Cliffbee.com: Off Road Patrol Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Off Road Patrol
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Covert Activities
Components: Highjump, Mudslinger, Tote & Powertrain



Highjump

4X4 MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 4cm Width: 2cm

   A small grey four wheel drive, and Highjump is a real off road vehicle - none of this Soccer Mum SUV rubbish. He has light grey windows, black tyres and a red hinge visible on his roof. There are moulded headlights on the front, as well as a grille and a bumper, while at the back there's a jerry can on the left side and another bumper. While none of these details are intricate, they represent more detail than a lot of larger Transformers were getting at the time.

   The wheels roll and Highjump's rear wheels are on a hinge as part of his Transformation, giving you the option to raise the rear a little. This almost mimics suspension, and it wouldn't surprise me if this little bonus was what inspired his name. It's enough to make this a nice little vehicle - my favourite of the set, in fact.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Novel for a Micromaster, Highjump's transformation is anything but dull. First you fold down the rear wheels, then you extend the rear to form his boots, so that the window becomes his knees. Next fold down the hood to become his backpack, which will reveal his head. Swing the rear wheels back down, swing the doors down to form his arms and stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2cm

   Again mainly grey, Highjump's red is now more prominent though - his head and thighs are red, and his face light grey with a moulded mouth and nose, with unpainted red eyes that sort of hide under his brow. His boots are the back of the truck while his torso is the roof, with the front window his chest. The arms sort of hug his torso, which looks a little weird, especially since they're no wider than his shoulders (the arms attach below the shoulders, which are part of the torso).

   There's not a lot of play value here - even for a Micromaster. The arms can swing, but lifting them up simply transforms them back into doors (and renders the moulded arms invisible). The knees can swing independently but the hips only swing as one - you can sit him down and this is the only meaningful posing Highjump gets.

OVERALL

   The 4X4 is quite nice and the transformation is interesting, but the robot mode is held back by the unorthodox transformation - particularly in his arms. Visually the robot mode almost works, but the arms look weird. Despite the flawed robot mode, Highjump's still an interesting Micromaster, if not the best out there - 5.5/10

Mudslinger

MONSTER TRUCK MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 3.5cm Width: 3cm

   A blue monster truck with grey windows, Mudslinger is your typical 1980s sports pickup, with enormous rounded tyres. Coming to a county fair in a redneck town near you soon! Anyway, there are some outbursts of the orange that grace his underside, but this is essentially a blue truck with black tyres. There's a lightrack behind the cabin as well as lights and a grille on the front, and lines in the tray continuing the detail level we saw on Highjump.

   There are black platforms on the sides, which appear to be access platforms for the cabin, but are actually disguised robot arms. They attach directly to the insides of the rear wheels - only the outer halves of these wheels turn, while the entire front tyres roll. Mudslinger tends to slide on smooth surfaces, but will roll on surfaces with a little resistance.

   The original Micromaster Monster Truck, before they went and did an entire patrol of them the following year, Mudslinger is the most "realistic" of the lot, since he's a sports pickup - the others all found new ways to keep the concept going. This is a pretty good Monster Truck, too, although the huge tyres mean he's slightly smaller than he should be compared to Tote & Highjump.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the from over and flip out the head at the back. Stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 3cm

   Now a pretty even split between bright orange and the darkish blue, Mudslinger's torso and thighs are orange, his boots and head are blue. His arms are black, and his upper arms are the rear tyres, while the front tyres hang off the back of his knees. There's a generous helping of grey paint - it's on his face, chest and shins. The feet are the roof of the cabin while the grille and headlights become his knees. The chest is quite detailed, it almost looks like the bridge of a spaceship. There are moulded fingers on the inside of his hands and the groin is quite well moulded. Add to this the eyestrip, nose and mouth in his face and Mudslinger's one of the most detailed Micromasters in robot mode.

   The play value here is pretty standard. The arms can rotate right around, and while the outer tyres roll freely, the shoulders are taught - it's an odd arrangement but it's done well for what it is. The knees can swing independently while the hips swing together. He's unable to sit down since the front tyres get in the way.

OVERALL

   Maybe I'm a little biased since Mudslinger was my first Micromaster (by a couple of years, in fact), but I think this is a pretty good Micromaster. Both modes exhibit attention to detail, the colours compliment each other well and the engineering of his arms is impressive - 7.5/10

Powertrain

TRUCK MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   An orange cab with a black and blue rear section, black windows and a silver grille in front. There are six black wheels, two in front and four at the back. The front and rear sets of wheels roll but the central set are simply moulded, albeit with better detail than some dummy wheels. There's a sleeping cabin above the main cabin and a silver exhaust behind the cab on the right hand side.

   There's very little play value here, and the wheels that do roll don't really offer much. There is a hole on the hitch which is cool, if unintentionally done. It's a fairly bland truck mode really, but there's nothing bad about it either - it does it's job. There are shades of Huffer here, although I don't think the resemblance was deliberate.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the blue part of the hitch to form his feet, rotate the top of the cabin, stand him up and position the arms. I have no idea why we're meant to rotate the cab, it's backpack either way. I suspect the idea was shifting the centre of gravity, but he's pretty stable either way.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Now more blue that orange, Powertrain has a blue torso, blue head and blue feet. His arms are orange while the legs are black. There's a big white panel on his chest and his face is also white which brings out the facial sculpt, although the moulded crown around his face is kinda lost in dark blue. The legs are reminiscent of Optimus Prime's - with wheels on the ankles and fuel tanks on the thighs, which is kinda cool.

   The ankles and hips are hinged as one, and the folding hips seem to serve no other purpose that to allow Powertrain to sit down, which is nice. The arms can lift up, but since his shoulders attach behind the ears I wouldn't lift them very high. Thankfully he looks ok with arms by his sides, although with arms sticking forward from his ears he looks really stupid.

   Again, there's nothing horrible here - although the shoulders could have been done better, but nothing really jumps out either. The hip movement is nice but the colours are a little dark overall. The white fails to lighten up this dark robot mode.
OVERALL

   The truck mode is pretty good although the robot mode's shoulders and colours hold Powertrain back. He's my least favourite of this set, although he's not really a bad Micromaster - 5/10

Tote

VAN MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A red van with black windows and tyres with some seams on his roof, Tote's colour scheme is the most straightforward of this patrol. There's more than a passing resemblance to Ironhide here, and while it might not be a deliberate thing, the similarity is instantly obvious. There are pinstripes, headlights, bumpers and even license plates in the mould, although at a glance you can easily miss these features since nothing's painted.

   The wheels roll, although on smooth surfaces Tote has a tendency to slide like Mudslinger does. This constitutes the play value of this mode, which is fine since vans aren't really dynamic.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Slide the front forward and flip over to form the boots, extend the rear and swing it up onto the roof, forming a backpack. Stand Tote up. Like Highjump, Tote has a novel transformation, although the impact on his robot mode isn't as severe.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2cm

   A grey and red robot, Tote has a grey torso, grey head, light grey face and red limbs. The light grey face sports a mouth and wraparound eyestrip, the front of the roof is now his feet. There's some kibbly stuff on his knees but his arms and truck are well sculpted. The Ironhide semblance is nowhere near as strong now - he has a head for starters!

   Aside from the kibbly stuff on his knees, this is a pretty attractive robot mode - red and grey always work, and Tote isn't hampered like Highjump. The waist is light grey and he has moulded fists. The arms lift the hips move as one although sitting poses are out, giving Tote standard Micromaster poseability.

OVERALL

   Probably the best toy in this set, mainly because there are no real flaws. I'll give him the edge over Mudslinger because of the interesting transformation. Both modes are good, the colours work and of course the transformation is both novel and effective - 7.5/10

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of. Mudslinger was repainted as Greasepit while Powertrain was repainted as Ironworks.

THE PATROL OVERALL

   Probably the most diverse Micromaster Patrol, which in itself makes this an appealing set. Powertrain is the weakest link, and while Highjump is also flawed he's interesting enough that he doesn't count against the set. Tote and Mudslinger are both good toys and are enough to make this set worthwhile to Micromaster fans, who'll probably want this set simply because it's so diverse. With interesting transformations and some nice attention to detail, this set is atypical of the Patrols in many ways, which should increase the appeal for non Micromaster fans - 6.5/10

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