Time is an amazing thing. If you talked to me in late 2009, I would tell you the best Transformers toy in the "classics" theme was the late 2008/early 2009 Transformers UniverseCyclonus. Bringing back the Targetmaster concept with a fantastic accessory sculpt and a really great design, Hasbro brought Galvatron's chief stooge from the latter-day Generation 1 stories to life with a freaking fantastic sculpt with lots of purple and pretty good articulation. The one weird thing: the grey plastic. It didn't quite fit in with the original cartoon design, plus it absorbed the light in a funny way around the face, sucking in some of the detail much like the original 2006 Classics Starscream. Still, its range of movement and overall design was second to none around that time, but a repaint in better colors made this toy show its age real quick. The cheaper (and easier to find) 2010 2-pack release is arguably a better version of the toy, but if you want Cyclonus and his armada you might want to go ahead and get both.
Takaratomy released this same mold in its HenKei line around the same time, with a more cartoon-accurate deco than the original US Hasbro release, but not as good as the one we saw in 2010. Perfectionists would probably rate this Hasbro release at the bottom of the pile, although I will say it still has its place. (I had originally hoped to buy a bunch of them on clearance just to steal his Targetmaster partner for my other toys.) Cyclonus' striking appearance is somewhat similar to the original toy, I guess, but the newer versions are so much prettier in appearance that I don't think I'd ever suggest anyone get the original release as a priority.
His red eyes glow nicely given a proper light source, bringing life to an otherwise bland face. The sculpt is actually quite nice, but certain colors of plastic-- quite often bright colors and greys-- tend to do a good job at making it tough to see some of the facial features. (Painting it usually fixes this, as can be seen on the rereleases.) Also, the silver Decepticon logo may float your boat, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the rubsign or a purple painted symbol. It stands out better than either of those, but sometimes old school wins out simply because it's familiar and not necessarily as mind-blowingly striking as the silver one. Depending on how you want to count, this 6 1/4-inch figure has north of 13 points of articulation.
The toy is fundamentally the same as the newer release, with the same transformation to a neat Cybertronian space vehicle and the swell Nightstick Targetmaster gun-to-robot accessory. Just the little gun guy is enough reason to run out and get some version of this mold- Cyclonus is great, but there were too few good gun Mini-Cons throughout the run of Transformers Armada and its successors. If I could buy a sack of these in different colors, I absolutely would.
If you like this mold as much as I do, take note, there are tons of releases. There's this one, the HenKei Japan release with metallic wings, the China Universe release, the Reveal the Shield 2-pack release, the Transformers Collectors Club Shattered Glass release, and another Japan-only repaint as the Autobot character Strafe. It's too bad Scourge isn't getting that kind of attention, you could use an army of that one. In early 2011, Japan got a clear purple version in a 3-pack with Galvatron and Scourge. There's one more special version: the pre-release photography showed a slightly different production deco with more grey plastic, which shows up on the nosecone of the vehicle mode and the Targetmaster Nightstick figure. Few (if any) actually shipped to US stores with this variant, which was famously shown in official Hasbro product photography. I've seen a few in private collections, so some definitely got out somehow.
Since this is one of Hasbro's finest takes on a movie/season 3 character, I'd say you owe it to yourself to get one of the versions of the mold-- I'd go with the Reveal the Shield 2-pack with Rodimus if I were you, due to its price and availability, but any of them are pretty nice.
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