Cliffbee.com: King Atlas Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: King Atlas
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Bomber Plane

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me King Atlas for this review



PLANE MODE
Height: 10cm Length: 33cm Width: 27cm

   A large white plane with wide wings and black highlights here and there, King Atlas is a repaint of Machine Wars Starscream/Skyquake (depending on the market). with some red on his wings along with stamped Autobot logos and blue tailfins. There's a wash of dirty paint on much of the plane - the tail is clean however. There's some transparent maroon plastic at the base of the flattened tail. While the colour theme is a little muddled, the white and black are dominant so he looks decent, if not especially interesting.

   For its size, this is a simple bomber. There's a lot of detail but the varied supporting colours are more prominent that the sculpt and the paint wash tends to grab your eye anyway. There are lots of large, simple pieces - this toy is a lot simpler than it could have been. There are three wheels underneath, all of which can roll and fold away, along with a series of black vents on top that can be covered by sliding covers (operated by a single slider), revealing transparent maroon panels underneath.

   Skyquake (who was never sold in the US) had a scope gimmick - something Starscream lacked. King Atlas inherits Starscream's neutered version - if you look into the lens at the back of the tail you'll see the remnants of this gimmick. You can still attach Predator jets (if you have them) and view the images they contain, even if King Atlas lacks an image of his own. Of course, docking an Autobot bomber with Decepticon jets doesn't quite make sense.

   The other gimmick has been retained, thankfully. There are rotating barrels inside the wings which drop bombs (well, yellow plastic missiles) as you spin the barrels. For all the simplicity of this plane, I have to say I like this gimmick. You can stow two missiles under each wingtip and another pair on the sides of the nose (Thanks to FortMax Reed for this info). King Atlas comes with 6 missiles - 10 less than Starscream. Sadly this sort of cost cutting is common in early Transformers: Universe toys.

   King Atlas looks fairly bland, since he's big with a simple design, but the paint wash is done fairly well and while the pieces of plastic are big, there aren't really any bare surfaces. The neutered scope feature is a bit of a shame, but the bomb barrels are cool - the best thing about this plane mode in fact. If only he came with more missiles.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold away the landing gear, split the nose and fold the halves out to the sides. Flip over the front of the plane and pull out to the sides to form the legs. Flip out the feet and heelspurs. Fold up the wingips and tail, stand the robot up, fold down the chest, flip out the head and fold the chest up again. Extend the arms and you're done.

   Considering the size of this toy the transformation is very simple - fold the legs, flip out the head and fold away some plane bits. There are Minicons that are more interesting.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 25cm Width: 19cm

   Again white and black, King Atlas has blue shoulders and thighs with yellow elbows. His chest panel is transparent maroon and his face is silver and yellow with black eyes. Strangely the yellow shades on his elbows and mouth are vastly different. There are two Autobot logos stamped on either side of the chest panel. Again the colours are a little muddled, and he doesn't get away with that so much this time, since there's less white.

   The robot mode is annoyingly simple - the mouthplate is bigger than the heads of most Transformers yet it's badly defined. The arms are horribly simple as are the boots and the backpack is pretty lazy - the inner wings stick out (with the barrels integrated I can accept they have nowhere else to go) while the wingtips and tail hang off the back. Again there's some detail in the sculpt, but you tend to notice the large, simple plastic pieces and lack of articulation rather than fine seams, while there's no real logic behind many of the paint applications here.

   The poseability is pretty bad - the shoulders swing and that's it. What's scary is that this is all of King Atlas's play value in robot mode. While Skyquake came with a handheld launcher so he can fire one of his dozen or so missiles, King Atlas gets shortchanged. The scope lines up to his transparent chest, but this doesn't do much since the scope gimmick is stripped.

   Not a great robot mode, and the bad colour map doesn't help this repaint one bit. While King Atlas is certainly his own character - with a new name to boot - he's a forgettable one. The exceedingly poor play value here barely cut it in 1992 when the mould debuted - by 2004 it was so poor that this robot mode has a knock-off feel to it. King Atlas is a poorly painted ultra who can lift his arms and nothing else.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, he is a repaint of Skyquake and MW Starscream, with fewer missiles and no scope gimmick.

OVERALL

   A bad repaint of a very limited mould, King Atlas is most notable for receiving a new name in an era when Hasbro was randomly re-asigning old names. That's not enough to save him, however. The plane mode looks okay but has been stripped of play value while the robot mode colours are very badly done and the simplicity here is something you'd expect on a Minicon, not an ultra - 2/10

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