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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review of: Cybertron Undermine

Name: Undermine
Function: Terrocon Benchwarmer

I've picked up hardly any of Cybertron, having learned my lessons from the "it looks good now, but I'll just hock it off later" toys from Energon and Armada. When it came to Undermine, I was overwhelmed by how repulsingly cute it was in robot mode, so I caved in. Part of it was having a non-tyrannosaur dino, part of it was wanting a makeshift Slugfest for my new Soundwave, and part of it was weakening of better judgment. But, I'm happy with the little bugger, so here we go!

Rawr (Alternate Mode):

Again, cudos to Has/Tak for not using a t-rex for once! Undermine's alternate mode is that of a spinosaur, which is the same critter that was in Jurassic Park III. As a dino, a certain amount of positive mojo is automatic, but Undermine exceeds even that because of the effectiveness of the force chip. No, not the actual gimmick, but the chip itself actually becomes a plausible extension of the sail on its back. Unlike 97% of the other Cybertron toys, this is a great way to store the extra part.

As for the dino itself, it's sub-perb. Better, yet inferior at the same time. The articulation isn't quite as great as Cruellock, but a number of stances can be extrapolated from the figure. That's neither here nor there though since the sculpting is superior. The head is just plain mean looking! It's certainly very physically detailed, even if the motion is restricted to rocking back and forth.

Robot Mode:
As a robot, Undermine is a bit of an aquired taste. I like the little fellow, but first, a few facts: there's more articulation than in the dino mode; he doesn't have much of a head; the chip gimmick is... unique.

As far as the head goes, I think it looks like a frog. Maybe that's why I'm drawn to the description 'repulsingly cute'. Like a lot of other robots that turn into animals, this one uses the detachable tail as a weapon. Unlike a lot of other robots that turn into animals, the designers seems to have thought about that ahead of time and made the tail resemble a flail so that it wouldn't look completely awkard.

As for the chip gimmick... it makes a big knife flip out of its forehead. I can't imagine this is terribly effective, but that's just a failure on my part. I will say that I did see a villain in a low-budget, wee-hours-of-the-morning, horror-type film years ago that tried to use a similar technique. It didn't work well for him, though. It's probably a design best left to toy robots.

Transformation: 10. Absolute breeze.
Durability: 10. Absolute rock.
Fun: 10. Absolute hijinks with the headknife. And a tail-flail!
Price: 10. Absolutely cheap.
Overall: Absolute hit or miss. It's an odd little figure that takes its oddities and skews them to degrees not normally reached. If you think you'll like it based on what I've written, you probably will. If you think it's too weird for either the headknife or the frogface, you'll probably be happier skipping it.

(I like it, though.)
 
 
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