Animated Lugnut is the second Transformers Animated character to get a toy made of it outside of the Animated toyline: 2008's Animated Lockdown became 2010's ROTF Lockdown.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm working with the Japanese Transformers United version to write this review.
Lugnut is a bomber type aeroplane, mainly cast in a military olive green colour. The cockpit windows are cast in a clear red plastic as are the gunner windows that form a large part of the jet's nose with a rotating gun each side of the window mounted just bellow a shark's mouth paint decoration, previously found on Animated Lugnut's Atomic Lugnut repaint. The mouth, displaying lots of teeth, stretches round the nose of the jet. The nose of the jet, well the portions that aren't clear, the guns and a flap covering the tail are all a very floppy rubber, a material I don't like to see used much on Transformers toys as it's prone to warping. Oddly one of the other toys I've noticed this material on is ROTF Lockdown,his fellow animated escapee. The wings are connected to the body by a large round engine with an exposed fan at the front. The wings pivot round the engine and can go from pointing straight down to pointing upwards at 45 degree angle. They're restrained from pointing straight up by one of two missiles on the top of the engine section that turns with wings and eventually makes contact with the body of the jet. I'm tempted to remove the missile with a knife so the wings can fold to a position where they point vertically upwards. No I've not learnt from the RTS Optimus incident and yes the cut is healing nicely. What's really holding me back is that the missiles are 3mm bar, used by the C-clip weapons system. In fact Lugnut is rather gifted in the bar department: each gun is a 3mm bar, both missiles on top of each engine, three under each wing, one on each wing tip, two each side of the undercarriage and one on the tail. I make that NINETEEN bars. I'm not sure I even have 19 C-Clip weapons! Hmmm. Skystalker has two weapons as does his repaint Sunspot, while Darkmount has three as does his repaint Skullgrin. That's TEN. Breacher has one and Tomahawk has two bringing the total to THIRTEEN. In Reveal The Shield Special Ops Jazz has his two speakers, Turbo Tracks has two missiles plus his gun and Wreck-Gar has his hand axe, six weapons in all bringing the total to NINETEEN. Finally Generation Kup & Generations Scourge have one each so that's TWENTY ONE. So only just! I think the only C-Clip toy I'm missing is Recon Ironhide who has another four weapons.
Back to Lugnut, who's also equipped with a number of action features. There's four wheels mounted on his undercarriage that allow the jet to roll along the floor. Under each wing there's a trigger that allows the mid wing engine and wing tip to spring about half an inch out to the side revealing a moulded 3 missile array within the wing. If you fold up the flap on the back of the tail you can fold down a missile launcher. The tail fin can then be folded down and the entire tail section rotated through 180 degrees so the missile launcher is on top of the jet and can be folded forward. The flaps on the back of the wings bend down authentically which is a nice touch. The top of the cockpit folds back revealing a space that should you have a Micromaster sized Transformer with thin enough legs you'd be able to sit them in it.
Transformation: Pull the undercarriage down under the jet and unfold to form the robot's chest, waist and legs. The bottom portion, the actual shell of the under carriage folds up on itself to form the lower legs and from there the claw like feet fold out. Fold each leg out to the side at the hip, rotate the hip joint forward 90 degrees, bring the legs together, fold down and rotate at the thigh 180 degrees. The reverse of that stage with the hips was the only bit of the transformation I couldn't get to work right and had to look at the instruction for! The flaps on the back of the wings bend down, allowing the wings to be bent back and then swung up & forward. Fold the wings back so they point out to the sides again, but upside down compared to their original orientation. Fold up the flaps that extend round the front of the mid wing engines. Fold the wing tips and mid wing engines back, then fold the wing tips up over the mid wing engines. Fold the arms down at the shoulders so they're alongside the robot's body. Pull back on the tail unlocking it, fold back so it points down, rotate the lower segment so the missile launcher is on the back of the toy and push the tail in to the robot's back. Fold back the cockpit top. Split the nose in two down the middle and fold out to the sides & back to form the sides of the chest. Fold the head back & up then slide the chest up and into place.
Lugnut's robot mode carries over the important features of Animated Lugnut: Cyloptic head, engines as shoulders, nose round chest. The robot mode is broadly similar to the plane in terms of colour, with just the purple chest, waist & upper legs and pale green head being parts hidden in jet mode. The head looks very similar to the original version, an important thing when producing a new version of a character, and comes complete with an opening mouth. Articulation: head is ball jointed, arms rotate out to the sides round the engines, there's a swivel under them and a bending shoulder joint under the engine, bending elbow, a joint at the base of the thumb, joint at the base of the fingers which are linked for the first part of the finger and then separate beyond the second joint. The waist turns as do the hips which also bend to the sides, there's a thigh swivel, double bending knee, bending ankle joint and hinged toes & heel spurs.
Lugnut has an action feature in this mode using the mechanism in the wings: If you press the trigger the hands spring forward to simulate the POKE attack (Punch of Kill Everything) that the Animated Lugnut had in the cartoon. The missile launcher can still just about be used by folding the tail up behind the head and folding out the missile launcher. I think all the 3mm bars can still be used in this mode but several are hidden under panels in the arms.
I like this toy. The plane design isn't a common one amongst normal Transformers, I think the Cybertron Jetfire is the only similar one. Loads of 3mm bars for you to tool him up, The robot mode is different from most Transformers and makes him look like a thug, some ominous muscle lurking in the background of the Decepticon ranks. Well worth having. And since the Decepticons can always do with some bulking out of the ranks it's a good thing there's a second version of this toy out in Japan!
Lugnut was released in the USA at the tail end of 2010 as part of the first Reveal The Shield Voyager case where he was 2 per case with 1 Strafe and 1 Grappel. He's carried over to the second RTS Voyager case, this time at 1 per case with 1 Grappel and 2 Deep Dives. Currently he;s scheduled for UK release but there's not yet been a positive sighting.
Several years ago during the first Bay Transformers Movie line Incinerator was released in Japan as MD-22 Incinerator with a radically different colour scheme replacing the grey for black. Snapped up at the time, he commands a high price today. I suspect Transformers United Lugnut may be a similar case, replacing the olive colour with a much darker green that appeared black in publicity photos. It looks even better than the original and if I were you I'd be tempted to hunt one down as soon as possible before the prices start to rise. Which they will.
Obviously the Animated Lugnut and Atomic Lugnut colour schemes would look good on a repaint of this toy. It'd be nice to see an actual black version of the jet too.
And a released with a "best of c-clip" weapons bag!