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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's review of Depthcharge

Name: Depthcharge
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Scout

Depthcharge is a brilliant military strategist. Autobots and Decepticons alike are accustomed to ground and air based combat, but ocean tactics are unfamiliar to them. Depthcharge uses this to his advantage, choosing a stealth boat mode to spy on Decepticon fodder from the nearest port. Fast and sharp, Depthcharge never shies away from battle but he prefers to be armed with the elment of surprise.

I wasn't paying much attention to Revenge of the Fallen toy line news, so I didn't even know Depthcharge existed until I saw him at my local Toys'R'Us. Purely because he turns into a realistic Earth warship, he vaulted right to the top of my must-have list. I wasn't a fan of too many of the designs from the first movie, so I wasn't sure what to expect from a character designed with the movie design style at such a small price point. But Depthcharge (along with all of the other ROTF Scout-class toys I've bought since then, actually) turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me.

Robot Mode: Like most (if not all) of the ROTF Scouts, Depthcharge comes packaged in robot mode. It's a very 'Movie' robot mode, with oddly proportioned body parts, sharp angles and a general body layout that just screams 'alien!' to me. But unlike many of the larger Movie figures that achieve this effect by having a laughable amount of moving parts that don't lock into place (I'm looking at you, Soundwave), Depthcharge's look is almost entirely dependent on paint applications and molded details.

Depthcharge's upper arms, inner shoulders, hips and thighs are are molded in black. Virtually all of the rest of him is made of of parts from his alternate mode, which is coloured in a naval camouflage scheme of light blue and light grey. Gold details (some paint apps and some parts molded in gold plastic) break up the pattern a bit. Depthcharge has huge hands with articulated thumbs, large shoulder pads with articulated, but non-firing missile launchers molded into them and huge 'boots' that are made up of the front half of his boat mode split in two.

Although the boots look like cumbersome chunks of kibble that should get in the way, Depthcharge has articulation at his ankles, knees and hips and is fully poseable below the waist. In fact, the big chunks of warship not only mean that he has a lot of surface area on his feet but they dramatically lower his centre of gravity, which means that he can pull off a lot of poses without toppling over. He's just as poseable from the waist up, articulated at the shoulders, shoulder pads, elbows, neck and thumbs, as well as the waist itself. As mentioned before he has missile launchers on his shoulders, which are mounted on ball joints and can swing around to target enemies in pretty much any direction.

Depthcharge has a 'battle mode' as well, which basically consists of flipping the boat halves on his legs down so that it looks like he's water skiing on them. The less said about this, the better.

Alternate Mode: Depthcharge converts into a naval warship of indeterminate (probably fictitious) class, but one that shares a lot of similarities with modern corvettes and littoral combat ships. The molded details on his hull confirm that he's about the size of a modern corvette, which would make him around 100 metres (328 feet) long in vehicle mode and around 85 metres tall in robot mode. At that point I realized just why he wasn't in the movie: he makes Devastator look like a runt.

Depthcharge's hull is coloured in naval camouflage, light blue mixed with light grey. He features an insane amount of molded detail, including a forward cannon (57mm, if his armament is comparable to the ship he turns into), painted bridge windows, a communications/radar tower and countless portholes, hatches and little tech details. His articulated missile racks are attached to his stern and can still be repositioned to aim in pretty much any direction. That is, however, the extent of his play value in vehicle mode. For the most part, he just sits there looking cool.

Transformation: Fairly complicated for the size, but also fairly intuitive once you've done it once or twice. He boasts a very good disguise in boat mode, and (unlike some movie toys) you can still tell what he turns into in robot mode. 8/10

Durability: Ball joints all over mean you're not likely to break him from regular use. The 'shell' of the front half of his boat mode is made from some pretty thin plastic, though, so I wouldn't recommend putting a lot of weight on it. 7.5/10

Fun: He's a neat boat, a very posable robot and (if he shows up in fiction) a ludicrously huge character with a tiny little toy. 9/10

Price: I think the price for Scouts have gone up since I last paid attention to them (around the time Cybertron was on the shelves), to the point where there's not much difference between them and a Deluxe. That means I'm expecting a lot more out of them, but Depthcharge doesn't disappoint. 8/10

Overall: Depthcharge has quickly become one of my favourite Scout-class toys, and he's probably the best realistic naval warship in Transformers history -- and not just because he hasn't had that much competition. 9/10
 
 
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