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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's Review: Lugnut

Name: Lugnut
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Voyager Class

None too bright, but fanatically loyal to MEGATRON, LUGNUT lives to see the DECEPTICONS victorious. He is a literally a force of nature on the battlefield gravity generators in his fists spawn point singularities on impact, causing massive explosions with each punch. That, combined with his seemingly limitless supply of missiles, makes him a chaotic and deadly opponent one that most AUTOBOTS avoid at all costs.

I don't know that I'd call myself a purist, but I'm definitely a Generation 1 fan first and foremost. My interest in the fiction is mostly rooted in the original series, and my interest in the toys almost exclusively so. Movie stuff catches my eye once it a while because of the unique designs they use, but it's pretty rare for a non-G1 Transformer to grab my attention because they're such an interesting, well-written character.

Lugnut managed it, though. I didn't watch Transformers: Animated very much, but in the few episodes I did see Lugnut made a huge impression. I've always figured that the Decepticons would have had their share of none-too-bright soldiers who are fanatically loyal to Megatron, and it was nice to see one of them get their turn in the limelight. When Iheard that there was going to be a new, G1-styled Lugnut figure coming out I was intrigued but I had no idea how it would work. When I saw the first pictures of him online I was stunned. Lugnut was one of Animated's most stylized designs, and reimagining him as something even approximately realistic must have been a daunting prospect. They did it, though -- the figure looked like Lugnut and looked like it could belong in the real world rather than a world of comically exaggerated proportions and giant chins. I was definitely looking forward to Lugnut after that, but did he live up to my expectations?

Robot Mode: Lugnut comes packed in robot mode, and anyone who's familiar with the Animated character will see the similarities right away. He has the same split-cockpit chest, huge engine-turbine shoulders and big meat-hook hands along with Lugnut's distinctive lantern-jawed cyclopean head. There are some significant differences as well, though. Lugnut's proportions are a lot less...well, a lot less Animated, resulting in a much leaner, more mechanical-looking robot. His arms and legs are fairly long and slender, and he's got a narrow waist and chest underneath the split cockpit. He's still recognizable as Lugnut, but the difference in style is as pronounced as the difference between the Animated, G1 and Movie versions of Optimus Prime.

His colours are also a lot more subdued, and hew a lot closer to the Atomic Lugnut redeco than the original Lugnut's colour scheme. Where the original was a vibrant purple and bright teal, Reveal the Shield Lugnut is mainly grey-blue and grey-green with only a few splashes of purple for highlights. Yellow and black warning stripes adorn his engine cowlings and the engines themselves are painted a shade of copper. Red plastic completes his colour scheme, both solid (showing in the joints at his wrists, below his chin and behind his head) and transparent (for his cockpit windows and eyes. At first I questioned the more realistic colours, but once I got a look at TakaraTomy's more faithful colour scheme I realized that Hasbro had made a very good call -- the more vibrant Japanese colour scheme looks incongruous on this new figure. Hasbro's Lugnut has enough colour that it doesn't look drab, but not so much that it looks like a parody of itself either.

Lugnut is a great looking figure. He's got enough complexity and detail to fit in with Movie figures, but he's also stylized enough to make a good addition to a Classics collection as well. I prefer him with the latter, because his proportions and parts layout are very unique, and they stand out better compared to the fairly conventional G1 designs than if you mix him in with the oddball weirdos that make up the Movieverse Decepticon Army. He also looms very nicely over the mostly-Deluxe figures from Classics and it's follow-on lines.

Unfortunately, the uniqueness that makes Lugnut so attractive to the eye hampers his play value quite a bit. He's extremely top-heavy, and although he's got a fairly large set of feet only the extreme ends of his toes actually touch the ground. For all of that he's got reasonably good balance and can hold a lot of poses, but he's also got a bad habit of randomly tipping over at the most inopportune times. His ankle joints aren't the best, and with so much weight resting on them it seems like they'll just...slip once in a while and send Lugnut pitching over forward to fall flat on his face. He does have a lot of joints in his legs, though, so at least in theory you can put him in a lot of poses.

His arms suffer the worst for it, though. His shoulders have an odd universal joint that lets you raise his arms up and down in an arc around his engine cowlings, letting you create very unique wide-armed "about to tackle someone" poses. But both his shoulders and elbows rely on simple 90 degree hinge joints for forward movement and that severely restricts his arm movements. It's perfectly understandable considering how he transforms, but still a serious negative when you're playing with him.

His hands are a bright spot, though. He's got individually-posable fingers (!) and the hands are so big that he can easily hold a Legend, Scout or even Deluxe-class figure up in the air with just one arm (although in the latter case, the Deluxe's extra weight may be more than his multi-jointed legs can hold). Not only is that a lot of fun on it's own merits, it's perfectly in character for Lugnut to manhandle smaller Autobots and toss them around. He also has small switches behind his wrists that, when triggered, send his fists springing forward in an approximation of the "Punch of Kill Everything" that he used in the Animated cartoon. It's a nice touch even if the springs are pretty weak, and it's especially nice because punching the ground with one hand is probably the post Lugnut looks best in.

Like many modern toys, Lugnut has mounting points for the new 3mm c-clip weapons. He's got over twenty mounting points for them and I'm not even going to try to list every one of them. Oddly enough he has all those mounts even though he doesn't come with a single detachable accessory of his own. In fact, for such a large figure his arsenal is pretty limited. The two machine guns mounted on his chest's cockpit kibble are the only guns he can really use as a robot. His other guns are all built into the plane's tail and are mostly inaccessible, unless you want to want to transform him part way to bomber mode or have an obscene missile launcher sticking out of his groin. The lack of weapons is a little disappointing, although it's no longer surprising in modern figures.

Although it's not without it's flaws, Lugnut's robot mode is a very good rendition of the Animated character in the Classics style. In spite of being only an average-sized Voyager, Lugnut's design and body layout makes him seem much more imposing than he actually is. The figure's articulation isn't the best, but he still stands out nicely from the crowd in other ways.

Alternate Mode: While Lugnut's robot mode creates the illusion that he's imposing, his bomber mode genuinely is. A lot of Transformers who turn into bulky airplanes wind up having their wings shrunk down so that they can fit into the packaging, or so that the figure's robot-mode appearance isn't impacted negatively Universe Tankor and Universe Powerglide both fall victim to this, to a hilarious extent in Tankor's case. Not so for Lugnut. Because his wings turn into his arms and his arms are supposed to hang well past his knees, Lugnut has a gloriously wide wingspan befitting the mid-century bomber that he transforms into. He isn't based on any particular real-life plane as far as I can see -- his overall style is meant to evoke a World War Two bomber, but his jet turbine engines suggest that he's something from the 1950s at the earliest.

Like in robot mode, Lugnut's colour scheme is very reminiscent of Atomic Lugnut. He's grey-green all over, with a few grey-blue or purple parts visible on his wings, tail and underside. Paint apps are fairly sparse, but very effective. His tail number is apparently "LU-6 NU-7", because someone in the design team at Hasbro really thinks it's funny to write thinly-disguised names and catchphrases on the toys that they make. The numbers are painted on his tailfin and in his wings near the jet turbines. The forward edge of the turbines are painted with a yellow and black 'warning' pattern and the engine's fans are copper. On either side of the cockpit, he has a "sharktooth" pattern painted on. The overall effect is that he actually looks like a military airplane and not something painted up for an airshow, although a bit more detail would have been nice -- a few Autobot-symbol kill markers wouldn't have gone wrong, and it's a real shame no one thought to slap putting a big Decepticon symbol on him somewhere.

But since he's a Reveal the Shield figure, that would have ruined the line's gimmick. After all, it wouldn't do to let the kids know what faction Lugnut belonged to. Why, if you painted a Decepticon symbol on him you might as well give him a bio that says he lives for the glory of Megatron and the Decepticons, or slap Decepticon symbols all over the box he comes in. And that would be just wacky. So Lugnut -- the most fanatically loyal Decepticon of them all -- has to make do with a tiny rubsign on the tip of his left wing.

Like in robot mode, Lugnut is absolutely covered in mounting points for 3mm clip weapons. And just like in robot mode, it's a damn shame that he doesn't come with any weapons of his own. He's got four clips on each wing alone, and he would look absolutely frightening if you could fill those eight slots up with old-style bombs. Other than Tomahawk and maybe Tracks (not having one, I can't say for sure), no one really has any clip weapons that look natural slung under his wings.

Lugnut's built-in weapons are nicely fitting for a bomber, though. He's got two machine guns mounted on the sides of his cockpit. These guns can swing in a 360 degree circle, although I try not to because they're made out of a soft, rubbery plastic and I'm afraid that they'll rip off one day. He's also got a tail gun, one of the most distinctive features of old-style bombers. Unfortunately those guns don't move, because they're molded onto a small cap that flips aside to reveal Lugnut's missile launcher. The launcher can fire straight back or swing down about 110 degrees to fire at targets on the ground below him, although I find that more often than not it ends up firing on it's own while it's stored away inside his vehicle mode because the trigger is in one of the places you need to grab hold of while you're transforming him.

Because of how his arms transform, Lugnut has functional flaps in his wings. They only move in one direction, though, so hopefully for his sake he never needs to land in a hurry. Less amusingly, his transformation also leaves his robot-mode hands in plain site half way down the length of his wings -- the one real blemish in an otherwise stellar alternate mode.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: The design is ingenious, but it's not without it's flaws. He winds up with hands on his wings and his missile launcher is useless in both modes, both of which boil down to problems with his transformation. I can't think of a way they could have done it better, but that doesn't mean that the flaws aren't there. 7/10

Durability: Aside from the swivelling machine guns, Lugnut might as well be assembled from bricks and mortar. I don't see him breaking any time soon. 9/10

Fun: He's Lugnut, so he's glorious by default. The lack of accessories hurts him in this category, but I can't not have fun with a toy that can pick up smaller toys and throw them around. 8/10

Aesthetics: Lugnut in general is an acquired taste, and there's no getting around that. I like the original character, so I'm more inclined to look at this toy and think it looks really good. Other people might not be so generous and I can definitely see some kids turning their noses up at this funny-looking guy. But this is my review, so nuts to them. 10/10

Articulation: This is easily Lugnut's biggest flaw. I understand why his arms and legs came out the way they did, but like the transformation problems I can't ignore those problems just because I understand the decisions that went into the design. 5/10

Price: I got mine on sale, and since then Reveal the Shield stuff has started to hit clearance to make room for the new movie line. Lugnut is worth the full price tag, and he's more than worth the reduced one. 10/10

Overall: Lugnut isn't perfect, but he's got a lot going for him. If you enjoyed Animated, you should buy Lugnut. If you enjoy unconventional robot modes, you should buy Lugnut. If you...actually, scratch the qualifications. I rarely buy big Transformers, and I've got high standards for the ones that I do. Lugnut is one of my favourite Voyager-and-larger Transformers ever. You should buy Lugnut -- no ifs, ands or buts. He's not perfect, but you'll find something to like about him. 8.5/10
 
 
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