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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kamen's review: Onslaught

Name: Onslaught
Allegiance: Decepticon
Fuction: Combaticon Commander / Strategist
Subgroup: Universe Classics Series Ultra Class
Extra Equip: 2 1.5V AAA or R03 size batteries (included)

If Onslaught enters into direct combat, it’s only because something has gone wrong with his battle plan. He prefers to remain on the sidelines of a fight, directing the action and revising his tactics second by second. Nothing gives him joy as much as a well-executed ambush, or the swift, organized destruction of an Autobot base. When he must get involved in a fight himself, he does so with cold fury, advancing meticulously across the battlefield with his fire focused on the most dangerous opponent. Every variable in a fight is taken into account in his mind, every possibility assessed, and every contingency planned for.

Besides having several major appearances in the G1 cartoon, and being the leader of yet another gestalt team, Onslaught and his Combaticons have always appealed to me. They first appeared in “Starscream’s Brigade”, where they are introduced as criminals in a Decepticon detention center. Immediately, they were distinguishable by being so bad-ass that even the Decepticons wanted them locked up. Since G1, most of the other Combaticons have appeared in other Transformers media in one form or another; however, Onslaught remained ignored. A shame, in my opinion, as I’ve always thought the Decepticons could use a few more strategists. At any rate, I was thrilled to see Onslaught lined up for the Universe line, but not so thrilled to find he was an Ultra class, which is usually out of my price range. But then I decided I didn’t give half a damn, and bought him anyway. Now we find out if I regret my flippant decision…


Alternate Mode:

An armored SWAT vehicle is a far cry from the missile truck Onslaught originally transformed into, but I personally like the new more than the old. I loved the idea of the evil police car in the 2007 Transformers movie, and am quite pleased to see that theme continue. Soon we’ll have an entire fleet of evil government workers. *Mwahahaha*

*AHEM*

Onslaught’s SWAT vehicle isn’t based on any real armored vehicle I can find, but it’s easy to imagine it working its way through a crowed street surrounded by riot police and blasting tear gas right and left. This impression is aided by the fantastic detailing along the figure’s length and breadth – just enough to make it look like an armored transport without making it look too “busy”. Inside the semi-translucent front windows one can see tiny dashboard detailing, and various sculpted panels along the sides of the vehicle give the sense that more SWAT members will spew forth at any moment.

Gunmetal grey and gold form the two major color palettes, where grey takes the lead and gold breaks up the monotone. Red appears sparingly, and orange tints the translucent and semi-translucent parts. SWAT appears in white writing along the sides and across the shield. Also in white is the name MONZO and the numbers 12782, a tribute to a fan and master of the obscure; the number is his birth date (thanks to Nevermore for finding this info). Finally, a beautiful black wash covers part of his cowcatchers.

For such a blocky vehicle, Onslaught manages some interesting articulation. Aside from semi-free rolling wheels (I’ll explain / rant about that later), his turret can turn 90 degrees left and right from its default forward position. Both cowcatchers can be deployed, and the hatch above his cockpit can be raised. In addition, his shield can be attached to the top of the vehicle.

Onto the gimmicks. Onslaught serves up some more electronics. Two are activated by pressing the red button on the rear of his turret (if the shield is attached you may either fold the rear flap back or press on the front of the flap to activate the sounds). The first is the fairly standard machine gun sound accompanied by LEDs, which are red this time around. The sound continues for as long as you hold the button down. Release and press the button again and you will be treated to a short siren whoop that flashes the red LED in the light bar. The final sound is activated by pressing the vehicle down slightly and rolling it slowly – sometimes. I’ve found this one to be somewhat stubborn. The sound is a cacophony that I assume is supposed to be an engine starting.

There are two problems I’ve found with this mode. The first will vary figure to figure, and is simply that one of the gun turrets on my figure is slightly bent, due to the way it was packaged. Very minor, but annoying nonetheless. Take a peek before you buy! Okay, remember that rant I promised? Yeah well...ELECTRONICS SHOULD NOT INTERFERE WITH PLAYABILITY!!!!!!! *FUME*

*ahem*

Onslaught’s third sound is actually activated by a switch inside the well of the second wheel on one side (the one without the metal fastener). This set-up makes that wheel harder to turn, and, when rolled, causes the figure to attempt a constant left turn. It’s honestly not a huge deal, but is an example what I really hate about electronics in toys.

Anyway, the final verdict is that, while a dramatic departure from G1, Onslaught’s new vehicle mode is pretty dang sweet.


Robot Mode:

Already impressive in vehicle mode, Onslaught’s robot mode knocks it up a notch. The mechanical detail mostly carries over from his SWAT, but all of his new limbs are dotted with rivets and sculpted to resemble multiple panels soldered together. Some new detail shows up on his shoulders, including pistons and the like. His overall motif, though, is that of an ancient warrior. His shoulders are armored with spiked pauldrons, his arms encased in thick vambraces, with his hands guarded by gauntlets. Plating at the rear of the figure hints at a mail skirt, and his head sculpt resembles a helm. His shield continues the motif, though his machine gun gives the whole thing a modern flare. At any rate he looks fantastic.

His coloration remains largely the same. The only new addition is a purple Decepticon symbol on his left shoulder.

Onslaught’s articulation is fairly standard for a larger figure. Five points for each arm, (including swiveling wrists), unlimited head rotation and a stationary waist, and three points in each leg, do him nicely. His shoulder armor gives bonus articulation by virtue of his transformation, and the cowcatchers can still be moved. However, he is a bit top heavy, and his heels aren’t very long, but he can still strike some dynamic poses.

The electronics activated by his turret button act as before, with the addition of a red LED in his visor. His shield attaches solidly to his left arm. Press the black button on his right, and a machine gun flips out. The shield can also be stored on his back as in vehicle mode. His electronics are nothing special, but the shield (one of the few Transformers to carry one) is pure awesome, pretty much making the figure in my opinion.

Onslaught’s only flaw in this mode is the gap in his chest just in front of his head. Some sort of panel that folded out and away when he transforms would have been perfect. That aside, Onslaught is WIN.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 6 – There are quite a few moving parts, and it’s not always intuitive what goes where, especially when converting back to vehicle mode.
Durability: 8 – Sturdy overall. I’ve had a few pieces fall off here and there, and his cannon could do with a bit of glue to keep them in place.
Fun: 9 – A unique and interesting alt mode plus a clever transformation and a fabulous robot mode? Hm.
Price: 10– $25 USD Onslaught is worth every penny.
Overall: 9 – I normally don’t buy figures outside of Voyager class, and I wouldn’t have bought this one if he hadn’t been a favorite from G1. However, I am immensely please with him. Whether you like, hate, or remember him at all, if you see him, pick him up!
 
 
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