Monday, 8 August 2011

Roller & The Ark

Autobot Roller

For more photos CLICK HERE

Roller is essentially a robot skeleton, thin even by the standards of the Bayformer toys. The white plastic used for his arms & upper legs doesn't help! His lower legs, obviously vehicle tracks, and the body & head, a single molded piece, are cast in grey plastic which doesn't look to be the same as any of the greys that are used in the Ark's vehicle shell. The lower chest is painted gold while the shoulders & head are painted blue. The head is very Prime like, as is fitting a toy who's only previous name use was as a vehicle with the original Optimus Prime. It's not just the colour, because the head possesses a crest, face plate and ears though a lot of the moulded detail is lost in it'd paint job. His articulation isn't bad: both knees bend and both hips are ball joints as is his left shoulder. His right shoulder turns and the elbow on that arm bends inward. Unfortunately his right hand, a 3mm c-clip claw, is orientated so the open face points to the side of the robot, not forward, which makes you think that a ball joint at the right elbow would have been better allowing the lower arm to swivel round. On the side of the lower arm is a scientific instrument that looks like a moulded together version of a ball missile & launcher with the tail of the missile pointing out the back! The tail is a 3mm bar for adding extra weapons and there's an extra 3mm under the arm too. The robot itself is bigger than a Legion class figure but not quite as big as a Commander so the chances of it being released by itself might be slim. He fits perfectly into the Ark's cockpit in robot mode.

Fold the inner halves of the lower legs forward to give Roller a tracked robot mode.

To Transform into vehicle mode: Fold his left arm across his chest so the hand is over his crotch. Oh dear. Pull his right shoulder away, there's a slot underneath it which meets a tab on the body, then bend back and swing round so the right arm is above his head. Fold the inner lower legs down so they point out the bottom of the legs. Fold the legs forward 45 degrees at the hip and then the lower legs forward 135 degrees at the knee, locking the slot on each lower leg onto the tab on the shoulder. Place on a surface with the robot's chest pointing down. Fold up the solar panel & radar dish.

Roller's vehicle mode is a space rover vehicle, similar to those being used by NASA for unmanned exploration. It's tracked, with a wheel at either end of each track, and a manoeuvring arm sticking out the front. The arm swivels at it'd base and then has three alternating joints down the length of the arm, the last of which is the elbow of the robot's right arm: I mentioned changing this to a ball joint above and doing so would have no impact on this mode. The vehicle mode can roll down the Ark's ramp perfectly well.

The only remotely similar vehicle mode Transformers to this that I can think of are Micromaster Countdown and Armada Comettor. It's always nice to get something a bit different but he feels a bit unstable: in particular the tracks don't peg into the side of the body that well. It might help is the hips or, more especially, the knees of the robot mode locked at the angle they were meant to be for the vehicle mode. But the vast majority of people who own Roller won't have bought the set he's in for him anyway.

Roller was sold in 2011 with the Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Ark playset. In Japan this set is numbered CV-01 and was released in July 2011.

Cyberverse Ark

The Ark has been a part of Transformers history since th word go featuring in both the comic & cartoon versions of the story and reappearing in Beast Wars & Armada. So it's not a surprise to see the Bayverse having a shot at it. What's more surprising is this ids the first version of the Ark to interact with other Transformers figures. It's only previous toy representation was a Titanium miniature which bore more of a resemblance to MB's Starbird toy than the fictional ark! I thought that Hasbro had gone for the double here as this new version bears a big resemblance to the Star Wars: Clone Wars Magna Guard Ship but I am assured by someone who has seen the film that the Ark toy looks like what appears on the screen even if I can't find an image on the Interweb to back that up.

Transformers has a history of vehicles that can work with smaller toys: Action Masters & Micromasters come to mind and, to a much lesser extent, Armada. But this is the first time for a while Hasbro's had a real good go at it. It's 22cm x 22cm x 8cm in size so while it won't take larger toys it's on the right sort of scale for Legends figures and the Cyberverse figures it was made for. On the front of the ship is an opening cockpit. Sitting a figure inside makes a noise and activates a space ship cruising sound. Yes, I have broken the habit of a lifetime and put batteries (2xAA) in s toy I'm reviewing! Roller fits in perfectly as do most Cyberverse Legion figures, with a few exceptions. Commanders have proved more troublesome, but Optimus Prime fits if you shorten his legs. The size looks large enough for a Star Wars figure: my Y-Wing pilot fitted in ok, but not only would Admiral Ackbar not fit in but his head popped off as I attempted to get him in and now it won't go back OK onto the body of my prized Mon Calamari officer!

Besides the cockpit is a small button that when pressed fires the guns under the ship which light up accompanied by an appropriate noise. To the left & right of the cockpit are a sizeable weapon array consisting of a quad gun with a missile projecting out of the middle and an array of moulded missile lubes. One of the quad guns is a missile launcher, with a trigger projecting out the top while the other is non functional which is a bit of a shame. However each quad gun & missile array is removable when the Ark is in base mode and since the quad guns are otherwise identical they can be swapped. Each weapons unit is attached via a 5mm post which means they can be used by other Transformers toys. The Ark itself has four 5mm peg holes mounted into the hull which the weapons can be attached to. There's an additional two guns supplied that can peg into these holes: each gun bends where it's attached to the 5mm peg but the connection is very poor and easily come apart. On the top of each gun is a 3mm bar allowing them to be held by Cyberverse toys or to have extra weapons attached. The 5mm peg holes are also subject to varying quality control: the pegs struggle to fit into several of the holes and when you have got the pegs back in removing the extra guns becomes a two step process: try to pull the gun off, leaving the peg behind and then remove the peg with a pair of pliers! In addition to the 5mm holes there are three 3mm Cyberverse post holes on each side of the toy for attaching Cyberverse weapons to the ship. There's two 3mm bar as well, but these are both on the same side of the ship and are intended for attaching extra Cyberverse base toys when you transform the ark.

Transformation: pull each side of the toy out, causing the centre of the toy including the cockpit, to rise up forming a tower and sounding the transformation noise. Fold each half of the side out further to expand the bas area. Fold the ramp forward at the front of the toy. Fold the cockpit down to form a platform in the tower. Raise the repair bay on the left hand side of the toy & fold out all five pillars on the space bridge on your right.

In base mode the ark expands out into a semi circular platform formed of five segments. At the front of the middle segment is a ramp, with the tower at the rear and a gun in the middle. To it's left is a segment with a raised repair bay & one of the weapons set and to the left of that there's another segment which is empty space. I'd have stuck the repair bay on this as the opposing segment on the far right has the space bridge with a flat platform segment separating it from the middle. Even just a floor panel, the same as the blue panels with hexagonal holes in that cover the middle three segments, would have improved the appearance.

The cannon, in the middle of the central segment, is mounted on a base that turns 90 degrees to either side. The cannon has both a 5mm & 3mm peg socket on the top of it. One the cannon's turntable base are two Minicon ports either side of the cannon. To the right of the ramp is a button which when pressed causes the cannon to light up. Placing a car on the top of the ramp causes the lights either side of the ramp to glow and an alarm to sound. Pressing the button to the left of the ramp causes the top of the ramp to lift propelling any car in place down it to the sound of weapons firing and the guns either side of the ramp lighting up. The lower half of the tower is a jail cell, with a pair of spring loaded doors. Half way up is a platform for figures to stand on with the cockpit window behind it producing an effect similar to the large window behind the Emperor's throne on the Death Star in Return of the Jedi. The tower platform just sits there, and while adding extra weight to it might cause it to sag, a few 3mm Cyberverse post holes round the edge to plug the smaller, lighter weapons into might have livened it up a bit.

The repair bay is little more than a raised table with a 3mm Cyberverse peg hole at each corner, one of which can be used for the little plastic arm supplied with the set. Good luck getting that to go in! With the exception of the main gun there's no other new 3mm holes in this mode, but there's several 5mm ports: one on the top of the ramp, one now exposed on the top of each of the moulded missile bays, two hidden in the floor pattern of the central segment, two unintentional ones using the screw holes at the back of the central segment and one each on the outer edge of the toy. The space bridge teleport platform is just moulded detail and doesn't have a function, you feel it's just wasted space that could have been replaced by a pop up cannon or even just another flat platform like the middle three segments, with another covering the opposing exposed segment on the other side to give a solid floor right round the playset

The Ark is designed to be used with other Cyberverse playsets and each other outer segments has four connectors for attaching other toys to it: two along each side and two at the rear. As per all the Cyberverse playsets the clips are on your left and the bars on your right. Unfortunately both bars & clips are sunk into the bodywork of the base mode meaning you can't connect Arks together side to side to form a complete circle.

Overall: nice spaceship and decent base. There's a few places where the detail lets it down like the lack of floor plating on the outer base segments, the add one guns that come apart too easily and the inability to connect two arks side by side. Nice to see a couple of Minicon ports on the base mode, but would it have hurt them to add a couple to the space ship's hull? On a similar note, and this is really critical of them, but how much cooler would the toy have been if that ramp at the front had had Micromaster base connectors at the bottom and on the outer edges of the base mode? Kids could ignore them and the fanboys could go sqweeee!

See here and here for more pictures.

The Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Ark playset was sold in 2011 with Roller. In Japan this set is numbered CV-01 and was released in July 2011.


Hasbro have dropped strong hints there's a gold coloured repaint of this coming down the line.