Hasbro Transformers The Last Knight Premier Edition Autobot Sqweeks Hasbro, 2017
Day #1,760: August 2, 2017
Autobot Sqweeks Autobot Amigo
Transformers The Last Knight Premier Edition Deluxe
Item No.: Asst. C0887 No. C2403 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Removable handlebar hands, robot arm, blaster, trailer Action Feature:Transforms from Robot to Vespa (not Vespa) and trailer Retail:$19.99 Availability:May June 2017 Other: Cute, small
From The Last Knight comes Autobot Sqweeks, an unusual toy in that a roughly Legends-level figure gets plussed up with a massive cache of gear (relatively speaking) to sell for roughly twice what a fair price might otherwise be - thankfully the gear makes up the difference. Strangely, the movie prop I saw at Toy Fair was clearly a Vespa with Vespa markings - the toy has no such markings, nor does the toy packaging. Sqweeks is short, but the added dusty paint job and gear make it an intriguing (if not necessarily A+) toy.
Given the robot's distinctive shape, I don't know how to even really define articulation. The head swivels, but is restricted. There are no legs, but one of the wheels has a joint to rotate it a bit. Each arm has a place at the shoulder to rotate, and another to bend, plus the handlebar "hands" swivel. It's very much not a traditional Autobot, which is arguably a worthwhile experiment. If anything, it's a lot like Fixit [FOTD #1,481] but at a much higher price with more stuff. And a different alt mode. But they're clearly cousins.
The deco is nifty as Hasbro opted to give the pale blue a little something extra to be interesting. The 3 1/2-inch robot may lack many of the trappings of a typical toy, but Hasbro gave him a few painted silver details like around the eyes and the voice box. There is also a level of painted grime, a quasi-dusty wipe on various parts of the figure. This is tough to pull off well, and while I'm glad Hasbro tried it, I also wouldn't have minded if it were totally clean. It compliments the rusted-out hole in his head nicely, but since most of the toy looks new - because it is new - it's a tough look to pull off. On action figures, it's not weird to see a clean armored trooper with a scuff or a dent. On a figure that's supposed to be a rusty pile of junk, it could probably have used some more grime or just gone totally clean. I'm glad Hasbro tried it - other than a few Shattered Glass Optimus Primes and a black splotch here and there on other figures, this kind of elemental aging is an uncommon thing on these figures.
With few moving parts, most of the action is in his trailer. It pops open to make something sort of like Optimus Prime's battle stage from 1984, with a claw arm, a toolbox (in which you can store parts), and a repair bay. It's fun from a kid perspective, but as an adult I assume it won't play in the movie much. If you've got a lot of smaller toys, you'll probably have a little bit of fun posing them in the bay before trying to find somewhere out-of-the-way to store it and then forget where it goes. The sculpting is great, the deco is good, and there are a lot of painted bits and pieces that bring it to life. Visually, it's more exciting than Sqweeks himself. Strangely it has dirt inside the station, so it looks a little greased up. It also serves as a backpack for Sqweeks, although it's a little funky.
Transformation is surprising. The trailer is really simple, with everything folding in easily and a clean order of operations being required to tab everything in to position. You won't need the instructions. It's worth noting that the red box has 3 5mm ports on it so you can plug in various accessories, including his blaster. The blaster can also be put in the ridiculous right arm, which itself - along with the handle bars - can be stored in the box.
Squeeks proper is a strange one. You have to pull out his handlebar hands - the ones in his head can stay - and move all sorts of parts and panels around to get things in to position. The head has a ton of joints on the inside to split it apart in order to cram it inside the back of the scooter's seat - clever! Also weird. I assume the movie model doesn't work quite this way. Everything does connect together with tabs and slots, but I should note it's tricky. It's unlike a lot of other toys I've bought, so kudos to Hasbro/Takara/Tomy or whoever the new hire was that tried to do something different here. Or if it's an old guy, good job. The only thing here that bugs me is that we haven't had "partsformers" in years. That is to say, the 1980s-style toys with fists that could be lost like Starscream or Optimus Prime, I assumed this was a feature long since removed other than combiner toys. While the transformation is fun and interesting, these parts are going to be lost forever to the vacuum and Goodwills will no doubt be the final resting place of many dismembered Sqweeks toys.
The scooter has a hitch to hook up the trailer, and let me tell you it doesn't want to connect. You have to use a lot of force to get the ball in the socket, but once you do it holds together nicely. There's no place inside the trailer to store his gun, so you must mount it on the trailer or set it aside to potentially get lost. The wheels all turn nicely and it looks like a prize somebody won on The Price Is Right or Let's Make a Deal 40 or more years ago. I wish I had one. It's not in scale with the rest of the line, being size almost properly for a 3 3/4-inch action figure. I don't believe Hasbro used any particular scooter, but the box does have Mercedes-Benz disclaimer in the fine print. I don't know why. There's an Autobot logo on the side of the scooter, and I love that. Almost as prominent is the SKU for the item, and I hate that. Hasbro has been doing this on a few of its figure lines for years, sometimes making them subtle like on the back of the foot or under a skirt, but sometimes it's front-and-center. I've seen a Littlest Pet Shop toy where it's on the face. A Spider-Man has it on the front of the thigh. This is most likely the factory's decision, and those factories really need a good talking-to. This is something that could be easily placed somewhere less obvious, and what's worse the manufacturing date stamp [70741, or March 15, 2017) is carved right under it. Again, I hate that - they could have put it under the robot mode's cap/helmet, and you'd never notice. They could put it under the hood of the trailer, and odds are it wouldn't be visible on a shelf or display. Placing manufacturing or administrative details in plain view will most likely cause kids to wonder why they're there, ruining the fantasy and for the more obsessive of us, inspiring low-level rage at the toy being defaced.
When I got an early look at the then-not-named (as far as I knew) Sqweeks, I thought "awesome, gimme." A Vespa Autobot? Sold. The final model lacks the Vespa body and branding, but the spirit is there. It's weird, rotund, and cute. If I didn't know better I'd assume it to be a replacement for Bumblebee for younger kids, and since I probably won't end up seeing The Last Knight I may never know if that is indeed the storyline. The adult collector in me digs it for being something different and weird. The concerned man child dislikes the easily lost pieces. I also hesitate to say its a spectacular value - each of the halves feel like a $10 piece, but it doesn't feel like a $20 toy. (That may not make sense, but trust me, after the night I just had, it's as cohesive as I can get.) On sale or at a discount, you simply must try this toy out. At full price or a mark-up, it's probably worth a look as long as it's not too expensive. I'm enjoying futzing with it a lot, mostly because it actually does more and better things than his siblings in this line (and most others). Hasbro actually put more in to Sqweeks beyond "can transform and is cute," and they deserve a massive pat on the back for that. On one hand I wish it were just a $10 figure without the trailer, but the trailer is what will make it memorable for kids and collectors for years to come. The lost pieces will be the stuff of legends.
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