Cliffbee.com: Kaen Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Kaen
Series: Japanese Generation 1
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Heavy Mobile Infantry
Alternate Mode: DE10 Diesel Locomotive



TRAIN MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 14.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A red and silver diesel loco, Kaen is red along the sides with silver on top and along the bottom fringes. There's a black bogey under the front and some black motor stuff underneath the cabin, which sticks out towards the back of the engine. There are four sets of wheels, two under the front, one in the middle and one towards the rear. There's meant to be another set underneath the cabin, but Raiden's hip plate is stowed under there (the motor stuff). There are black windows on one side of the cabin in the form of stickers, although the other side lacks stickers. As far as I'm aware Kaen did not have a rubsign (I have the Diaclone version but pictures of the TF version I've seen have no rubsign).

   One odd aspect of this loco is that the front (which detaches to become Raiden's head) can actually attach to either end of the main body - which has no proper back or front end itself, even if the sides are different. This means that Kaen isn't quite as accurate as the other Trainbots - there are railings behind the cabin on the DE10 which are absent here. The DE10 is a freight engine, although they are often used as shunters.

   The Diaclone origins of the Trainbots mean that Kaen is meant to fit a Diaclone Driver. Rather than having a proper cockpit, the very front silver panelling opens up to reveal a little compartment, which is a little odd since the cabin towards the back is about the right scale anyway.

   While this loco lacks railings, there are moulded vents and doors along the sides and a giant fan on top at the front (on the panel that hides the driver(, and these details are quite realistic. The wheels are all die cast, and are flanged rather than just flat surfaced wheels. These wheels roll, and will roll on tracks if you have a model railway of the right gauge.

   As the only diesel trainbot, Kaen has a very style of design in train mode to those of his teammates. While I can't say I prefer this style, I'm glad that he offers something different. The reversible connection is quite strange, and exists to make the robot (and Raiden component) symmetrical. Unfortunately this aspect holds back what should have been a good loco. While it's not a bad train mode, the railings would have given Kaen a more interesting sculpt.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the front and set aside. Extend the "ends", swing down to one side to form the legs. Swing out the arms from the other side, flip the cabin roof down to this side to form the torso, pull out the head. Attach the front of the loco as a backpack, pose the arms and give Kaen his gun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11.5cm (9cm without the backpack) Width: 5cm

   Kaen's robot mode is largely silver, with a black head and black thighs. His face is silver and there's some red poking out here and there. A black plate sticks out from either side, this is Raiden's groinplate (which is permanently attached to Kaen's butt). The colours work quite well and while the kibble is quite visible, it doesn't ruin the robot mode. Of course the backpack, which sticks up behind his head, can be left aside. There are some red, yellow and violet stickers on his torso, introducing a little more colour.

   Since he has separate legs and isn't squat like Shouki, Kaen has the best proportions of any Trainbot, and while that competition isn't strong, his shape is better than many small combiners (even later moulds such as the Technobots). The groinplate sticking out the back does detract from this, which is moderately annoying.

   The poseability is limited to his arms, which can rotate and lift out to the sides slightly. Granted, the articulation is a by product of the transformation, but it still works.

   Considering that Kaen has to form the thighs and waist of Raiden (along with a locomotive), I think that this is a pretty good robot mode. The colours and shape work even if the kibble holds him back somewhat. The backpack makes him noticeably taller than his colleagues, and despite being essentially the same size, combined with the wide buttplate, gives the impression that he's bigger than his teammates.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of as such. Kaen is essentially the same as his Diaclone version (which is what I have). He was reissued during the Japanese G1 era, and while he came in a different box I'm not aware of any changes made to the toy itself. Any variants would no doubt fetch a silly price.

OVERALL

   Kaen has probably the most unusual alt mode of the Trainbots while his robot mode is well shaped but laden with some annoying kibble. The colours are good and for the most part the loco is realistic, making Kaen a decent Transformer. When you consider that he's a core element of Raiden, this is an admirable effort - 6/10

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