Tuesday, 6 September 2011
U is for Unicron
The Winning Toy
"Many Transformers still superstitiously toss a small handful of energon coins over one shoulder whenever his name is uttered, for the word itself means chaos and destruction. Once an all powerful eater of entire planets, he was destroyed decades ago by the Autobots. For too long he was trapped in the rusting hulk of his old body. Now, resurrected and redesigned as an unstoppable destroyer tank, he is not yet at full power, but soon all the universe will know him, and tremble."
Size Class: Deluxe
Function: Chaos Bringer
Please note: I have lost Unicron's missile (I will no doubt be sent to his fiery bowls for this) so just imagine that he has a red missile in his cannon turret.
Unicron's robot mode is of course heavily influenced by his Supreme class toy from Armada, and the character who has appeared in multiple series'. He's a mostly orange figure with varying shades of grey and brown on his limbs, chest, and other parts. He has red and purple highlights across his body (because those are evil colours!)
Unicron's arms are connected to his upper torso by a light brown connector. His shouler his connected to the connector by a pivot joint that allows it to rotate fully (barring obstructions). The upper arm is connected to the shoulder piece on a hinge joint that allows it to be raised outwards by 90 degrees and is connected to an elbow joint by a pivot (allowing him to rotate his lower arm at a different point to the upper arm. The elbow joints enable him to flew his arm inwards by 90 degrees. All of this makes his arm's extremely articulate of course. His hands are sculpted with fingers and fitted with a peg hole to hold weapons (such as the removable blades from his legs or the Star Saber amongst many more fun things). Unicron's vehicle mode pincers are also able to be flipper outwards (after flipping the hands inward) to act as weapons if you want.
Unicron's legs are connected to the lower torso by ball joints (giving it full articulation) which leads to a knee joint created by a piece of plastic between the upper and lower legs giving it 90 degrees of movement backwards (so he can sit and eat small planets maybe) The rest of his lower leg is just a single piece, which is very impressive looking, but doesn't give any extra articulation to the leg. His feet are connected to the bottom of the leg by a hinge that enables both the front and heel of the foot to rotate somewhat (however this has the negative effect of sometimes making the heel go upwards, and therefore unable to support all of Unicron's weight.
The panels on the side of the legs are used to hold a pair of single edge blades and a pair of double edged blades for Unicron to use in a battle with a Klingon. Unicron has the maw on his chest which can open up when his Cyber Planet key is inserted through the slot on his back (above the wheels), revealing some gatling guns to kill an opponent, and also has a large cannon on his right shoulder, and a tiny gun on his left shoulder.
Unicron's head is situated on the top of his torso inside what can only really be described as a collar. The head itself is found on a translucent red piece of plastic (the radar from vehicle mode) that is flipped upwards for transformation (and can therefore be used to make him look upwards or something). The head itself is sculpted with Unicron's orange helmet and iconic horns, but rather than having his classical head he instead has a skeletal head (much akin to G1 Bludgeon's Pretender Shell's) which gives him a set of unpainted sharp teeth, a sharp cleft chin and defined cheekbones, as well as seemingly missing parts, which are all used to show that he's still healing.
The eyes use the Light-Piping gimmick, which means that if a strong enough light source is shone through the back of his head, then his eyes will glow a bright red. Above his bright red eyes we can find some purple paint on the helmet, acting like eye-brows in this situation and a chevron above the brows
Unicron's alternate mode is...well according to his bio it's called a "destroyer tank" but to imagine it, just think of his Supreme class toy's alternate mode squished into a pancake and put wheels on the bottom, and that's what you have! (I don't mean for that to be negative, but it's the best explanation for what it looks like in a sentence lol)
The vehicle mode is mostly orange with some grey for the blades, gun, maw and pincers. The wheels, treads and large cannon are brown. The whole vehicle has purple highlights to break up the colour somewhat. The cockpit windows and radar are a translucent red colour.
Anyway, the tank mode rolls along the floor thanks to two large wheels at the back (like monster truck wheels) and two small wheels situated under the forward tank treads (like with most tank alternate mode Transformers) These wheels work perfectly week if you're on a smooth service and have transformed him from robot mode perfectly, as having anything out of place then the undercarriage will catch on anything.
Pretty much everything in this mode is a reference to the larger Supreme class figure and character itself, especially the planet mode of that figure. The pincers at the front are clearly based on the pincers that are used to drag planets into Unicron's maw. On top of that of course is the maw just above the cockpit which can even open and close (by inserting his Cyber Planet Key, which also reveals a three barrel gatling gun from inside it (I guess because he can't exactly use the maw to eat planets now). The "wings" on the sides are clearly meant to be parts of his planet mode surface, with the blades on top of them resembling the wings he deploys from his planetary rings.
Some parts that have been added to this mode that are nothing to do with his planet mode are of course the giant cannon on top (since he's a tank now), the wheels and tank treads, the cockpit (which, considering that this is Unicron, seems weird that he's have a driver..), the thrusters on the back and the Radar on top, which I believe is mostly used just to hide his robot mode head.
The gun turret is able to be raised up at about 45 degrees and rotated slightly either left or right. The smaller gun in on a small ball joint which enables it to move freely, minus any obstructions. The blades on the side parts are also able to rotate slightly or be removed as well.
Oh Unicron...he's one of those characters who hasn't been in a lot of media, but when he does appear you always remember him. In recent years Hasbro has announced that Unicron, and his counterpart Primus, are what are called Multiversal Singularities, meaning that they exist in all continuities as the same being, which has been further expanded upon by explaining that each of those versions of him are connected (also meaning that he can't truly die unless all his other counterparts are killed too)
Unicron first appeared in the animated G1 movie from 1986 where he acted as the primary antagonist as he devoured the planet Lithone, rebuilt the half dead Megatron and some of his troops into Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps, and finally attacking Cybertron itself in his impressive robot mode, leading to his apparent death at the hands of the newly arisen Rodimus Prime and the Matrix. Unicron later appeared a couple of times in the following season three where he began to recover as a head orbiting Cybertron, where he showed Cyclonus where Galvatron had be sent after Rodimus threw him out of his body. Later he recruited the Ghost of Starscream and Scourge into helping him turn Cybertron into a new body for him, only to fail after the Autobots worked out what was happening, and later having his cells used to injure the Autobots, and being the site of Grimlock building the Technobots (implying that they were either created by parts of Unicron or from some of his victims).
In the comics, Unicron served as the second to last major enemy for the G1 series where he was alerted to Cybertron's location by Primus waking up (stupid Octopunch) and he approached he planet slowly, eventually arriving, and killing many of the characters, including Optimus, Scorponok and the Primus possessed Emirate Xaaron. Primus would also appear in some future based Marvel UK stories and in some flashbacks in the G2 comics.
When the Beast Era came about Unicron was mentioned/seen a couple of times. The first time was in Starscream's false flashback where he claimed to have been killed by Unicron defending Galvatron (he was actually killed by Galvatron for treachery) later his likeness was used by the Vok to speak to Optimus Primal as a figure he'd respect. Much later on, in the Beast Machines series Rattrap claims that Megatron's giant head form looks like a floating tribute to Unicron. Unicron's cells were also around in the Japanese series Beast Wars II under the name of Angolmois, which is later used to help revive him in the follow up Beast Wars Neo series, where he was reborn into the deceased Predacon, Galvatron's body, and went on to fight Magmatron and the planet Cybertron itself, eventually leading to his demise yet again.
Unicron appeared briefly in the Dreamwave series as an oncoming threat, but due to he collapse of Dreamwave he never appeared in much of a capacity. However in the Armada and Energon comic series he appeared as the final antagonist of the Armada series, killing many of the characters and abducting some (see the Terrorsaur review for more details). Whilst the Energon series shows him being repaired slowly and that the Decepticons are using his dead husk for their base, even upgrading some of them in there as well, like Tidal Wave and Megatron himself.
Unicron appeared in the Armada and Energon TV series' in a similar manner to what he did in the Dreamwave versions of these series, acting as the final antagonist for the second half of the series, and even being revealed as the creator of the Mini-Cons as well (being used by him to accelerate the war, along with his agents like Sideways) However he is eventually defeated and sucked into oblivion. 10 years later Unicron reappeared as a dead husk in the Energon series, where Alpha Q and the Decepticons are trying to restore him for their own uses. Eventually he is defeated again, and his husk becomes the basis of a new star, which gives life to Alpha Q's planets. Unfortunately that star was unstable and collapsed within the next 10 years, threatening to consume the Universe, beginning the events of the Cybertron TV series.
In the Collector's Club comic's first story, Unicron is revived from the Black Hole and is sent into another Planet, where he spreads chaos across the world, and eventually causes it's destruction and his rebirth (into this toy's body) after that he went his his servants Soundwave and Sideways to fight off the Autobots, when Primus appeared and chased off the Chaos Bringer...for now.
Unicron also appeared in the IDW Beast Wars series The Ascending with him trying to be reborn into a new body, using Angolmois to create chaos and to eventually use Shokaract as his new form, but he was ultimately stopped by a combined effort from the Maximals and Predacons of Cybertron. This plot line was also used in the 3H multi-year storyline, many years earlier.
Unicron later appeared in the Titan UK Movie continuity having possessed the dried up husk of Cybertron itself and reformed it into a new body, he was however forced out later on, sending him elsewhere. Unicron has also recently been appearing in the new Prime cartoon after having his blood (Dark Energon) being a major plot point throughout the series and associated media.
Being the great evil of the Transformers universe he has of course had a few toys, however he only has two molds, this one and his Supreme sized one (who turns into a planet). The larger toy has been used for repaints for the character many times now, even being reused as the G1 character himself! This toy however has never been reused (which is a great pity). Unicron's also of course had some smaller figures from other parts of the series like the Titanium 3" figures and Robot Heroes, however neither of these can of course transform.
Unicron was due to have a toy in a few earlier lines however, even during G1 and Beast Wars Neo, however none of these, before Armada, ever came to fruition due to cost constraints and other uncited factors.
Is He Cool?
YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!!!
This incarnation of Unicron is one of my favourites, he manages to emulate the feel and aesthetic of the original G1 version, as well as managing to duplicate the look of the Armada Supreme Class mold, despite being a mere fraction of the size, and having a completely different alternate mode.
The toy is also quite noteworthy because it brought in more conspiracy theories for the franchise he was brought in with, mostly because of his Cyber Planet Key. He shares the key with Sideways and Soundwave, the former of which is an old servant of his from the earlier Armada series as well, somewhat concreting that the Sideways from Cybertron and Armada are the same guy, and that his home world of Planet X could be a world of his worshippers (very possible after Soundwave's following him in the Club Comic)
Another major thing about this toy in particular is that he has never been reused, which is, frankly, pretty rare for a modern toy as most get at least a repaint (even if it's as the same character) making this character pretty unique and more worthwhile in my opinion.
The only real flaw I can see with this toy is that he's quite difficult to transform compared to most other Deluxes from his line (and for that matter some of the larger figure too!) so that can be off-putting to some of the younger or easily-bored fans and collectors.
On the whole however, I would urge anyone who can find him, to just buy him on the spot. I did when he first came out in the UK all those years ago, and I never regretted it (I do however regret losing his missile). I mean don't bankrupt yourself over him, but if you can find one for a reasonable price, then do it, you won't look back.