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Strongarm - Energon - Figure

Strongarm

At last we come to a figure that isn’t an homage to the toys of yesteryear. In fact, unless TFU is lying to me, the name Strongarm (all one word) has never before been seen in the Transformers universe. I imagine a yellow-brown(actually goldenrod) jeep would look pretty plain surrounded by brilliantly colored mechanical beasts, swords and jet fighters, Its no wonder that fans didn’t salivate over Strongarm the way they did Skyblast and Ravage. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see Strongarm suffer from Demolishor syndrome, becoming an early but undeserved shelf warmer.

Accessories

Like all Omnicons, Strongarm comes with an energon chip and an energon weapon that breaks down into 3 smaller parts (gee, where have I read that before?). All energon pieces are molded from translucent candy-apple red plastic. This color works much better than Skyblast’s darker maroon as it channels light much more readily. Under the right lighting, this gives the pieces a nice glow that enhances the notion that they are made from energy rather than colored glass.

The energon chip shares the same 5 pointed shield design as Skyblast’s, only in a lighter shade of red. Early pictures of Arcee and Signal Flare also feature the same design for their energon chips, so it is likely to remain uniform for all Omnicons.

Strongarm’s weapon is a big battle axe, formed from 3 separate pieces. Two pieces form the axe blade, the third its handle. The axe blades can be combined together to become a spare tire (made of energon?) which can be easily stored in his jeep mode, or perhaps used as a buckler for bigger toys. Combined the blades have a diameter of about 2.5 cm. In robot mode, the blades can be used as handheld weapons or mounted on Strongarm’s shoulder blades. Technically they can also be worn as a hat, but it looks very stupid.

The 8.7cm shaft can be mounted on the back of Strongarm’s jeep to act as a gun or a crane. A movable hook is found just beneath the gun barrel which is a nice little bonus. In robot mode this can be wielded as a club or a gun. It may be held in Strongarm’s hand or mounted on his shoulder. It also features a minicon port near the barrel.

Combined together these pieces form a double-bladed energon battle axe. The gun barrel forms a standard sized handle, but is a little long and thin at its base. Be careful squeezing it into tight holes as I can easily see the handle snapping off. Note that it is also possible to combine this with other energon weapons, and many fans have already figured out a nasty looking pick-axe mode using parts from Skyblast.

This is a terrifically versatile, beautifully detailed weapon, and on its own it almost justifies a purchase.

Alt Mode
length: 9.8cm
width: 6.1cm
height: 5.0cm

Jeeps have been a transformer staple since the beginning, and I am happy to say that this is one of the better ones. Unlike most cars, jeeps have had a great deal of design consistency over the past 50 years, so there was no need to go overboard when creating a futuristic alt mode. It’s a bit more muscular than a modern jeep, but immediately recognizable.

His sculptors included realistic details on almost every bit of plastic - a gas can, armor grooves, a gear shift and handbrake, even shocks in the wheel well. Opening doors and a folding windshield complete the package.

Colors are well chosen. Looking a little bland at first, this really is a terrifically rich color scheme, my favorite in the line so far. Goldenrod is used as a base, with a dark blue-gray as the secondary color. The front grill is bluish silver with bright blue headlights. The windshield is translucent red, same as the energon bits. Metallic blue adorns the rear center, where the trunk should be. Black, red and gold finish off the details. The bright shades of blue and red used really bring out the highlights from the otherwise neutral-colored vehicle. An engraved Autobot emblem sits above the rear wheel on the driver’s side.

As mentioned earlier the jeep mode can be augmented with energon. An effort was made to incorporate the energon into pieces one would normally find on a jeep, an approach that works much better than the “add on” approach of Skyblast and Ravage. When fully decked out, Strongarm gets an energon spare tire on his back, and a crane/gun on a turret. They’d look perfectly natural in this form if not for their color.

Bot Mode Height: 11.5 cm
Width: 7.6 cm, 11.0cm with energon

As with his alt mode there is nothing in Strongarm’s bot mode that jumps out and grabs you, but upon examination its quality is inescapable. Big and blocky, Strongarm is clearly a utilitarian robot. A broad upper body perched on short, thick legs lends the impression of strength, a point that is reinforced when his energon blades widen his shoulders.

Colors hold over from jeep mode, and work just as well. Dark colors are concentrated on his upper body, emphasizing the mass there. His spark crystal is dead center in his torso, and stands out brilliantly. A blue-eyed, silver face is framed by a heavy red brow and black helm. Red on the shoulders – including the engraved Autobot symbol - help to visually connect the energon blades.

Articulation is superior to most Energon toys. Swivel joints are in the neck and waist, hinges for the knees, elbows and feet, and ball joints on the hips and shoulders. Since the arms are mounted on “flip over” tires, his shoulders get a little extra range for backward and forward movement. His hips are restricted from moving back by his seats, but then human legs don’t normally go far that way anyway. Unfortunately, for all his articulation, it is tough to balance Strongarm in a dynamic position.

When it comes to firepower, Strongarm has a couple of options. His energon gun can be carried in his hand or mounted on a movable peg on his right shoulder. Of course, it may also be combined with the energon blades to form a hand held battle axe.

My only reservation with Strongarm’s robot form is his feet. Formed by his transparent red windshield, I foresee this plastic getting scratched up easily.

Overall

No surprise by now that I love this toy. Strongarm is a triumph of the KISS philosophy. Rather than add fancy bits like a geared transformation, the designers maximized the basic features of an otherwise standard design. As a result Strongarm is hands down the best basic figure in Wave 1 and the second best figure in the Energon line to date.

Grade: A-

ReviewerMichael T. Dunleavy  
DateDecember 22nd 2003  
Score 9 stars (9 out of 10)  
Reads4489
LinkEnegon Basics Album  


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