The Transformers toy line is loaded with fun trivia. It's the Soviet Union of toy lines - a bunch of disparate toy lines were slapped with the logo and put in a line, even though the 1980s toy for Autobot Whirl was made by another company - as was Roadbuster. And many others. The funny thing is that they looked more than a little different than their G1 cousins, and the modern 2014 Whirl looks like it came from another era.
This toy is completely alien to the other toys sold in stores now. The spindly robot has bizarre, thin limbs with very stiff joints. He has no hands, but rather claws with 5mm ports under them. He has an opening canopy on his chest, and a sticker sheet. The sticker sheet I have an issue with, as most Hasbro toys have stickers and instructions that don't quite mesh - the sticker doesn't fit where the instructions say, or it's mislabeled, or the shapes are flat-out wrong. If you've collected G.I. Joe since 2007, you're no doubt painfully aware of how many vehicles come with woefully poor stickers that just won't fit without trimming - or won't fit at all. For a kid's toy, this kind of thing is morally wrong. Thankfully, Whirl is basically impossible to find so there's no chance a kid might accidentally get it. I had to consult a couple of photo galleries in addition to the instructions, plus a G1 toy gallery, to figure out what would be pleasing as the instructions were flat-out unhelpful in spots. The real best solution is to dump the labels entirely, but I digress.
With chicken legs, skinny arms, and double-jointed elbows there are plenty of places that the toy could snap if you aren't careful - so be careful. The geared pincer hands are a delight to play with, and the antenna on his head is articulated - if you lower it, it causes the light-up eye port to be blocked. It's an utterly bizarre looking toy that barely fits in with your other modern Transformers - it looks more like a G1 update than the IDW incarnation of the character, too. We get an awful lot of Whirl toys, but this one is unique in that he has his own mold... complete with terribly worthless transparent stickers for his Autobot symbols.
Guns clamp all over the figure, if you're so inclined. Changing it from robot to vehicle is relatively painless, just be careful around those leg joints - it feels like it's going to break, and some samples have indeed snapped. Don't let this happen to you... and for crying out loud, don't let your kids play with this one. Things fold more or less as you might expect, but given a few geared steps I would advise consulting the instructions the first time to avoid heartbreak - it's not like Rhinox or Sandstorm.
As a chopper, it's OK. Sticker application remains a pain in the neck, but with no guns attached it sits on the table nicely and the blades spin with few problems. Considering its strong similarity to the original 1980s Takatoku Toys design there may be an opportunity for yet another Whirl based on the IDW designs, maybe, if Hasbro felt like it. There's not a lot to the toy beyond spinning the blades and attaching the guns, but I don't doubt that's what a lot of collectors want.
Assuming you can get this figure at or near the $20-$25 target retail price, do so - you'll be glad you did. I have only just started to see it in American stores myself, but I caved and ordered it at an online retailer about a month ago. Just keep an eye out, and if you see it don't dawdle - just buy it. It's certainly unlike any other modern-era Autobot or Decepticon I've purchased.
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