Cliffbee.com: Energon Roadblock Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Roadblock
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Crane



CRANE MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 14cm Width: 6.5cm

   A light orange and brown crane with silver around the cabin, transparent red windows and some blue highlights here and there. The brown and orange are base plastic, while the silver is painted and the blue a mix of blue plastic and paint. Roadblock is yet another from the Energon collection of misnamed tributes - he's clearly meant to be a homage to Grapple, although the homage is nowhere near as strong as some of the other misnamed tributes such as Downshift, so I don't mind the misnomer so much this time around. Sure, there are elements of Grapple, but with all that brown and blue Roadblock is still his own toy. The light orange, brown and blue might seem like an unusual combination, but it actually works really well, not least because it's distinctive. For once Hasbro resisted the urge to base a repaint around yellow or purple, and this is to Roadblock's benefit.

   Roadblock is a repaint and retool of Energon Inferno, an obvious tribute to the G1 toy of the same name. While I don't have Inferno, I can tell you that the hose assembly has been replaced by a crane arm, and the side panels and front grille have been retooled, and Roadblock's head is far better concealed than that of his predecessor.

   Roadblock has six brown tyres with painted silver hubcaps, the side panels have support legs moulded onto them (these legs do not drop down). There's a lot of detail in the sculpt in general, actually, including some vestigial fire engine bits, notably the stroberack on his roof. The crane arm and front bumper are both brown with light orange safety stripes painted on, the crane arm has a blue hook hanging off the front, which is not attached to a line. The crane arm is on the right side, at the base of the crane arm, to the left and slightly to the rear, is a crane operator's cabin with red painted windows.

   Sadly the crane arm does not extend, but it does fire a blue missile thanks to a button on top near it's base. It also rotates, thanks to a gearing system - turning the operator cabin will causing the crane arm to point in the same direction. The arm lifts to about 70 and can swing through about 180 before the cabin gets in the way.

   The range of motion of the crane arm is a little disappointing, but the rotating gimmick is interesting and the missile launcher certainly a well integrated weapon. The colours work surprisingly well, and Roadblock has a lot of detail. The robot head is a brown bump behind the cockpit, and while it's there if you look, it's not the obvious kibble Inferno has thanks to some resculpting and better colouration. This is one occasion where I don't mind the toy not sharing the name of the G1 toy it's paying tribute to, because there's enough divergence from Grapple that this crane mode offers something new.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Simple for a deluxe. Swing back the side panels, swing down the wheelbase to form his legs. Split and flip up his feet. Split the top of the top at the back, swing out to the sides and down to form his arms. Lift up the helmet to reveal his face. Rotate the crane arm now on his right arm to form forearm-mounted launcher.

You actually have a few options with the launcher, but I'll cover those in a moment.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 11.5cm (without weapon)

   Again light orange and brown, but with a silver chest with red windows, Roadblock's groin is the safety striped front bumper. His head, toes and forearms are brown while the shoulders and legs are orange. His kneecaps and fists are blue. His face is silver with yellow eyes and is well sculpted, although it tends to be in the shadow of his protruding helmet. Again this colour scheme works surprisingly well, and again it's only a vague tribute to Grapple - Roadblock very much has his own character in robot mode.

   Roadblock's robot mode is blocky and solid, with big broad shoulders and rectangular legs. The right shoulder sports an Autobot logo while the left has silver mech detailing and a spark crystal on top - both shoulders have hardpoints on the front. The chest is the front window, which sits vertical, meaning the bumper-groin actually faces down rather than forward. The front-of-truck torso and light orange here and there provides the homage, but the blocky shape and abundance of brown ensure this is a distinct robot mode.

   The poseability here is pretty good for an Energon deluxe. The head can lift up although it looks a little unnatural. The shoulders and elbows rotate and hinge, giving him full arm movement, save for the static wrists. The hips are double jointed with swivels just below them to complement the hinged knees. There are heelspurs which you can fold out from behind his shins, but you don't really need to for most poses and if you do the shins will become partially hollow, so leave them up if you can.

   The rear pairs of wheels sit on the outsides of his shins, and outside those are the crane mode side panels which have three moulded barrels, while the palmguards over his hands are designed to resemble ranged weaponry also. The crane arm can sit on his forearm, detach to become a rather bulky hand weapon or split in two. If you split it - which I suggest you do - the arm itself forms a much more natural looking handheld missile launcher, while the base can either sit on his forearm or clip onto the back of his right shoulder - or you can of course set it aside. From what I hear, the post that allows the arm itself to be held is a new addition to the mould for Roadblock - Inferno's arm could detach but was not handheld.

   The only real issue I have with this robot mode is the head - the big helmet sort of covers his face and it's not very poseable. Still, it's an improvement on the ridiculously poorly hidden head on Inferno, so I don't mind that much. This robot mode has great colours, the Grapple tribute is nice and the detail is again good. The missile launcher makes a nice weapon, and I'm glad they allowed it to detach from it's base because the choice of handheld or forearm mounted weapon gives Roadblock a lot of play value.

POWERLINXING

   The simplicity of his transformation becomes obvious when you combine this guy - both upper and lower half modes are good. The upper half sees the legs swing up to become overhead cannons (with the heelspurs acting as barrels) while the lower half uses the heelspurs as feet and the hands reach down to become shins - making it one of the few lower halves without arms hanging off somewhere (although it does make the legs unposeable). Roadblock's connector is inside his cabin, the front of which folds down.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, but as mentioned he is a repaint and significant retooling of Inferno.

OVERALL

   Both a nice G1 tribute and his own character, Roadblock has a lot of appeal. I wasn't impressed with Inferno, and skipped it, but picked up Roadblock when I found out that a lot of improvements have been made to the mould. The weaponry is good, the play value is good despite the simple transformation - since he's an excellent Powerlinxer - and his colours are innovative and appealing. Definitely recommended if the whole Powerlinxing thing appeals to you, and recommended to fans of Grapple - 7/10

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