Cliffbee.com: Generations Banzai-Tron Toy Review

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Name: Banzai-Tron
Series: Generations
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Tank



TANK MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 21.5cm Width: 8.5cm

   A very dark green tank with grey treads and charcoal weapons, Banzai-Tron is a repaint of ROTF Bludgeon in a much darker shade. There's some lilac on the front, some lime green outbursts and copper painted panels on the sides and front. This is a very dark colour scheme, darker than usually found on tanks, but not one that's unrealistic as such. The dark green doesn't really evoke G1 Banzai-Tron, but the colour scheme here effectively fits that toy - the lime outbursts especially.

   As Transformers tanks go Banzai-Tron is quite realistic, although those outbreaks of lime are rather unrealistic. The sculpt is quite detailed with various vents, hatches, rivets and the like all over. The treads are actually rubberised at the front and back, which is more realistic than most Transformer tanks. There are a few pieces composed of a soft plastic, including the end of the main canon, the gun mounted on top of the turret and the two smaller compound guns on either side of the turret, which are all composed of charcoal plastic.

   The play value here is relatively limited as you'd expect of a movie mould - the focus is on realism rather than gimmicks. The turret rotates through 360 on a ratcheting joint while the gun on top also rotates through 360. The main cannon is fixed in place and there's no way for Banzai-Tron to shoot upwards. There are four small black wheels hidden under the treads allowing Banzai-Tron to roll, although he tends to slide on smoother surfaces.

   A pretty good if slightly static tank mode, Banzai-Tron's colours are dark and less realistic than Bludgeon's, and while the tribute isn't immediately obvious they do match G1 quite well. The detailing is good, although much of it is lost on the dark plastic. There's not a lot of play value for a modern voyager tank mode. It's a solid vehicle mode, if not a standout.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There's a lot of pivoting which is hard to describe so I'll summarise. The side sections become his lets while the underside becomes his chest and groinplate. The front unfolds to form arms while the rear side panels become hip armour. The soft parts of his treads end up hanging off the shoulders and hips while the hard central parts become his shins. Much of the robot mode is hidden in tank mode, but Banzai-Tron's not a shellformer.

   The tip of the main cannon slides out to form a long sword (a katana), while there's a clever gearing system inside the turret itself, the right side opens out to reveal a smaller knife.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 21.5cm Width: 14cm

   A largely very dark green robot, Banzai-Tron has gold panels on his chest, liberal lime green highlights along with a silver armour skirt, lilac shoulder pads and black hands and feet. His face is a black skeletal affair with a red mask - this colour scheme and indeed the layout is based on the Actionmaster's colours. While the G1 toy's orange has been replaced by copper and the purple by lilac, there's now a clear homage. The skeletal face is clearly not Banzai-Tron - but such is the lot of a repaint tribute like this. Both weapons have metallic blue blades.

   Banzai-Tron's aesthetic is an unusual blend of the detailed, other-worldly look of movie toys ("BayFormers") and samurai elements. The helmet is feudal, the katana is obviously a samurai element and the hip armour evokes samurai armour. There are grey painted tread links on his shins to match the chain mail armour skirt on his groin (and they're actual part of the treads in vehicle mode). The face is not quite a skull - it's more General Grievous than Skeletor - I'd have preferred a retool away from the skull motif of Bludgeon anyway. The detailing is fantastic here, and even with the face issue it's still a very good tribute with a good samurai theme.

   There are no gimmicks or ranged weapons here, but the swords can both be stowed. There's a small loop on the left side armour plate, which pops up during transformation. The katana can slide in for storage while the storage compartment for the knife can easily be accessed. Poseability is a little limited, but good enough to make use of the katana. The head turns while the waist is fixed. His shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows have two hinges each along with rotators. The wrists are fixed, but can fold in a little on their transformation joints - which is enough to allow Banzai-Tron to hold the katana in two hands (although there's a narrow range of two-handed poses available). The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees rotate and have tight ratcheting hinges. There are "mech alive" features attached to the rotators in his knees, incidentally. The feet and heelspurs are hinged, but the heelspurs really should have been bigger - this is the biggest limitation to his poseability. Both weapons are composed of a soft plastic, by the way. Tyler Henderson kindly reminded me that the knife plugs into the hilt of the katana, forming a slightly longer compound weapon.

   A good robot mode which works well as Banzai-Tron despite clearly being conceived as Bludgeon thanks to a well executed paint job. It also helps that the G1 Actionmaster had no discernible alt mode - making him a black slate, really. The poseability is great for something that has to hide within a tank, even if the heelspurs aren't quite what they should be. The weaponry is very well designed and his colour scheme works well; being more vibrant than the tank mode but not garish despite the more liberal use of lime green.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, he is a repaint of Bludgeon. BotCon 2012 Gigatron & Megatron are retools of this mould.

OVERALL

   A pretty good repaint of a mould which was really only designed with one character in mind. While there are distinct aspects of Bludgeon here, Banzai-Tron's utter lack of alt mode elements as an Actionmaster helps here. The colours contrast well with Bludgeon and are a less garish take on his original colours. This is a good mould with lots of detail, Banzai-Tron has good play value, nice weaponry and excellent display value. Whether or not you feel this repaint is worthwhile given that Bludgeon is probably more desirable is your call, but this is a well executed repaint & I'm always partial to tributes to more obscure G1 characters - 7.5/10

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