Sunday, 19 October 2014

Kinder TransFormers: Prime Toys - Optimus Prime & Arcee

This wouldn't be a proper TransFormers collection blog if I didn't occasionally write about some of the awful junk that Hasbro grants a license for. I have a friend who went through a phase of buying me gifts of anything featuring the TransFormers logo (several volumes of Armada, then at least one DVD of random episodes of Robots In Disguise, as well as a sticker set based around TF Animated, just for starters), some of which may eventually turn up here.

To start with, here's a new Kinder Egg promotion, tying into TransFormers: Prime, and featuring 'articulated' figures of various characters from the TV show...

Kinder toys have been a source of fascination for me for many years. I was probably well outside the target age range when I first discovered them, but the idea of a toy concealed within a chocolate egg surely can't have an age limit? Over the years, I've amassed quite a treasure trove of terrible Kinder toys, from simple cars and statuettes, to little water-squirty things, to downright dangerous rip-cord launching spinny things (some of which I must confess to having set off in the confined space of a car, despite the potential to cause horrific accidents). Some Kinder toys are surprisingly intricate and fun...

...Sadly, these TFPrime toys are not among that group.

And yet they are interesting, after a fashion. All are based around what looks to be a cogwheel, and all feature ball-jointed limbs. What they don't have is even halfway decent molding or remotely extensive paintwork. As you'll see below, only the most half-hearted attempt has been made to make the models resemble their CGI counterparts. Broadly speaking, the colourschemes are not bad - Arcee is mostly blue, Optimus Prime is red, white (representing silver) and blue - but the paintwork is just cheap splashes of colour in vaguely appropriate areas.

It's difficult to say who comes out worst on this pair. Arcee's legs aren't jointed - they're a single piece that plugs into the three grooves between each ball socket on the 'cog' - but Prime has an entirely white chest and looks like he's spent far too long in the saddle... and impression reinforced by the way the orientation of the hands. Arcee can (sort of) cross her arms, while Prime can't do much of anything with his.

Plus, somehow, Prime is smaller than Arcee... so, OK, it's actually pretty obvious he comes out worst. Hell, his legs are actually mounted on his waist rather than his hips...

Honestly, it's this kind of licensing deal that lower the tone (and probably the value) of the TransFormers brand. Still... I'm sure they amuse the young kids that Kinder toys are actually aimed ad... Where they haven't been banned as 'unsafe'.

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