Inflatable Dalek's Review: Transformers Generations 2013: Impactor
Function: Wrecker leader.
Wreck and Rule!
Impactor as a character should need no introduction, TFArchive’s exhaustive survey having recently placed him as the 27th Best Transformer OF ALL TIME. But, in the event you’ve been living under a rock for the last 28 years: He’s the harpoon handed leader of the Wreckers, a lean mean fighting machine who isn’t going to let a little thing like being a dead zombie get in the way of saving the Universe. In short, he’s better than you.
Despite the fact various characters created for the Marvel comics have received toys over the years (starting with Jhiaxus and working through to Straxus via Primus), Impactor was sadly overlooked for a very long time, despite having an appropriately Transform-ery name and the G2 Hero Megatron toy being an almost perfect fit for the character (certainly more so than Bludgeon). It seemed that being from the British comic made him just that bit too obscure.
However, being prominently featured in the Last Stand of the Wreckers comic, coupled with the Wreckers sub-group being made more mainstream thanks to a strong supporting role in the third live action film, finally made toys of dedicated Wreckers in general and Impactor in particular practical at last.
Sadly though, even having a harpoon for a hand isn’t enough to get you your own original toy (unlike bloody Scoop), and as such all the Wreckers got to be a straightforward remoulding of the Fall for Cybertron
Combaticons, a subgroup that have lived up to their G1 namesakes by having their toys become the overused workhorses of the line. Impactor, as team leader, got to be reused from Onslaught, but how well does he stand up?
As a final note before we dig into the toy, officially this isn’t the Marvel Impactor, nor the IDW version. It’s supposedly the Aligned continuity version. Now, whilst I’ll be slightly fair on how well the toy fits his classic look on those terms, as the Aligned version’s grand total of fictional appearances boil down to being mentioned by Wheeljack once, I think it’s fair to say that no one will be thinking of this as anything other than Proper Impactor.
Also, though this toy is part of a combining team, as I don’t have the rest I’ll only be talking about how the individual robot works.
Beyond being a vague tank, we never really had much of a clue what Marvel Impactor turned into, and the one weak point of his IDW design was the alternate mode looking more like a pile of Impactor parts than an actual vehicle. So you’d think this toy could only move in an upward direction.
But dear God. It’s clear that this toy was designed as a robot and a combiner torso first, with- what TFWiki reliably informs me is a “Cybertronian Missile Carrier Truck” being the worst attempt I’ve yet come across at depicting a weird alternate mode.
So, this missile carrier is basically Impactor lying on his belly with his legs spread wider than Lindsay Lohan. With his arms resting on top of him with no real attempt to hide them, even placing the impressively large harpoon gun (which is one of two things this toy does do brilliantly, it’s so Impactor it hurts) in its somewhat wonky and top heavy place doesn’t do a very good job of disguising them.
Theoretically it can roll along the floor, but in practice the front wheels are much stiffer and harder to move along than the rear ones. The end result being something that is basically really good at sitting there looking ugly.
The colours in this mode are basically all orange with the odd bit of blue (mainly to make the arms stand out) and grey (mainly to make the poorly disguised waist and Emirate Xaaron head stand out), resulting in a somewhat dull scheme to the toy.
The final result is something that has constantly left me with the impression I’ve mistransformed it because surely no one could possibly have designed something so hideous on purpose- which is certainly possible as the harpoon does lean forward more than it seems to in the stock photos. However, for the sake of my ego if nothing else, I’m going to go with this being a very badly designed toy.
In theory transforming Impactor should be quite simple, fold the legs in half, swivel the waist, pop the head up and flip the arms round. That’s hardly surprising considering the alternate mode barely justifies the use of the word “Alternate”, but the reality of changing him into the robot is a needlessly frustrating experience. On my example nearly every single part that has to be moved on a joint in insanely stiff and difficult to move. The one exception being the right arm which swivels around merrily like’s it’s on crack. That suggests to me a production flaw, yet another sign of Hasbro’s ongoing quality control issues (they seem to define said quality control as “Well, we’re better at it than Takara”). The end result is the worst of all worlds, a toy with a really simplistic transformation that’s needlessly hard to pull off.
The final result is at least better than the vehicle. Yes, he’s more slender than would be ideal for Impactor (and sadly not even remotely in scale with most of the other “Proper” Wreckers toys like Whirl and Springer), but considering the nature of the beast that’s something I’d be happy to give a pass on.
In robot mode there’s more of a variety of colours, with the blue and grey more prominent. The orange is brighter than “Classic” Impactor, but as the byword for Fall of Cybertron
seems to be garish, we probably got off lightly.
The harpoon can be wielded in robot mode, and in one of the few really impressive things about the toy is he can hold it standing up straight despite it being almost the same size as him. Articulation however is more limited than it should be thanks to the tight joints, with the exception being the aforementioned freewheeling right arm. The way the arms are positioned means he can only really move them in a way that’s useful for impersonating how a small child acts out a penguin flapping his wings. Or in other words, not useful at all.
The face is the other thing the toy gets exactly right, perfectly recreating Impactor’s look as drawn by Nick Roche. Again, it’s a bit small- even in scale with the rest of the toy- but as that’s presumably for the sake of fitting in its hole properly that’s another thing I can let roll.
Mind, when I say face, I should say “One of his faces”. Because Impactor has one, huge, insane, design flaw. He has Emirate Xaaron’s face for a bum. It makes the fact that he has a giant waist that’s bigger than his own waist also hanging off his arse seem positively normal. These concessions to the combined mode make the toy look utterly ludicrous from any angle except the front.
In fairness, you can turn Xaaron’s head around which hides it in robot mode slightly better. But it came in packaging facing out, suggesting that’s what the toy designers actually wanted. Plus, the other way round it looks as if Impactor has Xaaron’s disembodied head licking out his anal passage. Which I would say is actually slightly worse.
So hideous I can only assume the original designer had an irrational hatred of Onslaught and wanted to mock him. The changes made to Impactor-ise it are the best bits of the toy, but they can’t do much to counter an inherently flawed design.
The stiffness of the most of the joints makes it feel as if it’s going to break every time you move them, with the exception of that right arm which feels like it might fly off into the wilder blue yonder. I might have lucked out on one that failed quality control, but even if everything moved smoothly it still feels very light and flimsy in the hand.
Based on my perusal of the rest of the line, this actually fits in fairly well with the style of the current computer game toys. i.e.: Nasty half arsed under sized pieces of crap slapped together by a smack head on their lunch break.
However, in terms of how well it works as Marvel Impactor, it has to be considered an almost total failure beyond the head sculpt.
Can actually pose pretty well with its oversized gun, but getting it into those poses is much harder than it should be.
Retails for about £13 in the UK. For the size, even if it were a brilliant toy that’d be too much, and this is not a brilliant toy. Wait for the inevitable rush of ones on EBay the day a decent Impactor toy gets announced.
There’s almost a half decent look to the robot mode, but the bits needed to make the combiner work ultimately scupper it, and also completely wreck the vehicle mode. I only bought this to complete my Last Stand Wreckers collection and thought I knew what I was getting into from the mould’s poor reputation.
It’s actually much worse. A horrible, cheap little toy that isn’t worthy of the name Impactor. Unless you’re on a mad Wreckers kick like me, avoid this like the plague. It will only make any fans of Impactor feel as dirty as if they had Emirate Xaaron’s head up their bum.