Monday, 15 July 2013

TransFormers: Prime Beast Hunters Jet Vehicon

I don't normally buy the smaller scale TransFormers. Most of them are even more simplistic than Mini-Cons, in terms of articulation if not transformation. However, when it seems unlikely that a particular model will become available in the UK, such as the Deluxe Class Jet Vehicon, and I'm not in a position to pay the exorbitant import prices, I'll sometimes cave in and pick up those that catch my interest.

The Deluxe Class Jet Vehicon looks completely awesome and, despite the fact that Japan (at least) is getting not one but two versions: the standard, 'nameless, faceless mook' variety, and a silver/grey 'General' version, they don't appear to have made it Stateside. I guess there's a slim chance that these (and possibly a Legion Class 'General') might become available at UK retail eventually, since they are part of the Beast Hunters line, but I quickly snapped up this pint-sized purple peon at the LFCC, to see if it's a worthy substitute for the Deluxe.

Vehicle Mode:
As good as it is, the Deluxe seems to take some liberties with the CGI, making the bonnet/nose wide enough to fold into the legs as happens with the standard Vehicon. This being an entirely new mold, rather than something based on the wheeled Legion Class Vehicon, is able to focus on vehicle mode accuracy, and so the front of the aircraft tapers off to a greater degree.

Rather than sticking to the virtually-black colourscheme of the CGI version, Hasbro has elected to mold this character in a vivid purple, with only a couple of touches of colour - splashes of a lighter purple/pink on either side, just behind the weapon ports, and black for the windscreen. What isn't immediately obvious - and probably isn't at all apparent in the photos, is that the jet is molded in a purple plastic which contains bluish metallic flakes. The effect is subtle, but looks great when it catches the light just right.

The weapon - a 'Hooksaw Cannon', apparently - has four pegs: one on the side, one on the top, one at the rear and one on the bottom. Strangely, none of the sockets on vehicle mode are especially compatible. One wing is too tight, the other is too loose, and the ones on either side of the fuselage are positioned such that the weapon clashes with the wings however you try to orient the weapon. Not that a gun with a chainsaw attached would be much use for an aircraft...

This is a very odd aircraft, with wings that remind me of a butterfly... albeit a back-to-front butterfuly, as the fins at the rear look like antennae.

Robot Mode:
Considering this size, this is an awesome representation of the Vehicon from TF: Prime, for the most part every bit as good as the Deluxe. The colour suits the mold well, and there's a surprising amount of paintwork - I can see that the head and chest window had to be painted, but the upper arms, the waist and everything from the hips down to the upper shins are painted in another, darker metallic colour, the visor is picked out in red... and there are even a couple more flashes of that light purple/pink in the collar spikes.

The head sculpt is surprisingly detailed, given the size, though it resembles the First Edition Vehicon rather than the standard release. In fact, the level of molded detail is quite amazing for the size, and considering that TF: Prime is not known for an overabundance of detail in its designs.

The weapon is rather more useful in robot mode - plugging into either fist quite firmly using the pegs on the top and bottom of the gun. The peg on the back of the gun, so he can wield the chainsaw, is a little looser, but stable. The peg on the side of the gun is very loose, though, so it's not possible to mount the gun on the outside of his arms.


As one would expect from a Legion Class figure, the Jet Vehicon's transformation is very simple - it's basically just a case of clipping the legs together, sliding the arms back into the body and flipping the wings back round. Very effective and efficient, giving both modes their distinctive look by means of clever molding.

Naturally, articulation is somewhat limited - shoulders and hips are ball-jointed... and that's about it. There is some ankle movement, but that's of no practical use for the robot and, while the head looks as if it should move - either for posing or for transformation - it is entirely fixed. The massive panels on his shoulders do clash with the vehicle shell backpack whether the wings are extended or not, so that's not great.

The weapon is pretty impressive in its own right. While unpainted, it's molded - with incredibly intricate detail - in a dark metallic turquoise.

If I ever have the opportunity to pick up the Deluxe version of this model, no doubt I will... but, for the moment, I'm pretty happy with this little guy. I probably won't troop-build with him, but I'm glad I picked him up.

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