Cliffbee.com: Signal Flare Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Signal Flare
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Radar Truck



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

   A turquoise, mid blue, khaki and charcoal halftrack with transparent red parts, 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 mid blue while the bottom of the front is midnight blue. At the back he has treads and the front two sets of charcoal wheels, as well as charcoal fenders. There's a trailing khaki block at the back which is painted silver on top, with a stamped Autobot symbol facing backwards. The cannon itself is also khaki with a charcoal mid section and a big transparent red disc at the front and optional transparent red wings on either side that bring his width up to 9.5cm.

   Phew. A pretty involved mix of elements for a basic - it's a wonder he doesn't clash with himself. Signal Flare's overall colour scheme is busy without being exceptionally nice or horrible. The only aspect I actually dislike is the seemingly random use of orange paint on the cannon. I'm left wondering what the point of the two red wings is, 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. The treads have a dark grey paint wash, which gives a very cool dirty look - they may not crawl but they look like they've done a lot of work. There's a spark crystal on top of the tank, concealed under the cannon - not something you'll really see unless you stick his Energon chip on it. So Signal Flare will rely more on the Autobot symbol on the back 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 - a foil to Cruellock's Godzilla tribute, I suppose. It's vaguely reminiscent of Doubledealer from G1, although I'm not sure that it's meant to be a tribute. The colours shouldn't really work, but he somehow pulls them off. Simple play value, but at least it all works. A decent vehicle mode which does what it's meant to without really being memorable.

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 khaki 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 mid blue while his thighs are transparent red and the arms khaki. The right arm is the cannon - so it's very long with a giant red dish in place of a hand. His head is turquoise with a simple silver face with red eyes. The Autobot 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.

   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 remaining Energon bits 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.

   Sadly for Signal Flare, the most interesting part of this mode really is his right arm. While the heavy use of mid blue is nice, it's not enough to sell his blocky aesthetic - the face is simple and nothing other than the cannon really stands out. There's a fair bit of moulded detail but the face being simple kind of hides this detail, and the paint applications are uninteresting.

   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 other Energon bits are essentially surplus. Better details or some more poseability would have gone a long way - it's a forgeable robot mode despite not having any serious flaws.

VARIATIONS

   Slightly repainted in Japan. Offshoot, a later Energon toy, is a repaint. Movie Signal Flare is also a repaint of Signal Flare.

OVERALL

   The interesting transformation and the cannon gimmick are really the only noteworthy aspects of what is otherwise a fairly nondescript toy. Signal Flare's colours should have been more interesting, and better weaponry would have helped. Without any glaring flaws, he's worth picking up for the retail price, but only if you have the cash spare, since there are much better basics in the Energon line - 5.5/10

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