Hasbro Transformers Studio Series 86 Perceptor Hasbro, 2022
Day #2,423: May 24, 2022
Perceptor Transformers - Studio Series 86 #11
Transformers Studio Series 86 Deluxe Class Toy
Item No.: Asst. E0702 No. F3164 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Backdrop, blater Action Feature:Transforms from microscope to robot Retail:$22.99 Availability: February 2022 Other: Bigger, cartoony
Hasbro's Studio Series 86, line runs the gamut, from the definitive take on a character like Hot Rod to what I assume is just another evolutionary step like King Starscream. (It's good, but that ain't cartoon Starscream.) This Perceptor figure does a good job of capturing the cartoon character's personality, but it doesn't really have a "wow" factor like Wreck-Gar or Hot Rod. It's good - heck, in and of itself it's very good - but the softer details and softer plastic can't compare to some of the other pieces in this line. It's no mini Masterpiece, is what I'm saying.
He's big, red, and blue - but he's also kind of weird. The parts that were originally chrome silver are now sort of a cream gray color and I just don't love it. The blues seem faded, not vibrant like on the renders or on the packaging. I assume this may be a factory error or some 11th hour change that didn't quite get the kind of scrutiny it needed. The old animation models are good, but literally translating them to plastic means you might get something like lots of yellow on your dinobots rather than gold - and who wants that? In this case they did go more literal, and the results give you what you asked for - but not what you likely wanted.
Unquestionably, this looks like Perceptor. He's got the microscope parts right there on his shoulder and arms! You can't miss them. The head has the same basic shape, but the personality isn't quite right. Paying $23 for a Transformers toy with ball joints just plain feels wrong given most seem to have multiple hinges and swivels, but it doesn't look bad. It's just a bit cheaper. All the joints are sturdy, all the panels are smooth, and the figure looks like it was likely built to be as literal a recreation of the cartoon model as possible, not taking into account that some elements are compromised to make things work for animation. Conversely, Studio Series 86 Dinobots took a few liberties to make them more like the toys - it doesn't seem like there's a rulebook to ensure Studio Series is Studio Series and Generations/Legacy is completely different.
If Hasbro (or let's be frank, Takara-Tomy) repaint this figure it'll probably get knocked out of the park, because the bones are pretty good. 20 points of articulation, minimal kibble, and an amazing center of gravity means that you can pose Perceptor in almost any reasonable way you want without him falling over. I can't say that about most of Hasbro's human figures - they'll topple over in hours. Perceptor here is as sturdy as a tank, which is one of the reasons these robots are so much fun to collect. Have you needed display stands for most of these guys? No. They just stay upright.
Perceptor comes ith a blaster modeled after his original toy design, but smaller. Much like Kup, this was done to better match his character's animation model.
Transformation is good and largely familiar - shoulder cannon becomes scope, arms become... arms, legs become base, chest becomes tray. You've seen toys like this before, and they're not terribly complex.
The microscope mode looks like a microscope! Made out of robot parts. It doesn't quite work, but it looks the part - the toy puts an emphasis on robot details so the actual scope and tray aren't quite as mig as t hey were on the original release. The lack of chrome details is disappointing, but they did put in a delightful "clicking" mechanism so when you move the scope around, it makes a delightful little noise. This sort of thing wasn't entirely uncommon in toys of the 1980s - Kenner's original R2-D2 comes to mind - but it's rare nowadays. As a microscope, it doe a fine job sitting there and it closesly matches the animation we saw as kids. With no working scope or action features, you'll probably transform it once or twice and then leave it in robot mode forever.
A tank mode also exists, which is basically just repositioning the legs. I don't think much of it.
While a good recreation of what we saw on TV, it's another evolution in what a Perceptor toy can be. Hasbro dialed back the chrome over the years (I object) but added more articulation and increased stability, which I can't fault. It's just that I really hate the silver and the blue, and I'd love his head to have as much personality as Hot Rod. Hey, we don't get what we want all the time - but it's still a decent figure, and if you're going to customize it anyway you'll probably really dig him. I assume the next time we get a Perceptor toy they'll start to lean more into the toy look, but that'll probably be 2027 or later at this point. The fact that we're probably guaranteed to get at least one or two more Perceptors before the next decade may make you rethink buying new versions of any figure you've already got, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy fussing with this one a lot more than the previous versions. It's a great action figure, it just feels like sort of a soft Transformers toy. I'd say grab it if you see it and like it.
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