Cliffbee.com: RiD Galvatron Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Galvatron
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Predacon Leader
Alternate Mode: Bat, Elephant, Claw, Flying Dragon, Two Headed Dragon, Car, Boat, Jet, Griffin

   Note: I'm going to depart from my usual format here, covering the robot mode first and then summarise each of the alt modes. I'm not going to go into full detail of the alt modes, partly because the text would go on forever and partly because there's not that much to most of them.



ROBOT MODE
Height: 22cm Width: 22cm

   A white robot with black feet, thighs, wrists and upper arms, Galvatron has a chrome silver chest, gold chrome "ears" and some transparent red and non-chrome gold paint applications. His face is a metallic blue colour with chrome red eyes. The colour map is actually quite detailed and it's quite impressive how well Galvatron's dozen or so colours come together. There's a purple Predacon spark crystal in the middle of his chest while he has contracted white and transparent purple wings behind his shoulders. I quite like this robot mode's appearance - it's quite obvious that the toy is designed around this mode.

   Galvatron's body shape is very good, since the alternate modes more or less work around this form. The wings form a really impressive cape. There is some kibble in the form of claws on the outside of his wrists and a set of vestigial arms on his waist. These don't get in the way mind you, but provides some clues to alt modes - something that this robot mode doesn't manage well compared to most Transformers.

   The poseability here is very good though not as good as it should be. The head turns, the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips all move on two axes. His wrists rotate while the ankles are ball jointed. Galvatron also has hinges on his feet and heelspurs. The only thing missing is a waist joint, but some of the joints Galvatron does have are a little limited. The wrists are tricky to actually use since the forearms tend to come loose and transform when you're moving the arms around. The ankle ball joints can overbalance since they're supporting a fairly massive toy. Galvatron carries two sword-like weapons, with black hilts and transparent red cross-shaped blades. They can joint together to form a weapon similar to Darth Maul's light sabre. The hilts are actually launchers and the red blades missiles, but the firing mechanisms are weak and all but useless.

   This is a good robot mode, but it _should_ be, since the toy is really designed around it. The colours, detailing, shape and poseability are all good and the cape really suits the character, making sure you know he's an evil overlord. The only thing missing? Concrete hints to his alt mode. Other than some stray claws, we don't have too much here telling us what Galvatron transforms into - he looks more like an anime robot than a Transformer.

   And now, in no particular order, the alt modes...


OK, I'm working through the picture left to right, line by line.


BAT MODE
   Essentially this is the robot mode with the legs folded up on its back. The wings open up and a bat's mouth comes out of hiding to cover his face. Those claws on his wrists become the feet. Other than the legs floating on the back, it's a fairly good mecha bat. The robot arms don't sit flush, which is a little offputting but it's a credible bat. There's not really any meaningful poseability. While this is one of the stronger alt modes, that's mainly because some of them are awful.

ELEPHANT MODE
   A bit of a stretch, this one is basically Galvatron on all fours with a jet-nose that connects behind his head swung over to form the trunk. The wings are rather unconvincing ears - there's no real head. The trunk ends in the tip of a jet which doesn't really work. The swords protrude from the front of the shoulders in what I assume is an attempt to give Galvatron tusks. This mode was added to the mould after the others, and it shows (I'll come back to this addition). The limbs move around but there aren't really any meaningful poses.

CLAW MODE
   One of the more inventive alternate modes we've seen, and I appreciate this aspect of the toy. Galvatron is upside down for this one, with the limbs reaching over the top (i.e. the robot groin) as digits while the jet-nose forms an opposable thumb at the bottom. The wings sort of float out to the sides, not really getting in the way but not exactly fitting in, either. The joints in his limbs give this mode some poseability, allowing him to loosely grasp smaller Transformers. Galvatron's claw mode is an admirable effort, especially considering there are no aspects of the toy unique to this mode.

FLYING DRAGON MODE
   I guess you could call this the one-headed-dragon mode, if you like. As with the claw mode, there's nothing unique here. The arms form the legs, the back of the robot the chest and the jet-nose is the head. The robot legs sit on his back rather awkwardly, and there are no arms. The bodyshape is more like a vulture or swan standing with outstretched wings than any traditional dragon image. The back of the robot makes for a craptacular frontal surface - this is one of the weaker modes.

TWO HEADED DRAGON MODE
   Probably the best of the alt modes, and one that feels like it was established early in the design process. Galvatron is upside down with his arms forming legs and the legs forming the two heads. Those little claws on his waist are specifically for this mode as are heads hidden inside his feet. The jaws open and close and feature painted teeth, while the eyes are painted red. There's some useful poseability here thanks to the jet nose which, as the tail, acts as a third leg when you need it to. This is easily my favourite alt mode.

CAR MODE
   You guess it, it's a car because they say so, Galvatron actually has four wheels which spin (integrated into the wings and forearms). He basically lies on his back, head first (with the jet-nose as the front), using the wings as Batmobile-style fenders. More of a rolling thing than a true vehicle, but I appreciate that Galvatron has rolling wheels, even if this thing doesn't clip together well enough for it to roll - the rear wheels are on the floating robot arms.

BOAT MODE
   This one's pretty much just the car with the wings folded down to form dual hulls and the arms dragging to hold the rear up. Even more of a stretch than the elephant - which at least has clear limbs. The hulls barely qualify and there's absolutely nothing nautical about it. Probably the weakest of Galvatron's nine alt modes, and easily the worst of his three vehicle modes.

JET MODE
   The strongest of his vehicle modes by some distance since a) the jet nose looks like a jet nose (with transparent red windows at the front) and b) the wings look pretty good considering they're organic. The layout of the robot parts is basically the same as Misfire, with the robot lying on its stomach, feet folded over to form a tail (of sorts) and the front folded out from his back. While it ranks poorly next to jet modes of Transformers with only one alt mode (such as Misfire), it's still one of the best alt modes Galvatron scored.

GRIFFIN MODE
   Formed similar to the elephant mode, with the robot basically on all fours. The jet-nose forms a much better head than it does a trunk and the head has canopy windows for eyes (think Sky Lynx). The wings lie on his back rather than sticking up as on the elephant mode and the compound weapon sits on top, one end becoming the tail. In some ways it reminds me of the jet-composite animals modes of the Horrorcons and is of a similar standard. While it's not as good as the two headed dragon, it's at least on par with the jet.

VARIATIONS

   I'll track the history of the mould. It was originally released in Car Robots as the purple Gigatron who had nine modes. This mould was redone slightly and released in white as Devil Gigatron - it was at this point the elephant mode was added. Devil Gigatron was recoloured in RiD as Megatron (in colours similar to Gigatron, but retaining the elephant mode), who was recoloured into Galvatron, the last of the four variations (and the toy I have). Galvatron is a minor repaint of Devil Gigatron.

OVERALL

   The idea of a Transformer with nine modes was always ambitious and ten is just as hopeful. In truth only three of the nine alt modes work to any degree - the two-headed dragon, griffin and jet modes are decent although none of them are convincing when placed alongside many other "Cybertronian" alternate modes. Only the two-headed dragon manages to not feel like an intermediate mode, and this is probably the biggest failing of the toy. The elephant, boat and flying dragon modes are rubbish with the bat, claw and car modes somewhere in the middle. The robot mode looks very nice in an anime way, with lots of chrome and great poseability. As poor as many of the modes are, there's a lot of intrinsic play value in a Transformer with ten official modes - and to be honest this counts for quite a lot. If you look at this toy as an extension of the Triple Changer concept, you'll be vastly disappointed (I'd recommend Sixshot instead), but if you look at him purely for play value, then there's a lot of fun to be had. Personally I would have preferred fewer, stronger modes so I'm not all that impressed, but still I admire the attempt - 5.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.