Cliffbee.com: Reflector Toy Review

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Name: Reflector
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Reconnaissance
Alternate Mode: Camera splits into three robots, Spectro, Viewfinder & Spyglass



CAMERA MODE
Height: 6.5cm Depth: 8cm Width: 8cm

   From the front Reflector is a blue, silver, black and red camera with a telephoto lens. The central piece (which becomes Viewfinder) is blue, the two side pieces are grey, red and black and become Spectro and Spyglass. The telephoto lens is black with no actual lens inside, the flashcube on the left (above Spyglass) is blue with a silver concave reflector (pun unintended, but unavoidable). The black shutter button sticks out on the right side, which is Spectro.

   This is a rather old camera design, blockier than modern camera - but then a quick peek at Spectro's datestamp tells me it's 1983 or earlier. At any rate, it's not that dissimilar to modern professional cameras, which still need to fit a fairly standard design to allow for attachment of various flashcubes and lenses.

   Reflector isn't much to look at from any side but the front - it's mainly robot kibble on five sides. There is a viewfinder on the back (it's incorporated within Viewfinder, of course), and looking through it will actually give you a view of what the lens can see. The viewfinder and the lens are convex plastic discs, and there's internal mirrors allowing this feature to work, since the two are not in a straight line.

   Considering how old this design is, the play value's pretty good. The optics are clearly a deliberate feature, since Viewfinder's got internal mirrors. Sure, what you see is out of focus, but there's a light path and slight magnification. The shutter button presses in and clicks, then springs back out. While this doesn't activate anything, I like the fact that Takara bothered to do it. Lastly, you can insert missiles into the flashcube, and there's a button on top that allows them to fire.

   Reflector's pretty easy to pick as a Decepticon, since he comes with a rubsign on the front of the viewfinder and below this is a sticker with his name. The Microman version of Reflector is quite common - if yours says "Microx" instead of "Reflector" you have the Microman version, or a rather good quality knock off that's also out there - check on the toys for a Takara stamp. In fact, on close inspection of mine, it seems that while Viewfinder and Spyglass are marked "Hasbro" and "Takara", Spectro has only "Takara" and is probably a Microman. This is strange, since I got Spectro and Viewfinder from the same source, and Spyglass from another.

   The main drawback of this mode is that there's five separate components. The three component robots are joined by the flashcube and lens. I got mine in parts (the lens was $US20!), and now it looks pretty cool, but if you're missing the flashcube you'll see Spyglass staring out at you, since his head is the attachment post. If you're missing the missiles it's a shame, but it doesn't ruin the toy.

   It probably goes without saying that the best part of this mode is that it's so different to almost every other Transformer out there. For such an old mould, it's quite well done, too. The colour scheme comes together well, and the play value's admirable. If you have the five main parts, then this is a nice camera mode.

SPECTRO'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'll state the obvious first - detach the accessories and split the three components. Spectro and Spyglass are attached to Viewfinder in two spots, each, you just pull them apart.

   Once you have the small cube that is Spectro, fold the camera front down to form his legs, flip out his arms, stand him up and give him his handgun.

SPECTRO
Height: 9.5cm Width: 6cm

   Spectro is red, black and grey. He's got a red die cast torso, his arms and head are black, his face is silver, his thighs are chrome silver. His lower legs are the front section of Reflector, so his knees and feet are silver, the shins blue with red stripes on his ankles.

   Spectro has a great facial sculpt for a G1 Transformer of this size. He has a Decepticon logo sticker on his chest which is about the only thing breaking up a really unified colour scheme.

   It shouldn't come as any surprise that this small cube turns into a rather stocky and angular robot mode. He's got very wide shoulders, and his lower legs are rectangles.

   Spectro's play value is limited to his arms rotating at the shoulders. The shutter button is on top of his head, although it's not really meant for this mode.

   While he's unspectacular, Spectro's still got a nice robot mode.

SPYGLASS'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Essentially the same as Spectro's, except for the fact that Spyglass looks forward in camera mode and Spectro backwards.

SPYGLASS
Height: 9.5 Width: 6cm

   Spyglass's colour scheme is probably the least unified of Reflector's components. His chest is a sparkly blue painted die cast metal. His head and arms are dark blue, his face silver, his thighs chrome silver and his lower legs grey. While it's not a mess, there's a lot of colours here. Luckily, while there's six colours or shades, two are blue, the others silver or grey. He has red stickers on his ankles and a Decepticon logo sticker on his chest, which help him avoid looking dull, in truth. While the die on his torso is quite complex in detail, his legs are not, and the chest section itself is smooth.

   He's less boxy that Spectro, his arms are slightly kinked which helps. Again the facial sculpt is pretty good, and again his poseability is limited to his arms rotating at the shoulders. His head wiggles from side to side a little, but there's no meaningful movement.

   Solid, unspectacular, Spyglass is almost dull. The colours work, despite being a little muddled, he's the lankiest of the set.

VIEWFINDER'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the legs down from behind, open the two halves of the viewfinder block and slide them out to the sides (the arms are attached to them). Place his gun over his fist.

VIEWFINDER
Height: 9.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A dark blue (almost indigo) robot with chrome silver thighs, grey arms and a green sticker on his chest, Viewfinder is the basis for the three identical clones that the G1 cartoon used as Reflector. His colour scheme is the simplest of the three, and he's also carrying the most camera kibble.

   Viewfinder's torso and head are a single piece, encasing the optics of the camera mode. Unlike his teammates, his chest is plastic, the die cast is actually inside it, visible from the sides but not the front. The centrepiece of his torso is the lens of the camera - minus telephoto extension. On top of his shoulders are the halves of the viewfinder block - one says "REFLE", the other "CTOR". These halves actually sit above the chest rather than directly above the shoulders, and get in the way his poseability - his arms can swing from to his sides up to 90, but no further.

   Despite his head being covered in camera mode, Viewfinder's face consists of an unpainted mouthplate and a grey eyeslit - he's far inferior to his teammates in his facial sculpt. His arms are quite slender and his torso bulky (since it's got the optics inside). I can deal with the shape, but the facial detail bugs me. Unlike his pals, whose legs are the front panels of the camera, Viewfinder has a clear gap between his lower legs, which are on the back of the camera.

   While he's my least favourite of the three, Viewfinder's still a reasonably good robot. He's held back by being the camera-like part of the alt mode, which I can forgive, though I wish his facial sculpt was better. He is the component featured in the cartoon, though, so familiarity works in his favour.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, though the Microman version is common. Sold only as a mail away in the Anglophone Markets but as part of the regular line in Japan. Apparently, Hasbro didn't think Reflector was up to the standard they were looking for, so they restricted him to mail order only. I tend to concur with Takara that it's worth general release - if for no other reason than it's uniqueness.

OVERALL

   Reflector's a nice set. The camera mode is fun, and while it's nothing to look at from behind, the play value impresses me. None of the individual robots are bad, although Viewfinder's restricted by kibble somewhat. The colours work, and the components even manage to have distinct colour schemes which combine well. Reflector is quite pricey, being somewhat limited in numbers as a mail away, but this is a nice set. The other thing in it's favour is that's so different from anything else - better than the slew of recolours that G2 and Armada offered - 7/10


Want more on this toy? Read Goktimus Prime's Reflector Profile

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