Cliffbee.com: BotCon Weirdwolf Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Weirdwolf
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Tracker
Alternate Mode: Robotic Wolf



WOLF MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 22cm Width: 6.5cm

   A yellow wolf with turquoise lower leg, a white tail and while on the upper head, Weirdwolf is a repaint of Cybertron Snarl specifically designed to represent G1 Weirdwolf. The secondary colours of white and turquoise are used extensively in a complex paint mask which not only expands on the fairly simple (by modern standards) paint mask of the original Headmaster toy but also makes this wolf's colours quite unified - especially compared to the disjointed colours seen on Snarl. His eyes are red, along with the slot on between his shoulders, while his snout is black and the tip of his tail is transparent orange. There's a purple Decepticon logo stamped on his left hip, rounding out a very detailed and thoughtful colour scheme. I really like the job done of making this mould work as Weirdwolf here, even if the yellow plastic does look somewhat garish. I won't hold that against him too much, because the team putting together this toy were limited by the colours of the character and the plastic for which this mould was designed.

   The sculpt is quite good - with a lot of robotic detailing and a hint of fur here and there - although the latter isn't really apparent on yellow plastic. This hides the fur - fitting for a G1 character I guess, but it does prevent this figure from reaching the full potential of the mould. The beast shape is far more accurate than the blocky wolf form of the G1 toy, so while Weirdwolf might not use his sculpt as well as he could, the fact is that this wolf is a nice update of the original, and in that context the loss of sculpted detail doesn't really hurt the toy.

   Weirdwolf's poseability is standard - the hips and shoulders (I use those terms lightly) swing on restricted ball joints while the elbows, knees and ankles are all hinged, whilst there are mid-foot hinges, making Weirdwolf digitigrade. His head is fixed which is a tad disappointing (although it's forced by the nature of his transformation), the tail can swing down, but the joint isn't really designed to look good in poses.

   The key gimmick is almost redundant. Plugging his orange Planet Key (code: d43j) into the back of his neck causes the mouth to open, revealing transparent orange fangs. The turquoise and white ears also rotate, lifting up. While the gimmick does what the designer has asked of it, you can move these pieces manually, so the whole idea of the key activating what is essentially part of his articulation is weak. There's a slot on the right hip for the key, which is really well constructed. This gimmick works better here than on Snarl thanks to the mixed colours on his ears - although it's still fairly bland. The Planet Key has turquoise paint on on the boundaries and the claw in the centre is painted amber.

   The mould isn't that great, and while the paint mask doesn't bring out the sculpt too well, the complexity of the paint mask, which has been well mapped, makes this a pretty good beast mode really. The gimmick isn't anything to write home about but his poseability is good and this is such an improvement over the original wolf mode (it's amazing what 21 years of toy technology can allow) that this wolf mode is really nice.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside his tail. Lift up the hindlegs and straighten to form robot legs, flip out his heelspurs and rotate the knees. Lift up the front of the beast, flip out the robot head. Unclip the throat of the beast, pullout the shoulder panels, fold back to form the sides of the robot torso, folding up the forelegs, which stow inside the chest. Slide the left shoulder down into place, flip the left fist out from within the throat. Position his arms, place the tail into his left hand as a handheld weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 11.5cm

   Again, Weirdwolf is mainly yellow, with the turquoise plastic centred on his boots, left forearm, chest and head. The white is largely on his groin and right arm while his face is ochre with black eyes. The head was originally grey, this time around it's turquoise with transparent orange eyes (and one of the weakest lightpipes I've seen). Of course, he's no longer a Headmasters - so I guess we can consider the colour change a by-product of the stripping out of Monzo. The three main colours are in about the same proportions as on the original, and while the locations of white and turquoise have moved around somewhat, this does still feel like Weirdwolf. The Decepticon logo is now on his right hip and there are false red wolf eyes on his chest (something not painted on Snarl). His doglike face is well sculpted, and while it doesn't really come through the ochre plastic, I can deal with the loss of detail, since the ochre face links his head to that of the Headmaster version. Again it's a thoughtful colour scheme and a far more unified one that we saw on Snarl.

   The transformation is fairly simple, and strongly reminds me of Beast Machines, which saw a lot of quadrupeds standings up during transformation. I'm not all that impressed by the lazy formation of his arms - the beast head as his right forearm especially annoys me. While the resulting robot mode has a good shape, the transformation that gets Weirdwolf here is insipid. The forelegs do stow well, but with the head becoming highly visible kibble, he doesn't come off that well. Weirdwolf's paint job on the chest does help distract us from the kibble-arm, but the robot mode is still his weaker mode.

   If anything, the key gimmick is even less inspiring now, since it's purely carried over, and the fangs don't really provide any sort of menace. The missile launcher works quite well, firing the single transparent orange missile about half a metre. Weirdwolf's poseability is respectable - his head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift out while his elbows are hinged with rotators. His hips are ball jointed while his knees and ankles are hinged. The heelspurs are smaller than I'd like - he can stand but a lot of action poses aren't as stable as they should be.

   While the wolf mode works very well, the robot mode can't escape the limitations of the mould. The wolf head arm really doesn't fit the character, and more than that it's just kibble. The legs are a little gimpy, too. The gimmick offers nothing, really, and while the launcher works it's nothing special. While the repaint makes an effort to improve the mould this time around, it's not able to do enough to save an underwhelming robot mode - although it is better than than of Snarl.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Weirdwolf was sold exclusively at BotCon 2007, and as such was likely limited to a single production run.

OVERALL

   This is one of the weaker Cybertron moulds, and while Weirdwolf is a decent choice of character to apply, the end result isn't that great. As repaints go, this _is_ a good one, but we're starting from a low base. The complex paint job and focus on character make a real difference to the beast mode, but aren't able to do as much for the robot mode. The kibble-arm is still a kibble arm, and while the colours in both modes are used much better than those of Snarl, this is a toy which is only worthwhile if you're a fan of the character, considering the secondary market price (as a regular line toy, I would recommend Weirdwolf) - 6/10

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