Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Generations Legends Tailgate with Groundbuster

Generations Legends Tailgate with Groundbuster

Tailgate originally started out as a repaint of Windcharger. Unfortunately till now neither of Windcharger's subsequent versions (Alternators and Reveal The Shield) resulted in a new Tailgate. The only new Tailgate that there's been since 1986 is The Prime Cyberverse Legion, a repaint of Cliffjumper. However in recent years Tailgate has become a popular character in the More Than Meets The Eye comic so we now have a new Legends version.

As usual for Transformers toys these days he comes packed in robot mode. I'm still sticking to my ancient review style of looking at the vehicle first so we've got to transform him: Fold each foot back and rotate each leg in 90 degrees at the knee. Rotate the thigh pads so the wheels face back. Fold the back panel down. Swing the legs out to the sides and fold the waist back to form the rear of the car. Straighten the arms and then rotate the forearms in at the elbow so the fist holes face inwards. Swing the shoulders up above the head so the shoulder halves lock together forming the front of the car and the arms lock into the back panel as the doors. Fold the legs under the car: the thigh panel should tab into the back panel & doors while a groove in the foot should lock into the inside of the doors.

The thing that strikes me about the transformation is that both limbs need rotating round a ball joint something you don't see happen too often!

Tailgate's vehicle mode is a white car designed to look broadly similar to, but not exactly the same as, his original Trans Am form. The rear of the car has an large exhaust arrangement made from the waist of the robot. The white of the car body is broken by the grey of his windows and some cyan blue flames on his bonnet, a detail inherited from his recent Transformers Prime Cyberverse Legion version. I'm not keen on them. Any ideas on how to remove them without harming the rest of the toy? They panels they're on are just the shoulders so I could easily pop them off their ball joints and soak them in something without harming the rest of the toy. On the central panel of the bonnet is a small cyan blue Autobot symbol and a 5mm socket which can be used for mounting his companion Groundbuster.

I've seen people say that Groundbuster is loosely modelled on Micromaster Neutro but I think 2003's Japanese Crush-Bull is a better colour match, both being blueish bulldozers. Transformation to robot mode is easy: stand on his rear with the underside facing forward and raise the treads as arms. The arms are moulded inside the treads but don't take up all the space and when swung up the treads look too big as arms: maybe having the arms as a cut section of the treads would have worked better. There's a hole on the inside of each arm at about the level of an elbow but annoyingly it's slightly too small for a 3mm Cyberverse peg.

Groundbuster's weapons mode if formed by folding the top of the bulldozer forward and folding a 5mm peg down from the back of the vehicle to form a grabbing claw thing. I'll be charitable and say it looks like a piece of bomb disposal equipment, maybe a small nod to Tailgate's supposed function in the More Than Meets the Eye comics. It can be hand held or mounted on Tailgate's bonnet using the 5mm peg hole but, to be honest, it's the most useless companion weapon yet in the Generations Legends series.

Just for a laugh I tried putting my clear blue Feral Rex FOC Grimlock "Frost" blaster on the front of the toy: he looks quite fun with a giant cannon!

Really the only negative comment More Than Meets The Eye fans might have about the vehicle mode is it is a traditional Tailgate Earth vehicle mode rather than his Cybertronian one seen in the comic.

Transform back to robot mode: remove the weapon, pop the legs out from under the car. Fold the sides of the car out and down to form the arms. Rotate the lower arms outwards. Fold the back panel up. Fold the waist up into place. Fold the feet down and rotate the legs in at the knees. Swing the thigh panels round so the wheels face front.

Tailgate's robot mode is definitely Tailgate but it's not quite his original robot mode and it's not quite his comic robot mode, as seen on the MTMTE#12 cover, either. We'll start with the head, which is the MTMTE version in white as opposed to the silver of the original toy. This had worried me in the pictures before I got the toy as it seemed to merge with the white panel behind it. That's not the case when you see the toy in the plastic with it being distinct from the reverse of the back panel, actually the underside of the car's front window. In fact there's moulded detail on the panel that's been completely hidden in all the photos I've seen. The shoulder lack the pointedness of the original car and the comic versions having wide flat tops formed from the front of the car. We've got the front wheels on the sides of the shoulders as per both versions. The chest is a pale blue like the comic, but the waist is grey and has the odd looking exhaust pipes sticking up from it in a vaguely suggestive manner. The upper legs are grey, reminiscent of the thin silver chrome legs on the original toy, but with the rear of the car sides hanging off them. This doesn't quite work for me, I prefer MTMTE's bulky white thighs with the wheels on the side. Aesthetically I prefer the robot with the car sides reversed so the wheels face backwards. The lower legs and feet are a close match for the MTMTE version, except the lower legs are blue here and not white. Note the sloped ridges on the front of his legs, reminiscent of the slatted rear windscreen of his original vehicle that formed the lower legs on the original robot.

Articulation: ankles bend forwards and back, and he's got ball joints at the knees, hips, shoulders, which also shrug at the body, and elbows. No head rotation sadly..

Tailgate's had a rough ride at the hands of some fans who are decrying it as the worst of the Generations Legends, usually without being clear why. I like it. A Lot. It's definitely Tailgate in both modes despite the robot's deviation from the MTMTE character model. The articulation is good, bar the head, and the transformation does something interesting with the ball joints that you don't see too often.

Good toy. Another hit for Generations Legends line.

Possible Repaints

The obvious way to go here is a repaint, and remould, as Windcharger, his G1 anticendant. alternately break out the all black repaint as Wipe Out, a Japanese Transformers United toy which I discover was Trypticon's minion in Marvel Transformers US #27/UK #111 & 112.

Then of course there's a whole world of Mexican Minibot repaints......

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