Takara-Tomy Transformers United Rumble & Frenzy Takara-Tomy, 2011
Day #1,207: June 19, 2015
Rumble & Frenzy Decepticon Demolitions
Transformers United UN-20
Item No.: No. 205020 Manufacturer:Takara-Tomy Includes:2 transforming figures with 2 clip-on guns each Action Feature:Changes from Robot to Tank Retail:3,780 yen (or $40-$60) Availability: March 2011 Other: Molds originally skipped over for US release
Some molds come out and a few don't. Hasbro.com posted a picture of a Transformers Reveal the Shield toy for 2011 called "Demolition Rumble," a blue Scout-class tank that (along with a couple of others) never made it out. One of the rumblings (hee hee) out of Hasbro was that the increasing costs of manufacturing caught up with the entire toy line, which makes a lot of sense. In the USA, a single Rumble would be about $7-$9, but the Japanese Rumble & Frenzy was closer to $40, or the price of a Japanese Voyager-class toy. At the time it's possible that a two-pack at a higher price might not have sat well with fans, but a few things (some of which have yet to be discussed) from that era just got swept under the rug - repaints got lost, marketing plans went unused, and you can thank the Unicron-shaped event on the horizon that is a new Transformers movie for at least some of the sudden change in the line. "Classic" toys disappeared in the USA, meaning if you wanted these you needed to pre-order the Japanese versions - and if you didn't, they got expensive, and you had to wait a few years to get them like I did.
The Transformers Collectors Club used the mold to make Eject and Rewind toys, but these molds with these heads are (as of today) unavailable in the USA. I waited until May of this year for the price to get to a level I was willing to pay, which is still a lot more expensive than it needed to be. They're larger (and about as complex) than the Masterpiece versions of these characters, so the similarity in pricing stings a tiny bit. You're paying 2015 deluxe prices - or higher - for smaller-than-average 2010 and 2011 Scout toys. And they're OK - not great, but not as good as some of the others.
Each 4-inch tall robot is sized pretty well for most of your "Classic" toys - the Classics, Universe, United, Generations, Henkei, match them nicely. Each figure is the same mold with (surprisingly) the same paint job. The colors are applied to a blue figure and a red figure, and it seems like the packaging does its best to not necessarily clearly label which if Frenzy and which is Rumble. Old-school fans will remember Rumble is blue on the cartoon, but the toy was red - so feel free to argue to your heart's content.
Each figure has roughly 16 points of useful articulation and they're mostly a little stiff. The head's range of movement is a little jerky, and each limb feels a little stiff and chunky. I've heard some people say the legs are loose and pop off, but I haven't had this problem as of yet. The hands can't actually hold anything, but there are 3mm rods to use the c-joint clamps if you're so inclined - two silver guns are included for each figure. They also work on the figure's back, and you can use other guns if you have them. This is a nifty gimmick which more or less faded away, unlike the 5mm pegs and Mini-Con ports which we've had pretty regularly for quite some time.
These figures feel a lot more complicated than their siblings of the era, in that each has an overly bulky arm with a spring-loaded pile driver on it. You can flip the arm over, fold down the hand, and fold down the pylons - hit the silver button, and it slams down. It's a nifty action feature and fun to play with, but no doubt added to the cost of each figure to a point where Hasbro said "nevermind." The extra limb part - when not in use - hangs impotently off the back of the figure, making it look really odd if viewed from an angle.. If you view it head-on, though, it seems totally fine.
Transformation is not terribly complex, but some bits are a little stiff or weird. For example, you'll probably accidentally activate the pile drivers a few times, and rotating those silver c-clamp guns around is a tough maneuver. Everything fits together pretty nicely, and the end result is a new Cybertronian tank with a rotating turret on it rotating turret, which is pretty cool. The wheels roll under the treads fairly well, and what you have here is a decent little pair of toys. It's not as fun or simple as the others at this scale, but if you like the idea of a Deluxe toy crammed into a Scout size, you might dig this.
Without a companion Classics Soundwave still - which surprises me after nearly 9 years of "classics" - these little guys will stand on their own with Ravage (from Hound) and Overkill (from HasbroToyShop.com). The cassettes are memorable toys and the whole concept of "deployers" makes old fans salivate, but these are not those - and given the price of this import set, American fans would no doubt be best served by having bought the Masterpiece set which got you 5 tapes and a Leader-sized Soundwave for a little over $100. Still, I couldn't keep away from this set and if you can get it for $40-$50, and you're curious, it's arguably worth the asking price. More than that, and you're probably better off getting the Masterpiece toys or waiting for the next inevitable update from Hasbro.
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