Cliffbee.com: Movie Signal Flare Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Signal Flare
Series: Movie Tie-ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Radar Truck

Thanks to Pulse for donating Signal Flare for this review



TRUCK MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 12cm Width: 4.5cm (Or 9.5cm wide if you add his wings)

   A kiwi green, grey, brown and black halftrack with brown camouflage, Signal Flare is something of a mish mash of colours without being garish. The back of the tank and the top half of the front are green while the bottom of the front is black. At the back he has treads and the front two sets of grey wheels, as well as grey fenders. There's a trailing brown block at the back painted silver on top with a S7 logo. facing backwards. The cannon itself is brown with a grey mid section and a big grey disc at the front and optional grey wings on either side that bring his width up to 9.5cm.

   Phew. A pretty involved mix of elements for a basic. I'm not sure about so much grey - it makes this toy a little duller than I think it should be - the original had transparent red plastic on the dish and wings. Signal Flare's overall colour scheme is busy, despite using drab colours it's a little too busy for my liking - he probably would have looked better without the camouflage. I don't quite see the point of the two red wings, aside from being somewhere to store the Energon Weapon bits used for making a large weapon.

   The wheels roll, and there's another set of wheels concealed under the treads, so Signal Flare is capable of rolling. There's a spark crystal on top of the tank, concealed under the cannon - not something you'll really see unless you stick his grey Energon chip on it. So Signal Flare is more Sector 7 than Autobot in this mode.

   The cannon can lift about 45 and rotate right around, and doing either of these will cause the front half of it to slowly rotate. The dish itself can also rotate, although not as part of any gimmick - it spins quite well when flicked with a finger.

   An unusual choice for an alt mode - and one that doesn't work as well in the movie line when it doesn't have Cybertron's answer to Godzilla, Cruellock, to counter it. The repaint isn't so good - it's a little too complicated for something in military colours, and I don't think they suit such an unusual vehicle mode anyway. It's not an awful tank mode, but it just doesn't make sense.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the treads and fold them under the tank, out to the front to form his legs. Flip out the fender covers, the legs contort so that the treads become the heels (it's hard to describe this step). Rotate the central block 90, fold the brown block down to form the left arm, slide the central block down to form his back, which will bring the arms into place and reveal his head. It's an unusual transformation which is fairly complex for an Energon basic.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 9cm

   The ensemble cast of colours are all present here. His torso and boots are green with camouflage blue while his thighs are grey and the arms brown. The right arm is the cannon - so it's very long with a giant grey dish in place of a hand. His head is black with a simple silver face with red eyes. The S7 symbol is now on the outside of his left hand while the spark crystal is now visible on his chest, albeit buried inside it's socket - giving him a prominent Autobot logo now. The colours work a lot better this time, since there's less black, keeping things a little simpler. The grey is largely limited to his weapons, and this also helps.

   The cannon arm is kind of cool, and the rotating gimmick again works if you lift it up or out to the side. If you leave the disc attached it'll look like a giant buzzsaw, remove it and his arm is a huge-ass cannon. The left arm has a hinged elbow and ball jointed shoulder. The hips swing a little and there's some bend in the knees but it's very unnatural since it's part of the transform. You can join the two wings together to form a sort of shield that he can hold in his left hand, although it doesn't really look much like s shield - it's meant as a handle to the buzzsaw for larger Energon toys to hold. You can also plug it onto the back of the cannon arm.

   The most interesting part of this mode really is his right arm. The camouflage works here and the face is well painted, but most of the robot is solid rather than spectacular. I do think this robot mode looks better than that of the original, although not by a whole lot.

   Like the vehicle mode, this mode is functional without being anything special. The cannon arm is cool - the gimmick does what it has to - but the shield is essentially surplus. The robot mode is the better mode on this repaint, and the colours work fairly well for a movie toy.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of the Energon toy of the same name, as mentioned.

OVERALL

   The interesting transformation and the cannon gimmick are really the only noteworthy aspects of what is otherwise a fairly nondescript toy. The robot mode works within the movie aesthetic but the tank mode doesn't, and the colours don't quite work on that mode anyway. I'd recommend at least one version of this mould for the interesting transformation, but this is probably the weakest of the batch - 4/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.