Numbat's review: Landmine
AllSpark Power Deluxe
When I first saw Landmine, I though they got the name wrong. This guy looked like Beachcomber to me! The dune buggy alternate mode, and even the robot mode (the head would be an acceptable Movie-style interpretation / upgrade) cried out to be this wonderful G1 character.
However, upon reflection, the name is rather inappropriate.
Beachcomber was a pacifist – dead-set against violence and the war. Landmine began his existence as a military vehicle, and has found his interest in combat and as a weapons master, training under Ironhide. Frankly, aside from superficial similarities in appearance, Movie Landmine has little in common with the iconic G1 Beachcomber character.
Still, the mold does offer a superb opportunity for resculpting into a perfect Classics-style Beachcomber – seriously, it’s the first time I’ve ever been tempted by kitbashing! Let’s just hope that the Movie moulds become free for future repaints / remoulds…
That said, Landmine does offer his own character, which should not be subordinate to any self-indulgent dreams of a revamped version of a quiescent G1 character. So, from this point on, the review shall look at Landmine from an unsullied perspective.
Perhaps it’s a contradiction to say that Landmine’s alternate mode is his vehicle form, given the fact he originated as a human built machine. However, that’s just being pedantic, and silly.
Landmine was created from one of the Sector 7 vehicles seen in the final battle sequence of the 2007 live action film. These are heavily souped-up US military Chenoweth Desert Patrol Vehicles (DVPs), basically.
Landmine measures 5 ½” (13.5cm) long in this mode, placing him at around 1/30 scale.
The level of detailing is quite spectacular – every bolt and rivet is moulded, as are other details such as grids, mesh and spotlights. The rear appears to hold gas-canisters where a gunner would sit, but the gun is present and nicely moulded with an ammo strip hanging down, and a full range of articulated motion!
The two seats within the DPV are fully moulded – a nifty touch which helped draw me to the figure in the first place. Alas, there is no real steering wheel or other dash detailing (instead, there are vague impressions of nothing much).
The tyres are appropriate, with an aggressive tread pattern, while the wheels are also highly detailed. It’s just a shame they aren’t rubber – but you can’t have everything…
The vehicle is largely a grey-green colour, with forest-green wheels, and various shades of grey, and black. The rear lights are picked out in yellow and red, while the front lights are all silver – it’s just a pity that the front spotlight has not been painted along with the bar-mounted lights. A robin’s egg blue shines through the grates at the engine grates at the back, hinting at the AllSpark energy which gave Landmine life radiating from within.
There is an Autobot symbol, as well as various numbers, letters, Sector 7 symbols, and even a black-and-white US flag printed around the body of the DPV (although, the flag on the right side is mirrored! madness!) – Hasbro really have gone all-out for a change! (Although, that said, they seem to be doing that quite a lot in the last year or so – hats off to them!)
The DPV also has working front and rear shock absorbers – which I think is a really worthwhile gimmick.
All in all, this is a rather spiffy alternate mode – and a fun off-road vehicle (DPVs are actually 2x4, not 4x4 as you may expect) to play around with, thanks to those shocks!
Given the majority of the Movie toy-line, Landmine’s transformation is refreshingly simple. It lacks much in the way of automorph – with the closest thing being a few linked panels in the leg which move together. Unfortunately, as you transform him you are likely to encounter two problems. The first you will
have, the second you may not (I haven’t, but many others have…). The rear bars will drop off, and the head may also go walkabout! Super glue fixes the bars, but you may need to resort to multiple layers of something like nail varnish to solve the head problem…
Oh – and you have to remove the gun. But, the figure does have the range of motion to actually reach behind and grasp it while it’s still in place, so I reckon Landmine could remove it himself – making the transformation that little bit more believable than other’s which rely on removal of accessories.
That aside, the transformation is very quick and enjoyable – and the result, standing 6” (15cm), is a rather interesting robot mode.
The most noticeable aspect of Landmine is his head – which, along with the gun and well-designed alternate mode stoked my interest, and made me decide he was worth picking up. Landmine looks like he’s wearing an ice-hockey or baseball umpire’s mask. It consists of a skeletal framework of bars – a theme carried over from the bars on the DPV. Behind this are hints of detail, all picked out in that glowing blue. Interestingly, the head seems to have been moulded in clear plastic, but painted blue, leaving only three spots which barely light up, as the head lacks a rear clear section to create light piping. Although the head design is superb, and the idea of energy escaping through the skeletal head is achieved through the blue paint, I can’t help but think how fantastic clear blue plastic could have been!
The skeletal feel continues throughout the robot design, with the arms and upper legs spindly and constructed out of multiple struts and bars. The body of the DPV creates plates of armour on the upper arms, chest and lower legs, all of which look like they could be put to good use by changing position, blocking attacks.
After the head, your eyes are dragged straight to his hands (previously the DPV seats) – they are large, well detailed with tendons and claws, and articulated at four points!
The rear wheels slide into position at Landmine’s heals – much like Bonecrusher’s movie incarnation. This does not interfere with his balance, and is a nice touch (complimented by two smalled wheels on each of the gas canisters which form his toes – he can skate around in robot mode!). The gas canisters do result in asymmetrical feet, which I think well suits the movie style, but others may not be so keen.
Colour-wise, Landmine displays more of the same I robot mode – although pale grey becomes more important in the arms and legs. That AllSpark blue comes through in small cracks, which works surprisingly well.
Landmine is highly poseable, with 17 points of meaningful articulation – many of which are ball joints! (Although he has 25 when you consider his highly articulated hands!) He only misses waist articulation – which could have been possible, but would have caused instability in both modes as a result.
Armed with his gun, Landmine is formidable, and goes well alongside the other Movie figures.
Marks out of ten for the following:
6 – His transformation is easy, and nicely thought through. However, it is hardly innovative, so it seems unfair to grade it too highly…
7 – He seems solidly constructed, but those rear bars and head are apt to go missing (unless you set out to fix them yourself).
9 – He’s very poseable, and has articulated hands, as well as one of the
best accessories in recent years. Then, in vehicle mode he has working shocks, at Deluxe scale. And he’s interesting to look at. Frankly, this guy is pretty good fun!
8 – Ranging between £8 - £13 ($16 - $26 roughly), Deluxes still seem a little steep in the UK. However, I am happier to pay out for Landmine than many others – even in retrospect. At around $10 in the States, I’d say he’s a must-buy.
8 – Landmine is a rather eclectic Movie figure. His transformation deviates from the norm, and harks back to earlier lines, yet retains the detailed and poseable robot mode we’ve all come to expect. His detailing is superb, and his design interesting. However, how attractive that design is will come down to individual taste. Still, I doubt many would drop below an ‘8’. This guy would well suit most collections. (Although, given the loose components, may be ill suited to a child…)