Cliffbee.com: Shortround Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Shortround
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Hovercraft



HOVERCRAFT MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 10.5cm Width: 6cm

   A white hovercraft on a dark charcoal cushion, Shortround has twin baby blue turbines at the back and small grey windows on the bridge. There are gold fans on top and some various blue, gold and grey aspects here and there. On the starboard side of the bridge roof there's a small stamped Decepticon logo. There are a couple of purple plastics outbursts here - but these are just robot mode elements peeking through. The prototype picture which Hasbro uses for this toy - used on the card - has purple paint on the front of the turbines, but unfortunately the actual toy lacks this application. The basic colour scheme of white, charcoal and baby blue looks quite cool, and since the supporting colours fit and don't get in his way, Shortround ends up looking pretty good.

   This is a pretty good hovercraft, with a convincing cushion and distinct turbines. The fans on top and distinct bridge are the most obvious features of Shortround's sculpt, which also includes headlights and seams in the cushion. There are small winglets on sides of his cushion, towards the stern. The blue robot head is fairly obvious from above, since it's blue and the hovercraft itself white, but you can simply plug the blue handgun into a slot just in front of the head to partially cover this head, which then blends into this gun. So maybe an attack hovercraft is a little far fetched, but it covers the head so I like the fact we can add the gun.

   Shortround's blue Planet Key (code: s639) plugs into a slot at the back, behind the base of his elevated turbines. As with most later Cybertron toys, the key can sit partially inserted for storage, or push right in and activate the gimmick. In Shortround's case that gimmick is a pair of gold cannons that flip out from the turbines, effectively replacing the turbines. The idea is simple enough but works, even if it robs him of propulsion. While most Cybertron toys need the key to activate the gimmicks, you can easily flip the cannons out with your fingers, making the key rather redundant. While it's not really a major feature, Shortround has three wheels underneath and rolls remarkably well. I'm not planning in finding out whether or not he can float.

   The attention to detail on this hovercraft is pretty good and the colours work, but the most obvious aspect of this vehicle is a passing semblance to Seaspray. While this toy does seem to be inspired by the G1 figure, this is a decent hovercraft in its own right - and we haven't really seen many hovercraft Transformers down the years, which makes it an alt mode I appreciate.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the handgun and set aside. Lift the sides of the cushion up to either side, extend the front of the hovercraft body to form legs, flipping up the bridge to form feet. Split the feet and swing the lower half of the body back, forming his torso. Lift out the robot head and rotate to reveal the face. The sides of the cushion form arms, and there are blue pieces at the hand ends which slide up, forming claws.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 6cm

   The same three colours are again dominant here, although the purple is also quite prevalent. His torso is a mix of purple, white and charcoal with gold paint on his chest while the thighs are purple and the boots while. The arms are charcoal with blue inner prongs of the claws. His head is blue with a grey and silver face while the eyes are gold. The turbines sit behind the shoulders, again evoking Seaspray (the boots are also similar). The colours would seem to make more sense for an Autobot, but the Decepticon symbol now on his right foot tell us otherwise. Again the colour scheme is attractive, although the layout isn't as nice as that of the hovercraft mode.

   Shortround cuts a very distinct figure, with his ridiculously long arms and a smallish torso. The torso I don't mind but the arms really bug me. I'm not sure whether they're the result of a stylistic decision or a lazy design, but they feel like laziness with styling to try and cover it up. The claws don't look that convincing, and certainly don't justify the long arms. To reveal the claws you have to rotate the forearms 90, but the elbows can only bend naturally if the claws aren't visible, which is pretty stupid. The gun clips into the inner prongs, and this only works if the forearms are rotated, so for Shortround to aim his gun he has to lift his straight arm.

   The key gimmick is available, and the cannons work well on either side of the head. Again the key isn't really needed, the guns will happily deploy with help from your hand. The poseability is mixed, with the head on a ball jointed, the shoulders on rather restricted ball joints and the elbow motion poor (as I've already mentioned). The hips are ball jointed while the knees are hinged, giving Shortround good leg poseability, although the range of decent action poses is quite limited since you can only do so much with the arms. The claws don't really bring much play value, since you have to choose between really long, straight arms or naturally bent elbows with no claws.

   With a little more effort in the arms, this could have been a good robot mode. Sadly, the arms really ruin Shortround's robot mode. The colours, gimmick and most of the toy are good, but the effort that has gone into this robot mode is essentially wasted.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Storm Surge is a repaint of Shortround.

OVERALL

   A fun hovercraft mode with good colours, good detailing and some nice play value contrasts sharply with a poor robot mode. The frustrating part is that 90% of this toy is good - but the ridiculous robot arms really hold back his robot mode. Perhaps the lest convincing aspect here is just how similar Storm Surge is to the original version of the mould. While it's a nice repaint, it's very similar to Shortround, making him unconvincing as repaints go. The mould's limitations hold him back for me, and I don't know that I could but if you missed the first version and want the mould, Storm Surge is as good as Shortround - 4.5/10

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