Cliffbee.com: Electro Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Electro
Series: Generation 2
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Street Defence
Alternate Mode: Hot Rod 1950s Pickup Truck



CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 10.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A metallic gold 1950s pickup truck with transparent windows and pistons sticking out of the hood (yes, transparent pistons). Electro has some pink and green striping on the sides and roof, which doesn't look as bad as it sounds. Electro has black plastic tyres with chrome silver painted hubcaps and transparent headlights. There's also a transparent exhaust at the back, which is the handle of his sword. On the whole this is a decent colour scheme, although the gold plastic used is that notoriously brittle mix Hasbro was so fond of around 1989-1994, and since there's so much of it, this gold is a liability even if it looks nice.

   As with the other hot rod Laser Rods, Electro is stylish and low on detail, fitting into the 1950s design theme. There's enough detail that the design isn't lazy - the engineblock has six pistons and there's a grille on the front. Electro has moulded seats and a steering wheel inside the cabin.

   Electro can roll along on his wheels, providing there's some resistance (he slides on my smooth desk).The light up gimmick works well - you can either push a yellow button on the front of the bonnet or push down firmly on the bonnet to activate it. Doing so will cause a red LED underneath the engineblock to light up quite brightly.

   Electro is probably the most unusual vehicle amongst the four Laser Rod cars, and the mould is quite good with an effective light gimmick. The gold plastic is troubling although he tends to hold together well in this mode (the cracks appear on the robot mode).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Be very careful with Electro. I'm actually hesitant to transform Electro for this review, the toy is that brittle. Mine is a conglomerate of two Electro toys - my original cracked whilst in storage.

   Detach the sword from underneath, flip forward the bonnet and fold underneath the car. Swing down the yellow front "axle" which will unlock the fenders, swing them out and forward to form his legs, flip up the runners as feet. Split the tray in half and swing down to the sides, rotating the halves into position as arms, unfolding the rear fenders as forearms while the tray halves themselves become wings of sorts. Push the roof in to become his chestplate, give Electro his gun and wire the LED stowed in his backpack to the back of the fist holding the sword if desired.

   This is an ambitious, clever transformation that's quite innovative. It's such a shame they applied the awful gold plastic to such a clever design.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11.5cm Width: 10.5cm

   Again mainly gold, with yellow shoulderjoints and groin, Electro has silver upper arms and thighs and a silver head with colourless transparent eyes (and a working lightpipe). The yellow is sparing and as a result doesn't clash with the gold as you might expect. The layout is very interesting - the shins are the sides of the front fenders, sans tyres, while the roof is now his chest and the tray halves sit behind his upper arms as wings of sorts. The boots are smaller than those of the other Laser Rod cars, and look unusual, but this isn't a bad thing - Electro's innovation is nice.

   As with some other 1994 toys, Electro represents the Transformers' first foray into the ball joints that became the standard during Beast Wars. Electro has a metal T in his groin and ball joint in his waist (with a rubber band inside), as well as hinged knees and elbows. His shoulders have both hinges (which lift out to the sides) and swivels. Rounding out his articulation, the head turns right around. Of course with the brittle plastic, you have to be careful when posing this toy (it doesn't help that he has no heelspurs and a backpack with batteries in it). This makes Electro's poseability less of an asset than it should be, sadly.

   The sword lights up well, especially considering the blade is a single pole with no edges. The LED is activated by the yellow button now on his back. Even with the light on, it lights up nicely. There's not really any point to the lighting the pistons now on his back, but if you don't want the wire in the way you can leave the LED module stowed. The sword would I suppose be best suited as a fencing or jousting weapon, since it has no edge - it's a thrusting or poking weapon.

   Had Electro been any other colour this would be a fantastic robot mode. He's not a gold eyesore like G2 Slingshot, but he's just as brittle. The unusual layout, excellent articulation and LED gimmick are all great. It's such a shame this toy is inherently fragile.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. I do hope the mould is redone in a sturdier plastic one day though.

OVERALL

   Two good modes, excellent articulation in an era when most Transformers were unposeable blocks, an effective LED gimmick and a cool transformation that's clever and innovative. Sadly a lot of this good work is undone by Electro's brittle plastic. Electro is still a good toy despite this major shortcoming, which is testament to how well designed the mould is. In any other colour I'd call him the best Laser Rod, and while I still recommend him to fans of that series, I'm more reserved about this guy for more casual fans with a limited Transformers budget - 6.5/10

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