Tuesday, October 02, 2007
So I had to get the car's oil changed and get som eformula, so I went to Wal-mart to day after work to do these things. Of course, I drift to the TF section of hte toy aisle and lo and behold, Milledgeville's Wal-mart has finally restocked their deluxe (read: $10) transformers. And it's all pretty current stuff, too; the only "new" fingure I didn't see there was Longarm, but luckily I was able to get him in Athens last month.
Anyway, I decided to pick up two figures I had previously been on the fence about: Final Battle Jazz and Recon Barricade. While I've never been a hater of repaints, these two weren't necessarily the most appealing I'd ever seen, at least from online images. In person, however, things looks a little better. I'd especiially like to focus on Recon Barricade here.
Recon Barricade, unlike Final Battle Jazz, is a straight-up repaint/recolor of Barricade, one of the main Decepticons in this year's Transformers movie. The original release of the toy was doen up in movie-accurate colors - mostly black with some white, with additional, gold, silver and metallic lavender (huh?) on the robot mode. Now, the Barricade toy looks ok, but in hand things begin to fall apart (not literally, thankfully). The Barricade toy I have has a very easily-triggered punching gimmick in the left arm, making it pretty undesirable to handle. Additionally, there is no solid connector to keep the waist and torso sections soundly together, so he pretty easily looks like he's just been torn in two. For a toy with 6 anatomical (meaning they correspond to a human joint) ball joints, he's not very well articulated, mostly due to the way the plastic around the joints is molded - things just get in the way. So, suffice to say, Barricade is one of the movie toys that I haven't spent a whole lot of time enjoying, and I wasn't very inclined to pick up any repaints.
Enter: Recon Barricade. On the surface, this is a repaint that doesn't have much to offer: he has a fairly dull color scheme (dominated by a slightly metallic grey) and it's one of the many repaints that wasn't marketed as a new character, meaning if you buy him, not only did you buy the same toy twice, but you also bought the same character twice.
So, how exactly is Recon Barricade going to justify the title of this blog entry? Well, let's just say that you can't judge a book by its cover. Or a Trasformer by online images/just seeing it on shelf/experience with a previous version of the mold, either. In hand, recon Barricade was almost instantly more gratifyng than the original, movie-accurate release. First of all, his car mode looks really good. While the movie-accurate version looks pretty sharp itself, Recon's new scheme looks much more like most of the police cars in my area of the country, even though the logo on teh doors says "Security" and not "Police". Secondly, upon transforming Recon Barricade to robot mode, I encountered none of the problems the original had that really ticked me off, namely the poor waist-torso connection. No, nothing was actually changed, but for some reason my Recon Barricade just holds together better than original Barricade. Additionally, the paint scheme really makes the bot mode more attractive than the original version is. Because the base color is a light metallic grey and not black, the molded details stand out more. The paint applications help, too: the head has some verty nice metallic blue over the black plastic that looks very nice. Even Frenzy gets some decent paint apps this time around, even if it is blue paint on blue plastic. Additionally, the placement of the Decepticon symbols on the doors nicely postions them on the upper arms of the bot mode, a much better place than where they were on the original's shoulder wings.
Overall, Recon Barricade is a nice surprise: he manages to take an existing design and make it better but not in an over-the-top way or via an easy G1 homage scheme (anyone else surprised we didn't get Movie Prowl?). So, if you see him and the other new deluxes, pick the new deluxes up first. But if you've already gotten them and you see ol' Recon Barriacde hanging out on the pegs, give him a shot. You'll thank yourself.