Thursday 11 March 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Blurr

Transformers Studio Series 86 Blurr 01

Release Date: December 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

It’s been a while since I’ve been so all-in on Transformers that I’m planning to collect every figure from an entire range, but that just goes to show how much I love Transformers: The Movie. The film was one my first experiences with the franchise that I can remember, and even now continues to be one of my favourite films. So to see Hasbro go in on the 35th anniversary so hard with the Studio Series 86 line is an absolute joy, and there was no way I was missing out on them. Joining the first selection of figures is Studio Series 86 Blurr, another Autobot first introduced in the movie. A fast-talking speedster true to his name, Blurr was perhaps most notable for his instantly recognisable voice - delivered by the world’s fastest talking man "Motormout" John Moschitta Jr.

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Deluxe Class Blurr comes in the snazzy black and red packaging the Studio Series line is known for, which has been given a few minor touches to turn it into “Studio Series 86”. Packaged in robot mode, Blurr is on full show through the box’s front window - flanked by some new artwork of the speedy Autobot. This is all accompanied by a number of Hasbro, TakaraTomy and Transformers logos. That same character artwork is also featured on the spines of the box - one as a whole body shot and the other as a head closeup. The latter spine also denotes Blurr as the third release in the Studio Series 86 range. On the back of the box the usual Hasbro renders are accompanied by a number of taglines, including a brief one sentence bio of how Blurr helped defend Autobot City from the Decepticon attack. Inside the box the figure and accessories are neatly stored on a moulded plastic tray with a few elastic ties added to keep it in place. Behind the inner tray you’ll also find the instruction leaflet for the transformation.

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The chosen diorama/backdrop for Blurr’s inner tray is the battle of Autobot City from the beginning of the film, which is also where the character makes his onscreen debut. The backdrop is a nice clean image of the Autobot’s new home on Earth, with a few purple explosions and smoke clouds to show that it’s under siege. The base section of the display matches the rest of the Studio Series 86 releases - red in colour and sporting the Transformers: The Movie logo in a blocked-out black section. It’s not really big enough for a proper display with multiple figures (which is a shame as this is arguably the one background that could benefit from it the most), but definitely adds character to a Blurr pose or any other character you feel might fit on there.

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With the 1986 crew taking on more futuristic/Cybertronian vehicle forms, its immediately obvious how much less blocky the characters are compared to some of the earlier Autobots. Blurr feels particularly representative of this - retaining those classic blocky limbs but overall feeling far more streamlined in a way that fits his speedy personality. The torso not being a chunky car bonnet is a big change of pace. Hasbro have done a great job capturing these characters original G1 looks with the Studio Series and Blurr is certainly no exception - those colours especially are spot on. There’s a little bit of added moulded detail dotted around the figure to make it a little more technically than the flat animation model, but overall it’s a very close match. The only area that kind of missed the mark are the forearms - whilst the animation model has the hands sit over the two halves of the car sides that make up the forearms, the toy only has them sit over the top half. This gives Blurr some rather hefty sleeves when viewed head on. Speaking of heads, the headsculpt has also been criticised for an elongated chin much like Kup’s has been. That’s definitely true, but again much like Kup’s it doesn’t really impact on the head too much on the whole. The back of the head is also cast in translucent blue plastic, giving the eyes a beautiful light-piping effect when viewed with light directly behind them.

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A speedy body calls for plenty of articulation, and Blurr (much like the other Studio Series 86 figures so far) doesn't disappointing. The body features;
- Ball jointed neck
- Swivel hinge shoulders, elbows and hips
- Hinged knees and feet
- Waist, wrist and upper leg swivels
There are a couple of interestingly designed points of articulation on this figure, looking quite different to what you'd find on a typical action figure to make the transformation work but effectively working in the same way. Rather than a standard swivel hinge the shoulders are made up of a straight forward swivel with a hinge then built up on top of that. And while the hips don't have proper thigh swivels, the mushroom peg that connects the hip joint to the leg allows them to twist in largely the same way. Some bits are a bit restricted (it's worth noting that the wrist swivel only works if you unpeg the lower half of the forearm), but overall it all works in a reasonably satisfying way. The elbows and knees only have a 90 degree bend to them, but having that additional swivel in the elbows does help. Most of all though I have a real fondness for the hinged feet - it's a well-hidden joint but makes all the difference when it comes to balancing.

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Blurr comes packaged with two accessories - his standard blaster and the welding tool he uses in the movie to fix the Autobot shuttle on the Planet of Junk. Both are cast in white plastic, have no additional paint details and comfortably fit in either of the figure’s hands. The welding tool may be held like an ordinary accessory, but slots completely over the hand as if it were replacing it entirely. The gun is a nice match to the one he uses in the movie itself (although it’s grey there rather than white), and the welding tool is great little extra movie reference to have on the toy. Much like Kup’s Energon goodie box the welding tool doesn’t have any intended storage in robot mode outside of actual display, but there are a couple of options nonetheless. You can store the piece where it would be stored in vehicle mode, however that means the car bonnet section doesn’t sit flatly on the back. Alternatively you can just store it in the hollow section in the bonnet just behind his head, which isn’t in secure but totally hidden when the figure is viewed from the front.

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Blurr has an 18-step transformation which sees him go from robot to a futuristic blue hovercar. As seemed to be the case with most of the 1986 Transformers, real-world likeness went out the window and the design team went to town on the crazy retro-futuristic vehicles. It’s a really cool design, and arguably the superior one of Blurr’s two modes. The transformation process is pretty stress-free with some nice little steps, particularly how the arms move back and then wrap around the sides of the vehicle. The pieces also peg together really tightly, which is great for stability in vehicle mode but a little fiddly when you’re pulling it all apart again to transform back into robot mode. In vehicle mode the welding tool can be clipped underneath the bonnet out of sight, whilst the gun pegs onto the front to give the Autobot some additional weaponry when on the move.

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Blurr’s vehicle mode looks fantastic from a top or side view but has an awful lot of undercarriage, the most notable being the “feet” that keep it propped up at the back. On the one hand Blurr can get away with it better than most other Autobots since there’s no real-world reference for the vehicle, but on the other the animation model doesn’t have any of those parts underneath. To a certain level this should be expected from a $20 toy that’s expected to feasibly transform whilst the cartoon can get away with cheating, but given how flawlessly some of the other SS86 figures are pulling off both modes its worth raising nonetheless. And since Blurr is a hover-car, the toy doesn’t have any free-rolling wheels like most Transformers cars do either.

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Given the quality of the figures Hasbro are really showing Transformers: The Movie a lot of love for its 35th anniversary, and Studio Series 86 Blurr is another winner. While perhaps not quite as polished as some of the other figures in the range, this is still a great-looking figure that’s fun, poseable and has a satisfying yet not too complex transformation. Blurr’s never been one of my favourite Transformers to the point that I’ve felt compelled to own a version (other than his Transformers Animated incarnation), but overall I’m extremely satisfied with this one and excited to see what the Studio Series 86 line cooks up next.

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