Height: 14cm (robot); 15cm (overall vehicle length)
Articulation: 20 total points - Ball joint neck; 4 points each arm: ball joint shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinge elbow, swivel wrist; Ball joint waist; 5 points each leg: Universal joint hip, mid-thigh swivel, hinge knee, ball joint ankle.
Colors: Molded maroon, light grey, yellow; Painted silver, red, yellow, khaki, black, clear red
Release Data: Released in the US at the end of 2011 at a retail price of $US12.99
Assembled and raised in the scrap pile, Junkheap is a supremely resourceful bot. It was he who helped orchestrate the repair and reboot of the disabled Ultra Magnus. The mighty Autobot was so impressed with the talent of Junkheap that he encouraged Autobot Ratchet to spend an extended leave on Junkion to hone his repair skills.
With this bio establishing itself in Transformers: The Movie events, let's just assume that by "encouraged to spend extended leave," it really means Magnus sent a box of Ratchet's wreckage to Junk and said "Hey, see if you guys can fix this."
Counting Wreck-Gar and Scrapheap from my main work over at figurereviews.com, this is my third pass with this mold, and it's pleasantly surprising just how distinct each one has been owing simply to deco changes and unique heads each time around.
This mold has always represented a favorite motorcycle Transformer, and this instance is no different. Though it can be a little bit tricky to get everything fit back in place just right when transforming back from robot mode, the motorcycle always comes together as a really solid unit with surprisingly few visible and blatant robot elements to spoil the image. Of course the main characteristic of this toy is that it's built to accommodate another of its kind in robot mode riding it thanks to the crotch and seat being able to peg-and-hole together. Unlike eHobby Scrapheap, Junkheap is interesting enough looking in vehicle mode to be suitable as either bike or rider. Or both at once, if you were to buy two of these! Another thing the vehicle has going for it is thanks to its unusually narrow build compared to other bike Transformers it ends up very close to being 1:12 scale, and so is well-sized for any action figures you may have lying around in the 6-inch range.
Junkheap's coloration is uniquely his own. Where both versions of Wreck-Gar went for their own takes on looking rusty, and Scrapheap went far in to the brown end, Junkheap's largely maroon and yellow scheme is a much welcomed dose of color saturation for the mold. The vehicle gets its own deco pattern as well, something sorely lacking in general on Scrapheap. The maroon body color, muted yellow stripes and large amount of silver on the "engine block" really come together to make Junkheap look more like a generic dirt bike much more than any prior use of the mold managed. But at the same time, the careful selection of these colors lets the toy still fit in with the existing Junkions. I'm not sure if we'll get more general retail releases of this mold anywhere in the near future, but it makes me very curious to see how much more color variation can be had while still remaining within typical Junkion coloration.
Perhaps as a response to the common breakage of the handlebar hinges, the nubs intended to hold them in place in vehicle mode have been reduced in size by more than half. As long as you let the toy automorph the leg, it may no longer be necessary to completely trim these nubs off. The hinges themselves are far, far less tight than the prior instances of this mold as well, so it seems like someone is paying attention finally. Of course it is generally known by now that trying to manually turn the handlebars is a main cause of those hinges cracking and breaking off, so I still recommend not doing that.
Despite sharing the same build, it's amazing how well Junkheap is distinguished from Wreck-Gar just thanks to creative repositioning of the paint operations. For instance, despite being cast in the maroon plastic entirely, the lower half of Junkheap's torso is painted over with silver, just leaving the base plastic exposed across the chest and helping change the perception of the reused shapes. Reversing the placement of light and dark colors on the arms and adding small areas of paint on the hips and pelvis perform similar functions to set apart this toy from your prior two Junkions.
What also makes this Junkion distinct is the new mold head. Although it's not entirely new. The clear plastic back half of the head is the same piece as Scrapheap used, with just a new face attached. The unusual circumstance of this mold have a total of three heads to use appears to be a case of really just having two and a half heads. The helmet and face shape fit within the Junkion style, but are unique. Junkheap would likely have been aided in being more visually his own dude if there had not been a goatee sculpted in the face, which makes him a bit more like Wreck-Gar-Lite. Even leaving it unpainted, or just not painting it black, of all things would have been fine. Just so that it'd be a little more different from the toy that most people will already have. On the subject of paint, Junkheap's visor did not get away with a great paint job. Mine probably clocks in at "okay", but even that's not saying much; I've heard tell of some looking like they'd been colored in by a spastic gibbon. Scrapheap had the same problem in its use of this clear piece, which makes me think the transparent paint doesn't want to play nicely with this clear plastic. None of the toy's other paint work is so sloppily hit-or-miss.
The transition to new plastic colors has not hurt the parts fit of the toy at all. In fact, a few previous problems like the finicky waist joint have ended up being smoothed out in this iteration. The waist will turn completely smoothly now and has no evident habit of jumping to certain spots to either side of center as Wreck-Gar and especially Scrapheap did. All the joint movement is smooth, and finds no looseness from reuse or bad plastic tolerances. The legs are notably more solid-feeling than Wreck-Gar's, which had a minor feeling of flimsiness, especially in the hip joints. One thing that unfortunately has not improved with these new plastics is the hands. If the axe weapon is snapped in to the hand from the side, the hand will still stretch and produce stress marks in the palm. They're harder to see against the light grey plastic, but they do still occur. I can only recommend threading the end of the handle through the top of the hand if you wish to arm Junkheap.
Just to be different, its blades, Miyake Joint and gear wheel have been cast in a yellow plastic similar to the upper arms. While it appears to be the same grey color otherwise as the original use on Wreck-Gar, it's a slightly different shade that more clearly stands out in side-by-side comparison. This is one of the only instances of the changed plastics causing a parts fit problem, in that the axe head really wants to sag and not sit straight with the handle. Even the original had a tiny bit of play between the soft ratchet and where the straight line lay, but the fit between pieces was tight enough that it couldn't just sag within that space. But Junkheap's can, and it will.
Just to reinforce the warning, this axe still damages this figure's hands, so I strongly recommend against inserting it from the side. Just like Wreck-Gar and Scrapheap, only use the very end of the handle, inserted from the top of the toy's hand. I can't say for sure that the hand would break over time, but do you really want to risk finding out?
Everything that made this mold fantastic from the start is still in effect here - A great deal of flexibility, thin enough build to mostly not get in its own way, a surprising degree of balance possible for the more extreme poses. If anything, Junkheap does it all a little bit better because his parts all fit together with that little bit of extra tightness to make it all stronger. The deco is more interesting than Scrapheap, while not being so Wreck-Gar as the US Wreck-Gar or so weird like the United version. If not for the face being really un-generic thanks to the mustache, I'd call this an ideal Junkion troop builder. But of course we have after-market goods that can help with the head problem!
It's regrettable that the hands still can't properly hold the weapon without being damaged, but I don't think anyone really expected that to have changed by this point. Junkheap is probably my favorite instance of this mold so far, and really sets this mold up there with things like Classics Mirage and Generations Darkmount in the ranks of molds I'll just keep on buying as long as they crank out new decos. Junkheap easily scores a Very Good on the Figurereviews.com non-numeric rating scale. The only way I can figure to have this topped would be to use the Scrapheap face and give me a really effective generic trooper Junkion. Oh well, maybe next year.
|Date||February 8th 2012|
|Score||(8 out of 10)|
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