Monday, 28 December 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Generations Collaborative 'Back to the Future' Gigawatt

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Release Date: October 2020
RRP: $29.99

The Transformers Collaborative line is such a genius idea that it's hard to believe it took until 2019 to make it a reality. Taking an iconic movie vehicle and turning it into a Transformer is something fans and collectors have thought about for decades. The Generations sub-line kicked off with a rendition of the Ghostbusters' iconic Ecto-1 but has since also added the likes of Top Gun and (soon) X-Men to its roster. The second release in this line is perhaps the most exciting of them all though, as Hasbro and Universal Studio teamed up to bring fans Transformers Generations Collaborative Back to the Future Gigawatt - based on the legendary time travel vehicle from the Back to the Future trilogy. According to his packaging bio this time travelling Autobot quite literally is the time travel vehicle used by Doc Brown and Marty McFly - ready to fly whenever the pair need to make a trip through time. His bio: "You're never outta time when you're a time machine."

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Gigawatt comes boxed in classic Transformers Generation One style packaging, complete with even a retro style Hasbro logo in the bottom corner! While G1 was a little before my time, even I get a pang of nostalgia looking at that orange grid-style decor and even if Hasbro didn't constantly roll it out it's a perfect fit for an 80s piece like the Back to the Future DeLorean. The character artwork on the side of the box again fits the aesthetic brilliantly as well as just looking great in general. On top of all the usual Transformers imagery there's the Back to the Future 35th anniversary logo in the top corner and the Transformers x Back to the Future collaboration logo just below. One side of the box shows off the toy in both robot and vehicle modes, whilst the other is a rear shot of the actual DeLorean. It isn't really an especially impressive image, but it's quite clever when you think about how you'd literally reverse the toy out of the box. On the back you'll find a short bio about Gigawatt in multiple languages, as well as the classic Transformers tech specs layout. Inside you'll find the figure packaged in vehicle mode, along with its two accessories, laid out neatly on a moulded plastic tray. Behind the backing card is also the transformation leaflet, which neatly details the steps from vehicle to robot mode as well as the toy's other various features. 

Although the general retail version of Gigawatt began hitting stores around October, prior to that there was a "limited to 1985 copies" version sold exclusively on the Walmart website earlier in the year which sold out in seconds. These figures had their limited numbering on the box itself, but it is unclear what the other differences (if any) were.

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Gigawatt is an extensive remould of the 2018 Siege Sideswipe figure, but unless you were either told that or a particularly attentive Transformers collector it would be hard to tell otherwise. This is a brilliant likeness to the DMC DeLorean used as Doc Brown's time machine, which in itself was a heavily customised version of the consumer model. The back section of the car was changed a fair bit to accommodate all that machinery, and the front grill even lacks the DeLorean logo. The latter change is some nice attention to detail on Hasbro's part, and quite possibly made the likeness rights for the toy a little cheaper for them as well. Though the bulk of the vehicle is coloured in a dull silver, when you look at it closely nearly the whole body is moulded with shallow grooves to give it brushed metal look. It's quite hard to pick up on in photos, but it person it looks fantastic and gives the car so much more than a simple "unpainted plastic" feel not matter how screen accurate that may be. Of course there are still a fair few paint apps to appreciate on the vehicle, particularly all the coloured wiring at the very back. They might be very small details, but they add a much-needed splash of bright colour to what's otherwise a relatively dull-coloured vehicle. The car also has plenty of moulded detailing on all of the various parts Doc Brown added, like all the wiring at the front or the rivets holding that thick black band on at the back. Most importantly of all though, those doors can indeed open upwards in that iconic DeLorean way! It does of course show off all the robot parts stored inside, but what kind of DeLorean Transformer wouldn't have its doors transform in that way? Finally as that all-important finishing touch, the license plate at the back correctly reads "OUTATIME" even though the packaging strangely features "BK2FUT2" on the car itself.

 When this toy was initially announced it sported clear windows, which didn't really work as it meant the rather incongruous framing inside was completely on show for all to see. Hasbro thankfully listened to fan complaints on this, and changed them to a slightly darker translucent blue. While it still doesn't make that framing completely invisible, it's certainly a hell of a lot better.

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Doc Brown's time machine went through a few number of variants over the course of the Back to the Future trilogy, some of the features of which have been implemented into the vehicle mode. While the general design of the car itself naturally harkens back to the very beginning there is also an additional lightning rod accessory that can plug into the back of the car, recreating it's appearance as Marty attempted to return back to 1985 at the climax of the first movie. Even more exciting though is the simple fact that the wheels can all flip inward to recreate the car's flight mode from both the end of the film and Back to the Future Part II! And for extra accuracy, the Mr Fusion piece on the end of the gun accessory (which needs to be removed to store the gun in vehicle mode) can be attached on the back as well in the same place. For Back to the Future Part III fans there's sadly no extra pieces to recreate its inoperative state from that film, but how great is it to be able to choose which version of the DeLorean you want to display? Best of all there is a port on the underside of the car that fits a Bandai Tamashii Stage (or similar articulated display stand) perfectly, making proper flight displays a possibility. Detailed Back to the Future DeLorean toys are a dime a dozen so Hasbro didn't necessarily need to load all these features into a Transformers version, but I'm so glad they did. Rarely is it this hard for me to choose between displaying a Transformer in robot or vehicle mode.

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Again even though this is a retool of Sideswipe, even in robot mode Gigawatt has enough going for him that makes him feel like his own unique 'bot. After a fairly straightforward transformation process (which does require a little bit of care in certain steps to ensure that the paint doesn't rub - this is particularly true for the chest transformation), you're treated to Gigawatt in all his glory. The toy features a brand new head sculpt sporting Doc Brown "mad scientist" style goggles, as well as an immediately eye-catching chest panel sporting a number of Back to the Future references. Not only is there a central blue flux capacitor piece encased behind a clear plastic window, but just below it there's also the date readouts from inside the Time Machine as well. Featuring all three dates from Back to the Future Part II, we can see that Gigawatt is currently in the year 2015, having just time travelled from 1955 with 1985 down as his next destination. It's a really nice touch that immediately screams Back to the Future, and having them on display so prominently on the centre of the chest is just awesome. While the rest of the body is fairly simplistic when it comes to detailing, just look a little lower down and you'll see that both leg panels also have flux capacitors etched into them. While I've seen Gigawatt's general lack of colour (the body is almost entirely silver and black) thrown around as a knock against it, I think overall it works and keeps that remarkably plain DeLorean colour scheme alive even in robot mode. Of course, it also makes that chest panel stand out all the more. Each arm sports two 5mm ports to attach additional accessories - one on the upper arm and then a second just below the elbow. Whilst these are primarily intended for the lightning rod to attach as a mounted staff/hook weapon, they can of course be used for any other compatible Transformers weapons or accessories you may have lying around.

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Siege Sideswipe is only a few years old so the articulation on this figure is absolutely top notch, so there's plenty of posing opportunities to be had here. Altogether Gigawatt features;
- Ball jointed head
- Swivel hinge shoulders, hips and feet
- Bicep, waist and thigh swivels
- Single hinge elbows, wrists and knees
Then in addition to all of that the door "wings" on the back are also held on via pin joints, so can be positioned a little bit if you don't want them swung completely all the way back. While some of the articulation here are simply elements of the transformation (particularly the hinged wrists), they all work rather nicely to provide a satisfyingly articulate robot mode. If you had to nitpick then the elbows and knees don't have the biggest bends out there (the elbows can manage around 45 degrees, whilst the knees fall just short of that), but a blocky robot like Gigawatt was never going to have quite the same range as a more humanoid figure that doesn't also have a transformation to worry about. If you're not a Transformers regular the ankles can take a bit of getting used to as well, but those wide flat feet are ideal for those more dynamic action poses. Plus with a easily accessible stand port at the back, you could always just plug a stand in there if you're worried about it ever toppling over. Articulated and resourceful, you can't fault that!

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Transformers fans have dreamed of a line of famous movie vehicles for years now and I daresay plenty of Back to the Future fans have also loved the idea of it as well. Even with the knowledge that it's an extensive remould of an existing figure, Transformers Generations Collaborative Back to the Future Gigawatt is an INCREDIBLE figure. A solid Transformers figure that can turn into a DeLorean would have sufficed, but the sheer amount of extra detailing, references and easter eggs that have gone into making this the perfect Back to the Future robot are nothing short of spectacular. If you're a fan of either franchise, this is one figure not to miss out on!

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