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

Name: Dropkick
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function:
Sub-Group: Movie Deluxe

Well, after a handful of waves of figures that are actually in the 2007 live action film, we are receiving a lot more figures and repaints which were not featured. Some of these are totally random, while others are based upon video game characters and unused film designs – apparently. The box states that Dropkick is a character in the video game. I couldn’t honestly vouch for that, as I’ve not played a computer game for years, and I don’t have the facilities, time, or money to give the Transformers Movie game a crack. However, he does look quite at home with the other Movie characters.

Few of the non-film figures have captured my imagination. They all have fine designs (well, except, perhaps, Swindle and Camshaft…), but just don’t quite do it for me. Dropkick was the first to interest me. And he did far more than that. The pictures floating on the net look fantastic (presuming the majority were mistransformed – which, incidentally, they are). Oh, and he turns into a pickup. Always a plus for me. I’m a fan of pickups, and other functional 4x4s considering my line of work (Scottish ecologist – I get around a lot of very challenging terrain)! And, frankly, the Transformers lines have featured very few decent pickups, for sure, and I probably own a version of all of the existing molds. Oh dear…

Anyway. Other than the alternate mode, the robot mode really drew me in. Dropkick is the ultimate Insecticon homage. Overall, he resembles Kickback, but draws in elements of all the original G1 Insecticons. And, as a lowly materials hauler, seems to fill a similar role to those pragmatic characters, in a real-world context! Very exciting! An excellent Christmas present!


Alternate Mode:

Dropkick’s alternate mode is a rather well detailed Chevrolet Silverado GMT-800 pick-up. It’s a standard truck cab, clearly modelled on the older body design (1999 – 2003), and measures 5 ” on the nose (13.5cm), bumper to bumper, putting it in at around 1:37.4 scale at the largest (I’m not 100% sure which wheelbase it’s likely to be). Although it does lack the Chevy badge, there’s no doubt here (perhaps some Autobot nicked it to replace his scratched one… Bumblebee…). Strip off the ghastly tonneau hard bed cover, and you have a beautiful practical pick-up.

Frankly, even before you notice what Dropkick is, you’re probably gonna see the giant Decepticon insignia painted across the cab and bonnet – it’s an inspired paintjob, and the grey and purple looks oddly drab for a recent Transformer toy (not to be featured in the flick). Well, the colours may not be in your face, but that logo certainly is!

A practical pick-up, grey and purple, seems oddly apt for a modernization real-world disguise reimagining of an Insecticon – which is exactly what Dropkick is.

So, after the cursory appraisal of this alternate mode, what does the true detail show?

Molding is superb and transparent plastic is used for all of the truck’s lights – clear, yellow and red are all in there. The windscreen and doors all sport clear windows, slightly smoked, although the rear window is only molded – not even painted. The bed is sculpted perfectly – a nice touch for a pick-up Transformer. Truly, that tacky hard cover is hiding a beautiful truck! Unfortunately, although a licence plate is molded, it ain’t painted. But, never mind.

The Decepticon logo is perfectly painted, but the cab roof is molded in purple plastic, while the rest of the vehicle is grey/’silver’. Although the purple matches well enough, the silver paint used of the roof is actually metallic, whereas the grey plastic isn’t, and there’s a jarring miss-match there. Pity.

The tailgate is springloaded (although the rear lights go with it – bizarre!), so as when the hard cover is on, the pincer hidden beneath can slide out (using that odd knob, which really ruins the cover!). However, the pincer is a tacky design, lifted directly from a set of pliers – it looks like a cheap kiddies tool-set piece. The thing can be held in robot mode as well, but looks awkward and stupid, so that’s the last we’ll speak of it – it has now bee relegated to my accessories bag. Permanently.

Moving on…

None of the robot mode is clearly visible in this mode, although the windscreen is split down the middle, and you can see torso detailing peaking through. A few leg parts are actually protruding at the rear, although these have been artfully disguised as rear suspension components. Given the state of Movie Voyager Ironhide, it’s impossible to believe that so much thought has gone into the design of this total non-character. But I’m not complaining.

Without the tonneau, Dropkick makes for an excellent display piece in this mode, and is great fun (as a practical pick-up!) to boot.

Robot Mode:

Dropkick is a member of Movie Leader Class Optimus Prime’s transformation family. He relies upon a central body core, although his legs come from the rear, and arms the front – the opposite of Prime. For a Deluxe Class figure, the transformation is surprisingly complex (with, thankfully, only a spring-loaded head (and doors, although these don't work so well) in place of Automorph – a well-worn and time-honoured feature!) – but at the same time, rather intuitive. (That said, images of the figure and stock photos are invariably mistransformed – either at the shoulders or the ‘wings’.) The result is fascinating – vehicle parts end up all over the place, yet look great! Certainly the mark of a superb Transformer.

(Along the way, I’d suggest you transform the legs and feet only to begin with – forget the front end for now. You get a pick-up on legs, without any other robot parts showing. Looks a bit like the reverse scuba-suit from Futurama… I won’t take a photo – I’ll let you guys discover this for yourselves!)

In robot mode, Dropkick stands 5 ” (14.5cm) head to toe, or 6” (15cm) ‘wing’ to toe. Given the degree of rearrangement of vehicle parts, it’s surprising how little superfluous kibble the robot mode bears. Everything looks to be fairly natural, and you can imagine the live action transformation without any flexing of those cerebral muscles. To the contrary – you won’t be able to help yourself imagining the celluloid footage.

Dropkick is a rather interesting robot to look at. There is no doubt about his Insecticon heritage, yet he sports wheels and doors! Very exciting! The mold is jam-packed with detail – delicate pistons, pins and panels everywhere! You could spend a day looking this guy over, and not appreciate every single lovingly crafted detail – which is a degree of care not even afforded actual feature film characters, such as Barricade.

The majority of the vehicle parts form wing-like structures. The sides of the pick-up bed become vertical wings, while the doors and front wheels transform into horizontal, anime-style wings. The upper-body is very organic, with the dorrs and front wheels hanging at strange angles.

The legs are pretty much all-new to the robot mode, performing no function as the Silverado. However, they are designed and painted to blend in with the alternate mode ‘kibble’ nicely. The general shape is reminiscent of a locust rear leg, right down to the insectile feet. The rear wheels really tie the whole thing together, appearing at the knee.

The arms are rather spindly, as you’d expect given the overall design. Twin-barrelled guns unfold, and protrude well beyond the fists. These hark back to G1 Bombshell’s handgun, which is almost certainly accidental (or my carrying the comparison too far, more likely). The only part of unused kibble is to be found on the arms, however – half the truck bumper and radiator grill can be found on each arm. But, that’s only a minor point, and far better designed than many of the Movie figures.

The head is nifty. Unlike the majority of non-film Decepticon characters to date, Dropkick actually has a face. In some ways it’s a conglomerate of the three G1 Insecticons, while adding a film-esque spin. To either side are pillars with adjustable antennae – another nice touch. The eyes are light-piped. As with Leader Brawl, the plastic is clear with red paint applied to the goggles. Unfortunately, the screw holding the piping on is slap-bang in the middle, and blocks most light! Oh well…

The colours work well in this mode, and again remind me of the Insecticons. I’m also surprised by how well the huge Decepticon logo is broken up, and how the various lines form an unobtrusive design on the robot panels, while the rear stripe adds to the wing feel of the pick-up bed sides. Dropkick trades that huge insignia for a subtle small silver one on his chest, half hidden by the adjustable transparent panels left from the windscreen.

Unfortunately, Dropkick does suffer a little in meaningful articulation – he may have a lot of joints in his legs, for instance, but few can be moved so as to aide posing. His arms also suffer, most probably unavoidably given how thin they are – and only have a ball joint at the shoulder, and hinge at the elbow. At least the head as a great ball joint, though. There’s also the problem that the pegs which hold the arms in place tend to come loose easily, swinging the doors out wide, and giving that half-transformed look so many websites sport.

All in all, though, Dropkick is an excellent Transformer, and easily one of the best to come out of the Movie line. He’s on a par with Deluxe ’08 Bumblebee, although doesn’t have the same wow factor as he has no film counterpart to resemble oh-so-well. But, I am sure if he did appear in the film, this toy matches him perfectly. And, although articulation is a bit lacking, there’s enough for some great display poses.

A highly recommended figure.


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 10 – Not too tricky once you grasp it, but absolutely brilliantly thought through!
Durability: 7 – He has a lot of pin joints and thin plastic panels which are bound to suffer over time, but seems well built otherwise.
Fun: 10 – Amazing fun! Wonderful pick-up mode, superb transformation and highly interesting robot mode. (Although that pincer/tonneau is pointless and irritating – but totally superfluous – an afterthought thankfully! Chuck it!)
Price: 8 – At 8 - 10 (around $20!) retail price, I always feel Deluxe Transformers are a bit steep in the UK. However, this one packs a lot into a small package, and you don’t feel quite so bad parting with the money. In fact, the excitement lasts so long that you don’t think about it. However, at around $10 or less in the states, you’re daft not to buy this guy.
Overall: 9 – This is one of the best Movie line toys. Ignore the fact the character doesn’t feature in the film – he looks more at home alongside Deluxe ’08 Bumblebee than Barricade does. Plus, he’s the perfect update of the Insecticons, and a beautiful homage.
 
 
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