Thursday, March 26, 2009

Transformers: Universe (2008)/25th Anniversary Cyclonus & Nightstick

Guess what! Even though I can't find that damned camera, I did come across some old pictures I took for a Cyclonus review that I never wrote.
Because I'm lazy.

Cyclonus was one of the Decepticons re-created by Unicron. Megatron became Galvatron, Thundercracker became Scourge, Kickback and Shrapnel became Scourge's sweeps, and, well who became Cyclonus? Well, that's a point of contention amongst Transfans. You see, in the movie, when this all happened, as Cyclonus was created Bombshell (An Insecticon) was in the front of the shot while Skywarp (One of Starscream's fellow Seekers) was in the back. Both are turned into identical Cyclonuses (Cycloni?). And, Unicron said "Cyclonus... and his Armada", but one robot isn't an armada. The second Cyclonus then disappears. But it's never explained who Cyclonus once was. While the blocking of the shot and a line by Skywarp about Cyclonus once being a "bug" (Confusing huh? Skywarp may be Cyclonus, but he's talking to Cyclonus. Transformers lore is full of that stuff. However, this line is from a pseudo-canonical source, so it may or may not count) say Bombshell, Cyclonus's alt mode, general design, and loyalty (Skywarp was one of the few loyal 'Cons, while all the Insecticons did whatever was best for themselves) say Skywarp. So, who knows? The card-back for this new Cyclonus says he was created from the "parts of dead Decepticons", which would imply both. However, this is from 22-23 years later, so it doesn't say what happened in the movie.

But wait! This shit gets worse! You see, it's slagging hard to tell who the hell Nightstick is! Nightstick is Cyclonus's Targetmaster gun. The Targetmasters were a sub-group of Transformers that featured smaller robots/cyborgs that became their weapons (The Headmasters had robots that became their heads, and the Powermasters/Godmasters had little robots that became "engines" that allowed the big robot to transform). Neat idea huh? But, in the Japanese Transformers fiction, Nightstick was the Autobot Ricochet's partner. Ricochet was eventually sold here in the US, so for Americans have two Nightsticks in the fiction. AND Nightstick had his character model switched with Fracas, Scourge's Targetmaster partner. But their colors stayed the same. It's all pretty confusing, so, as you can see, the review hasn't even started and I've already typed two paragraphs just trying to tell you who I'm reviewing.

Anyways, Cyclonus comes packaged in his plane/spaceship thing mode, so we'll start with it. It's definitely very close to his G1 alt mode. Long nose, forward swept wings and vertical tail fins, no horizontal tail fins (As the wings are so far back they're unnecessary), all that. The end result looks great, fast, and space-worthy. It has some very nice details like wing and tail-fin flaps, guns, techy stuff, etc. The paint is also reminiscent of G1 with the purple main body and silver wings. Landing gear flips down from the nose and two central engines to support him in this mode.

Conversion is another good point. It's difficult enough to be fun and engaging, but not so fucking hard you want to stab something like Universe 2008 Galvatron (While being insanely difficult fits Galvatron, Deluxe sized Transformers SHOULD NOT be that tough. Seriously, I think converting him involves breaking the laws of physics). Even his conversion is like G1. His head comes out of the nose, his lower arms are the outer engines with the tail-fins, and his legs are the central engines.

Once you get him into robot mode, he's still awesome and geewunny. His basic look heavily favors his cartoon model over his toy, while the paint-job is more like the toy (The character models for many of the new characters from the movie were changed after the toys were designed, so they ended up looking different). This takes the best of both worlds. The toy's shoulders had the wings pointed down, and he had a weird looking chest. But the cartoon's color scheme was a rather light purpleish blue color. The Japanese Henkei! Henkei! version of this toys favors that color, making him a sort of light, pastel lavender. Eww. And, as far as paint, Cyclonus is nice. There a few spots where the dark blue/purple is painted on silver and it doesn't quite reach all the places it should, but these are few and far between, and mostly unnoticeable except under close examination. Early showed these guys being MUCH more beige, which caused some angst of the RUINED FOREVER type, but those photos were of early prototypes with unfinished paint. The detail from his alt mode carries over here, so the sculpt is nice. Earlier toys from Universe (2008) had more complex, faces made to look more realistic like the robots from the new movie, but Cyclonus's is more simplified like the G1 guys. And, he still has his G1 Head Handles, which are really just a bad idea. Seriously, around guys like Megatron and Galvatron, having handles on your head just isn't a good idea.

His articulation is superb. Swivel head, forearms, and thighs, those double pin joint balljoints Transformers have for shoulders, hinge elbows and knees, and true balljointed hips.

As far as accessories, Cyclonus gets another Transformer! Obviously, this is Nightstick, his Targetmaster partner. His robot mode is pretty tiny (Which is why the picture of it sucks. My camera can't handle stuff that close.) and limited, but he has a good bit more articulation than his G1 counterpart, moving at the shoulder, elbows, and hips, all with swivel/pin joints. His conversion used to be "Fold in half." Now it's "Pull out gun barrel and fold in half." Yay progress! As you can see, he makes a nice looking gun. In an undocumented feature, you can fold Cyclonus's right fist (The only one capable of holding Nightstick, as his left hand lacks a peg hole.) into his arm and plug Nightstick into his wrist. That's how Targetmasters worked in Japan, but Cyclonus was never a Targetmaster there, so it's not documented in the Japanese instructions either. Still, it's nice that it's there.

Cyclonus is a great, fun toy. He may be hard to find, as his spaceship mode makes him popular with the kids. But you should definitely grab him if you can. He's a nice update of a classic G1 character, and the revival of the Targetmasters. And he goes well with Universe (2008) Galvatron and Armada/Universe (2008) Unicron (Unicron was re-released unchanged as a Toys R' Us exclusive a few months ago. I have him, and reviewed him back at Rooster Teeth).

*CHUK!* ~Raw/Monty

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