Cliffbee.com: Energon Sixshot Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Sixshot
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Modes: Tank, Satellite

Thanks to Pulse for donating Sixshot for this review



TANK MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 28cm Width: 9cm

   A long tan Cybertronian tank with grey moulded treads, some gold detailing including the tread gears, a giant tan turret on the front and a laser assembly on the back. Sixshot is a repaint of Shockblast. There are some transparent red blades on the front of the turret, as well as a transparent tip. There's also some very dark purple and some black plastic here and there, and some purple camouflage (mainly on the turret). While the Shockwave tribute is lost here, the overall colour scheme works better because the tan is more dominant - the green and grey on Shockblast broke the tank up somewhat. The camouflage is decent, too - it's a dark purple and not garish, which I like.

   This tank mode _looks_ like a robot mode twisted around. While some Transformers are clearly designed around fantasy modes (Hod Rod, for example), Sixshot is a toy obviously not designed around this mode. Yes, he has treads and lasers, but the cannon is more of a laser than a true cannon. There's a few gaps here and there, giving away the design process. The turret doesn't actually clip down, although the whole assembly can ratchet around. In the middle there's a spark crystal, which is more or less lost amongst the giant green block in front and twin laser assembly behind it. There's also a Decepticon logo on the right side, just in front of the spark crystal, but it's not exactly prevalent here - it comes to the fore in robot mode. The more unified colours make this a stronger tank than Shockblast's - while I actively disliked that tank this one doesn't rub me the wrong way. I'm still not a fan, but I can appreciate this mode, something I can't do for Shockblast.

   Play value is probably the best aspect of this tank mode. There's a sliding switch on top of the turret, push it halfway forward and the three blades will flip out, while three smaller panels behind them will lift out and the missile-tip at the front will stick out slightly. Slide it all the way and the missile will fire about half a metre, and the red panels will fold back and lock in place (revealing themselves as solar collectors). Sliding the switch back will retract the red parts and grasp the missile if you've re-loaded it.

   There are ridged wheels underneath his treads, allowing Sixshot to roll noisily - as tanks tend to do. As mentioned, the turret assembly ratchets right around, and there's a fold-out "leg" for the cannon itself to rest on. The robot hips sag a little, so swinging the turret as part of your play wont really work. The cannon can lift up to about 80 on a ratchet, but the 55 and 25 notches look better than the top notch.

   Lastly, if you arm Sixshot with batteries (not included, and they're the reason turret is so big), there are two sound gimmicks. When the slider is in the halfway position, Sixshot makes a laserish sound, which continues until you move the slide. When pushed right forward (or retracted), you'll hear a missile firing sound. The battery block isn't as obvious now, since it's no longer a different colour to the rest of the tank. Regular readers of my toy reviews will know that I'm not impressed with electronics gimmicks simply because they're included - and these sounds don't really do much for me. But at least the electronics block is integrated this time around. He still devotes a fair chunk of the tank mode to two AAA batteries and a speaker, but Sixshot does hide it well.

   When it comes down to it, it's very obvious that this tank mode is more an afterthought than an integral part of this toy. The cannon unit could be better designed, the entire turret assembly is longer than the base and there are simply far too many gaps. The overall colour scheme does a _lot_ to make this tank mode tolerable, however, so it runs rings around Shockblast's tank mode. I'm also pleased that the camouflage is tasteful and not overbearing. Hasbro's recent track record on repaints is scratchy, but this repaint really works here.

TRANSFORMATION TO SATELLITE MODE

   Essentially, you simply fold everything out except the feet and head. Basically, the laser assembly lifts up to become a solar collector, the switch slides halfway to open the blades and red solar collector panels. The treads swing out to the sides to form - you guessed it - solar panels.

SATELLITE MODE
Height: 14cm Length: 38cm Width: 30cm

   A rather spread out affair - but then satellites tend to be spread out since their solar panels want to maximise exposure and aerodynamics aren't an issue. The tan is still his main colour, but there are now a total of eight chrome red solar panels (one at the back, four sides, three small in front), so red is suddenly very prominent. The red and tan offset each other well, so the colour scheme here looks really good, even if the colours don't quite fit the stereotypical colours of a satellite. The colours are again more unified than those of Shockblast, and in these colours there's a distinct evil death ray overtone here.

   I find that if laid flat on a table, this satellite looks a little static, but if you tilt the cannon down - either in your hand or by hanging him off the edge of the table (he's stable like this) makes for a very dynamic orbital craft. With that giant cannon in front, this really is an orbital weapon rather than a civilian satellite. Okay, there's only one cannon (and not quite six modes), but his shot would pack a punch.

   The play value here is more or less the same as that of the tank mode in that it revolves around the cannon. The slider switch still works, although the midway point is now the default - I recommend _not_ putting batteries in if you want to use this mode. The wheels are obviously no longer functional, and while the turret's ratcheting is still possible it's not really appropriate. The end result is slightly less play value, granted, but it's more meaningful since Sixshot makes for a great death ray.

   It almost seems as if the designers originally intended for Shockblast to transform into a satellite and were later told they had to give him another mode, because there's a lot more of him devoted to this mode (all those panels and the death ray style cannon) than to the tank mode. This mode is the real show, making it a shame Hasbro marketed Sixshot in the much weaker tank mode. Sure, the tank mode is decent this time around, but the death ray is more unusual and notable, aside from being a stronger mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   From tank mode, fold down the front treads to form his legs, separate the feet, rotate and fold out the heelspurs. Rotate and the rear tread assembly onto his back, fold the tread panels flush against his back. Turn his head around to face forward and flip up his antennae. Swing the cannon down to form his left arm and unfold the laser-assembly to form his right arm, unfolding the claw inside. BTW it's possible to swap the arms, but this is the standard configuration since the Decepticon logo is meant to be on the front of his left shoulder, not the back of his right one.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: ~15cm

   Again mainly tan with that cannon forming most of his elongated left arm, Sixshot has dark purple on his chest, thighs and feet while his right forearm is black. His chestplate is transparent red and his face is a single transparent red eye (with lightpipe). The Shockwave tribute is still quite obvious, what with the distinctive face, but the colours make this figure feel more like a new character than those of Shockblast. The colours are again more cohesive, since the right arm doesn't stand out so much this time.

   Well proportioned and with big chunky shoulders, Sixshot looks strong, and with a giant missile-launching cannon for one arm and a claw with a laser-equipped shield as the other, he doesn't look like the type of guy to pick a fight with. The rear treads form something of a backpack, but it's nice and compact and you can flip out the contained solar collectors for a powered up mode. While this backpack is technically kibble, Sixshot's huge footprints and this powered up mode mean the backpack is not a drawback in any way.

   This is a pretty poseable robot mode. The head turns, the shoulders are both double swivels and the elbows bend in wards. The claw's inner prong can open and shut while the laser-shield can swing up. The waist swivels, although sadly there's a transformation hinge at the front which doesn't clip together - you can fold the robot in half and there's nothing keeping it together other than the friction of the hinge - which is a lot looser on mine than on Shockblast, but I got Sixshot second hand so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. The hips and knees contain both hinges and swivels, while the ankles rotate and the feet and heelspurs are hinged. Twenty two meaningful joints, not including the shield or the various hinges on the cannon itself - the end result is a very poseable figure. Thanks to the fantastic leg articulation and big footprints, Sixshot is incredibly stable despite carrying a huge mass on his long left arm. Even pointing the cannon straight out to the left isn't a problem!

   The play value here is really all about the poseability, although the cannon gimmicks all still function - the missile launcher gives him a ranged weapon while the claw and shield combine for a handy compound melee weapon. While it's not exactly play value and doesn't work as well as some others, I feel I should mention the lightpipe in his eye, which does add something.

   It's difficult for me to really find any major flaws specific to the robot mode - not surprising for a mould designed around a robot mode tribute. The only thing that really stands out is the loose waist connection - more of a annoyance than a problem. The colours are an improvement over those of Shockblast, leaving the tribute aside, so if you're not interested in that tribute, then this is a great repaint.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Clearly designed around his robot mode, Sixhot has a great robot mode, a weak tank mode and a good satellite mode. The colours are more unified than Shockblast's, so if you're only getting one version of this mould - and aren't interested in the tribute - this is the version to get. I still wonder why the wonderfully different satellite mode was relegated to the add-on third mode when his tank mode is a lot weaker, but the tank mode is more successful thanks to the colour changes here. I actually find this toy to be an improvement over Shockblast thanks to the better colours in tank mode, even though I _do_ appreciate the tribute - 8/10

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