Cliffbee.com: Recon Barricade Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Recon Barricade
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Mustang Saleen Police Cruiser

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Recon Barricade for this review



CAR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 15cm Width: 6cm

   A silver Mustang with royal blue stripes down the sides, Recon Barricade is going for a slightly different Police look to the original version. There are Decepticon logos on either door, over silver badges, with "SECURITY" above the badges. The rear fenders still display the motto, "to punish and enslave...", even though he lacks the police label and a squad number - I guess this security firm takes abusing power seriously. The wheels are black plastic while the windshield, door windows and headlights are colourless plastic. The front indicators are painted orange and the taillights painted red, with "2764" on the license plate between them. Rounding out the colours, Barricade has a transparent blue stroberack on his roof. The solid plastic on the rear window doesn't work so well here - silver plastic is far more obvious than black, but the basic colour scheme is good nonetheless. I can't say I'm thrilled with the concept of this repaint, but at least the colours are fairly good.

   The level of detail here is pretty good for a deluxe, although the paint job is a little generic this time. The sculpt is quite good - the front is clearly the trademark Mustang style, while the word "Saleen" is moulded at the back. There are air intakes on the bonnet, doorhandles and rudimentary brakediscs on his wheels. Being a fastback, he only has two doors.

   The play value here is the only real shortcoming of a a good vehicle mode. Barricade's wheels roll and that's really all we get. It is possible to pull down his impact bars and release Frenzy, although this is intended for the robot mode (and not worthwhile in any case). The hood and doors are all fixed in place, and move during transformation in ways that don't allow for movement here.

   A good car mode, but the repaint feels a little bit forced. The colour scheme itself is nice enough but the security theme is a bit lame, especially when Recon Barricade still sports a stroberack. The mould is still compelling, but this car mode doesn't offer as much as the original. The Mustang is still nice with a lot of details, but the movie accurate version is just more focused.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull the sides out - the fenders and doors come loose, but not the side windows. Swing the back section down to form the legs. Split the legs, pivot the hips, straighten the knees and fold down his feet. It's actually possible to stop here and create something of a gerwalk mode, which I'm mainly noting since it's able to stand despite being rather backheavy. Swing the sides right out to form arms, swing them down to his sides, bend the elbows. There are joints at the top of the arms which seem to be extra - they don't serve any purpose except for aesthetic reasons. The shoulder pads on top of these can stay as pylons, fold out to the sides as pads or turn and face forward to resemble the tips of batwings (my preferred option). Slide the hood apart, lift up the head, fold down the roof and swing the side windows _up_ and you're done.
ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 12cm

   Recon Barricade is again silver and blue, with the torso and upper arms dominated by silver, his feet and hands are blue. His head, forearms and legs are actually black, but this colour manages to not dominate despite being quite prevalent. His head and legs have some faint metallic blue paintwash which is nice but a little too subtle. The eyes are colourless, but their lightpipe is pretty weak, sadly. The colour scheme works better here than in robot mode, because the lack of clear police details is no longer an issue - and the pale blue paint is a nice touch. It's still not Barricade as we saw him on the silver screen, but is a nice repaint all the same.

   The long arms end in claws, for a similar effect to Beast Machines' Nightscream, without all the floppiness associated with that toy. The face has an alien feel, as with most of the movie toys, but it's also batlike - this is actually the first bat aspect that struck me, and I've seen at least one other reviewer comment on it. Okay, so he has Batman style ears, which I guess helps set things up. The bat theme isn't as pronounced on this lighter toy compared with the original, but is still discernible. There are still car elements here of course - the chest is the front of a Mustang and the wheels sit on his arms, but that stuff is along for the ride. The windows rising above this back are unusual - innovative if not especially warranted here.

   Play value is fairly good here. There's a small button on his left wrist which causes the hand to pop forward in a punching motion. The button is blue against his black forearm - a lot easier to spot than on the original. I'm happy to report it does require some force - it's not one of those "look too long and I deploy" things.

   As I've already mentioned, if you fold down the impact bars (now on Barricade's chest) Frenzy pushes out, you can slide him out and unfold him. He doesn't really transform, despite Hasbro's claims. You unfold the legs and head and end up with a spindly and unimpressive royal blue figure, standing about 7cm tall with red eyes. Frenzy certainly looks alien, and while his shoulders swing, he's hardly worth deploying, and quite frankly isn't worth the resulting gap in Barricade's chest. The idea is admirable but it doesn't work. I'm not complaining, mind you - it's easy enough to simple leave the thing permanently stowed. I'm not going into the red/blue colour debate, but I can't say I like this figurine in all blue.

   Poseability is good but not fantastic. His head is fixed, and his waist is almost fixed - there's no articulation there but it doesn't actually click into place when you transform Barricade, instead relying on the tightness of joints to stay in place. For the most part it will stay put, but picking him up and repositioning the legs will sometimes loosen the waist. Anyway, his shoulders and hips are ball jointed, the "thumbs" (first talons on each claw) lift up, the elbows are hinged and the knees have rotators and hinges - which works so well together they might as well be ball joints. His knees actually have a double kink in them, similiar to Beast Machines Cheetor, without the ungainliness and stability issues.

   On the whole this is a good robot mode. Granted the waist should click into place, but he gets away without this (barely, it has to be said). The bat theme is still very nice, if a little diluted. The colours are great here, although Frenzy doesn't come off so well. Again the colour scheme is a bit meaningless, so I can't say it beats the original, but aesthetically these colours do work. The claw, whilst a minor gimmick, does work well - and is a nice little bonus really. I can see the designer looking at the completed robot mode and thinking "I can do something more with the arms" - and this is the way I like gimmicks to be done. It's worth noting that Frenzy effectively takes the spot of a handheld weapon, which I guess is a downside - although the punching gimmick is almost a melee weapon anyway.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, this is a repaint of the regular movie Barricade.

OVERALL

   A good set of colours, but the vehicle mode paint job is very unfocused and there's no real need for a silver and blue Barricade. The mould is good - there are some really creative elements here, such as the bat theme, the transformation itself and the entire Frenzy concept. Unless this colour scheme "sings" to you, I'd recommend passing over this and grabbing Barricade in black, but there are worse repaints out there - 6.5/10

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