Tankor - Beast Machines/Generation One - Generations Deluxe Class Figure

Articulation: 25 total points - Restricted ball joint neck; 7 points each arm: Universal joint shoulder, bicep swivel, double hinge elbow, forearm swivel, hinged claws; 5 points each leg: Insert joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinge ankle.

Colors: Molded grey, dark grey, blue, translucent red; Painted blue, yellow, red, silver, dark grey.

Accessories: Missile

Release Data: Released in the United States in June 2014 at a retail price of US$14.99

Author: ExVee

Tankor is a mountain of pure destructive force. Give him an objective and it's as good as done (and quite possibly crushed, smashed, or completely demolished). The Vehicon General doesn't have much for brainpower, but his skill in battle is nearly unrivaled.

(I think this Tankor probably only qualifies as a hill, sadly)

Robot Mode

Tankor takes very strongly after the cartoon model from Beast Machines. Which objectively isn't difficult to manage, since Tankor was only ever basically a pile of boxes, being probably the visually most simple of the Vehicon body types. Some tweaks have happened for needs of transformation and being able to move in a world where surfaces can't clip through each other as needed. So most evidently the arms are thinner in places and smaller overall, and you have things like the cannon which have similar shapes, but very different designs for the needs of the toy's engineering. On the whole though, this is the closest to the now fifteen years old CGI model we've ever had.

The cannon does conform to the outline of the three-prong gun of the original model, but the rails are flattened to panels, and you don't have open space between them. It's probably the biggest departure visually, and I'm sure has to do with the pressure launcher for the missile it contains. The action for that is very nice, as you brace against the cylinder on the butt of the cannon and pull with two tabs on the sides. The missile launches an extremely short distance, but the movement has a nice way of simulating cannon recoil that I kind of like. Even if it could function a lot better.

Overall, there's a good amount of detail sculpt, much of it just generic panel lining, but some vague mechanical elements here and there. The few details present in the cartoon model are here, like the odd lines-connected-to-circles on the arms. Tankor has a Vehicon symbol tampographed on the chest which looks very nice. The head is a good match to the original design, but like the cannon it's made more solid here rather than the open-spaced panels, but it doesn't hurt the look. I think what hurts the most is the cool grey plastic used on a lot of the body including the head has a very slight translucence to it. This seems to stand out most around the head, but can be seen at the edges on most all the parts cast in this plastic. With the addition of a silver plate painted on the face, I have flashes to IDW Bumblebee, though not nearly on the same level of visual assault that was.

All that aside, the most important factors of Tankor have been captured; the figure succeeds in looking like a rolling war engine, covered with weapons. The missile battery and small cannons in the chest are there, plus the main cannon and what could even pass as guns in the claw hands. It completely sells the intent that this design has only one purpose, and a variety of ways to accomplish that. I'm really very happy with how the design has been realized now in plastic, after so many years since the last attempt at capturing the show design as a figure.

Tankor is surprisingly well articulated given the base design. And close to half of that is made useless by putting the toy in its intended posture. The knee joints are made to support the reverse-knee stance of the CGI model. But the tread feet are pushes so far back doing that, you have to be careful to mind the center of balance of the toy and trying to use the really nice insert joints at the hips or the thigh swivels can quickly cause toppling. The "toe" end is rounded, and is more or less directly under the centerline of the robot's body, so tipping forward is a thing unless you pitch the torso back a few degrees. The wheels at the back of the tread blocks isn't helping this either, frequently providing the pivot point on which the figure can fall backwards. That's less common, and generally the cannon sticking out from the back will help counter-balance the figure to keep it from falling forward, at least when everything is going well. But it's kind of unfortunate and far from the ideal situation.

But Tankor's legs can be straightened. The shins are made such that there's not any significant gap left by doing this, and the robot gains a tiny bit of height. You'll also find the balance has improved overall, and that Tankor's knees have a hell of a range in the traditional direction, able to crunch up on themselves pretty well, with only the hip joint itself blocking their way. In all fairness, these are still short, stubby legs and you are not going to get much dynamic posing out of them, but all of the joints work really solidly, and serve basically no purpose for the transformation. Have Tankor go chicken-leg for cruising mode, but take some time to enjoy the largely unnecessary poseability the toy has as well.

The arms are surprisingly nice as well. The blocky shoulders get a good range of movement thanks to movable shoulder armor plates and nice universal joints. The elbows are nice, thick double hinges, mainly needed for transformation but not in any way wasted on the robot mode. And the best benefit is a forearm swivel immediately following the elbow, which gives so much to the poseability, far beyond what something on the line of a wrist swivel would ever do here. The claws, which are geared together, open and close and have more stiffness than Whirl's claws, so Tankor could even hold small, light items. And the forearm swivels allow expressive posing with the claw hands, plus there's another benefit...

So, Tankor has spinning saw blades in the arms. They don't flip out or anything, since it'd add complication and cost for only small benefit. The original Beast Machines Mega Tankor had saw blades like this too, but they were stuck to the inside of the forearms in robot mode. This Tankor can rotate the forearms and point the saw blades to whatever side and angle is best, which does a lot to make up for the blades being stuck in the arms; just imagine a forearm thrust leading with a spinning buzzsaw. It's great! Mind, the most naturally aligned looking pose for the arms still has the blades pointing up, but there's no reason they need to always stay that way!

Rounding things out, Tankor's head is on a swivel. The odd shape wants to limit range with the raised surfaces around the collar, though in general you can push past them if you really need Tankor to look farther to either side. While behaving as a swivel, the head is actually just a very low-fit ball joint blocking any movement besides side-to-side. Tankor's cannon clips on the right shoulder (and is sadly not 3mm clip compliant), and has two hinge points. Only one, at the base of the connecting arm is actually useful for robot mode. The cannon lacks any kind of side to side range, and is only able to angle up and down. This isn't a huge issue in robot mode, though.


The major parts of this aren't complicated. The chest swings down to peg together with the legs, the head flips up to align with the angle of the vehicle body, and that all works in just a couple quick movements. Getting the arms isn't actually difficult, but there's a specific way they need to fold so they fit together and have the saw blades pointing up as they need to. It could take a few times through the sequence to memorize what turns and bends where, but it's not going to lead to frustration in the meantime.

Vehicle Mode

While the robot did a good job of representing the CGI model, the vehicle doesn't so much. For accuracy, the head should be the highest point in the body besides the cannon. It's meant to sit on top and be the turret, more or less. But the toy works such that the head is mostly behind the flattened chest panel. It's a relatively minor issue, but it's enough to make the tank mode look pretty wrong. It's very flat looking, in a way that makes it seem incomplete. It's a lot like if a normal looking tank had its turret taken off. The lines of what remains seem to want to lead up to an additional structure on top which isn't there. Besides which, putting the head up on a raised platform allow it to seem meaningfully prominent - it's important and belongs out in the open. Having it low and half hidden as it is only serves to make it look like it was trying to be covered but nobody could be bothered to finish the job. In functional terms this doesn't do anything to the tank one way or another, it's just a major aesthetic problem. I don't know if there would have been a reasonable way to change it so the appearance was more correct to what the toy is supposed to be going for, but I don't like the result we got. While I'm here talking about visual issues, there's also big open gaps behind the front treads. Given how there are hinged panels right there that would be ideally sized to cover that up, you would naturally expect to be able to cover that. But no, it's impossible to fit the front end together if you use those pieces to close up the hollow spaces. Nor do they have room to flip all the way back once the legs are pegged in place during transformation. So you can have the tank tracks covered on top, but you can't hide large, obvious, empty spaces in the vehicle structure.

In functional matters, the cannon's lack of a swivel anywhere along the way is a problem. The cannon can elevate, around 20 degrees which is also not great, but it can still only point forward. It bugs me since it would have been easy enough to work around that by having the cannon attach to its mounting arm using a ball joint instead of a pinned hinge. The cannon could have gotten all the range of movement it needed and not used any extra pieces. But moving away from that, the tank holds together pretty well, though I've found the pegs that are supposed to keep the head panel secured to the rear half of the tank are not great at doing their job. This isn't a major thing since those parts don't have a whole lot of room to move around anyway and can more or less keep to what they're supposed to be doing just with joint friction. That basically applies to all of the rear half, since the arms have spots where they tab and secure to each other, but it just doesn't really work. This is saved with the structural support for the back end being provided by a solid plate, the robot's back piece, which has the wheel and extremely fake rear tracks and all the poorly tied down moving parts just hang out on top of that. Had the tank been forced to support itself solely with the folded up arms, Tankor would be edging on disaster right now, instead of just mild disappointment.

Closing Remarks

I have to say I'm impressed by the flexibility squeezed out of this design while staying very faithful to the source material. The robot isn't perfect, and I know its general mass and especially the height are a sticking point for some people. I can't tell you that any of those things are false. No, this won't scale to your vintage Beast Machines Maximals. If you can get past that, you'll see that it's a really nice representation of a media design that so far has only existed as a toy in an even smaller scale than this. The vehicle mode leaves more than a little to be desired, at least for me. I appreciated the living vehicle style of all the Vehicon alternate modes that portrayed them as utility forms rather than disguise, but I just don't find that to be accomplished here. Tankor is not in any way trying to "hide" as a tank, but it's not far enough to the other side to come across as intentionally out in the open. Without picking a side, it looks only half finished from either perspective.

I'm going to score Tankor Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale, mainly centered on how the robot came out surprisingly nicely. I'd really like to see a Tankor where the vehicle mode could have got another pass at the design phase and maybe managed to get out without some of the stylistic and design shortfalls that really bugged me here. But even all that said, I find it pretty hard to actually complain about a Beast Machines update in Generations. It's really not something I expected to get out of the Classics family. ...and I kinda want more now...

DateJuly 11th 2014  
Score 5 stars (5 out of 10)  

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