Saturday, 17 January 2015

TransFormers (Movie) Wreckage

It's strange to say, but one of the best things about the first live action movie was the extended cast of characters in the toy range. Based on concept art that never made it into the movie or characters from the videogame based on the movie, they bulked up the toyline in a way that Hasbro has increasingly failed to do with subsequent movie toylines.

That said, creating toys for characters who did not appear in the movie is a fairly significant gamble... Without having seen a character on screen, there's no connection, no instant grab, no 'must have' value, so the toy risks being a shelfwarmer. Yet not having to mimmick something from a movie or TV series frees the designer to be as creative as possible, potentially creating a more impressive toy.

Which category does Wreckage fall into..?

Vehicle Mode:
Wreckage is clearly a military vehicle - some sort of armoured personnel carrier - decorated in what can only be considered arctic 'camouflage'. White really was completely the wrong colour of plastic to use for the vehicle shell considering the few moments of the film that occurred in arctic conditions were set long in the past. Making matters worse, the camouflage pattern is applied in a grey that's just that little bit too dark to fit, making me wonder if the vehicle was originally intended to be two-tone grey. There are also odd patches of red on the vehicle's roof where bits of robot mode become visible. The massive splashes of grey form the bulk of the paintwork, but it's nice to see all eight of Wreckage's hubcaps have been painted silver. This does mean that other details, like the headlights, are unpainted, but they don't really stand out enough to warrant it.... Admittedly, though, that's partly because the white plastic disguises a lot of the molded detail.

Despite a poor choice of plastic colour, the mold is replete with detail - everything from bolts and hatches to the spare fuel cannisters sculpted onto the rear. Up front, the details are different on each side, but the rear end is symmetrical. It's a very solid and convincing alternate mode, despite a fair number of obvious panels - everything clips in securely. Bits of Wreckage's robot mode - forearms and feet - can be seen between the four wheels on each side, but this is otherwise an excellent vehicle mode... albeit rather small compared to the Deluxe cars from the movie line.

There's even a weapon, molded in grey plastic and sticking out of the roof around the middle of the vehicle. I'm not quite sure what kind of gun it's supposed to be, but it's fixed in position except in transformation - always pointing forward. The robot mode's weapons are stashed quite nicely inside the vehicle's flanks, with just the tips protruding. These, I suppose, could be supplementary weapons, as the end that's visible has a part that's molded to look like a gun barrel. Right at the front of the vehicle is a cylindrical protrusion which could, conceivably, be another gun - it appears to be mounted in front of a thin viewport - but it is fixed and forward-facing, without any obvious features.
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Robot Mode:
If the vehicle mode's colours were a little dull, there's a real shock of colour to Wreckage in robot mode: the arms and thighs are molded in a pretty incongruous orangey-red with a pronounced metallic flake component. At first glance, it stands out far too much but, once you get used to it, it suits the model quite well. More grey plastic is dotted about - the feet, knee spikes and groin, the double hinged elbows and the head, and there's a small amount of gold paint bringing out details on his feet, groin and 'helmet'. One paint feature that's fairly easy to miss due to its subtlety is the touches of silver in his recessed 'abs'.

The sculpt generally is detailed, but understated - Wreckage looks like a very well-armoured robot, rather than having loads of exposed inner workings like some of the others. There are some interesting details on the backs of his lower legs and on his arms, but none of it looks overcomplicated. Given a more subtle colourscheme, this could have looked awesome.

Wreckage's overall silhouette is probably one of the best from the first movie as everything seems to be in proportion, though his lower legs are absolutely huge compared to his thighs. One very welcome feature is that his vehicle mode weapon storage becomes hip-mounted holsters in robot mode, and they're still fully functional as holsters, with very little impact on the movement of his hips due to the way they swing out. The upper body is kind of strange, in that he has a massively protruding chest, Seeker-like vent-things sticking up out of his shoulders... and most of the rear of the vehicle folded up on his back. The panels were cleverly designed to minimise the visibility of his backpack from the front, but it sticks out quite far - perhaps about an inch back from the tips of the shoulder vents.

Wreckage's main weapons are a pair of guns which transform into odd, sort of crystalline-look blades via a spring-loaded mechanism. They can be held in his hands, but they look rather odd due to their orientation. The best thing to do with them is mount them on the underside of his wrists via the 5mm ports. Whether it's a quirk of molding or an intentional feature, they can also plug into the centres of his wheels - any of the eight - but, since the wheels are all freely-rotating, they aren't much use in those positions

As well as the main, transforming gun/sword weapons, Wreckage is packing a massive translucent red gun which sticks of his belly. It features a fair amount of molded detail in and of itself, but much of that is rather lost because it's molded in a translucent dark red plastic. I can't help thinking it would have looked better had it been either molded in opaque grey plastic or painted silver... Still, it looks like a fairly fearsome cannon, even if it is rather awkwardly placed. It reminds me a little of the gun that transforms out of Blackout's chest near the beginning of the first movie (sadly lacking in the toy)... not to mention the honking great blaster in the belly of the Swindle drone from the game based on the first movie.

The head sculpt looks very military - kind of makes me think of a Nazi version of Iron Man. It looks oddly TransFormers: Prime-style in retrospect, but also looks a little bit Megatron. Y'know, if they hadn't modelled Megatron on The Shrike. It's a very detailed sculpt for the size and features both gold and silver paint as well as what would be excellent light piping, were it not for the large panel right behind his head. Wreckage always seems to be looking down because there's a round 'collar' piece molded just behind his head, so he's only able to look straight when his head is turned to one side.
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For the most part, transforming Wreckage is nice and simple - in fact, he has one of the better Automorph features from the first movie's toyline: once the arms are pulled out from the front of the vehicle, pushing the vehicle mode's main gun into his waist not only deploys the waist cannon, but it moves the head, chest and shoulders into position as well. The downside is that none of it clips together for robot mode, so moving his arms can often inadvertently trigger the Automorph. I'm particularly fond of the way the legs transform because the double-jointed knee is so well hidden in robot mode.

Wreckage has an excellent action figure level of articulation - with the arms swung out so far to the sides on their struts, the ball joints in his shoulders have incredible range, and the double-jointed elbows bend to a nigh-on human extent. The only disappointments are the lack of bicep swivel (due to the vehicle mode plate mounted there and, frankly, not a massive loss due to the freedom of movement at the shoulder) and the severely restricted wrist rotation. The waist is articulated, but its range is very much curtailed by the hinge block and rigid 'tail' protruding from the base of his spine. The legs may lack thigh swivel, but the ball joints at the hips and ankles make up for a lot of that, and the knee offers a surprising range of movement once the weapon holsters are out of the way.

It's a real shame that Wreckage didn't appear in the first movie - or any of the sequels - given how brilliant the toy is. I'm not even sure he appeared in any of the games (other than the Flash games on Hasbro's website). The concept art looked a bit ropey, but this is an awesome design, impressively realised in Deluxe class plastic form. Weirdly, this model hasn't even been repainted much - only once, as Bludgeon, for a two-pack - and has never been remolded. Given that it's not a licensed vehicle (as far as I can tell), it seems ridiculous that such a good figure has remained untouched for about five years. Hell, given the right head sculpt, this could even pass for a femme-bot... Strika, anyone?

1 comment:

  1. Wreckage, and his recolor/remold as Bludgeon were always some of my favorite Movie toys.