Saturday, 9 April 2011

UN-20 United Rumble & Frenzy and Reveal The Shield Demolition Rumble

Transformers United Rumble & Frenzy

Since the original Rumble and Frenzy are repaints of each other, the mold being a repurposed Microchange toy that was sold previously in both colour variants, we readily accept that you can do one as the repaint of the other. However I'm struggling to think of many other occasions that two toys made from the same mould were packed together. Build Typhoon and Build Cyclone are heavy remoulds of each other that featured in the Car Robots Build King boxset, and similarly there's two of each limb type in boxsets of the Superlink combiners (Bruticus, Buildron and Superion) and their later western repaints for Classics & Universe 2/Revenge of the Fallen. Robotmasters Skywarp and Thundercracker are packaged together, but are repaints of Starscream which was previously available.

Rumble and Frenzy come in robot mode so we'll start by transforming them into their vehicle mode. Remove the weapons. Fold each arm down to the sides. Fold the chest plate up past the head. Straighten the legs, peg them together and fold the waist up 90 degrees till it won't move any further forward. Fold the feet forward 90 degrees and then fold the heel spurs into the feet. Fold the legs up a further 90 degrees plugging the tabs in the feet into the slots on the underside of the folded back chest plate. Fold the pile drivers, under each arm, up on to the top of each shoulder. Swing the arm round 90 degrees at the bicep and retract the ends of the pile drivers. Fold each forearm and wrist in, pegging the underside of each hand together, drawing the arms in to form the sides of the tank and slipping a tab on the end of the combined hands into a tab under the back of the tank. Clip the guns into each side of the tank turret.

You usually associate Rumble & Frenzy with being tapes, but if they had to be a vehicle I suppose a tank is a good one allowing them to incorporate the weapons from robot mode and giving them a base reminiscent of the shape of the cassettes they used to be. The tank mode is a dual barrelled anti aircraft vehicle similar to those used for Energon Blight/Kickback. I've heard it suggested that they might be either a Japanese Type-87 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun or a Russian Zsu or 9K22 Tunguska

It's Transformers Tank Test Time!

Does the turret turn ? Yes a full 360 degrees plus the gun & grenade launcher unit on the front of the turret swings out to each side.

Do the guns elevate? Yes, courtesy of the ball joint that each C-clip is attached to, they both elevate independently.

100% pass!

Having the silver painted gun barrels attached by c-clips gives you the option of customising the tank's weaponry. From my stack of C-clip weapons I think (unsurprisingly) Darkmount(Straxus) has the best weapons to lend to these two but as ever Tomahawk's missile launchers work well while the Rumble/Frenzy guns look good attached to Tomahawk's wing tips. There's an additional 3mm bar behind the turret to add weapons onto plus each a bar on the side of the base of each gun barrel. The side gun barrels themselves can be used as 3mm bars albeit that any attached weapon will be a little loose and the same is true for the grenade launchers and small central gun barrel. There are a pair of genuine 3mm bars hidden under the back of the tank but these aren't wonderfully accessible. As ever the tracks are moulded stationary with movement provided by wheels embedded in the tracks. Colourwise this mode is mainly black for Rumble and dark blue for Frenzy with some red/light blue respectively and silver paint applied to the gun barrels and some panelling. A close examination of the tank reveals the familiar tape robot chest forming the back of the tank body.

Now we need to transform his back to a robot. Pull the hands out of the back of the tank and fold the tank treads out to the sides. Fold the legs & waist down. Fold the feet down and the heel spurs out. Fold the rear of the tank down over the robot's head to form the chest. Push the arms up at the shoulders - his right shoulder on my Rumble is difficult to lock into place, but my Frenzy is fine. Fold the tank treads sticking out the top of the arms back. Fold the tank treads sticking out the front of the arm out to the sides. Point the gun barrels on the back up.

The original Rumble & Frenzy have several distinguishing features: their small cube like heads, tape like chest, monochromatic colour scheme and weapons that can be mounted either on the back or arms. The new scout design includes all of these. The head is a mix of the original and the cartoon heads, which were quite similar to start with. The chest is a similar design too with the tape holes on each side and lines crossing the chest between them. As for the colours, the following are used on each toy, which are a pretty good match to the originals:

Upper Legs, Shoulders & Turret Base*RedBlue
Lower Limbs, Chest & Head*RedBlue
Tank Treads, Elbows & WaistBlackDark Blue

* The colours on these pieces are subtly different.
The RTS version bellow shows these are different sprues.

As transformed the gun barrels end up on the robot's back reminding you of the back mounted guns the original have. As we mentioned above the gun barrels are attached with C-clips so they can easily be removed and clipped onto the 3mm bars on the back of each arm's hand making them resemble the arm mounted weapons of the original tape robots. The bar on the back of the turret is now behind the robot's head so you can use that for mounting extra weapons.

Articulation is good: the foot bends in the middle, the ankle bends forward, knee, hip, neck & shoulder joints are all ball joints, there's a bicep swivel, the elbow bend as does the wrists. The waist bends in the middle as part of the transformation and that may or may not be of use to you here.

Rumble and Frenzy were, in the cartoon, known for turning their arms into pile drivers, an ability probably sourced from Rumble's tech spec where he can produce Earthquakes via a completely different means. However the pile driver gimmick, previously seen on Alternators Rumble, now makes it way onto both Rumble & Frenzy. A small amount of transformation is involved: fold the tank tread, hanging off the back of the shoulder, up onto the top of the shoulder. Straighten the arms and then swing each arm through 180 degrees do that the robot arm points up. Bend the elbow and the wrist on the robot arms so they're hidden behind what is now his shoulder. The pile drivers that are now hang down from the shoulders are functional: press the silver panel in the side of the arm to deploy the pile driver in a punching action.

I like this pair of toys: they're obviously who they're meant to be, they incorporate a gimmick, the figures aren't bad, the vehicles, while small, work well and there's good use of the C-Clip system. I was a little unsure at paying Japanese Voyager price for 2 scouts (£30 after postage and a narrow escape from a CUTA action) but that's looking like a very good buy: reported as being sold out on the day of release, I've seen the Rumble & Frenzy set, a mere two weeks later, going for TWICE that on eBay. Why? See Reveal The Shield Rumble bellow.

Frenzy & Rumble were released as UN-20 on Friday 24th March in Japan, along with Scourge, Wheeljack and "Generation 2" Optimus Prime.

Reveal The Shield Demolition Rumble

Rumble is Red, Frenzy is Blue. I don't think you can argue this from a toy point of view: look at the original Rumble & Frenzy and you'll see that's true. Frenzy's only subsequent toy releases are a reuse of the name as a purple G2 Gobot and a drone in the Bayverse movies. Rumble meanwhile reinforces the argument by being consistently Red (and black) as Alternators Rumble and Robot Heroes Rumble. The argument's sole weak point comes from the 1980s cartoon which, due to production errors, consistently colours Rumble as blue and Frenzy, when he appears, as red. Unfortunately since the Cartoon was watched by a lot of fans, especially in the USA, an incurable schism has emerged in Transformers fandom on this matter. As a UK fan brought up on the toys (where Rumble is Red) and comics (where Rumble is Red) who hardly ever saw the cartoon, I'm firmly on the "Rumble is Red" side of the argument.

Having seen that a United version of Rumble & Frenzy was to be released it was inevitable a Hasbro version would follow. And sure enough pictures of Demolition Rumble emerged showing a blue toy, and all but confirming that there's a cartoon fan working on the Hasbro toy range at the moment (see also: RTS Jazz's speakers & Generations Wheeljack's single shoulder missile). I'll repeat the table from above with a new column:

Reveal The Shield
Demolition Rumble
Upper Legs, Shoulders & Turret BaseRedBlueLight Blue
Lower Limbs, Chest & HeadRedBlueDark Blue/Purple
Tank Treads, Elbows & WaistBlackLight BlueBlack

(Compare United Frenzy & RTS Demolition Rumble here and here)

In addition the guns, previously silver in Japan, are now painted gold. To me this further points towards the toy actually being Frenzy rather than Rumble. Frenzy was initially sold with Laserbeak in 1984 where both toys were packed with silver weapons, but in 1986 he was repacked with Ratbat where both toys had gold weapons. Rumble is not known to have a gold weapons variation.

All in all a bit of a mess on the naming front for Hasbro, although the toy looks a good Frenzy.

The plan was that Demolition Rumble was to ship in the second Reveal The Shield scout wave with Bodyblock, a repaint of Breacher & Downshift, a repaint of Hubcap, along with repacks of Windcharger & Chopsaw. Unfortunately the Reveal the Shield Scout line was cancelled in the USA before Wave 1, which introduced Windcharger, made it to mass retail. The cancellation seems to be down to Hasbro trying to squeeze too much new product in before the launch of the Dark of the Moon line in May. RTS Scout Wave 1 has shipped to the UK, leading to an unfamiliar situation with US fans trying to get UK fans to buy product for them instead of the other way round. RTS Scout Wave 2 hasn't been seen in the UK yet, in fact it's only appearance is in>these photos taken in China from which we know carded samples exist. My advice, if you should see any of these, is to buy them on sight! So the lack of a Hasbro Rumble has sent the fans scurrying for the Takara one causing the price to rocket!