Air Craft Robot
Roughly “Voyager” sized
$0.16 (yep, 16 cents) at Burke Outlet
I’ve been on a bit of a knock-off toy buying frenzy lately. It all began with the M.A.R.S. Heroes 3 pack from Dollar General, a clear winner, but has blown up into just short of an obsession. I’ve found myself going to places that I’ve never been to before and even some that I’ve long ago written off as not worth my time.
It’s this obsession that brought me to Burke Outlet, a store that’s sort of a run-down Ross: Dress for Less (and those of you that have been into Ross know how bad that is!). I remember going into Burke several months ago when my wife mentioned it was “kind of like a crappy Ross” and finding nothing but sub-retail quality toys. I never intended to go back, but now that I’m almost TRYING to find crummy toys I found myself really wanting to check it out again.
While I didn’t find much on my recent trek into the Mountains of Madness, I did come away with a solitary hunk of plastic that I want to share with the interwebs. It’s going to be hard to be anything but positive about this thing, you see, it was on 95% off clearance from it’s original $2.99. I’m going to try and point out the negatives as well as the positives, but come on people, this thing was 16 pennies!
Come on, let’s see what 16 cents can buy you.
Just like most of the low-end robot toys I’ve looked at, this fella comes on a HA-YOOGE blister card. Printed on the front is a nice blue background with some pictures of real aircraft superimposed on it. There are also pictures of all of the robots in this “line”, obviously this card is meant to be used on all of the different toys.
There’s a kind of hilarious space shuttle robot on the top left that has the head of Voltron on it, flipping over to the back you can see that his name is “Destroyer” while the robot I picked up is named “Intruder”. The other unique model is named “Hercules”, there also appear to be smaller versions of Intruder and Hercules. None of these other robots were available, at this price they’d have definitely come home with me as well.
There are no instructions included for transforming this guy, only pictures on the back of the package that show the robot —> plane. The bubble almost fell off with a strong wind so I hurried to take pictures with my camera before it was too late!
I don’t recognize this mold as being a direct snatch from an existing transformer, although I’m almost sure it has to be one. The jet looks quite cool at first glance, it’s reminiscent of the G1 Jetfire mold, although the robot has nothing in common with him. It’s similar to the G1 Silverbolt robot mode, not spot on, but it strongly reminds me of him.
He’s cast in white and purple plastic, and boy oh boy is it THIN! The wings feel thinner than the cardboard he was packaged on! There’s no paint to speak of, instead he’s got stickers galore. Check those things out, for a toy made in China he sure does have a lot of US flags on there!
I’m particularly fond of the Autobot symbol-shaped sticker with the USA flag inside of it, I almost expect that to be snatched up by Michael Bay for his next explosion-filled Transformers movie. The rest of the stickers are meant to represent his intake vents and various markings, they also identify this as an F-18.
Intruder has a solid amount of sculpted details on him, grooves and panels that really evoke the feel of a robot that’s been made out of a jet. He has a completely white face with a very bored expression on it, I’d have really liked there to be some painted or sticker eyes here. There’s nothing particularly amazing about his sculpt, but there’s more here than I expected to find.
Intruder here has cut joints at the shoulders, hinged elbows and swivel wrists. You can kind of fudge some poses by waggling the movement used in his transformation, but even then you’re not getting much out of him. You’re pretty much limited to a standing pose with various arm gestures.
Speaking of standing, the huge amount of jet parts hanging off of his back make him very top heavy. I was only able to get him to balance on his own after some REALLY delicate nudging and moving. His wrist joints are very loose, tending to make his guns spin around below his forearms when I’m not looking.
His transformation is very simple, being of the G1 transformer style. I was pleased that he doesn’t have any parts that have to come off to change him from one mode to the other, except for his guns. You essentially spin the main jet part around and telescope the legs straight out. After folding out his feet you’re all done.
Included in the package along with the robot himself was a gun that splits apart into two smaller guns and a little sidekick robot! There is no mention of this little fella on the packaging, but he is definitely a re-mold of an old Headmaster head. Unfortunately, when they remolded him, they took away the part that woulda made him cool, the ability to become a head! Even still, he has poseable arms and is made of two colors so makes a nice little companion to our bargain transformer.
The guns look really good, actually far better than the robot they came with. They’re very detailed and look really cool as a double gun and as single pistols. There are spots on the underside of the wings where they can attach in jet mode but I couldn’t find a spot to connect the double gun anywhere.
What can I say? This thing cost me less that a pack of gum. Less than a York Peppermint Patty. Less than a single text message! For perspective’s sake, I’m going to evaluate him based on his listed price of $2.99.
For 3 bucks, you get a decent sized transformer that works the way it’s supposed to. You also get some cool guns that’d work for other robots and you get a pocket sized little fella that you can bring with you wherever you want. The quality of the plastic is pretty low so I’d imagine it won’t survive under careless play. I didn’t have anything break while I was posing it for this review though, that’s always a good sign.
If you’re buying this for a kid, I think it might be worth the $2.99. Compared to a name brand Transformer at that price, a “Legends” size one about double the size of the little sidekick in this set, you’re getting a lot of bang for the buck. The Legends toy is going to be a little more detailed and made of better plastic, but for kids bigger often means better.
Any adult who’s picking this guy up can go a lot of different routes with him. A commenter on my review of the 4 pack of quick change robots suggested using them in a diorama as destroyed robots, you could paint him up if you’re handy at that or he could fill in an empty spot in a G1 display. At this point I still have no idea what I’m going to do with mine but I’m glad I picked him up!
Buying all these inexpensive toys lately has put things into a weird perspective as far as my “real” toys goes. I’m appreciating the little things that make them great even more than usual but on the other hand I’m questioning the cost of some of the stuff I take for granted. Right now I still think the best bet is to stick with the name brand toys, but as prices climb higher and higher for the main properties (I’m looking at you, DC Universe Classics!) it may make more sense to look elsewhere for your plastic fix.
While this particular transforming robot isn’t the best example of what you can get from the world of Chinese plastic knockoffs it’s far from the worst. If you have a Burke Outlet near you, or if you know someone who’s willing to brave the wrath of Elder Gods, have ’em swing through the toy section and pick you up a robot or two. You never know, you might find a 16 cent treasure!