Cliffbee.com: Tonbot Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Tonbot
Series: Beast Wars Second
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Forced Reconnaissance
Alternate Mode: Dragonfly

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Tonbot for this review



DRAGONFLY MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 16cm Width: 19cm

   A rust coloured dragonfly with transparent orange wings and silver elements here and there - most notably the mouthparts. His eyes are painted a metallic green colour while the front edges of the wings are painted red. He's a repaint of Beast Wars Jetstorm, and while many BWII toys saw their colour schemes tweaked, Takara have changed pretty much everything there. Instead of the aposematic colours of Jetstorm we get earth tones which would provide a good camouflage. There are some transparent orange elements on his long tail, including missiles stowed on either side, a trigger on top and two small protrusions at the back. Rounding out the colours we have some brown on the stowed launchers and a button between them.

   There's good play value here, for an insect that doesn't have great poseability potential. All four wings can lift up and down and swing back and forward, allowing fairly realistic mid-flight wing positions. The mouthparts are on restricted ball joints while the six legs can wiggle up and down. Tonbot pretty much sits on his belly, but then the legs touch the since ground and he doesn't have a tendency to fall back under the weight of his tail I'm quite happy for him to sit on his belly. The belly itself is the robot legs, which are slightly visible as kibble but they don't detract from the dragonfly at all.

   The trigger on top controls a water-shooting gimmick, sliding it forward will release a stream of water from his mouth, or if there's no water, it'll push the air out of the internal bladder, and if he's immersed, releasing it will draw water into that bladder. While I don't care for water shooting gimmicks, I do appreciate that the bladder is hidden inside the tail, and shooting out of the mouth is cool, even if dragonflies aren't really known for their venom. The second gimmick interests me more - if you press the brown button on top, the two missile launchers deploy on either side, and can be fired independently through silver buttons on top. The missiles will fire maybe half a metre, and while they do have habit of popping out while stowed, the gimmick is well otherwise engineered well.

   The sculpt is pretty good - the eyes are compound eyes and the tail is segmented, while the legs are actually transparent green plastic with red paint on top (fading to green underneath), showing that care was taken in designing this dragonfly. As a side note, if you open the mouthparts right up, you'll see the robot face, which is a little odd, but menacing at the same time. The wings have veins and the missiles are segmented to match his tail.

   When you consider how well integrated the two gimmicks are, this is a pretty successful insect mode. The wings move very well and there's not much kibble from either the robot mode or the gimmicks. The sculpt is nice and the colours work well and really help differentiate Tonbot from Jetstorm. The water shooting gimmick doesn't grab me, but it does what it set out to so I'm not complaining. The missile launchers also achieve their aim and bring more to the toy as a display piece, rounding out a beast mode that overachieves for a deluxe toy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Making sure the launchers are stowed, unclip the legs underneath and the eyes from either side of the robot head, swing all four limbs out. Fold down the robot head, deploy the robot chest (the section that holds the front pair of wings), rotate the chest into place and swing the wings up so that the tips are pointing up and back. Lift out the groin, clip it under the chest to form the torso. Position the arms and legs, flip up the feet and swing the insect legs out to the side of his boots.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 13cm

   There's a lot more of that brown plastic now - the robot is basically a mix of rust and brown with a liberal application of metallic green on his chest (matching the beast eyes). The forearms, boots, head and tail (hanging out the back an at angle of about 30) are rust coloured while his feet, thighs and upper arms are brown while the groin and hips are silver. There are four white "teeth" around his mouth, which is the nozzle, while the eyes are painted gold, which means Tonbot loses Jetstorm's lightpipe. The transparent orange insect legs sit on the outside of his boots, the front set of wings emanate from his hips and swing up over his shoulders while the rear set stick out from his upper arms, giving him a wingspan of 13cm (and are also the tallest part of the robot). The colours again work well and are still fairly earthy, even if the metallic green breaks that up - which anchors this is his robotic mode, really.

   The tail hangs out the back and contains the water shooting mechanism, with the missile launchers again tucked away on the sides. The water shooting gimmick still works now, although you have to dunk most of the toy in water to fill the launcher. It fires out of the mouth again, which is clever engineering, really. The missile launchers can deploy, but the sit on the outsides of his forearms pointing skyward, which isn't so useful. I really wish that the launchers could at least pivot, if not detach and become handheld weaponry.

   Considering that Tonbot is built around the water shooter, he's fairly poseable. The hips and shoulders are ball jointed while the elbows, knees and ankles are all hinged. There are rotators below the shoulders _and_ above the elbows, allowing for arm poseability whilst making sure you can get the wings out of the way. There are rotators below the hips and another at the base of the head, which can lift up and down. The head can only move a few degrees side to side, mind you, since there's a hose running through it, but I appreciate that they bothered to put the joint in. The tail does get in the way of some poses but acts as a stabilising third legs for a lot as well, while the claws formed from the dragonfly mouthparts are poseable.

   With good poseability and an effective built in watershooter, this is a decent robot mode. The colours work well although he lacks the lightpipe of his predecessor. This mode isn't quite as good as his beast mode, mind you - the launchers are all but useless and some handheld weaponry would have made a big difference. Considering how much they fit into the beast mode and transformation, I'm not complaining - but these aspects do hold his robot mode back.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he is a repaint of Jetstorm, as mentioned.

OVERALL

   A pretty good repaint of a decent if relatively obscure Beast Wars toy. The repaint is quite different, which is usually a good thing (outside of G2), and while I wouldn't say it's enough to justify getting _both_ versions of the mould, they do work for different reasons. The dragonfly mode mis really good while the transformation is ambitious and complex for a Beast Wars deluxe. The robot mode is held back a little by the integrated gimmicks and the transformation but this is still a good mould which I recommend in at least one form - 8.5/10

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