Scorponok, in 1988 they've been regular alt modes for Transformers toys. I think I've owned at least one version of each toy with the understandable exception of Double Punch. There's even been a scorpion weapon before Action Master Devastator's Scorpulator. So a Scorpion Arms Micron is an obvious choice. Even the name itself, Zori, echoes Zarak the name for Scorponok's Headmaster/Japanese Repaint. I'd argue pairing it with Soundwave is an odd choice .... a black version of Jida as Ravage would be a more G1 appropriate pairing. Still it gives someone a licence to do a purple/blue Soundwave with black Jida as an exclusive later to satisfy the G1 fan boys.
The dark blue, almost purple, colouring on Zori doesn't shout a previous version of the toy but it says Decepticon all over. In case you're not sure there's a round purple Decepticon spark crystal on top of the scorpion mode. There's lots of small pieces on the frame which leads to a well articulated animal mode. The arms bend at the shoulders & elbows. The tail bends at the base and twice in the middle. Unfortunately the joint at the base is near useless in animal mode because sticking out the tail is a 5mm peg. It's ok when the first tail segment points straight up because the peg sticks out the back of the toy but when you start to bend the first tail segment back the peg rests on the floor after about 1- degrees and then, the further you fold the tail back, raises the rear of the toy up. Very annoying. In addition to that peg there's a peg on each outer edge of the claw in this mode plus a 5mm socket on the end of the tail and one on each side of the top of the body. The one on the tail is very useful for attaching extra Microns such as Balo's drill mode.
Fortunately that tail peg can prove quite useful: bend the base of the tail back 90 degrees and fold all the other segments forward. Spread the claws to the side and fold the head back 180 degrees exposing a 5mm peg hidden in the body. What do you end up with? Effectively an Arms Micron version of Scorpulator's weapons mode! And since the peg is a 5mm one then Devastator himself should be able to hold it.
Zori's documented weapons mode fold the head up exposing the peg, the legs down under the body and straightening the tail out behind the body to form a long gun barrel. The weapon is then held by the peg at the base of the tail or by lowering the peg sticking out the rear of the toy.
That's a big big long gun. It does look almost a little unwieldy as a hand weapon and the two joints along the barrel are a little off-putting. But mounted along Soundwave's jet mode it looks OK. The end of the gun barrel is the 5mm socket from the tail which gives you the opportunity to add further Microns (and again Balo is a natural choice to form an even longer weapon though obviously the weight will start to bend the gun barrel down at the joints.
The long neck on the weapons mode reminds me somewhat of the alt mode for Laserbeak, Animated Soundwave's partner so maybe just maybe the pairing was intentional and Prime Soundwave has guitar rock god ambitions....
Serviceable intentional weapons mode, very decent homage bonus weapons mode and superb animal mode. Probably my top Decepticon Arms Micron so far.
Zori & Soundwave were released in Japan on 28th April 2012 as Arms Micron set AM-09
Arms Micron Bumblebee. Zori swaps his purple/blue for clear purple.
Now I like the Prime Bumblebee mold. So I'm severely trailed by the existence of this toy and have been manfully resisting the urge to buy it just for the clear purple Micron. But boy do I want it.
Terrorcon Bumblebee was an AEON stores exclusive in Japan released on August 10th 2012 and falls outside the regular Arms Micron Numbering pattern.
Zori M was released as Arms Micron Weapon AMW-10 on 29th September 2012 effectively killing any lingering need I felt to own the Arms Micron Soundwave. This is the first version of the toy I actually owned and the one I've used to write this review. But it won't be the last.....
Note, while we are on the subject of the September AMW releases, the interesting tally between the Arms Micron numbers for the original toys and the Arms Micron Weapons numbers for their recolours:
Soundwave & Zori AM-09
Bulkhead & BH AM-10
BH B AMW-11
Arcee & Arc AM-11
Arc-S AMW 12
Since Zori also appears in AMW-14 it might have been nicer to drop his individual release and replace it with Zamu who's only individual release was as a limited edition (and now expensive to obtain Promo). Then each toy could have had the same Arms Micron Weapon number as it's original Arms Micron release!
one for the Autobots and one for the Decepticons. The Decepticon set consists of new recoloured versions of Gora II, one of AM-15 Darkness Megatron's Microns, Gul, AM-07 Starscream's Micron, & Ida, AM-18 Airachnid's Micron, Noji, AM-14 Vehicon's Micron
and a new version of Zori making Zori the only Micron (so far) to appear in two Arms Micron sets.
Both TakaraTomy's promotional images and the box for this toy show Zori in an off white colour so it was somewhat of a surprise to discover that the release version of Zori was cast in clear plastic. It's a fantastic choice because there are clear scorpions in nature: do a google search and you'll find some pictures.
Fab repaint, in fact this entire box looks tops.
Future RepaintsDespite Zori being the most repainted Decepticon Arms Micron with 4 variants there's room for a good few more. Green for Scorponok, black for Black Zarak/Beast Wars Scorponok. The idea of a Red Scorpion (google it) seems to be common without a lot of basis in nature so a red variant would be nice. And then translucent versions of all of the above would be nice - a clear red would be a homage to Botcon Japan Double Punch/
Either way there's room in my collection for more colour variants of this toy!