Hasbro loves its fans, anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Hailstorm is a high-quality toy which happens to also pay homage to a character from the comic books that even some of the hardest-core fans probably assumed Hasbro would never see as a toy. Inspired by Generation 2 Mindset, Hailstorm sets the stage for a new character in the movieverse while at the same time paving the way for his future repaint-- a Decepticon named Mindset with a new head and a new color scheme.
With his stumpy legs, kibbly head, and unusual transformation, this figure might look out of place on your "Classics" shelf. We bought one anyway.
Transformers vehicles generally have little articulation, but this one has four rolling wheels and a missile rack which can rotate or pivot up and down slightly. Due to obstructions from the vehicle, it can turn about 180 degrees and flip up to about 90 degrees. He also has these ugly bars hanging off his racks, and these allow certain weapons included with other toys (specifically Breacher and Darkmount) to be placed on the figure, as seen in the pictures at the top of the gallery below. I suppose it's a nice option-- from 2002 to about 2005, figures had big posts on them to connect Mini-Cons-- but it doesn't really enhance the toy, and these extra weapons are somewhat tough to come by as of now. It seems like a line-wide gimmick that Hasbro isn't really interested in fully supporting with something like, oh I don't know, a name.
All eight rockets do fire, but poorly-- these are the "marble shooter" variety and the unique setup of the toy prevents you from getting them to launch more than a few inches. Even though the firing mechanism is inadequate, it does prevent accidental launches which is good for any toy that's going to be sitting around, unless you like rockets that fire into your eye while you're trying to work.
As a robot, the figure's articulation is great in some places and in others, not as much. His knees bend both ways, he has amazing foot articulation, excellent hips, and a good range of movement on the head. Meanwhile the arms are a little weaker-- his hands move, and his shoulders move, but you can tell in the photo that it can be a little wonky or gorilla-like. These giant meathooks do give the figure a look of an enforcer or some sort of thug, which is a nice change of pace given that a lot of toys have human proportions.
The transformation is simple and fun, which is nice given some of the overly complicated toys requiring excessive force as of late. While short-- he's about the size of your average Scout-class figure-- he's got enough bulk and heft to warrant the higher price tag. Of course, Scouts have been creeping up to $9 while Deluxes were $10 at Target, so really, we're through the looking glass people. A repaint of Hailstorm named Mindset has a new head sculpt and a blue paint job, but is essentially the same basic toy. Get whatever tickles your fancy, but if you like Transformers be sure to get one of the two because it's a fairly nice toy.
Oh, and before I go I should note that his hands can't hold your average weapons. If you wanted to give hum Cyclonus' Targetmaster buddy, Sideswipe's gun, or G2 Laser Prime's sword, it's not going to be a good fit. Since he has no need for firearms, it's safe to assume that his fists are registered as deadly weapons in Iacon.
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