Blog #2054: Toy Review: Transformers: War for Cybertron: Unicron

Transformers: War for Cybertron: Unicron

“I have summoned you here for a purpose.” [“Nobody summons Megatron!” – Megatron] “Then it pleases me to be the first.” – Unicron, The Transformers: The Movie

It took thirty five years, but at last, The Chaos Bringer has arrived! Crowdfunded by Hasbro Labs, Unicron stands twenty seven inches tall in robot mode, and thirty inches wide in planet mode. He is the biggest Transformer ever made. For $575, he damn well should be. While he does not have an official size classification, someone (I don’t know who) online referred to him as Divorce Class Unicron, so that’s how I will always think of him. There has never been a toy quite like Unicron, and so this review will be a little different from my usual reviews. Let’s start with the box.

Unicron’s box is enormous and has some great art on it. I like how he’s drawn over the sides of the box as if he’s bigger than the box. It looks really cool.

Unicron’s instructions book has mostly the same art as the box, but now in full color. Notably, the back of his instructions picture a Junkion ship, which is not included. It’s on the box too.

And here we have Unicron out of the box. By this point my arms were already sore, and I had only just begun. The first thing you need to do is get him on his stand. I figured that couldn’t be too hard.

This is the entire instruction for putting Unicron on his stand. The only problem is, as you can see above, there is no slot to put the stand in. There is a door that opens out, and a small one that appeared to open in, but even with those open, there was still not enough of an opening to get the stand in. I watched three unboxing videos, and in each, Unicron was taken out of the box and set down on the stand. I thought maybe the door opened inward, but there was no instructions on how to do that, and there were no videos showing anyone having to do that. Finally, in desperation, I flipped through the rest of the instructions, and found that on one of the back page was instructions to remove him from the stand, including closing the doors.

“For a time, I considered sparing your wretched little planet, Cybertron. But now, you shall witness… its DISMEMBERMENT!” – Unicron, The Transformers: The Movie

It was then I realized, that my $600 toy WAS NOT PUT IN THE BOX WITH THE DOORS OPEN AS THE INSTRUCTIONS SEEM TO EXPECT. Either that or the instructions are crap. Needless to say, either way, I was a little upset. So, I tried opening up the necessary panel to get the door open. And I tried. Then I tried some more. Then I screamed at Unicron, hurled all manner of Insults at Hasbro. Eventually I got it open. This did reveal to me one of the small design problems with Unicron. They needed to mold in some kind of indent to put a finger in to pull panels apart and push them in. It’s just really hard to push on a curved surface, and even harder to pull it open with nothing to grab onto. It’s a little easier when he’s upright on the base, but it’s still pretty freaking hard with only two hands.

And here he is on the base at last. He has an insane amount of molded and painted detail in planet mode. It was at this point that I took a thirty minute break because my back, shoulders, and arms already ached. I wish they had hollowed him out a bit to take out some of the weight. Anyway.

The above picture is skipping ahead a little, but it illustrates something important to understand about him. Unicron’s outer shell is made up of a whole lot of small plates that fold up, but there are five separate chunks to his shell. I’m going to call them the upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. You can see each of those sections in the picture above folded up as they will be in robot mode. The fifth piece is the rest of his shell, the ring that goes all the way around the middle.

The next step is to flip out Unicron’s pincers and install the spikes along his sides. The spikes are four pieces. You have to open both upper sides to do this. What makes it hard, is that once you opened up the door, it’s just dead weight on a small arm. You have to hold it up to do anything beneath it, which is not the easiest thing to do with only two hands. Next is to install his ring.

Unicron’s ring is some seriously brilliant engineering. The same parts make up both sides of the ring, so it’s one mold run twice (more on that below). It’s mainly anchored on each side, the top and bottom don’t peg in (or at least don’t seem to, they just go in the openings at the top and bottom). So do not try lifting him by the ring, it will end poorly. As you can see Unicron differs from the prototype. The blue inside the ring on his front was all orange on the original prototype, and would be more accurate to the movie if it were orange. It doesn’t bother me a lot, it still looks pretty great, but keeping it all orange would have looked better and been more accurate.

Opening Unicron’s maw is one of the greatest action features any Transformer has ever had. When you turn the ring all his teeth –I guess we’ll call them teeth– open. It’s pretty awesome. With his maw open, you can see what I think is Unicron’s biggest flaw. The center of his maw is molded with the chomping blades seen in the movie, but it’s all just blue plastic. Painting those blades silver or gray would have really added a lot in my opinion. Is it terrible? No, it’s minor in the grand scheme, but Hasbro could have done a bit more for what we paid for him and how long we waited. Then as I was admiring my Unicron, my head exploded when I saw this.

I saw the screws showing on top of his right side (left in the photo) pincer and said, “Oh %*((&$&^&*&(*^*$%*& HE’S GOT TWO LEFT PINCERS!!!!!” After looking at a video I noticed they were all like that. Of course, I didn’t look at all the parts bags.

This is kind of interesting. As far as I know, most all Transformers toys have a single set of molds that contain all parts, but it seems like Unicron does not. Both pincers and both arms are identical (like the two halves of the ring), there is no left mold and right mold, leaving screws showing on top on one pincer and the front of one arm, so these parts were included to fill them in on both sides. Pretty neat design, and way more efficient to run a mold twice than to have to create twice the tooling, especially since I think every single part of his shell is completely unique. All the parts except for two (right two columns, third from the bottom) went in fine. These two didn’t quite go in flush. I thought after doing the first one I might not have trimmed off the flash, but the second time I was extra careful and the same thing happened. It’s barely noticeable. Before we get to actually transforming him, let’s talk about his accessories.

He comes with a small Autobot shuttle. It’s got silver paint apps. It could be more detailed, but it’s still pretty cool. He also comes with tiny Galvatron and Rodimus Prime figures. At this size, I was not expecting them to be fully painted, but a few paint apps would have been nice, maybe Galvatron’s cannon and Rodimus’s wing. Optimus Prime was part of the Selects Tank Drone Accessory Pack, but left as unpainted gray plastic, which is even worse.

 

Unicron has two faces (the chins are interchangeable). Both look awesome. He has a switch on the back of his head that make his eyes move left to right. The only problem is that his eyes are frosted, and you really can’t see them behind them. It needed clearer plastic, and to be lit inside. The battle damaged head has broken eyes, so you can see them move but without light inside, it’s hard to see. It’s still a cool feature, but they executed it poorly.

With his face plate and chin removed he is truly the stuff of nightmares. His lower teeth are spring loaded so you can easily put the little Galvatron figure in his mouth and chomp down on him. They forgot to paint his lower teeth silver, and left them as blue plastic. If no one had told me they were supposed to be silver, I may not have noticed. Does it destroy the figure? No. Is it sad that at this price, they would make a bonehead mistake like that? Yes. Frankly, they owe everyone a new properly painted head. Obviously that won’t happen, but considering Hasbro’s abysmal quality control, I think we should probably consider ourselves lucky that this and the blue in his maw are the worst screw ups. It really doesn’t look bad, just wrong.

Here we have Unicron’s head on its display stand with the Autobot shuttle and figures. There are places for two more ships and more figures. Notably absent is a Junkion ship and the ship that Unicron gave to the Decepticons. Seems pretty clear it was designed for three. Does that mean we will get another accessory pack down the road with the other ships and possibly more figures? I hope so, but it will also really piss me off that they weren’t included. And now to transform him.

“You have failed.” – Unicron, The Transformers: The Movie

I felt like that a lot while transforming him. My god transforming him was a miserable experience. I did it once, and I think he’s staying permanently in robot mode. There are a few things to keep in mind when transforming him. The instructions show that when you unplug his wrists in back and straighten his arms you bend them down at the shoulder. His ratcheting shoulder joints are insanely tight. If you try bending his arms down without holding the plate they rotate on, you’ll snap them right off. It’s better not to fold them down until you get the connector arm folded up and the plate his arm connects to plugged into the side of his chest. That itself is tricky, as it takes a lot of force to plug it in, but there is also a latch under his armpit that you need to hold open until the plate is attached to his chest so it can close like a clamp on the plate and the connector arm behind it. This will make more sense when you’re looking at him…maybe. Not easy to do. It was at that point, that my back and arms were screaming at me and I had to take some pain medication and rest. Not technically a step, but it was a necessary one for me.

Once you’ve got his shoulder plugged in and arms rotated down, the next problem is his legs. They are crazy hard to get unfolded. Once you do get them unplugged from their planet mode position, like his arms, the ratcheting hip joint is crazy tight. The instructions say to fold down his legs so he’s standing (but still on the base). Unless I’m missing something, which is certainly possible, what the instructions show is impossible. The plate below his maw curves under his body and is in the way of his legs folding down straight. Simple solution. Behind and beneath his maw the shell connects with a big post to his waist. If you unplug that, the plate can move back and you can straighten his legs. Once that’s done, it’s just folding up the center panels on his back and the leg panels. There are a lot of panels, but they fold up pretty well, and there are latches on both sides to lock them to his back, so they don’t flop around on his back at all.

“And I’ll form the head!” (Someone had to say it.)

Behold…Unicron! He is awesome in robot mode. There is a crazy amount of molded detail on him, and great paint apps. This is a true masterpiece (pun intended) of a toy. I’ve been waiting for this since I was ten years old, and he does not disappoint.

I know a lot of people complain that he is a shellformer. Frankly, they did a pretty great job considering how much shell there is. I don’t know what people wanted. If the outside was formed by his arms and legs, you have Armada Unicron, and we know how that turned out.

Overall: Unicron is awesome. If you were lucky enough to be able to get one, he will not disappoint.

“Your bargaining posture is highly dubious. But very well. I will provide you with a new body, and new troops to command.” [“And?” – Megatron] “And nothing! You belong to me.” – Unicron, The Transformers: The Movie

I’m yours, my liege.

Thanks for reading!

About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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