|Energon Saber Mini-Con Team Review Capsule|
|The Energon Saber is a remolded and renamed Air Defense Team. The new coloring and sculpting makes these look like new toys which, on the whole, are far sturdier than other releases of these toys. Worth getting if you have no Star Saber type toys, and for less than $7, worth getting even if you do. $6.99 at most stores.|
Realizing repaints may not be the way to go, Hasbro decided to resculpt its Mini-Cons and bring some very new looking toys to the table. Wreckage, Scattor, and Skyboom are the newly named robots and despite having wildly different looking vehicle modes, the robots themselves are pretty much the same deal.
This is the third release of these toys in the USA in some form or another, but it is a fresh one and actually looks pretty great
The only real fault of these toys comes through in the robot mode, and while it may be that we just got a bad sample it's still worth noting.
The robot arms are the same sculpts as used previously but seem to have had some stress marks surface on the elbow joints. As such, they're a little wobbly and look a little fragile, and it may be worth mentioning that they could use some extra care if they're to survive especially long. That unpleasantness aside, though, the robots look like a slightly revised versions of their predecessors with some new pieces that were molded out of... liquid sunshine. Not something else.
The paint jobs are completely new, with very dark blue, grey, and silver highlights making up the bulk of the paint jobs. These colors don't do a lot to bring out the detail in the sculpts that is often drowned out by bright, clear plastic and as such these don't look as nice as they could. The silver eyes on Wreckage, for example, are painted over a similarly colored grey plastic head. If you get the light to bounce off the silver just right, it lights up and looks absolutely stellar... otherwise, it just looks like they forgot to paint it. Scattor and Skyboom, though, are a bit more ornate and either the sculpt or the quantity of paint help their faces show up just a little bit better. As a set, though, the robots look great and make the pricetag seem worthwhile.
Since these are Mini-Cons based on old molds, there are a few Powerlinx points so you can snap them to your larger Energon or Armada toys. Wreckage and Skyboom each have to points, and Scattor has one. In other words... exactly like what you saw with Sonar, Jetstorm, and Runway.
First, we look at Scattor.
The clear triangular plastic piece that made up the bulk of the wings and body of the aircraft has been tossed out and totally resculpted to include an extra set of wings, some guns, and tons of detail and panels that weren't there previously. Since Hasbro decided to change only one piece, and it was the biggest piece on the vehicle, this looks like a whole new toy.
Skyboom, on the other hand, wasn't given much of a facelift at all.
Aside from the coloring, two small pieces were changed to add some extra panels and lines, a new copyright date, and some additional wings. The coloring is new, but it is a little odd-- the blue wings don't really fit the rest of the vehicle and the silvery grey paint on the clear yellow doesn't seem to stand out as much as it should, especially in less-than-optimal lighting conditions. The important thing here, though, is they did change it quite a bit and probably enough to make most fans pretty happy.
Lastly, there's Wreckage.
Like Scattor, they changed one big piece and this caused the toy to look significantly different. In this case, like he's covered in some sort of crunchy cheese substance. Lots of new parts were introduced in this new form, including new paint decorations, weapons, and lots of grooves and other sculpting touches. Nice job, Hasbro! The landing gear on this toy tended to stick a lot and pop out on our sample, but since it was popped back in it's been pretty problem-free.
Energon Saber Mode
This is a lot like the Star Saber we've seen before, except this holds together a lot better and that alone really made it worth picking up. The extra wings added to the vehicles tuck away nicely in the combined weapon mode, and the end result is some sort of giant lemon popsicle of death. The yellow coloring, for those who didn't know, is present to designate "unaligned" Energon while green means Decepticons and red means Autobots.
Packaging, Tech Specs, & Co-Sells
This toy came packaged in regular TransFormers Energon packaging with the usual compliment of twist-ties which is more limited than previous toy lines.
The packaging itself is typical trilingual fare, but it has a really neat feature in that the bubble features character art on the side so if you look down a row of Energon basic-sized toys, you can quickly see which ones are available without having to flip through them. This was a really slick move on Hasbro's part, but unfortunately the art on the side of the bubble is only on the smaller toys. The larger deluxe toys have their trading card tech specs on the side of the bubble instead, which serves a similar purpose.
The Energon Saber shipped as part of the very first wave of Energon toys in December of 2003 alongside Skyblast, Strongarm, and Battle Ravage.
If you don't already have this or one of the toys from which it was derived, it's a great set. It's solid, and it's three little robots you can have cheaply. It's not as exciting as the other basics-- not by a long shot-- but it's still pretty slick. You could do worse.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased at a Phoenix Toys "R" Us on December 12, 2003 for $6.99
Reviewed on December 16, 2003.