Cliffbee.com: Vector Prime Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Vector Prime
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Space Cruiser



SPACE CRUISER MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 26cm Width: 23cm

   A white space ship with a tapered nose and twin solar-panel style wings, out to the sides on their own support struts (something like a trimaran). The wings are transparent blue with dark burgundy struts. Both the transparent blue and burgundy make appearances on the body of the ship, along with some metallic blue and a lot of small gold paint applications. This is a decent colour scheme, although I'm not a huge fan of the white, since it's a regression from Takara's light grey. The paint mask is quite complex, which does a lot for this toy.

   There's a lot to like here. The space ship is a good sci-fi ship - it wouldn't look out of place in say a Star Wars movie, and there are a lot of distinct design elements; the wings, nose and detailed sculpt are all quite obviously deliberate design choice. There have been quite a few Transformers through the years with alternate modes labelled as space ships by default, but the space ship concept is strong here, and the wings, shape and detail make this apparent. There is a bridge towards the nose, with an Autobot symbol stamped behind the transparent blue window panels. Behind the bridge is a docking place for Safeguard, which is shaped specifically for the included Minicon - while he attaches to a powerlinx port in this docking bay, the surrounding depression wont accommodate any old Minicon. This isn't a problem, mind you - there are two more ports on the sides of the fuselage, towards the stern, and there aren't that many Minicons in the Cybertron line anyway.

   There are moulded details all over this ship, with various cog and gear elements all over the fuselage and wingstruts. Some of these are painted gold, although there's more gold paint on Takara's version - the grey on that toys brings out the fantastic sculpt better as it is. The wings have solar plates moulded onto them, and are roughly triangle shaped, with the pointy ends at the front. Vector Prime's sculpt is nothing short of spectacular, only the Binaltechs (and similar toys) are in the same league - but Vector Prime isn't specifically aimed at adult collectors. There are four small burgundy wheels underneath the ship, along with four white cannons and some blue sensor arrays. Heck, there are moulded cog details under the fuselage, on what is destined to become the robot's back.

   There's quite a bit of play value here. Obviously Safeguard can plug into the toy, just in front of the bridge there's a blue button that fires a single missile out of the nose. Two Minicons can clip onto the sides and there's a slot on top (towards the back) for his blue Planet Key (code: v38g). The Planet Key has an Autobot logo moulded underneath and four Planet symbols in silver _underneath_ the blue plastic on top. The key sets off a launching sound, although you'll need to source 2 AAA batteries first. The solar panels on the wings are two parts each and they can fold closed if you really want, adding to the play value.

   All told this is one of the best sci-fi alt modes we've seen in a while, and harks back to the 1986 & 1987 futuristic vehicles. The detail is fantastic, the play value is good and isn't based around a single crappy sound gimmick. Vector Prime _looks_ like a space cruiser and Safeguard compliments him well. The robot thighs visible from the back are probably the only drawback - and this is pretty minor. I do wish Hasbro had kept him closer to Takara's version - but it's still a very good ship.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove Safeguard if he's attached, unfold the legs from underneath the swing the wings in. Fold the nose section down underneath, flip up the feet and detach the sword from his backpack (it's along one edge of the nose section). Lift up the shoulderpads, slide back the wristguards, rotate the head, pose the toy, give him his sword and (optionally) attach Safeguard to either wristguard as an arm cannon.

   While this is a pretty simple transformation for a mega, it's quite effective and the weapon options are well done. At any rate, the simplicity allows the cruiser mode to be a success.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 17cm

   Again mainly white, Vector Prime has burgundy thighs, feet and forearms along with a burgundy head, sporting silver cheeks, a metallic blue face and red eyes. The face is very well sculpted (which isn't surprising, really) and the head shape is vaguely reminiscent of Megatron's signature buckethead. The gold highlights are quite prevalent here, the transparent blue not as obvious, since the wings sit on his back. The Planet Key on his chest and sword provide some transparent plastic, but both are optional. If you leave the key off, Vector Prime has a red orb in the middle of his chest (so I leave the key in place). This is again a good colour scheme, even if the white plastic doesn't quite bring out the excellent sculpt.

   While I don't think this robot is laid out as well as the space cruiser mode, it's still good. The shoulder and wrist guards look good, the detailed face brings a lot and the small cannons on his toes are nifty. Safeguard looks really good as an arm mounted weapon and the sword - at 15cm long - is impressive and well sculpted. The wings are stowed but still partially visible behind the arms & hips, and can be spread if you really want. Annoyingly, there's a mould defect on the left wing of mine - it doesn't _quite_ fold away properly, although I've filed down the soft plastic to largely fix this problem.

   The sound gimmick is again available here, the missile launcher is not since the nose is now his backpack. Safeguard's dock is also on his back but the ports on his arm are fun, and another weapon Minicon would work well on the spare arm. Poseability is good for a toy with such a focused vehicle mode - the head turns and the feet hinge at the ankles while the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips are all double ratchet joints. The ratchetting joints ensure that Vector Prime doesn't need big heelspurs. There are panels which hang over the top of his thighs, and they're hinged so you get the armour skirt effect without hampered hips. While the poseability isn't fantastic, it beats the poseability of most Transformers with such well-designed vehicle modes (especially at this pricepoint).

   While I think the alternate mode is stronger, this is a good robot mode that offers a level of detail rarely seen outside the adult collector lines. It's a shame that Hasbro ditched the grey plastic, but it still looks good. The play value is relatively good and this robot displays well.


Name: Safeguard
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Jet

JET MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A white jet with black at the front of his wing and some metallic blue along the wing fronts. Safeguard has twin tainfins and tailwings and in place of a cockpit, the front of the jet is basically a large barrel. Yes, in the tradition of Shockwave, this guy's a flying gun! There are actually two barrels, the right side one is longer and wider, and is roughly the same shape as Shockwave's barrel. The leftside barrel is smaller, shorter and rounded. I get the distinct impression that this guy's been designed to be Vector Prime's gun - and while the jet mode looks unusual, it still works.

   The barrel section is painted white rather than moulded, so the sculpt comes out a little better, since the paint is slightly darker than the rest of the toy. Safeguard pretty much lies on his belly - there are no wheels underneath, just the robot bits and a powerlinx socket.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Flip over the tail section to form his boots and flip up his feet. Fold the barrels onto his back and you're done. The wings are his arms, and while they're not secured in plane mode, the joints are tight enough. Pose the arms as you want.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 5.5cm

   Mainly white with black shoulders and feet, Safeguard has burgundy thighs and metallic blue face and wings (which hang off the forearms). The powerlinx socket sits on the waist, there are moulded fingers and the tainfins make for rather potent kneecaps. The face is pretty simple - especially compared to that of Vector Prime.

   Poseability is okay - the shoulders rotate and the elbows are ball jointed. The hips and knees are hinged, and there are some leg poses available since the barrels on his back act as a third leg. While it's not a bad robot mode, Safeguard's robot mode is a shadow of the vehicle mode, largely because the vehicle mode makes a nifty accessory for Vector Prime.


VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, Takara released this set in grey first, and that version has more paint, including burgundy on the wings (which are paintless on the Hasbro version). The Takara version of Safeguard, Roots, was also sold separately by the confectionary company Kabaya (with sweets of course). Vector Prime/Safeguard were available as part of a TRU exclusive 2-pack, packaged with Mega Starscream - which, unlike Vector Prime, was not sold on it's own. Galaxy Force Vector Prime is a repaint of Vector Prime.

OVERALL

   Two good modes and a Minicon that compliments well make this a good toy. The space cruiser mode is spectacular, even if the white plastic masks a lot of the detail. Vector Prime is one of the most detailed Transformers we've seen and while he's a relatively simple mega, the transformation works because it's supporting two strong modes. If the vehicle mode appeals to you, I'd recommend this toy - 7.5/10 (8.5 for the much better Takara version)

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