Oct 2, 2013

[Transformers] Two Unicrons

Ever since the 1986 Transformers movie was released, one of the toys that a lot of us fans were dying to have was one of planet-eating force of destruction known as Unicron. But thanks to strange Transformers cartoons now collectively known as the Unicron Trilogy - these being Armada, Energon, and Cybertron. I've never watched these shows just yet, but I am eternally grateful to them.

Because Unicron was a central figure in the series, they actually went as far as developing a toy for this series. The toy has since been re-decoed in a number of different ways, but they remain pretty awesome in their own right.

To date I have two different Unicron toys - crazy isn't it? But don't worry, I didn't just get to versions of the same toy. That may prove to dangerous for the other Transformers.

Quick story - in 2010 my partner Tobie had a trip to Singapore together with his family. I wasn't expecting anything from the trip, but especially not the Transformers Universe version of Unicron. And he actually brought the darn thing home in its original box. The challenges of getting that into one's luggage boggles me beyond belief. Needless to say I was eternally grateful that he (1) found the guy and (2) brought him home for me.

This version of Transformers Universe Unicron was actually a direct re-release of Transformers Armada Unicron but rebranded as part of the Universe line. This Supreme-class figure saw no major changes from his Armada release including color scheme and the inclusion of the Mini-Con Dead End. He stands at about 16 inches in height in robot mode and features some rather interesting detail as a Supreme-class figure. Of course he's not as tall as G1 Fortress Maximus or the recently released Fall of Cybertron Metroplex. But he's still impressive.

In robot mode he has a lot of crazy detail like his hands and such. While he is based off Unicron's appearance in the Armada cartoon, that character model still shares a lot in common with his G1 appearance and so it still stands up pretty well. Thus it's no wonder this toy was repainted in the 1986 movie colors in line with the 25th anniversary of the movie. He still fits with the right paint job. He just has the bonus of all these additional missile launches around his body to make him more dangerous.

His alternate mode is still a monster planet that threatens all Transformer life. He has some fun mechanical action bits like the teeth moving and the horns acting as pincers pulling moons into its maw. And given he's from the Armada era, he has little nubs for you to store various Mini-Cons on him all around the ring that surrounds him in his planet mode.

The only hang-up I have about this mode is the fact that you really ended up with a half-planet at best. Transformation is a little too complicated for comfort. But once you do get to wrestle everything into place, he's still a pretty decently menacing Transformer. He rates a respectable 4/5 as a nice big Transformer. Plus his hand lights up.

In stark contrast, I more recently picked up Transformers United Ark Unicron on a bit of a whim. It felt like a whim since I didn't buy any other Transformers that day. Plus he's rather small for a Unicron.

This version of Unicron is actually a repaint of the Deluxe-class Unicron figure from the Cybertron line of toys. He's actually packaged in a box that makes you think he's actually a Voyager-class robot, but he's really not that big. And I will sound a little silly since I'm going to harp on his size given Unicron is always going to be a giant robot in my mind and when you don't release him as a decently large toy, it feels like you're kind of missing the point.

I don't know the mythos behind the Cybertron series that might explain why he was released as thus funky tank thing with strange spike accessories. But that's what he is - a little version of Unicron that can turn into a tank. And his paint scheme favors darker shades of blue and grays versus his original Cybertron paint scheme. He comes complete with the Cyber Key gimmick, this one that reveals a hidden cannon in his chest area that looks menacing. It doesn't shoot anything though.

His tank mode is rather cool, I have to admit. You just get to ignore the fact that he's actually supposed to be Unicron. The fact that he's called Ark Unicron sort of implies that he might look a bit like the Autobot Ark from the G1 series. If anything, he sort of looks like the escape shuttle in the 1986 movie, but only if you ignore the spikes and horns and what not.

I don't quite get what contrast they were aiming for between the weird dark blue and the slightly metallic orange. The colors are weird enough on their own but they don't look all that great together, especially in his tank mode. But he's a decent enough figure, I suppose. At best I can only give him 3.5/5, but I'll admit a lot of my problems tie to the fact that I don't understand why Unicron is a tiny robot tank.

So these are my two Unicron toys thus far. For now I've passed on the Transformers Prime version of the toy (I'm not all that keen on a face volcano).

With a new Michael Bay Transformers movie on the horizon, I can only wonder what may lie ahead. There are always rumors of Unicron coming back as a potential villain (we can only fight Megatron so many times, right?) And if Unicron does make an appearance in a Michael Bay Transformers movie, one can only wonder what kind of a toy they'll come up with this time.

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