Cliffbee.com: Energon Tidal Wave Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Tidal Wave
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Battle Fleet

Thanks to liegeprime for loaning me Tidal Wave for this review.



BATTLESHIP MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 24cm Width: 33cm

   A grey, white and transparent green ship with gold squiggly lines and various other gold painted details. This ship is an amalgam of three different vessels, and looks it to some extent. The bow, which is the narrowest section, is grey with a moulded and painted purple Decepticon logo. This bow section is very flat (obviously an aircraft carrier). On either side of the bow section, at the back of it, are two transparent green pontoons, which resemble catamaran hulls, behind the bow itself is a white bridge section with lots of guns (and no squiggles). The stern is split into two white pontoons, and this is the widest part of the vessel. These pontoons have wings on the side, which are swept forward. The colour scheme is not especially naval, while the transparent green and the gold paint job really do make this look like a repaint that's trying too hard to look different from the previous toy (also called Tidal Wave) - the end result is a poor colour scheme since it makes Tidal Wave look less like a boat and the colour scheme is just ugly.

   While this vessel does look like a fusion, it's still easy to pick as a nautical one (once you look past the colours). The various segments are all boat-like - especially the aircraft carrier on the bow. There's a small grey bridge on top of the gun area, complete with a black window, which not only gives a sense of scale but also brings the toy together here. The allegiance symbol also works towards this end.

   While this vehicle is a fusion, there's still play value here. We get a total of ten hardpoints, including a red one on top of the air traffic control tower on the starboard and a live one amongst the guns. If you plug Ramjet (or whoever) in and slide forward, the four double-guns swing out, and will slide back once you release the spring-loaded gimmick. There are four small radar domes which also rotate, making this a pretty good little gimmick. While none of the others are live, the sheer quantity makes these hardpoints cool. There are navy missiles which you can load into the green hulls, launched by purple triggers on the outsides of these hulls. And of course, with the little runway on the flight deck, you can position Ramjet (or whoever) for takeoff/landing.

   While this might not be the most realistic boat you'll see, the Armada/Micron Densetsu line isn't known for realistic alternate modes anyway. Sadly the colour scheme of this repaint detracts from the naval look of this mode. The colours are random and feel quite forced - the repaint really fails in this mode. The play value is enough to keep you interested, and when you consider that this splits into other vehicles, which some more gimmicks, it's worthwhile.

TRANSFORMATION TO DARK FLEET

   Pull out the stern section, push the grey pontoons together to form the barge-like vehicle. Pull the the purple pontoons out to the side, unclipping them (and the gun area) from the aircraft carrier. Push the pontoons together to form a gunship. Swing the two attachment points on either side of the aircraft carrier back into position.

BARGE
Height: 6cm Length: 16cm Width: 11.5cm

   A white pontoon vehicle with a flat metallic navy painted deck - with those silly gold sqiggles. The bow is a sloping light grey affair, akin to a ramp for motor vehicles. There's a purple Decepticon logo painted on the portside of this ramp. While I call this thing a barge, it could also be described as a floating vehicle trailer. There are two raised sections at the stern, the portside one features a small bridge with a black window. The colours are pretty uninteresting, although not terrible on their own. The Decepticon logo is a nice touch, even if it doesn't end up adding much.

   The play value here is minimal, but what we do have is worthwhile. There are four light grey plastic wheels underneath which roll fairly well. The wheels are actually available in the combined vehicle mode (this goes for all three vehicles, actually). There are four hardpoints on top - two on the deck and one each on the raised stern features. The deck opens out to the sides, inside the halves are four platforms which fold down (two per side). The resultant "Base Mode" is pretty underwhelming, since it's more of a cradle for carrying other vehicles. Indeed the two other Dark Fleet vehicles will fit.

   A fairly bland vehicle really, with a base mode as an afterthought. It's not a bad vehicle, but there's nothing at all that stands out. The colours are fairly random, and don't really give this much of a nautical look

GUNSHIP
Height: 6.5cm Length: 17.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A boat with twin transparent green bows and a solid white block of a stern, as well as those gold squiggles on the bows. The guns and radar domes are all on top of the stern block. The grey bridge is in the centre, with an unpainted window. Behind the bridge is a Decepticon logo, raised and painted purple. The colour scheme here is fairly complex without being unified. While the bows have awful colours the rear half looks pretty good.

   The play value here is carried over from the larger vehicle - the missile launchers are embedded in the twin bows while the live hardpoint which turns the guns is at the stern. There are two hardpoints at the front, one on either bow section. There are again four grey wheels underneath, in this case these wheels are ridged. There are two white brackets which fold down underneath the boat which seemingly do nothing, however they are designed to clamp around the arm of Armada Megatron, turning this well armed boat into a huge arm-mounted weapon.

   A nice attack boat, but while the Armada version was imposing, the colours prevent that here. It's probably the least realistic of the three boats here, but has the best play value. Mind you, it has the worst colour scheme since it has more transparent green plastic than the other two.

AIRCRAFT CARRIER
Height: 6cm Length: 17cm Width: 6cm

   A grey aircraft carrier with a big Decepticon logo on the bow (the same one on the combined boat), and a lot of the gold squiggles. There's a navy powerlinx port on top of the control tower. There's a transparent green patch on the portside and some more underneath the bow. The flight deck's sculpt is actually quite complex but is overshadowed by the gold paint. While the basic grey is a good idea, the gold and green don;t look good. Nonetheless, the grey makes this the most realistic colour scheme amongst the Dark Fleet components.

   The play value here is simple but focussed. There's a green lift on the portside, pushing it up causes that green panel to flip back on the flight deck, and Ramjet can stow underneath - a folded up jet stored inside the ship! This is my favourite feature of Tidal Wave, because it's something that really links this toy to a real vehicle. There are two grey hardpoints on the flightdeck to compliment that on the tower, and the ridged grey wheels underneath roll. Pushing the tower down reveals a clasp underneath, allowing this ship to attach to Megatron's arm as a sort of shield.

   While this isn't a realistic aircraft carrier, it's the most realistic component of the Dark Fleet. The carrier is complimented by Ramjet and features a nice sculpt. While it's still fairly mediocre as Transformers boats go, it's refreshingly realistic for this line and the gimmick is very focussed.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull the halves of the barge out to the sides to form boots, rotate them down, positioning the thighs and groin. Flip up the ramp to form his feet and flip out the heelspurs. Plug the stern of the gunship into his groin, rotate the gun array to form his chestplate and partly reveal his head. Fold the twin bows down to the sides, forming the attachment points for his shoulders. Pull the partially stowed head up. Split the Aircraft carrier, swing in the plugs at the back of each half and plug them into the opposing sides of his torso (portside becomes the right arm and starboard becomes the left), Rotate the forearms and swing up the thumbs.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 29cm Width: 19cm

   A white, grey and transparent green robot - although not an especially appealing one, Tidal Wave has white boots and a white torso while his upper arms, thighs and feet are grey. His forearms, shoulders and head are transparent green, while the face is navy with yellow eyes. The gold squiggles make their appearances on his shins, shoulders and upper arms, and while they're not so prominent now, they're still not a positive. The transparent head with a solid face & solid eyes is an interesting departure from the usual pattern. Again it's a rather poor repaint and one that feels forced. The Decepticon logo from the gunship is visible on his chest.

   In terms of the layout, the barge forms his boots, the rear section of the gunship forms a visually impressive chestplate while the twin bows flank the torso, acting as attachment points for the arms, which are the two halves of the aircraft carrier. The profusion of weapons on his torso looks good, as do the bows on the outsides - well aside from the odd colours. The arms and legs are _very_ blocky, and this works on the level of a big lug - Tidal Wave looks immobile but very powerful.

   We have access to all ten hardpoints, although the two on the green flanking pieces are difficult to access here. The live one on his chest is still live, mind you. The pair on the outside of his forearms are the best positioned. Tidal Wave's poseability is good - better than you might expect when you first look at this blocky robot mode anyway. The head and waist are fixed but his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend and rotate. His fingers fold in as one, towards his thumbs which can pivot. The hips swing and lift out to the sides. The knees are essentially fixed - the main flaw in the articulation here - while the feel and heelspurs can more around a little. Tidal Wave lacks any obvious weapon here which is unusual for an Armada mould. Instead he relies on imposing size (which represents brute force, I guess). The hardpoints on his forearms allow you to attach weapon MiniCons. You can plug the missiles into their launchers, but they point down onto his knees, which is kind of pointless.

   While the legs are fairly immobile and Tidal Wave lacks any true gimmicks here, the bulk and scale make this toy impressive. The colours look a little better, but the transparent green and gold squiggles continue to work against this repaint. The transparent green head is an interesting idea, mind you. A decent robot mode, but one that relies on size more than anything else to impress.

Name: Ramjet
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Fighter Jet

VEHICLE MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A small grey fighter jet with purple hinges and an orange painted canopy, Ramjet has wings at the back and winglets alongside his cockpit. There are no wheels underneath, just purple and grey undercarriage junk.

   There's a single powerlinx port underneath what is a very small and static MiniCon jet. This represents all of the play value of this jet. It can fold up on transformation joints for the fighter elevator trick on the carrier boat.

   Overall this is a very simple jet mode, on a toy which is really only designed to compliment the large toy. As a result this jet mode isn't that impressive, but the colour changes improves this mould - he's small and simple but more realistic than his Armada counterpart, thanks to the switch to grey.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing back the cockpit and fold up his wings. Swing back the undercarriage junk to form his legs, flip up his feet and fold down the forearms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 4.5cm, Width: 2cm

   A grey robot with dark grey thighs and forearms, but he loses the facial paint of the Armada version, instead his chest is painted gold. Both the boots and the feet are single pieces, which says a lot about the design on this toy - he's purely designed to compliment Tidal Wave since this is not a mould you can appreciate in robot mode.

   Poseability is limited to his forearms lifting up and the ability to sit, both of which use existing transformation joints rather than the toy including joints just for poseability.

   As simple as the jet mode is, this mode is worse. The incidental poseability and a lack of attention overall make this a poor robot mode. The colours are more sedate than the Armada version's but I would have preferred a painted face.


VARIATIONS

   A repaint of the Armada toy, as mentioned. No actual variants that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A decent mould with a lot of modes resulting in good play value, but this is an ugly repaint. The transparent plastic of Energon doesn't translate well here, and the gold paint is just ugly. The MiniCon really only exists for a single gimmick, but in grey Ramjet's okay on his own despite being very limited. The play value across four vehicles has some great aspects, but I'd recommend the Armada toy over this one (or even the Japanese Armada equivalent, if you can find it) - 5/10. /10

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