Sunday, 30 June 2013

TransFormers (Movie) Stockade

I'm not quite sure what it says about either the TransFormers live action movie or the toyline that ran along with it, but one of my favourite toys didn't even appear in the movies. Stockade is from the extended original movie toyline, and transforms - perhaps weirdly, considering he's a Decepticon - into a Sector 7 SUV. All the more fun, when the film-makers had the opportunity to include the character in one of the later movies (Dark of the Moon, specifically) they came up with three entirely new characters instead...

Vehicle Mode:
So, yes... It's an SUV. There's not really much to say about him, except that he doesn't appear to be a real-life vehicle, although it is more than superficially similar to the Cadillac Escalades used by S7 in the movie but with a more prominent roof rack (for reasons which become clear in robot mode) and a rather more angular front. It's a good size, feels nice and solid (compare and contrast to Crankcase in the DotM line) but otherwise feels rather bland.

Largely this is because it's just a black car... Sure, the front grille, side vents, hubcaps and even the door handles are painted silver, with the rear lights picked out in silver and red but, with the addition of a couple of S7 logos, that's about as far as the decoration goes. The rest is black. The windows are a translucent sea blue, just dark enough that there's not much detail visible inside the car.

There's nothing special about this vehicle mode - no hidden features (unless you count that the boot can sort of be opened, though it reveals nothing but robot parts, and a large wedge of the door stays behind on the back of the car). Kind of dull, really...
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Robot Mode:
This is where it becomes awesome. If it weren't for the vicious applications of Allspark Blue, there might have been enough left over in the paint budget to bring out more of Stockade's details. As it stands, what you see of him is largely unpainted plastic - the only real holdovers from vehicle mode are the indicator lights now on his shoulders. On the upside, you've got three whole colours of plastic to work with - black from his vehicle mode, pale grey (which rather comes out of nowhere, and gets used for everything from the knee down) and dark grey.

Stockade is quite a bulky (or should that be stocky?) figure but what's not immediately obvious, due to the folded up vehicle panels on his back, is his size-zero waist - his proportions are just bonkers - big lower legs, skinny thighs, tiny waist, huge barrel chest and enormous bruiser arms. He's like a caricature muscleman in robot form. What's really fun about this model is the gimmick - not only is it clever in and of itself, but it's very well-suited to the robot. The pale grey parts of the roof rack slide back on his forearms, shooting his fists out on extended wrists - a super-punch befitting of such a powerful-looking robot.

This model is generally quite clever in how it deals with vehicle parts in robot mode. The whole roof of the car lines the arms, making the elbow joint a bit hit-and-miss, but the sides of the car fold neatly onto the robot's back - disguising the rear wheels - and are molded with fairly intricate, angular detail. An interesting feature of this model is that the feet are molded at an angle, so his legs have to be slightly splayed to allow him to stand properly.

The only downside to the model is the head sculpt, which is more than a little bland. It suits the robot, but I can't help thinking it's not quite in keeping with the style of the movie characters. The visor appears to have been designed with the intention of adding light piping, but the back of the head is solid, opaque grey plastic. The overall effect is that he appears to be similar to the monocular drones from the videogame based on the first movie, all of which became 'characters' in the toyline.
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Stockade is pretty simple to transform, the alignment of all the roof panels on his arms causing surprisingly little frustration thanks to strategically placed slots and tabs. The way the front of the car folds up behind the lower leg is simple, yet quite effective in disguising the fact that they are enormous great chunks of car, and they have very little impact on the knee joint.

Despite having ball joints only in his shoulders and hips (and neck, though that is fairly restricted by the shape of the space around the head), Stockade has an excellent range of motion, and the only thing that occasionally hampers a good pose is a slight looseness in his ankles (which could be particular to mine). However he's posed, he looks powerful and brutish, fists ready to smash anything in his path.

I'm not sure I'll ever understand why this figure was repainted as a movie interpretation of the G1 Autobot Gears, rather than Brawn. The head even fits Brawn better than it does Gears (possibly even better than the head sculpt for NEST Global Alliance Brawn, from the extended RotF line). Then again, I've repainted this model as Optimus Primal, using a spare Universe (Armada) Ultra Magnus head painted blue...

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