Monday, 2 May 2016

Cybertron Cryo Scourge

Hasbro has a habit, when crafting some of its characters, of re-releasing them as their opposite to some degree. Hence we have a Nemesis Prime in as many continuities as possible, and Transmetals 2 Megatron got remade in shades of blue and re-released as RiD (2001) Cryotek.

A similar, yet different path was taken with Cybertron Scourge (aka Galaxy Force Flame Convoy) where he has somehow become "irreversibly mutated" by "long exposure to the freezing waste of deep space" which somehow transforms all his fire-breathing, etc. into ice powers. Because SCIENCE! (with apologies to my Physics student girlfriend who would no doubt facepalm at the mere suggestion).

So, is it time for me to break out the ice puns?

Beast Mode:
Everything I liked about the original holds true for this one - the new colourscheme shows up the molded detail just as well as the original - so this is really just going to be all about the colourscheme itself. For the most part, the pale cyans, silver, and oversprayed gradients of white paint look fantastic, the latter not overused, but applied to all three dragon heads, the extremities of the horns protruding from his shoulders and the webbed parts of his back legs. What I find puzzling is the use of a purplish blue plastic for so much of the body, and all the yellow paint details on the legs and neck - yellow just ain't a colour I'd associate with cold. I guess one could argue that it's a holdover from Flame Convoy/Scourge's original, fiery form but, when the other paint colours fit so well, it comes across as a poor choice.

Probably my favourite aspect of this version of the model is the use of translucent bluish-grey plastic for the dragon's toes and nails, as well as the armoured bulge at the base of his tail, which becomes the head of his axe in robot mode. These parts were opaque yellow with a fine metallic spray on the original so, while these are unpainted, they look no less impressive.

There are two disappointing aspects to this version of the mold: first and foremost, the electronic lights and sounds are unchanged from the original - the same reptilian wail by default, and the same laser blasting sound once the key has been inserted and the two smaller heads deployed (a feature I somehow failed to note in the original's write-up). I also think that the LED used in the head seems pretty anaemic compared to the one in my Flame Convoy. I may be wrong, but it just seems weak or pale, while the original (Takara version) has a good, meaty red light. Perhaps it's just that the light in this one is behind translucent yellow plastic, versus the purple of the original. Secondly, while Flame Convoy's mini-heads had painted eyes, this does not... and with both the upper and lower parts of the mini-heads cast in the same pale cyan plastic, the only thing preventing them from getting lost is the white gradient over the snouts and foreheads.

One interesting change is that Cryo Scourge has a Decepticon insignia on the translucent yellow patch on his forehead, while Flame Convoy's was bare, and his Decepticon insignias were revealed on the crowns on his mini-heads.

Robot Mode:
Again, this is all about the colourscheme and, again, I'm not sure I like the purplish blue... Especially in combination with the yellow, he seems too colourful (which is saying something considering the range of colours on the original!), and I wonder if a dark grey - or even the brownish gunmetal of the original - might have been more appropriate. Everything else looks - ahem - pretty cool, and the translucent bluish grey looks awesome on the robot's claw's. The toes protruding from his wrists look like icicles.

The yellow paint is every bit as much of an eyesore in this mode, but at least the patches on the dragon's neck are obscured. Unfortunately, he has a rim of yellow around his helmet, so there's really no escaping it. Mine also has a splotch of red paint below the right eye and, above the left eye, another splotch of red and a scratch in the yellow. It probably wouldn't be quite so bad if the colours weren't such a stark contrast and completely incongruous within the 'icy' theme.

The icy tail axe head looks better than than the not-quite-bone yellow of the original, but the purplish blue handle lets it all down. I do kind of wish there was some white or silver paint sprayed over the blade, to give the impression of a keen edge (or simply to disguise the internal structure of the plastic parts) but it looks pretty good as it is.

Aside from the awesome use of translucent plastic, I honestly can't think why I picked this guy up. I noted in my write-up of the original that it seemed strange that a toy series that paid such great homage to Generation 1 didn't also include any proper Beast Wars references for Animatros, but I suppose this comes sort-of close to referencing Cryotek.

It's not a terrible model, by any stretch of the imagination. The molded detail is superb, but the lack of articulation makes it seem pretty basic and the lights and sounds were a bit poor at the time... Now they seem like a waste of time. The cold themed colours are mostly OK, but the darkest blue and the yellow are very much off-topic.

All that said, it seems I've been very fortunate with both Flame Convoy and Cryo Scourge: I had neglected to remove their batteries (3x LR44/GPA76) when I put them on my shelves and, ten years after I bought him, the batteries were all flat, but hadn't leaked, while those from some of my more recent purchases had.

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