as the voyager. I'd recommend him over Cliffjumper, but wouldn't recommend either, really - 5/10

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