HARDTOP has been left on Earth to serve as a spy, tracker and ground-based spotter for the aerial team of STARSCREAM and THUNDERCRACKER. He uses his impressive array of sensors not only to pinpoint AUTOBOT targets up to 7000 miles away, but also to listen to and record the treasonous whining of STARSCREAM. Though he generally prefers to hang back from the front lines of a fight, he finds a certain pleasure in taking pot shots at AUTOBOTS with his super-precise, long-range laser rifle.
Hardtop is a North American exclusive for the Cybertron line, the first of such although there seems to be a few more coming up. Decepticons don't seem to do as well in the Japanese market as they do here, hence we get Decepticon exclusives, including the supreme Starscream. His name, Hardtop, doesn't really seem to fit this toy, since in his vehicle mode he dosn't have a top.
A Decepticon from Earth, Hardtop's vehicle mode is a dune buggy. It has larger rear tires than the front, a roll cage to protect the driver's seat, front headlights and fog lights on top. It is mostly dark green, with teal on the underside and for the rear tire supports. There is silver on the front, the roll bars, and brackets for the lights mounted on top. Some of the molded vents are painted black, as well as the tires. The lights are yellow, and there are a few small touches of gold. There is a lot of small details in this mode: molded lights, grates and vents, rear-view mirrors, running boards below the doors, and a seat inside for a driver. The back of his head can be seen inside the compartment, and even this is molded so it could be a steering column. There is a molded grate on top of the front, painted black, which is a really nice touch. Also present is a Decepticon symbol on the hood.
Hardtop's transformation is fairly simple, but still interesting. The rear part straightens out to form his legs, and the sides of the vehicle fold out to become his arms. The front tires move to his back, and then his hips move to attach to the front bumber while the driver's seat becomes a chest plate.
Hardtop's robot mode reveals much more of the teal and gold that were partly present in his vehicle mode, and there is a fair amount of purple as well. His arms are green with gold on most of the surfaces. His chest is teal with a black plate in the center(what was the driver's seat). His thighs, hips, and a few parts of his chest are dark purple. His head is teal, with black pieces on the sides, silver for his face, and yellow for his eyes. He has a kinda scowling expression on his mouth, and his 'eyes' are a songle piece, vaguely shapes like sunglasses. I think I would have liked it better if the hood of his vehicle mode was his chest, since it is so well detailed, but he still looks fairly good. It's difficult to even tell he has a vehicle mode, except for the tires on his legs. I also am dissapointed that he doesn't have a Decepticon symbol visible in his robot mode, it's on his back. Hardtop has ten points of articulation for his robot mode, hinged joints for his knees and elbows, ball joints for his hips and shoulders, and rotation in his hips and neck. The hinges in his shoulders, although part of his transformation, can also be used to achieve certain poses.
As mentioned in his profile, Hardtop uses a sniper rifle, although the weapon actually has two different configurations. The short version could be an assault rifle or other sort of weapon. By inserting his force chip into the back of the weapon, it flips into the sniper rifle mode with the extended barrel. It can be held in hand of course, and it attaches to the back of his vehicle mode. However, in vehicle mode, you need to angle the weapon off to the side when you insert the planet key or the barrel won't flip all the way around.
All in all, I find Hardtop to be a neat little guy. His vehicle mode seems a little smaller than basics(Or 'scouts') usually are, but his robot mode is a fine size, although I don't have any other basics on hand ATM to compare. He has excellent detail, great colours, is well-articulated, and just looks cool. My only real complaint about him is he can't really hold his weapon with both hands, although if you raise his arms on the hinges in his shoulders and lie him down, it sorta looks like a prone sniping position. Although I'm more in favour of the larger transformers and not the basic-sized ones, Hardtop is a cool Decepticon and definatly a worthy addition to a collection.
8 jellybeans out of 10!
|Reviewer||Andrew Osmond |
|Date||August 17th 2005 |
|Score|| (8 out of 10) |