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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
Box Art:

Headmaster Autobot's review: Screen Battles Longarm

Name: Longarm
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: None listed (perhaps 'Maintenance'?)

"His legs badly damaged by the Decepticon onslaught, Bumblebee continues to fight. and thus was a new figure born Luckily, Longarm is there, and ready to lend a hand. Even though he just came to life a few minutes ago, as the AllSpark passed from hand to hand near where he was parked, Longarm knows a good guy when he sees one, and Bumblebee is it. Hitching his tow arm up to the disabled Autobot, he hauls Bumblebee down the street at top speed, see? Final Stand with Mikaela driving, while the Autobot warrior blasts away at the charging Decepticons."

The 2007 film "Transformers" was a smash hit at the box office. It was reasonable, then, that the toy line would be a smash as well (which it was). It was also popular enough to get a (slightly less smashing) video game.

Now here's where it gets interesting. The game had some Autobot and Decepticon drones for the player to clobber, blast, maim, take to the ballet, and do whatever with. So, what happens when the toy line needs to pad out its length, and Hasbro decides NOT to use yet another Cybertron recolour?

You get Longarm, that's what. Or, more specifically, the "Screen Battles: Final Stand" redeco, with a more movie-accurate paint job, so as to look more the film, which the 'Longarm' drone in the video game was based off of (your head spinning too?). However, there's a bit more than paint in the way of changes for this figure. What changes, you might say? I thought you'd never ask!

Alternate Mode:

Longarm's truck mode is a bit of a mixed signal, in toy terms. The truck here in front of me is a STBLDF (Similar To But Legally Distinct From) Ford F-350. However, the truck in the film is, pertaining to the deal made with GMC for the film, of GMC make and model. This is a wee bit strange (to anyone who really cares, such as myself), what with the movie-accurate deco and all, no?

Moving onto the actual TOY, this truck mode is quite nice. The film brought back a very lifelike feel, practically unheard of in Transformers since Robots in Disguise. There's hubcaps, side mirrors, door handles, the whole nine yards. There's a very well done metallic grid texture on the back, and on the whole the sculpt is quite sharp.

The paint deco is a major change to anyone who is a die-hard aficionado of the film, and a minor one to anyone else. Originally a truck for "Orson's Towing", this truck is now a more accurate "Mike's Towing" (big change, I know). An Autobot symbol adorns both sides above a barbershop-esque stripe, as well as a sign stating that this service is a 24 hour job (remarkably appropriate for a steadfast Autobot, especially when you consider that this truck wasn't originally made with any character in mind). The rest of the truck is a clean white, with a dynamic blue wave (almost fire-like) on the bonnet. The side panels are broken up by an odd panel of black, and that really has no reason not to be white. Still, the paint on the truck is clean and acceptable.

The other change is that Mikaela Banes (in a film-accurate shirt) is driving the truck, just like in the battle at Mission City. She's moulded with a steering wheel in her hands, and while she's probably intended to look determined, mine's paint application puts her in a "YOU'RE the Megatron that everyone keeps fretting about?" state of mind. As for the rest of the interior...it's moulded white. With a few raised doo-dads to suggest seats. Whoopee.

All of this mode's play value stems from the towing arm. Yes, as if the name and bio weren't enough of a clue, Longarm is a full-on tow truck, able to carry his allies to VICTORY!...Anyways, the body of this arm is a black chunk with a white button. What does this button do? Well, if all goes well, it fires the toy's included translucent orange missile (which is the same colour as the toy's lightbar, I might add). Not something all Transformers can do, and it also puts a smile on my face, imagining Longarm uncharacteristically shooting his way through traffic. Attached to this is the white towing arm, which has a keen sculpt, and impressively lifelike joints for a toy. The hook can hold almost any of your Transformers (I'm using Universe Prowl), and adds a lot of play value compared to most movie figures (that is, rolling on their wheels).

In the end, the truck is well-done. The interior could have used more work, and those side-joints really should have been white, but regardless the truck mode is well above average.

Robot Mode:

The first thing you notice about Longarm's robot mode is how ABSOLUTELY GIGANTIC his gun is (appropriate though, as a 'longarm' is a big, high-caliber rifle). Then you notice that it's attached to his right hand with a screw! This was probably done to more closely match the film's "Built-In" weapons, and to effectively make the Automorph part of the toy itself, and not his gun. While having a massive gun stuck to his hand would count as a major flaw, there is hope yet for this sore-shouldered big lug. Whip out a little screwdriver, and remove the screw. Presto, Longarm can now fistfight with the best of them! Eat pizza with more than one hand, for those pesky New York style slices! Go to the bathroom with more convenience! Or even kick back in his hammock with a lemonade and a good book! He can't hold his gun in his right hand if you choose to do this, so if you REALLY hate southpaw Transformers, then maybe this guy won't be your cup of tea.

As for the robot itself, he fits in nicely with the movie toys' aesthetic (as opposed to those blatantly out of place Cybertron re-uses). Bearing only a superficial resemblance to the video game's drones, his head is far more reminiscent of Hoist from Generation 1 (which is very likely intentional).

The colours are maintained from the truck mode, though joined by a very slight outbreak of orange. There's an absolutely tiny Autobot insignia on his head (perhaps all the expenses from the gun shrunk it down?), but it's clean, and only slightly out of alignment with his head. Given its size, it's acceptable.

Kibble is an interesting topic on this figure. Some would argue that his shoulder kibble is just a distraction, and that the feet look big and goofy, while others would debate that they make him match up the movie's visual feel more closely. I happen to be of the latter persuasion, and they don't bother me. What's interesting, however, is his presence of "Anti-Kibble". His chest is the same texture as the truck bed, and his shoulders appear to be connected by wheels (his front wheels are partially hidden from transformation). This is probably the most Anti-Kibble seen on a Transformer yet, and while it's definitely an odd choice, it helps to make this robot mode more distinct visually.

Play value comes in many forms for this chappy. Poseable just about everywhere except for bicep joints, Longarm is the Classics Mirage of the movie toy line, with giant feet that can adopt any pose. His light-pipe is a very strong one, with a solid orange colour meshing nicely with the contrasting blue and neutral white. Mikaela can't do anything in this mode, left to wonder why the truck she was driving just stood up. The gun can fire its aforementioned missile, but if you removed it then you just got some extra play value! If you fiddle with the gun's white bar and strobe light, you can make a rather nifty turret, that brings to mind Generation 1 Galvatron, of all things (I've also heard that you can make it into a surrogate shoulder cannon, but I've yet to figure that out).

An excellent robot mode is the verdict. A characterful sculpt, a good gun, excellent articulation, and great play value make this mode a winner.

Misc.:

There is one more difference for this version of Longarm. Since this is from Mikaela's shining moment in the battle at Mission City, this set comes with a new sculpt of Bumblebee! Legless (like the film at this point), untransformable, and with a sculpt more accurate than most 2007 releases of the character, he's articulated at the left shoulder, neck, and both hips, as well as a ball-jointed right arm. This arm has a gun, so he can look around and blast anyone who comes too close. He can also attach to Longarm's hook, as he was done in the film. A cool feature, but removing 'Bee is another review entirely. It's far easier to pop off the hook and remove it from Bumblebee's back then to try and pull him free on his own. Still, a nice extra, and it shows that they sat down and thought about it before including it.

Marks out of ten for the following:

DURABILITY- 9/10. Unlike a few movie figures, this one has almost nothing that can break easily. Aside from his back panels and doors, this guy's solid as a Throttlebot.
FUN- 9/10. The only reason he didn't get a perfect score is because the whole gun-hand issue may not be solvable by some people, or that they won't want to.
PRICE- FUGEDDABOUTIT. I live in Canada, so this thing's price was roughly $35-$40, about the same as a Voyager here...on eBay, the price hovers around $20-$30, so it won't set you back much.
TRANSFORMATION- 7/10. Simplistic, but not too simplistic as to be dull. The reason he scores a bit lower here is because converting him back to truck is a bit fiddly.
OVERALL- 9/10. The biggest flaw of this figure can be easily removed in thirty seconds, has oodles of play value, a generally nice appearance, and a screen-accurate feel. Despite his (few) shortcomings in some areas, this is a Transformer I can recommend regardless if you've seen the movie or not.
 
 
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