Cosmos hasn't had much love over the years: a 2007 classics version never got passed the design stage and A Titanium Series toy with the same design got cancelled after being prototyped, with just the very rare 2009 Legends Toy being made in homage to the original. So news of a new Legends version was welcomed.
He comes packaged in robot mode so some transformation is first necessary to see the vehicle: Fold each arm forward at the elbow and back at the shoulder to create parts of the saucer ring. Fold the lower ankle joint back and the upper ankle joint forward to form two more parts of the saucer. Rotate the saucer halves made from the lower legs in so they face each other. Fold his back panel up then rotate the waist through 180 degrees. Fold the waist forward. Fold the arm halves under the shoulders and push his hands together behind his back to form the rear of the saucer ring. Click the robot back panel into the indentation on the rear of the saucer. Fold the lower leg saucer halves back so they cover the upper legs and form the front of the saucer. Then, and be forewarned that undoing this step is difficult and I'll be ranting about it later, push the head into the robot's body to form the top of the saucer.
It's Cosmos' saucer mode, just larger, flatter, with a tail find, engines and two pipes sticking out the front that might be guns. It's good, it does the job of updating the original, but it somehow doesn't quite feel like it fits together right. It might be something I'm doing but no attempt at transforming it quite gets it right. Another obvious problem is, that unlike the other five legends, there's no obvious point to mount his companion's weapons mode.
Cosmos comes with Payload, a white robot. His articulation is limited to arms that turn at the shoulders.
Payload transforms by lying him on his front and folding his wing pack forward. Very simple, but effective. Instead of the normal three engine, one tail upright fin configuration you see on real life shuttles you get two engines and two diagonal tail fins. The two engines exactly match the size and spacing of the pipes on the front of Cosmos allowing the two space ship modes to dock together.
The name Payload has been used for various Minicons, two of which were in Space Teams, and the pilot of the GI Joe space shuttle so there's existing space naming connotations there, but this is the first time it's been used on a Transformer Space Shuttle, which is what he turns into. There's evidence that wasn't always his name as web pages initially labelled the smaller toy as Blast Master, a name previously used for one half of the Autobot Micromaster Combiner Space Shuttle.
Payload has a third, weapons mode: fold the shuttle wings back and fold a yellow peg, the only piece of plastic tooling he shares with Cosmos, down. Payload's weapon is a blaster using the shuttle's twin engines as it's double barrels. But to use it you need to put Cosmos back into robot mode and that way terror and trauma lies....
Separate the front of the saucer, pulling out to the side and then fold inward. Turn each saucer part so the edge faces down, then bend the end forward to form the feet. Fold the rear part of the saucer out and up to form the arms. Swing them down to the sides and fold the ends out to form the lower arms. Swing the waist under the body and rotate 180 degrees. Fold the back panel down.
Then try to raise the head.
And get very, Very, VERY frustrated!
I know how this is designed to work: there's a slot in the back of the head, and a gap behind the head when it's pushed down. You're meant to be able to read into the gap and lever the head up. But you can't, it's too stiff to come up with that little purchase. In the end I got a pair of long nosed pliers and, after slightly scratching the red paint work, managed to pull it up. But it's disinclined me from pushing the head down again.
By scratching the paint on the head I've revealed it to be the same white plastic as the neck, both of which are obviously from the mould sprues used for Payload. The neck piece in particular really sticks out: Surely it would have made more sense to cast it from the same green as the body? Or even make it yellow like the limbs? The edges of this one white piece sticking out looks very odd. And while there's no read plastic used maybe the head should have been made of the yellow, as per Cosmos' upper limbs, and painted red, instead of painting the white red and then adding a painted yellow face?
But apart from that moan I love the Cosmos robot. He's got the same chunky heft that Swerve has giving him a superior feel to the earlier 30th anniversary Legends. His articulation is top notch for the size: two ankle joints, ball jointed knees & hips, turning waist & hips, up & down motion at an inner shoulder joint, a ball joint outer shoulder and then a forwards & back movement under the shoulder as part of the TF and ball jointed elbows. 5mm peg hole hands complete the robot mode allowing him to hold Payload's weapon.
Make no mistake this is a top toy, especially in robot mode which produce the best Cosmos robot yet seen. It's far better than the previous 30th anniversary Legends. But the "not quite togetherness" of the saucer mode, the problems raising the head and the plastic colour of the neck take it down a notch from the shear perfection of Swerve.