Special Missions Unit (Jeep)
Deluxe Size (going by Transformers sizes)
$5 (as Dollar General)
Hey folks, I’ve got another dollar store toy review for you. This time, I’m looking at a “Trans-Robot” that I picked up from Dollar General on a lunch break. I found him on the bottom shelf hiding out next to a “Young Princess Horse” and a pile of $1 cowboys and indians figures which may end up on this site.
This robot, or “Gator” as I’ve started calling him thanks to his slight resemblance to Dusty Hayes’ M.A.S.K. vehicle, came home and sat on the floor for a couple of days before I got around to reviewing him. I think I was feeling a little discouraged after the “Changeable Robot” debacle from last week but I needn’t have worried. While he has his problems, Gator is a fun robot AND a killer toy jeep at the same time.
Gator came packaged in a gray window box that shows off all of his accessories very well. The gray is very reminiscent of a lot of electronics from the 80’s, I don’t know if that’s why they chose that color but it definitely struck a nostalgic chord with me.
The packaging also features a big ‘ole “TRY ME” arrow pointing to the sword which definitely caught my eye and is sure to be pushed a lot by any kids who get dragged through the toy aisle. Be sure to check yours before buying it if you don’t wanna buy batteries for your useless light up feature!
The back of the box shows pictures of all of the Trans-Robots available. There are 4 of them, apparently, although my Dollar general only had 3 on the shelf. All 4 of them appear to be unique sculpts, not opting to go for the easy and cheap re-paint. The instructions to “Super Change Match” them are right there on the outside, although all but the youngest will have no problem without them.
One of the main reasons I bought this fella is because of how much he resembles Hound, one of my favorite G1 Transformers. His sculpt is a pretty good halfway point between the basic look of the G1 Transformers and the highly detailed appearance of the modern Generations toys.
Gator has a solid, blank expression on his face that works well for a wide range of poses. It really is quite amazing how much he resembles a lot of the older Transformers characters. His front tires swing back behind his shoulders very much like Jazz or Prowl’s doors tend to.
Gator’s vehicle mode is a red/orange colored open back jeep that really knocked my socks off. It has 2 seats that fold down (for some Lego-parking action), opening doors and a lot of really nicely painted details. It’s wheels even roll smoothly, I really can’t say enough about how impressed I was with the jeep.
The paint apps all around are solid. He has red painted eyes, green headlights, a black engine intake and even silver wiper blades! The hubcaps are painted on top of the black wheels and his robot mode has some really well-done silver highlights on the legs.
Lets get this out of the way before I go into posing Gator. His transformation between robot and jeep is not really much to talk about. His legs snap together and push upwards, the legs telescope into themselves, and the arms flatten against the underside of the jeep. All of the pieces peg into place pretty well, although I noticed some stress marks on the pegs that held the two legs together.
The rest of the process of transforming him involves pushing his head down, rearranging the grill and then adding pieces that are not part of his robot mode. The windshield and roll bars are added onto the jeep form entirely while the grill comes free of his chest and is re-attached to the front of the jeep.
Generally, I hate these kinds of transformations in modern toys. I hate when I have to keep up with parts that have nowhere to be on one of the modes, that is, after all, why so many people have vintage Optimus Primes and Seekers with no hands. The more I think about it, the less it bothers me though. Every toy has accessories and parts to keep up with and this one’s transformation won’t frustrate any kids (or adults) into leaving it in one mode of the other.
While I’d prefer the transformation to be more creative, I was pretty happy with the range of movement I got out of Gator. He has ball joints at the shoulders and hips, hinges at the elbows and knees aas well as swivel wrists. His head doesn’t move at all, unless you count sliding down into the cavity it’s hidden in when he’s a jeep.
I was able to get a decent amount of cool poses out of Gator, he lags behind most modern Transformers his size but outshines his G1 brethren by a long shot. I had some problems getting one of his knees to stay in a slightly bent pose, this should be fixable though if you have the same issues. The biggest problem I had was caused by his chest plate (the grill in jeep mode). It blocks his arms and shoulders from a full range of motion. It is removable thanks to his transformation and he actually looks pretty cool without it.
Gator came with a gun and a sword with 2 removable blades. He also had the windshield and roll bar in the package, but since those are part of the robot itself I don’t count them as extra. The sword has a light up feature that shines up through the clear plastic blades. The light up feature works well, but the sword is kinda dumb looking in my opinion, more suited to a “giant robo” style figure.
His gun fits well into the holes in his fists while the sword wobbles a little bit. The tri-barrel design for the gun works well with the robot’s looks, the fact that it is hollow underneath does limit the poses you can use it in though.
$5 seems to be the maximum amount that I’m willing to spend on a lark and so far I’ve had a good time exploring exactly what that can buy me. In this case, I got a fun to play with, cool looking and mostly well made transforming robot.
The plastic he’s made of is certainly on the low end of the quality scale and not all of the pegs were cut exactly the right size (one of the pegs on the roll bar broke off into the hole it fits into). This makes him slightly less durable than your average transformer, so that is something to consider when buying one for a kid in your life.
A similar sized Hasbro Transformer is going to run you $10-$12 and even one a bit smaller will cost $8-$9. I’ve seen a few movie line TF’s for about $7 in the discount stores, but I like the look of this guy a lot better than most of the movie designs.
This guy hit all the write buttons for me. He’s got just enough of the G1 look going on to please the kid who grew up with these kinds of toys and just enough articulation to please the modern toy snob that keeps popping out when I let my guard down.
I know that over the next few weeks I’ll be dropping in to Dollar General to pick up the rest of these $5 Transformers. While he certainly has his problems, I don’t know that I could ask for more out of a bargain toy at this price. Highly recommended for fans of Transformers and robots in general!