|Unicron Review Capsule|
|Unicron is a repaint of a toy from Armada released not more than five months before he debuted in Energon. The toy is pretty much the same thing except for the coloring and his Mini-Con Dead End seems a lot more fragile this time around. Sells for $50 pretty much everywhere. If you don't have the Armada version he's worth getting, but if you do, you can probably give this one a miss.|
The ultimate manifestation of evil in the TransFormers Universe first made his appearance known when he was voiced by Orson Welles in TransFormers: The Movie in 1986. Despite several prototype toys being made and a few appearances in the comics and TV series, a toy was never made until the orange Armada Unicron in 2003. This toy is a repaint of that version, now appearing to be dark, black, and green instead of orange and grey. While it doesn't look like the movie version that old fans know and love, it's a pretty spectacular looking item in its own right.
He turns from planet-eating planet to planet-smashing robot, and as of now is not planned to be released in Japan's Super Link series. It's assumed this may have something to do with the reportedly iffy sales of the Micron Legend version. As of the authoring of this review, it is unknown if this toy is representative of Unicron's appearance in the new animated series.
Well, he's really big. Huge, even. From the soles of his feet to the tip of his horns, he's about 15 inches tall.
As you can see, he's really just a big dark recolor of an older toy which in some fairly significant changes, not the least of which is his fairly sizable head.
The head has been given a fairly significant makeover, with purple and black taking over most of the color and a metallic glitz having been added to the paint. Thhe beard is still distinctive, and his eyes still light up the bright red color when you push a button on the top of his head. The horns are posable, and the overall sculpt is pretty much unchanged from the first version of the toy. A nice added touch on the head and the entire toy is the added energon deco, with bolts and circuits cackling all over. It makes the toy look different and more decaying than before, and the final results are exquisite.
The toy is huge and full of surprises, with lots of gimmicks and gadgets to attack other TransFormers. He's also quite posable, with two joints in each finger, and so much articulation that he's one of the most limber robots Hasbro has yet to release. He is a little bulky, though, with his shoulderpads and general heft getting in the way of a few poses. Overall, though, he'll pretty much do whatever you want, including rude hand gestures.
The sculpting on this toy is great, and the new coloring job really brings out a lot of details I didn't notice before. There's so many grooves, valleys, and other electronic bits and pieces that show up so much nicer in black than in grey. Pound for pound, this version looks better once you get past the fact that it doesn't look like he did in the movie. The green looks really great, especially the big splotches.
The wings seem pretty much the same color as they were before, but they do seem a little stiffer. They transform nicely, and they can hold Mini-Cons or Energon weapons just as well as the Armada version. This version seems to hold the planet shell pieces of the wings a little better than I'm used to, so overall, it seems that this is yet another improvement.
There are also a few places to stick Mini-Cons or Energon weapons, as well as compartments designed as Mini-Con "traps." Even though this is a fairly big toy, Hasbro was sure not to waste any space with their smart decision to pack it with all sorts of gadgetry. Finding something to do with the legs other than have them be merely legs was a particularly great move.
As fans wouldn't have it any other way, Unicron converts into a planet that can devour pretty much anything. With the ring, it's about 12 inches across, so it's a pretty nice size.
In this mode, many of the details from his robot mode carry over, like the wings converting into the ring around the planet as well as a good chunk of the planet's surface. The planet is nicely detailed, but of course, not perfect. There are a few gaps here and there, but it's difficult to get a decent robot mode out of a perfect sphere. The end result looks a little egg-shaped, and a little like a mountain.
While a planet may not sound like it will be capable of much, it does have a few nice gimmicks built into it.
As you can see above, one of the most distinctive actions of the planet mode makes an appearance here, but not exactly in a functional way. The toy has opening mandibles as well as a "mouth" that opens with teeth that clench, but nothing can go into the mouth due to the size of the toy and what Hasbro was going for. The end result is a neat action feature that, unfortunately, doesn't fully deliver. Given the size, it'd be quite difficult to work in a mouth that can "eat" things without making the toy larger.
Oh, and there's also a little mount designed specifically for Dead End. Ain't that sweet?
The ring is also capable of being loaded up with tons of weapons or Mini-Cons, whatever suits your fancy. With a bunch of melee weapons on his ring, he seems to look like a villain out of some of the more recent CastleVania games. It's a neat feature, but odds are one that won't see a lot of use by most kids or adult fans.
There's also two sets of triple rocket launchers that are activated by placing a Mini-Con on the hardpoint and sliding it around. These are much better off being used in robot mode, of course, but here they are again.
For your enjoyment, here are the easily removed projectiles.
The missiles are the same molds as the previous toy, and the coloring has been changed but only slightly. While before they were yellow, here they're more of a neon green. The chest rocket has had similar changes. By placing a Mini-Con on a hardpoint on his back, a wind-up motor moves the weapon forward and then launches the rocket, which splits open. It's pretty slick.
Of course, there's also the Mini-Con, Dead-End. Made of a plastic that seems far more prone to breakage, he's the same as his Armada counterpart except lower quality and baby blue.
And this concludes our look at his accessories.
For curious parties, here's how the Energon and Armada toys differ in terms of color.
As you can see, each has its perks and deco unique to the toy.
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.
It's big and has a whole mess of twist ties, just like the Armada version. Also like the Armada version, it's not unusual to see an orange Unicron in the new Energon packaging. So look inside the box before you pay for one.
Unicron shipped around the same time as wave one of Energon in a case with no other characters. Another similarly sized toy, Omega Supreme, is expected in late 2004.
If you don't have one, it's new to you. The new coloring is pretty slick in and of itself, but unless you find it for a freak clearance price, you can pretty much forget about deciding that you need this toy. It's nice, but really, do you need two omniscient destroyers of worlds? You might. And if you do, hey, this toy is here for you. If you don't have a Unicron toy, though, you should probably get this. It's a nice big fun toy that has a lot of gimmicks and a decent transformation, plus it just has a lot of shelf presence. And shelf presence is something most toys lack these days.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased at a Phoenix, AZ store on January 27, 2004 for $10.78 (freak sighting)
Reviewed on February 5, 2004.