Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Galaxy Force Exigeyser

The Galaxy Force TV series pulled some strange moves once in a while. While 'Super Modes' were not uncommon, they had tended to be an upgrade thing among the Decepticons (RID/Car Robots Megatron becoming Galvatron, Armada/Micron Legend Megatron getting upgraded to Galvatron, Energon/Superlink Megatron getting upgraded to Galvatron, Cybertron/Galaxy Force Megatron getting upgrade to - you guessed it - Galvatron). But when a group of three Autobots were thoroughly trounced by Megatron, in the Cybertron/Galaxy Force TV series, they didn't just dust themselves off the way they might have in any other series... They received some pretty heavy-duty upgrades.

Exillion, aesthetically the closest thing the toyline had had to a proper Hot Rod in years (all the Hot Shots being pale imitations), went through one of the more dramatic reformattings... and, while Hasbro's version simply gained the prefix 'Cybertron Defense' on his name, his Galaxy Force counterpart got a whole new name.

Vehicle Mode:
So... Futuristic sports car to Armoured Personnel Carrier? Who saw that one coming? It's rather bizarre to see the familiar Exillion colourscheme applied to a military vehicle and, for the most part, he pulls it off. The blue retains the slightly metallic/pearlescent sheen of the original and, while red is too bold a colour for any real military vehicles of this kind, I don't think anyone really expected Exigeyser to present a realistic interpretation of an armoured car. It's covered in all kinds of molded detail, from armour panels to rivets, vents to equipment stashes. The only thing that lets it down is the pair of obvious robot feet sticking up at the back, which could easily have been avoided had they used the fairly standard format of a two-part foot, on which the heel folds up into the toe.

Paintwork is kept to a minimum, with a bluish dark grey on the central panel on the front, side hatches and the central part of the turret on the roof, silver detailing on the strange drum-like details on each side (from which his two Mini-Con ports sprout) and the tips of the roof-mounted cannons, as well as a pair of yellow dots indicating the headlights. One oddity is that, while the colourscheme is basically the same as Exillion's, the dark blue paint and plastic are far darker - bordering on black in some light - giving a much stronger contrast. The roof on the left side of the vehicle features an Autobot insignia with 'wings' - explained away by the whole 'Cybertron Defence' thing in Hasbro's take on the line, while Takara's version made Exigeyser and the other two upgraded characters into the 'Vanguard Team' - which looks like a simplified form of the Autobot Elite Guard insignia used in TF Animated and the BotCon 2009 'Wings of Honour' set.

Strangely, the windows are simply holes in the plastic, opening into the interior at the front of the vehicle, and revealing the top of Exigeyser's head. While this may be fairly true to life - this being the sort of military vehicle that might well have a thin viewing port rather than windows - but the fact that it opens up into such a large cavity within the toy always struck me as odd, but at least it's a fairly mild case of 'Visible Head Syndrome'. 

The roof-mounted turret rotates perhaps a little too freely as it's mounted on a ball joint rather than a pin. It's fairly tight, so it doesn't wobble as such, but it can be tricky to flatten it out properly. Each gun can also tilt independently on the central mounting, managing about 90° before butting up against the roof of the vehicle. Exigeyser's key-activated gimmick seems quite effective in this mode - plug the key in, and the cannons spring open to reveal twin racks of eight missile pods. That's not the full extent of his concealed armaments, though - the front bumper opens up and deploys guns molded onto the insides of each half, also revealing eight unpainted missile pods running across the front of the vehicle. His other weapon, a short blade useful only in robot mode, nestles between his legs in vehicle mode, leaving the small red peg sticking out of the back end. It can also be slotted into what looks like a drawer pulled from the left side of the vehicle, just above the rear wheel, but this placement is more for robot mode.

Robot Mode:
The first thing to note here is that Exigeyser, perhaps unsurprisingly, looks a lot like Exillion in robot mode... only far, far beefier. He still has large shoulders and large lower legs, but it's all now that much bigger. His chest is about as broad as on his previous form, but more compact - the circular details from Exillion's shoulders are now part of the chest - and all the detail is deeper set, giving him a more 'muscular' appearance. The head sculpt is actually nigh identical, just without the translucent piece on the visor and cast in the darker blue plastic used throughout this figure.

Since most of robot mode is covered with enormous chunks of vehicle mode, there's not a great deal of new molded detail elsewhere, and most of what's facing forward is comparatively plain. There's quite a bit of detailing on the insides of his lower legs, but that's not easy to put on display.

Most of the paintwork is as similar to Exillion as it can be, given the differences in the mold, with the same red panel in the centre of the chest and the metallic-painted panels around the torso - albeit now silver rather than a metallic pale cyan. Weirdly, he gains a block of yellow on his groin, though the angles at the top don't match the molded details, so the paintwork looks somewhat out of place.

The massive, chunky shoulders remind me a lot of G2 Battle Convoy, particularly in that the remainder of the arm has been positioned right on the outside edge of the shoulder, leaving a massive gap between them and the body. The upgraded robot form loses the Hot Rod-referencing trio of guns on the wrists, but the silver barrel-like details could conceivably be some kind of gun, and the convenient Mini-Con mounting point could also be used to give him a new weapon.

The key activated gimmick functions exactly the same in robot mode as it did in vehicle mode, but his guns can be directed forwards over his shoulder or left pointed straight up. Use of the key gimmick relies on the guns being laid down either side of his head, as otherwise they would open backwards and be pretty useless. As with vehicle mode, Exigeyser has other concealed weapons - one set of fifteen missile pods in each shoulder, concealed by a simple flap, then a further fourteen in each shin, which are concealed within spare fuel tank-like blocks that rotate 180°. Finally, the short blade can either be held in his hands or plugged into the socket on either knuckle for a more stabby look.

Transformation is far simpler than Exillion's, but follows a broadly similar pattern. The only potentially complicated parts are that the hips hinge backwards as the legs collapse, but the two motions can be accomplished quite smoothly together. That said, his hinged hip skirts are best flapped up beforehand, as they will otherwise get in the way. The presence of the turret on his back doesn't affect transformation a great deal as it can be lifted quite far out of the way via the joint that swings it between vehicle and robot mode positions.

With the simpler transformation comes some reduced articulation - the shoulders may be somewhat improved due to the transformation hinge allowing some outward movement as well as full rotation, but the elbow is a pinned joint that doesn't even permit a 90° bend and, obviously, there's no longer any rotation there, nor has a rotation joint been added above the elbow. The hips, too, are no longer ball joints though, with no significant hip swivel due to the way Exillions thighs were molded, there's no immediately obvious difference there, and the knees are much the same. Both have a similar problem with their feet, in that they're molded pretty much only for standing straight but, with Exigeyser's feet being basically triangular blocks hinged in the middle, the hinge becomes the lowest point in some stances, leaving him balancing precariously on that and one corner of each toe.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this figure is that, for all his apparent bulk, Exigeyser is smaller than Exillion in both modes. He's a remarkably compact APC in vehicle mode, making even Jackshot look large, despite his smaller size class and, in robot mode, stands a good half-head shorter, reaching approximately the same height overall only because of his massive shoulders. There's a strong sense that Exigeyser should have been made a Voyager, to allow improvements to the articulation and to make him scale better with other Galaxy Force figures in general. What's weird is that Backpack/Scattorshot went up two size classes (Scout to Voyager) for his upgrade to Backguild/Cybertron Defence Scattorshot, and First Aid was upgraded from Deluxe to Voyager as First Gunner/CD First Aid... So Exigeyser remaining a Deluxe makes no sense.

Given that this is the same character as Exillion, just at a different point in the Cybertron/Galaxy Force story arc, it's tempting to think that one need only own one or the other. On balance, I prefer the original simply because of its obvious Hot Rod homage. Had this been a larger figure with improved articulation, it may have been more of a 'must have' but, as it stands, it's a bit on the disappointing side.


  1. I agree with your assessment on this guy. I rather like him, but he should have definitely been made larger. The knife holder in vehicle mode can also hold his Force Chip.

    1. Never thought to try that! It's not as snug as the one on Fang Wolf/Snarl, but it certainly does the job...