Wednesday 26 April 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Decepticon Rumble (Blue)

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Release Date: November 2022
RRP: $11.99/£13.99

Everyone loves a big Transformers toy, but every now and again you've got to give the little guys some love as well. Thankfully this is exactly what the Studio Series 86 line has been doing lately, adding the Core Class to their range of screen-accurate figures from 1986's Transformers: The Movie. After getting off the ground with Wheelie and Spike in his exo suit, now Hasbro are giving the bad guys some love with Studio Series 86 Decepticon Rumble (Blue). A core character in the Generation One cartoon since its pilot, the wise-talking Rumble is one of Soundwave's trusted cassette minions.

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Just one glance at the box and you've immediately got to laugh at the way Hasbro have decided to address the "Frenzy is red, Rumble is blue/Frenzy is blue, Rumble is red" debate that's plagued the Transformers fandom for decades. There is no debate whatsoever that in the G1 cartoon the purple/blue one is Rumble, but Hasbro have made extra certain it's clear on this release by labelling it "Decepticon Rumble (Blue)". The box itself is the standard Core Class packaging, featuring a similar design to the larger Studio Series 86 packaging but lacking a designated number. The front of the box is features a plastic-less window so the figure is fully visible, with some gorgeous new Rumble artwork printed both above it and on the side of the box. The back of the box shows off Rumble in various poses, and then inside the figure (and accessories) are fixed to a backing card displaying the Autobot communications tower he (along with Frenzy, Ravage and Ratbat) break into during the attack on Autobot City in Transformers: The Movie.

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At just over two inches high Rumble is pretty small even for a Core Class figure. But don't let that fool you – Hasbro have really put the effort in when it came to making him look as cartoon accurate as possible. Not only are the proportions spot on but the colours are too – combining that lavender purple with baby blue limbs. There's also plenty of other paint detailing here too, whether it’s the silver on the chest and legs, the red knee caps or the yellow vents just above the feet. The chest has a nice amount of moulded detailing, and even a tiny Decepticon symbol in the centre of the stomach. The head sculpt on the figure is equally impressive, not only perfectly capturing the shape at such a small size but also a facial expression that's very suited to Rumble's personality.

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For a little guy Rumble is also packed with some rather impressive articulation, consisting of; 
- Ball jointed head, shoulders and knees
- Pin joint shoulders
- Swivel hinge hips
- Hinged fists and feet
Those hinged parts mentioned last are more to accommodate the transformation rather than affect poseability, but definitely worth utilising for a wider variety of poses (particularly the feet). The six ball joints used across the body give Rumble an excellent degree of mobility – with the head articulation particularly good for having him look up when in crouching positions. The addition of the pin joint at the shoulder is also really good too. Again it's primarily there as part of the transformation, but with it you're able to raise the arms up for a far more realistic range of movement. There's a lot of good here, but the lack of elbow joints is a little bit of a disappointment. It certainly wouldn't have been hard for Hasbro to pull off at this size, so one can only assume they're only absent because so much of the figure's budget was applied elsewhere. Personally I wouldn't take elbows over the detailing or paint apps the figure has, so if that is indeed the case then Hasbro absolutely made the right move here.

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A figure of this size and price point you probably wouldn't expect to deliver much when it comes to accessories, but that's another area where Rumble really excels as well. Among the extra parts included here are his twin "Thruster guns", which can either be plugged on his back for the fully cartoon-accurate look or onto the ports on his forearms for alternative weapon-wielding action. But the true prize is Rumble's signature piledrivers, included here as optional pieces that plug directly onto his arms (once the fists have been folded in). The piledrivers technically have non-moveable pistons, however the tips are on 5mm pegs so can be shifted to simulate them moving should you so wish). These are really what make Rumble "Rumble", so to get them included here not only completes the release – it just makes the figure so much better.

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Rumble utilises a relatively simple nine-step transformation to change into his classic micro-cassette mode, which was rather outdated even in the far-off futuristic year of 2005. Nevertheless it's exactly what he transformed into in both the cartoon and movie, so why would you expect anything less here? Simplistic as it may seem the cassette mode is rather nice look, with all the robot parts coming together nicely to make this cassette-looking rectangle. The front features some distinct moulded cassette detailing, while the back hides the chest detailing from Rumble's robot mode. In this mode the figure can be stored in either War for Cybertron/Legacy Soundwave or Blaster's chest units, but as the cassette is a little smaller than a G1 cassette bot it won't fit in a G1 Soundwave (which as you can probably guess is the only version I had to hand for this review).

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Transformers Studio Series 86 Decepticon Rumble (Blue) is proof that great things often come in small packages, because wow is this figure a whole lot of fun. Even the lack of elbows isn't enough to bring this figure down, with Hasbro packaging some otherwise incredible articulation into such a tiny frame. The colours and detailing on the toy are flawless, and then finally the inclusion of the piledrivers (as well as such a hassle-free way of attaching them to the figure) are the icing on the cake. If this is the kind of quality that the Core Class can deliver, then people need to be paying a lot more attention to smaller Transformers toys. The big question is when are Hasbro following this up with Studio Series 86 Deception Frenzy (Red)? Or will they just name it Decepticon Rumble (Red) to truly rile up the fandom? Either way, I want it now.

1 comment:

John Hood said...

The Decepticon cassettes were the first Transformers I owned back in the day! Must get this!