Cliffbee.com: Longrack Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Longrack
Series: Beast Wars Neo
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Deputy Commander
Alternate Mode: Giraffe



GIRAFFE MODE
Height: 23cm Length: 21cm Width: 5cm

   A cream giraffe with brown patches, black mane, hooves and horns, a red tongue and a black tailtip. Longrack is a pretty realistic giraffe and sports black eyes with white pupils. There's some robot kibble visible on the rump and underneath, but from most directions he's a pretty satisfying giraffe. The patches are all over the body itself, the upper legs and neck as well as the cheeks, although the cheek patches are smaller. Being a realistic colour scheme the colours work quite well.

   Longrack isn't really poseable but then giraffes aren't known as limber creatures. There's a little bit of wiggle in the legs, while the base of the tail is a ball joint and the head can lift up to reach those high leaves. I don't mind the legs being fixed - it means he's nice and stable, and considering how high the centre of gravity is that's not a given.

   Both the sculpt and shape are good. There's subtle moulded fur all over, including a somewhat bushy tailtip and a moulded mane. He has distinct ears, nostrils and toes on his front hooves - while it's a simple sculpt it does what it has to do. The bodyshape is great - the sloped back is just right and the neck is stretched without being overdone.

   There are several gimmicks in this toy, but only one that's any use here. If you push the protruding tongue into his mouth, the pupils will roll forward in his eyes, eventually out of view. It's a silly little gimmick but hey, at least they did something with the head rather than leaving it a single piece.

   While I would have liked to see a little more action here, this is a good beast mode, that's amazingly realistic from most angles. The back end is a bit of a mess, but I can live with that. Other than some hints of robot mode gimmicks sticking through (none of which really jump out at you), I have no complaints here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   A rather complex variant on the shellformer concept that BW Neo likes so much, but it's not as annoying as Big Convoy or Mach Kick. Once you get to know the transformation it's fairly easy to do, although there are numerous steps. The giraffe head and neck becomes the right arm while the back becomes the left arm. The hindlegs become robot legs while the forelegs end up on his back. The lower half of the main body becomes the torso and head, although with some panel movement and twisting involved. There aren't actually that many panels here, less than Rhinox has, certainly.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 24cm Width: 16cm

   Still largely cram with brown patches, although there's a lot of silver introduced with a dark red colour as a highlight. Much of the toy is still based on cream plastic although the left forearm is silver with a black fist, the head and groin are also silver while his face is cream with green eyes and a red and green crest. The feet and right claw are red, along with a blade mounted on his left arm. This is a nice colour scheme, and while the colours are mixed throughout the toy, they combine quite well to give him a fairly cohesive look.

   The left arm is more of a long claw weapon that's not a true arm, although it does have a shoulder and an elbow. The forearm is the base of the giraffe neck, which sticks up as a sort of shoulder pylon, while the five-pronged red claw hangs at the bottom. On the whole this works fairly well, even though it is a huge chunk of kibble. The left forearm actually has more troublesome kibble, in the form of the giraffe's backplate underneath it, and the tail hanging off the shoulder. While none of the kibble gets in the way too much, the left arms stuff fails to be a feature, and unlike the right arm, there's no gimmick associated with the kibble.

   The main gimmick of this robot mode is the claw in his right arm, which springs out and extends 7cm from his wrist when you press a black trigger on the giraffe neck. This gives Longrack a pretty good reach and the firing mechanism is surprisingly powerful - it'll knock many Transformers over if they're standing close enough. The claw opens and there's a hole in the psuedo-hand at its core, allowing the claw to hold the detachable blade that folds out of the left forearm (which can also be held in the left hand).

   The forelegs of the giraffe, which sit on his back, can lift up to become twin missile launchers. They can't point forward over his shoulders so I'm calling it a a ground-to-air missile system (watch out, Archadis & Hydra!). There are twin black missiles, the tips of which which form his kneecaps in beast mode. The missiles fire reasonably well, although missiles fired straight up never go that far before gravity overwhelms them. These launchers are double ball joints, which means they'll stay out of the way of other aspects of the toy.

   There's actually a "weapon" mode in the instructions, which is basically the robot folded down on all fours with the claw-weapon as its centrepiece. While it's really just an intermediate mode, it does provide another aspec

   Most of the joints here are ball jointed, it seems. The shoulders, elbows, left wrist, hips and hip-plate attachments are all ball jointed, along with those holding the launchers on his back. Longrack's head turns, his knees, feet and heelspurs are hinged. The waist turns a little, but the hipplates prevent the waist movement from being too useful.

   As you've probably gathered, there's a lot of play value here. Longrack's robot mode looks good too, with a detailed head, both in terms of sculpt and paint mask, that is itself a highlight. The rear hooves form his shins, encased in the boots, while there's a giraffe panel central on her chest, which has a series of slits on it, revealing his red spark crystal underneath. You can rotate the panel up to fully reveal the spark crystal, which is surrounded by robotic sculpting, much of which is painted gold. The thighs have similar robotic silver elements, blended in with cream beast parts.

   There really is an awful lot to this robot mode, from the great gimmick to the missile launchers to the detailed sculpt, to the asymmetry to the fantastically detailed head. The designer really put some effort into Longrack, making this a satisfying robot mode. There are some flaws - kibble here and there, most notably the hip plates, and a fairly weak handheld weapon - but there's enough here to make sure that the flaws aren't going to hurt a good robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Longrack is a well designed toy with a realistic giraffe mode, complex yet not frustrating transformation and detailed robot mode with lots of play value. The sculpt and paint mask in both modes is great, while the robot mode layout is clever. My only real complaint relates to the robot mode hipplates, but they're not enough to really bother me. Worthwhile, even though you'd have to track him down on the secondary market - especially for fans of Beast Wars - 8.5/10

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