Cliffbee.com: Emperor Palpatine Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Emperor Palpatine
Series: Star Wars Transformers
Allegiance: Galactic Empire
Alternate Mode: Imperial Shuttle

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Emperor Palpatine for this review



SHUTTLE MODE
Height: 19cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 22cm (flight)
Height: 12cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 13cm (landing)
Note that it's not actually possible to stand this vehicle in a flight configuration, but I wanted to list the above dimensions for the sense of scale.

   An off white Imperial Shuttle with smoky cockpit, some silver protrusions at the bases of the wings and a really badly concealed red light sabre at the base of the upper fin, hanging over the cockpit. The colour scheme is conceptually quite simple on this vehicle, Hasbro have added some silver paint apps here and there to keep things interesting, which I appreciate. The light sabre is better left aside it's so obvious - especially when you consider it's red against a white toy. Otherwise the colour scheme is pretty successful.

   This toy is really quite unstable, to the point where you can only display it in landing mode with the wings raise up alongside the upper fin - there's no displaying of the triangular shaped flight mode unless you get a stand, which kind of goes against the point of a playable and poseable figure. The wings detach very easily - they clip on via very small attachments and will come off before the hinges drawing them up move, so they'll come off as you play with the toy. Just to add to the cheating, the upper fin detaches from its base - which itself detaches. There are gaps in the sides of the fuselage where the folded up robot limbs don't quite meet - and they don't really make an effort to do so. It's a very lazy design that needed stronger clips or (better yet) fewer detachable parts.

   On the upside, other than the gaps there's no real kibble other than the light sabre. So it really looks like an Imperial Shuttle. There's quite a bit of play value, and while it doesn't always succeed, the number of playable aspects is a highlight of a disappointing vehicle mode. The wings can swing down allowing you to hold him in flight (if not support the weight of the toy), the cockpit opens to reveal a small black Emporer Palpatine pilot with flesh coloured paint on the hands and face while the silver cannons on the front of his wings can swing out to the sides to aim. Unsurprisingly, the prominent light sabre is a missile, and pressing a button on the portside of the fin's base will launch it. The launcher works quite well, too.

   There's some good here but it's so unstable that I can't really enjoy the positives. The wings are very poorly designed, the projectile fires well but it just looks so out of place that I would recommend against loading it. More than anything else, this vehicle mode really deserves to be able to stretch its wings (literally), and the fact that it can't do so properly just ruins everything else.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside all the loose bits. Fold up the silver feet underneath the rear of the fuselage, swing the back corners back and straighten to form legs. Rotate the waist, extend the boots, flip out the feet and heelspurs. Swing the arms out from within the fuselage and rotate into position. Fold down the cockpit to form the chestplate which will also swing the head into place. Attach the upper fin to the outside of either arm, plug the wings into the hips to form armour plates, place the base of the upper fin into either hand as a missile launcher.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 10cm

   Again mainly off white with some silver on the feet, groin and hands, while the helmet is black with a green face sporting red eyes. In theory this is meant to resemble Emperor Palpatine but it's not so much like him. Firstly, it's white... only the helmet is black. The face looks more like Jabba the Hut than Emperor Palpatine. There's no cape either. This isn't to say that it's a bad colour scheme, but this robot fails to convey the Emperor quite spectacularly. Okay, it's not a great colour scheme, because the black and green head is out of place with the rest of the figure.

   Just to keep things consistent, this robot mode is unstable. The boots extend in transformation, but the sliding joints are too loose to hold the weight of the toy, so he has a tendency to sag and then topple over. The wings on his hips are armour in theory - they're poorly placed kibble which doesn't attach well anyway. The missile launcher wont sit very securely in the hand, either. Conversely, the upper fin on his arm secures quite well and works as a shield - one out of three I guess. Of course you can place the light sabre in either hand, and it will stay securely. You'll have to stow the launcher on his back which blocks the waist joint (or set it aside).

   The poseability is fairly good, although it's held back by the unstable boots. The head and waist turn while the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are turn on two planes giving the limbs pretty much full articulation. The wrists are ball jointed and the heelspurs are sufficient (although they don't prevent the thing collapsing to one side). The shield can be placed in some cool poses as a result - it's a shame the other add on bits are so unstable because there _should_ be poses that can utilise them.

   While the shuttle mode has wasted potential, this robot mode is just plain poor. It doesn't look good, it's unstable and the kibble is poorly dealt with. Sure the poseability is good, but you can't really make use of it thanks to the unstable boots. Had the designer bothered to do more with the wings than just attach them as meaningless kibble - especially if they didn't detach - I'd be more impressed. Considering how little this robot looks like Emperor Palpatine, there's no good reason for it to be as underwhelming as this.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A decent looking shuttle mode contrasts with an ugly robot mode that doesn't look like Emperor Palpatine at all. Both modes are unstable - the wings do not attach securely at all and while the play value is here, it's hampered by some really poor engineering. Even if you're a Star Wars fan, I couldn't recommend this toy for the vehicle mode - the strength of most SWTFs - it's just that flimsy. One to avoid - 2.5/10

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