Cliffbee.com: Meantime Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Meantime
Series: Real Gear
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Watch



WATCH MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 20.5cm Width: 4.5cm

   A dark grey watch with some lighter grey plastic at the "pin" areas of the band, Meantime has a transparent blue watch face with an LCD digital readout below that. There's a Decepticon logo on top of the face, which is raised and painted purple. There are quite a few orange painted highlights, including some banding on the band itself, two function buttons on the right side (as you look at him) and on some stopwatch detailing below the display. Hasbro have an annoying habit of using orange really badly, but here the orange offsets the dark grey well, and is itself a fairly muted shade, anyway. The dark grey also does a good job of hiding the various gaps in his band. The best aspect of the colour scheme is that it's quite credible and realistic.

   We've never had a watch Transformer, amazingly. There have been many character-based merchandising-style Transformers watches - predominantly in G2 - but none that actually Transformed and had a character. G1 did see the exceedingly rare mail-order only Time Warrior, which was effectively sold as a Transformer, but that didn't transform. Even the still fairly abundant Kronoform toys were robots that folded up and plugged into a band. Meantime is the first Transformer whose alt mode is the entire watch. And he's a pretty good watch, too. He's too small for my wrist (yes, I tried), but the band bends around and can clip together, so he may well fit on a kid's wrist, although I don't have one here to check.

   Meantime is not a working watch, since the watch part itself houses his waist and head, and the clockface rotates during transformation. On that point, I should point out that he's packaged in watch mode with the face sideways - and Hasbro's promo pics show the watch in this same form. But his face _does_ rotate. He displays the time as 5:17:40 am, the alarm and chime are on, and it's Wednesday 1/2 (which could be either January 2 or, in North America, February 1). As mentioned there are two function buttons on one side which are painted orange, and some more on the bottom of the watchface, which are unpainted.

   This is a surprisingly good watch mode, considering that the entire thing becomes a robot. Sure, the band is chunky and solid, but that's a given in this case. The buttons on the side are a great way to hide the top of his head, the fact that it wraps around and clips together is admirable. The band can be a little unstable as you're moving it, but the parts do clip together quite well. Considering the engineering challenge here, I'm willing to accept the minor flaws in this mode, since the designer has done a great job and chosen good colours.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the right edges of the band off to form his arms, swing out the remainder of the band to form his legs - as the groin comes together internal gearing causes the shoulderblades to lift, bring the shoulders into position and revealing his head. Fold up the feet, swing back the heelspurs. Rotate the clockface 90, flip out his hands and position his arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 8cm

   A grey robot with the clockface on his chest, light grey groin, shoulders and hips. His face and crest are painted a gunmetal colour white there's a working orange lightpipe in his eyestrip. The colour scheme again works well, and while the clockface on his chest is somewhat cheesy and expected, it works alright, since the Decepticon logo is very well placed here. The front of his arms are hollow, but he's poseable enough to get around this.

   Meantime's robot mode is slightly spindly but his shoulder are wide enough that he looks okay. The antennae on his head look pretty good considering that they were buttons on the side of the watch not long ago. His limbs are all jointed in the right places, too. Basically, there's not too much that can be done with a robot mode like this, but the designer has been conservative, making sure the robot mode works first and foremost. It's worth noting that Meantime wears a watch of his own on his left fist, although it's not actually him, rather a similar watch.

   Meantime's poseability is pretty good. The head and shoulders turn and the shoulders lift out to the sides. His elbows bend, and with the hollow forearms I'd recommend posing him with hands on hips or something similar. There's not much that could have been done about the hollow forearms, although the upper arms could have been done better - so despite the relative ease with which you can hide the gaps, they do count as a flaw. Anyway, his hips are ball jointed and the knees hinged, with rotators just below the hips to help the effective knee articulation. The feet and heelspurs fold down, which anchors a lot of poses. Unlike most Real Gear toys, Meantime has holes in his fists, although as with the others he lacks a handheld weapon.

   A very poseable figure which does a fine job of looking good despite the obvious limitations of the alt mode. Sure, he has a clockface on his chest, but he also has useful limbs and the chest doesn't look too cheesy. The gaps on his upper arms are a flaw, but overall this is a fantastic effort.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Midnighter XR-4 is a lighter grey repaint of Meantime.

OVERALL

   Whilst there have been transforming watches in the past, they've all been peripheral to the Transformers line. Even those than did transform never included the band in the robot mode - something Meantime does well. The colours are sensible and appealing, the clockface is realistic and not at all overdone, the play value is pretty good. Sure, he's not a working watch, but that would have been far too much to ask at his pricepoint. If you like the Real Gear idea, definitely pick this one up - 9/10

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