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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's Review: Reptilion

With the appearance of a mad scientist's evil experiment and an intellect on par with the Autobot professor, Perceptor, Reptilion is the longest serving general under the influence of the monster planet, Unicron. Reptilion was snatched away from a routine exploratory mission and forced to work on the dark god's decimated planetary propulsion systems. His skills in propulsion technology were without peer and was oftentimes seen hard at work at developing more efficient forms of travel using warp gate technologies. In battle, he is able to use his experience and mathematical abilities to predict projectile trajectories, detonation constants, and simulate a variety of other combat calculations. Armed with long range tactical missiles capable of carrying a wide variety of warheads. Able to accurately calculate a target's position from thousands of kilometers away. Special vanadium armor plating withstands even the most severe blasts. It is particularly ironic that this once noted scholar has been corrupted by the influence of evil and uses his brilliant mind to subjugate the universe for his master.

The first Universe line, which started in 2003, has always gotten a lukewarm reception. A lot of people consider it a punchline, which is really a shame. Because for all the flak it attracts, I've always thought it was great -- although admittedly, I completely ignore the stupid fanclub story that goes along with it. To me it was just a chance to get more Beast Wars toys, and in my opinion one can never have too many Beast Wars toys.

I actually passed on Reptilion when he first hit retail, since I was poor and there were other figures in the line that I wanted more. But a few years later I found a single lonely, dust-covered Reptilion on the pegs at Toys'R'Us. The poor guy had probably been sitting in the stock room for years, since I regularly visit the store and I never, ever saw him there previously. And since I actually had money then, I happily picked the guy up. I'm glad I did, because he's based on one of the most experimental figures in the BW line (Transmetal II Iguanus) and I don't think I've ever seen anything else quite like him.

Alternate Mode: Reptilion's beast mode is very distinctive. He's a frill-necked lizard, not an iguana like you'd figure since he's are redeco of Iguanus. But he's a mutated, cyborg lizard covered in beautiful colours that highlight both his reptilian nature and his mechanical origins. I'm not even going to try to give a blow by blow his colour scheme because there's no way to do it justice. His plastics are mostly brown and green, but he's got so much paint on him that the plastic only shows through on about 50% of his surface area. I'm pretty sure I counted ten different colours of paint on him, and many of them are blended and gradiented together beautifully in a way that we'd never, ever see on a modern Transformer. His frill is particularly wonderful, with so many colours on it that it looks like a hippy's tie-died t-shirt. He lacks the obnoxious chrome that the original use of the mold sported, thankfully, because that would have been a bit much. The end result works very well, making Reptilion into an exotic, dangerous-looking beast.

Unfortunately, looks are all Reptilion has going for him in this mode. He does feature articulation at the shoulders, knees and ankles, but the layout of his beast mode is such that none of it is really useful. Because his tail is inflexible, his front legs are longer than the back set and the directions his knees will move, there's really only one way to pose him.

He's got a firing missile launcher built into his mouth, a gimmick that one or two other Beast Wars figures can call their own. I've never been a big fan of it, honestly. Not only is his mouth permanently sculpted in an awkward, wide-jawed pose (his lower jaw is articulated as part of the transformation, but doesn't look good when closed) but pretty much the entire figure has to be designed around it since the three or four inch long missiles Hasbro use are going to extend through the whole length of his body. In Reptilion's case it worked out okay, but I'd still rather they hadn't used it at all and I'm glad the idea didn't survive into subsequent lines.

Firing Reptilion's missile causes his frill to flare out, which is a neat touch reminiscent of the dilophosaurus in Jurassic Park. Or rather, it should be. In practice it's actually fairly anticlimactic, with the frill only springing a few degrees forward at best. It's a shame the gimmick wasn't a bit more powerful, but since the plates that make up Reptilion's frill tend to fall off pretty easily it might be a good thing that it's not.

Robot Mode: Reptilion's robot mode is definitely very different from the usual fare. His colour scheme has calmed down somewhat...one of his lower legs is painted silver and bright purple, but the rest of his body is divided evenly between unpainted bright yellowish-green and brown plastic with painted gold highlights. He looks very different from the insane beast mode, but still very good.

The beast mode was unconventional because of his colours, but in robot mode it's his proportions. Reptilion is quite short for Deluxe, actually closer to your average Basic figure from the line. This is mostly due to his legs, which are quite stubby. His arms are quite long and he has huge hands, so Reptilion can nearly touch his toes while standing straight up. His frill hangs from his waist like a cape and his beast-mode tail is attached to his head like a gigantic ponytail, further altering his silhouette. The colours and proportions combined with a very unique head sculpt combine to make Reptilion look more like a twisted monster than a Transformer.

And what a head sculpt it is. Like a lot of Beast Wars toys, Reptilion's mouth is sculpted open with his teeth showing. Unlike most of them, though, his teeth are very detailed -- he's got a mouthful of jagged, uneven, razor-sharp fangs that could tear a lesser Transformer's limbs apart easily. The teeth are painted silver and stand out very starkly from a face that is painted a lovely shade of dark green. His right eye is painted a brighter green and his left eye...isn't there. Initially I thought the eye had been replaced by a cybernetic one that simply hadn't been painted, since most TM2 toys have asymmetrical faces like that. But it wasn't painted on the original release of the mold either, and looking at a high-resolution headshot makes it clear that it's not an eyepiece at all -- it's a crude, bolted-down eyepatch. Not only does that add to Reptilion's freakiness, but it raises some nasty implications for Iguanus as well...because the first Beast Wars Iguanus toy came with a full compliment of eyes. Ouch.

Reptilion has great articulation, with ball joints at the hips, knees, ankles, wrists and elbows. His shoulders combine three different swivel joints to create similar articulation, too. His neck is restricted to a simple swivel, sadly, because of how his transformation is laid out. He also has articulated thumbs which allow him to hold accessories, though he's designed for items a bit smaller than your typical 5mm peg. He's a very expressive figure with a low centre of gravity, big feet and big hands on long arms that can provide support in a lot of poses. And that's a good thing, because if you try to pose the figure in a neutral "arms at his sides" pose he looks pretty silly. Crouching down on all fours like the monstrous thing that his is, rubbing his hands together villanously, striking an overdramatic martial arts pose or doing the patented Dreamwave "crouch and grab" pose, on the other hand, he can do. The figure is so over the top that any pose you put him in is going to look comical, almost like a jester pretending to be a warrior. I really like that effect, though I can understand that it's not for everyone.

If he has a shortcoming, it's in the accessory department. That was the downfall for a lot of Beast Wars figures, but especially the Transmetal 2 line. A handful had nice weapons, but most of them wound up brandishing their tails or heads and pretending they were weapons. Reptilion does a bit better than that, but not much. His only accessory is his missile, which he can't fire in robot mode. He can, however, carry it around and whack people with it as if it was a big club. Considering how over the top the rest of the figure is, hitting people with a stick seems a bit...underwhelming, honestly. He seems like a Joker-esque deformed monster, though, so who knows what he thinks is funny?

Transformation Design: I don't think I've ever seen a toy that changes forms the way Reptilion does. He almost turns inside out, and yet he still manages to be very simple. It has a lot of flaws that are pretty clearly evident in the beast mode, though. 6/10

Durability: Breaking Reptilion isn't something you need to worry about. Losing parts of him, on the other hand...maybe you worry about that a little. His frill is especially problematic, because the parts fall off pretty easily and if he's in robot mode you won't notice they're missing until you look at his back. 7/10

Fun: This category is always very subjective, but more so for an oddball figure like Reptilion. His strangeness is a big part of what I enjoy, and if you're not into that you won't like him. But for me, he's great. 9/10

Aesthetics: The same as above. If you want a more conventional-looking Beast Warrior, you'll have to look elsewhere. If you want a deformed little freak with an absurd amount of paint applications, Reptilion is your guy. 8/10

Articulation: In robot mode Reptilion is great. His beast mode drags his score down, though. Even though he has a lot of joints, only one mode can really use them. 7/10

Price: I'm pretty sure that the Universe fandom consists of a grand total of me, and the completed auctions on eBay seem to support that. When unopened, nearly ten year old Reptilions sell for less than what you'd pay for a modern Deluxe, I think it's safe to say he's not a highly sought-after figure. 10/10

Overall: Reptilion is very weird and very different, even compared to other TM2 figures. I can certainly see why folks would decide to pass on him, but if you share my taste for the bizarre you'll like him a lot. 8/10
 
 
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