Monday, 29 March 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Kingdom Cyclonus

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Release Date: December 2020
RRP: $29.99/£24.99

Previously Hasbro had carved out a fairly logical path with their current Transformers War for Cybertron trilogy toy lines. Siege depicted the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons on their home planet of Cybertron, whilst Earthrise saw them adopt new alt modes as their battle continued on a distant planet. But when it comes to Kingdom, the final instalment in the trilogy, the narrative seems a little less clear. Not only does it see the present day Transformers teaming up with their future Beast Wars descendants, but also incorporates elements from Transformers: The Movie. As such the Kingdom toy line includes a number of characters from the 86 movie, which is all the more confusing when the Studio Series 86 line is going on at the same time. One such figure is voyager class Cyclonus, Galavatron’s loyal subordinate and fellow herald of Unicron. Despite being released under the Kingdom banner, this feels like a Studio Series 86 figure in everything but name - and a perfect way to celebrate the film’s 35th anniversary.

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Cyclonus comes in standard voyager class Transformers Kingdom packaging, which to its credit is paving the way when it comes to Hasbro using less plastic in their packaging. The box is almost entirely cardboard, with only a tiny plastic window at the front showing off the head and torso of the figure itself. The front of the box is adorned with spectacular artwork of Cyclonus transforming from spaceship to robot mode to attack, taking place in a prehistoric jungle landscape. This artwork stretches out on to the diagonal spine section, although not really in a way that it can be appreciated without seeing the whole thing. The other spine features another bit of Kingdom artwork, with Optimus Prime and the Autobots teaming up with Optimus Primal and the Maximals as the threat of both the Predacons and Galvatron looms over them. Who knows what’s going to go down in the Kingdom Netflix series, but there’s certainly a lot to cram in. The back of the packaging features the usual Hasbro renders of the figure in both modes, and then inside Cyclonus is neatly fixed to a cardboard tray with a number of elastic ties.

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Each Kingdom figure also comes with a randomly inserted holographic card, each depicting a different character that appears in the line. Each card also has a removable front section, revealing a second piece of artwork that “reveals the destiny” of said character. Each wave will have a different destiny for each character, resulting in a number of different variants and a potential headache for anyone attempting to collect them all. The back of the card depicts the infamous golden disc, along with the Transformers Kingdom and Hasbro logos. My Cyclonus came with a card of everyone’s favourite Predacon femme fetale Blackarachnia. The card depicts a nice bust shot of her alongside her name and allegiance, and when peeled back displays a full body shot of Blackarachnia, now sporting the Maximal faction symbol and the phrase “Becomes a Maximal” in Cybertronian. This of course refers to her switching sides in the original Beast Wars cartoon (having originally been created from a Maximal Protoform anyway), and potentially the same may happen again in the Kingdom series as well.

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Cyclonus has had a lot of great toys over the years, but arguably none of them have been perfect. The 2008 Universe figure came exceedingly close, setting the bar for a lot of Transformers around that time, but was letdown size-wise by being a deluxe figure. The scale was improved in 2015 with the voyager class Combiner Wars figure, but this version was both impeded by its required combiner gimmick and the fact it was a Silverbolt repaint. Jump forward to 2020 and Kingdom Cyclonus is everything you could ever want from the character. He’s tall, imposing, free from any gimmicks and all in all extremely accurate to his G1 cartoon model. You could probably have some debate around just what shade of purple he is, but the lavender is a much closer fit to Cyclonus than it is Galvatron. Whereas other figures have added extra bits of detailing to make these modern figures a little more aesthetically pleasing, Cyclonus' body stays pretty damn close to the cartoon with lots of smooth panels and minimal moulded detail. The light-piping in the back of the head gives the eyes an appropriately sinister glow in the light, while the face sculpt has a generic yet very fitting expression. Like most modern Transformers he has some hollowed out sections, but they're all invisible when viewing the toy front on. Cyclonus even has a small port in the bottom of his crotch that can fit an articulated display stage, giving it the option of flight poses on top of everything it can pull off with the articulation alone. Cyclonus really does hit every note flawlessly - a modern G1 update that doesn't stray too far away from the original design but also gives you everything modern toy sculpting and engineering has to offer.

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Articulation-wise Cyclonus sports the following;
- Ball jointed head
- Swivel hinge shoulders and hips
- Hinged neck and elbows
- Double hinged knees and ankles
- Waist, bicep, hand and thigh swivels
A couple of these things are more a byproduct of the transformation (such as the neck joint), but give that little bit of extra movement to make Cyclonus all the more expressive. The shoulder joints are particularly well done, with those giant shoulders raising on a half-circle piece fitted inside of them. The knees are also a little weird in that they're technically probably not meant to be used as a double joint for posing and more for compacting the leg when transforming. The top half of the joint is the knee itself, and then the second half is a little further down and sits on a piece that rests flat inside the lower leg. It's only when it's extended outward that it gives the knee that additional movement. It does leave some a rather obvious gap between the thin upper leg and the hollow, block lower half, but is great for getting some additional bend and action poses that the standard 45 degree knee can't manage. With posing capabilities worthy of a warrior, this is another area where Cyclonus doesn't disappoint.


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Cyclonus comes packaged with his “Oxidating Laser”, which as per the line’s current trend looks nearly identical to how the weapon looked on the G1 cartoon (and to a lesser extent, the original toy). The weapon is moulded in the same lavender plastic as Cyclonus himself, but has been painted entirely silver save for the peg used to fit it into either of his fists. While there isn’t exactly a lot of detailing on it the silver paint job really makes it stand out, and the weapon is a good size to ensure it looks intimidating in Cyclonus’ hands. For anyone interested, the Nightstick Targetmaster included with Universe Cyclonus (or any of its dozen or so repaints) uses the same size port, so fits perfectly in this figure’s hands as well. So if you picked up that figure back in the day not only do you have the perfect G1 Cyclonus, you also have the perfect G1 Targetmaster Cyclonus as well!

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Cyclonus’ transformation from robot to vehicle mode is 34 steps of pure Transformers joy. Modern Transformers figures have now for the most part struck the balance between being innovative and easy/fun to do, but with the smaller figures there’s always the risk of them being a little fiddly due to the size of the parts. As a voyager class figure Cyclonus has no such problem, so you’re able to just enjoy the process without worrying about anything breaking. One particular highlight is where you flip around the head to reveal the vehicle nosecone, which then extends out twice to give this alt mode the extremely impressive length it has. One minor gripe is that the sides of the cockpit area don’t seem to sit flush with the rest of the body, but based on the box renders and other bits of official photography (not that they’re always the best indication) he seems to have been designed this way. In vehicle mode, Cyclonus’ blaster pegs comfortably to the top of his cockpit area much like his Nebulon parter did on the G1 toy’s Targetmaster re-release. And for the “complete” look, Universe Cyclonus’ Nightstick fits perfectly here as well.

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In spaceship mode Cyclonus is a perfect likeness of his G1 cartoon counterpart, with even the silver and alternate shades of purple matching up to their colour placement on the animation model. As with the robot mode there can be a fair bit of colour shifting between episodes, but it’s unmistakeably Cyclonus. The cockpit section even has those same translucent orange windows as he does in the movie, which are so perfect that I’m almost disappointed that there isn’t a tiny Galavatron inside peering back and shaking his fist angrily. The vehicle also has three retractable landing gear wheels located in the nose cone and rear section, which can be unfolded to give the toy better stability (as well as just general shelf presence) on a flat surface. Sadly unlike robot mode there’s no obvious place to plug in an articulated display stand, but there are enough gaps in the undercarriage for one to grip onto the toy and hold onto it fairly securely.

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Just like Universe Cyclonus raised the bar on just how good mainline Transformers could be back in 2008, Kingdom Cyclonus is raising the bar once again. No longer held back by either size or gimmicks, this is the G1-inspired Cyclonus fans have been waiting years for. It looks fantastic, scales perfectly with the other War for Cybertron trilogy/Studio Series 86 figures and has a transformation that in some aspects feels almost Masterpiece worthy. That alone is enough to make it worthy of being called the perfect Cyclonus figure, but then throw in the fact that it can also wield Universe Nightstick properly and there’s no denying that it’s the definitive Cyclonus as well. Hasbro really are delivering hit after hit with Transformers at the moment, but even amongst all those hits Cyclonus stands out as being particularly brilliant.