Cliffbee.com: Monocle vs Scattorbrain Toy Review

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Thanks to Pulse for donating Monocle & Scattorbrain for this review



Name: Monocle
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Drill Truck

TRUCK MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 7.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A yellow truck with silver windows, Monocle with a light drill at the back and light grey treads. There are some dark grey bits on the back of the truck for some reason. The front has treads, the rear has six wheels, although only the rear set are actual wheels. The treads and false wheels are light grey while the real wheels are yellow. At least the poorly concealed robot head on top is the same colour (yellow) as the main body, unlike on the Armada's Drillbit (the original version of the mould). The colour scheme here is just as poor as that of the original, except this time there's an uncomfortably large grey Autobot logo on the windshield, which is probably the worst place to put it.

   This mode is a funny looking thing, since it's not like any truck I've ever seen. It looks like some sort of mole vehicle, except the drill is stuck on the back. I suppose it reverses in and drives straight out - which I can live with.    The drill works when you push the toy down and either backwards and forwards. Thanks to ratcheting, it's pretty hard to get the gimmick going. But at least the rear wheels are there, so you're not pushing the thing on one wheel.

   So he drills backwards... except the drill bites while he's being pushed forwards, and retracts when he's being pushed backwards. So while it looks nice, he wouldn't be able to drill. At least he has nice compound teeth on the bit. As I said, it looks nice. Play value is limited to sliding it along (the ratcheting joint is tight enough he slides unless you push down fairly hard) and the drill mechanism. It does make a fairly loud sound when there's enough force to activate the gimmick. He clicks away as he drills in the wrong direction! I'm quite amazed that this repaint looks even worse than the garish original.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the tread/wheel assemblies down to form the legs, and fold the feet down. Swing the drill forward to form one arm, and swing the other bracket forward to form the other arm. Swivel the head 180. The head part is lame. So is he, since he effectively has one arm. But I'll bitch about that later...

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 4.5cm

   A cabin with two legs, a head and a big drill for an arm. The cabin _is_ the torso, with big windows being torso features. At least the Autobot logo is prominent, I guess. The right arm is the drill & drive shaft, with a MiniCon symbol on his shoulder (the yellow drive shaft). The left arm is a stubbly little gun-like thing. It looks like he's lost the bottom half of his arm in combat, it's so small. It swivels at the shoulder, but it's so small there's no way you can position it so he doesn't look like he's had his arm stuck in a vending machine (it'll grow back, right?).

   So while one arm is almost not there, the other, being the entire drill assembly, is huge. Put it straight down it's a couple of millimetres from the ground. Which is fine, except for the fact it makes the right arm look even worse. The grey legs are nice and symmetrical, the feet are composed of yellow plastic but are painted black for some random reason. The face is also black, which doesn't help define the low level details, although it does mean the face stands out amongst the yellow.

   Poseability is reasonably good. The head swivels, the feet, hips, shoulders all move. The drill, of course, swivels. Knees would have made his poseability more meaningful, but he's okay in this department. It's probably the robot mode's best feature, amongst a whole bunch of bad aspects.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, but as mentioned, Monocle is a repaint of Armada's Drillbit.

OVERALL

   A bad mould with colours that are worse than the awful ones used first time around. Plus the decent paint job of the original has been replaced by a cheesy and horribly out of place Autobot logo. The mould's problems are significant - a left arm would have been fairly easy to do and something other than a huge pot belly would have been nice. It wasn't worthwhile first time around and is even less worthwhile this time - 1/10
Name: Scattorbrain
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Snow Plow

SNOW PLOW MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 6cm Width: 4.5cm

   A charcoal plow with grey treads and a grey blade, Scattorbrain sports a lime green (non-functional) crane arm on the right side, metallic green windows and silver engines. There's a silver Decepticon logo unceremoniously stamped over the sculpted MiniCon symbol on his roof, which looks pretty bad. The colours are generally good here, save for the bright green crane arm which just feels out of place. The overall effect is still good, although the colours used on Armada's Iceberg - the original version of the mould - were better. As was the name - I really don't see why Hasbro persist on the incredibly dubious "scattor" in Transformer names.

   Perhaps the best thing about this snow plow is the snow plow itself. After countless sports cars, a Transformers snow plow is something new, and while Scattorbrain is a repaint, the concept is still unusual enough. The mechanics inside his treads are well sculpted and painted silver along with the engines, and of course he has a big blade on the front.

   The crane arm has a ball joint at it's base, giving this vehicle mode some articulation, although there's not all that much point, since it can't hook onto anything. There are two green wheels underneath the generators and a rubber wheel under the cabin, rolling him along will cause the sides of the blade to close slightly, almost like jaws. The bottom edge of the blade is serrated, enhancing the jaw motif. While it's a silly gimmick, the execution is good and it doesn't compromise the plow mode.

   A good plow mode with some nice details and while gimmick is weird, it works better than a lot of gimmicks do without ruining the vehicle mode. The unusual vehicle mode is interesting in itself. Sure, the green is a little offputting, but not enough to ruin this mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Extend the rear to form the legs, rotate the waist and stand him up. Fold down the roof of the cabin - now on his back - flip out the head and fold the roof back up. Position the arms and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6.5cm Width: 4.5cm

   A charcoal robot with grey arms and a wide grey collar, which is the blade of the plow mode. Scattorbrain has green thighs and grey outer shins - the rear halves of the treads (the arms are the front). There's a green gear and rubber wheel on his chest and he has a green painted face. The green isn't as out of place now - partly because he's no longer a plow and partly because it balances better. I also like the fact that the entire face is painted here, which is an improvement over Iceberg's face.

   The treads work better than you might expect as arms, since he has proper moulded fists at the end, and the generators form rather small feet. Easily the most distinct feature is the giant collar, which looks vaguely like the blade of a guillotine. While I don't dislike it, it's a very unusual look, almost to the point of being comical.

   His articulation is slightly below average for a MiniCon. The shoulders rotate up about 100, the waist turns and his hips swing. The feet are wider than they are long so poseability is somewhat limited - most of the useful posing is in his arms.

   Not as cool as his snow plow mode, but it doesn't really have anything ruining it. Scattorbrain's robot mode looks fairly good, even if the collar is really unusual. If anything the colour scheme here is slightly better than Iceberg's.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, but as mentioned, Scattorbrain is a repaint of Armada's Iceberg.

OVERALL

   A good vehicle mode despite the misplaced lime green and a great robot mode which works better than the original in some ways make this a solid MiniCon. The name sucks badly, but the toy is decent otherwise - 6.5/10
PACK OVERALL

   Monocle is a waste of time, even if you don't have the original, so Scattorbrain is left to carry the slack. Aside from the name, Scattorbrain is a decent MiniCon with a good mould and colours that work for the most part. I don't think this set is worth picking up just for the snow plow - you'd be better served grabbing the Adventure Team. Unless you're desperate for the snow plow mould, I'd skip this duo - 3/10

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