"Transformers Adventure" Strongarm & Sawtooth Toy Review

in 2016, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Battle Pack, Prime, Prime of Micron, Transformers Adventures

Adventure

Strongarm General Information:
Release Date: July 2016
Price Point: $20-$25 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: Japanese Retailers
Accessories: Sawtooth Mini-Con figure, Sawtooth helmet armor x 2, Helmet/chest armor for Strongarm, Leg armor x 2, Sword

Tech Specs: (Translations by Doug Dlin)
Strongarm's partner Sawtooth is a Shark-type Micron. Possessing the ability to manipulate ocean currents at will, he specializes in underwater combat. The Torrent Armor that Sawtooth creates is a new form of armor that can power up not only Strongarm, but Sawtooth himself as well.

"Robots in Disguise" continued in 2016 with the introduction of "Battle Packs". These each featured an Autobot paired up with a Decepticon Mini-con. The Autobots were generally about the size of a Commander Class figure (examples of a Commander Class figure include "Prime" Ironhide and "Dark of the Moon" Guzzle). As you would expect, Japan followed Hasbro's lead and would also put out these two packs which generally featured the same sculpts as the Hasbro releases with different colors.

Packaging:
In terms of design the packaging for the "Transformers Adventure" version of the Battle Packs is very similar to the ones released by Hasbro. They feature a wide bubble attached to a backing card. Both figures are in robot mode with the accessories on the side. For this particular segment of "Adventure" figures Takara Tomy added an extra line to the logo titled "Prime of Micron", roughly equivalent to what Hasbro is calling the "Weaponizers". The general idea is that the Mini-Cons can serve as weapons for larger figures. The right side of the packaging features the "Transformers" logo in white set vertically under an Autobot symbol. The artwork used for Strongarm is one of the standard promotional pictures of the character showing her partly turned around. The back of the packaging features dramatic artwork with Strongarm in all her modes while the new version of Optimus Prime stands like a ghostly figure in the background. This is also where the profile/tech specs are printed. I like the bright colors on the packaging and the use of the "Prime of Micron" logo is interesting and helps differentiate this release from its "Robots in Disguise" counterpart.

Accessories:
All the "Battle Packs" come with several accessories that can be used with the figures included in the set. In this case of this set the armor included works with both figures. Here's how that breaks down:

  • There are two halves of a helmet. These can form the helmet for Sawtooth or armor for Strongarm's forearms.
  • Two curved wing pieces can serve as wing armor for Sawtooth or leg armor for Strongarm.
  • The piece that forms Strongarm's helmet and chest armor can be attached to the underside of Sawtooth's tail section.
  • The sword weapon can be held by Strongarm or attached to Sawtooth's top fin.

All these accessories are cast in translucent light blue plastic with no deco. They do add a nice "energized" look to both figures. I will say that I had to reference photos of the figure before attaching the armor to Strongarm since the connection points are not immediately obvious but after doing it once I got the hang of it.

Sawtooth Review

Sawtooth is one of the new "Weaponizer" type Mini-Cons introduced in "Robots in Disguise" for 2016. Unlike the first batch of Mini-Cons on the show these become weapons that can be used by larger Transformers (and in a fun twist, the Mini-Con can also take control of the larger Transformer!). Sawtooth was one of the Mini-Cons being forced to work with Decepticons like Scatterspike.

True to his name, Sawtooth is basically a cute little robotic shark with arms and legs. Most of his body is made up of a huge head with a really sharp looking, angled fin behind the head and two large, curved fins on the sides. He also has a tail sticking out the back. He has legs connected to either side and small claws arms under the pectoral fins. For a round little shark guy Sawtooth really does have some nice, sleek designs. The fins in particular sweep back at a dramatic angle and they look great. At the same time his round head and tiny arms and legs give him an appealing look that you wouldn't necesarily expect of a Transformer based on a shark.

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Sawtooth is cast in a seafoam green color. The front section has some light green paint on it and his eyes are metallic blue. On the left side fin is an Autobot symbol with a circle around it. This can be scanned into the Japanese Transformers app but will not work in the "Robots in Disguise" app by Hasbro.

The armor included with this set can all attach to Sawtooth, making him look more "battle ready". I really like the way the helmet armor gives him an extra fin on top of his head. I also dig the blade-like designs of the pectoral fin armor.

To transform Sawtooth, hold on to his tail and swing it forward. This forms a trident staff with a 5mm peg a the end, allowing larger Transformers to hold him. If you want to use this mode more as a cannon-like weapon there is an extra peg on a hinge in the center. Swing that down and he looks like a cannon instead! I have always been a fan of smaller Transformers that turn into weapons and Sawtooth fits the bill nicely.uu

Strongarm Review

Robot Mode:
The Strongarm figure in this set is a whole new sculpt featuring the young Autobot recruit in a size class roughly equivalent to the Commander Class. The designers did a great job with this sculpt. Most of Strongarm's key details are found on this figure. This includes her distinct head design with a crest and "horns" running up at angles. Her torso has two armor plates on the chest area leading to a more narrow waist area with a "belt" like design in the middle. Her legs have thick knee armor and six, distinct angled lines on each lower leg. The only place where the design deviates a lot from the original are the shoulders. Instead of the shoulders just being wheel shapes (based on wheels from the vehicle mode) this Strongarm has the headlight section of the vehicle's front end with the wheels on the sides. Honestly given how much the designers did right with this figure I have zero issues with this variation from the animation model.

Strongarm is cast in metallic blue, metallic black and white plastic. The blue is really beautiful and shines really nicely under bright light. The black is a bit less "shiny" but still looks good contrasting against the rest of the figure. White is of course one of her key colors and it helps bring the colors to the other end of the spectrum. The layout of these colors only roughly matches the TV show model (for instance her forearms are white on the show) but enough parts are "correct" that the spirit of the character's colors definitely carry through.

Paint colors on this figure include white, gunmetal grey, blue, silver and yellow. If that sounds like a lot that's because it is. Takara Tomy tends to go further with deco than Hasbro does (different cost models, different markets and all that) so this version of Strongarm has plenty of colors. The white is used for the chest details and lower legs. The gunmetal grey is found on the shoulder armor and torso. Blue is used on the head, filling in small details like the outer edges and the area around the face. Silver is used on the face and the yellow paints the crest and "horns" on top. This intricate level of detail is not seen a lot in toys of this size class nowadays so it's great to see it on this figure. Rounding out the deco is an Autobot symbol on the chest that can be scanned into the Japanese "Transformers Adventure" app.

There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure. Four are ball joints, allowing for a good range of articulation for the forearms and hips. Attaching the armor to this figure gives Strongarm a "powered up" appearance though to me the best looking of the armor pieces is the helmet/chest armor. The rest mostly looks like parts meant for Sawtooth that Strongarm is temporarily holding. It doesn't look bad, it just doesn't look as natural as the armor from previous Battle Packs. Both fists have 5mm ports so you can have her hold the sword and Sawtooth in weapon mode. I have found Sawtooth sits best as a cannon. As a spear the weapon is a bit heavy for the ball joints to support in a lot of poses.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  • Detach all armor pieces if attached.
  • Straighten out the arms and legs.
  • Swing the forarms back.
  • Push the robot feet down.
  • Connect the two legs together.
  • Rotate the arms up, then pull them forward.
  • Swing the back panel forward to form the front of the vehicle.
  • Swing the legs up and tuck the feet under the cabin cover piece with the lightbar on it.

Vehicle Mode:
Strongarm's truck mode is well represented with this vehicle form. She has a wide, boxy look that evokes a sense of both power and authority (thanks in part to the police lightbar on the top of the vehicle). I really love the way the truck looks like a pickup truck with some Humvee influences. This sculpt has all sorts of excellent detailing including the grille lines in the front, an Autobot symbol on the grille, side view mirrors and even a small "step" on the sides to get into the driver and passenger seats.

This color heavily emphasizes the metallic blue and white colors on the figure with black on the wheels. White paint is found on the back inside the truck bed. A strong, dark blue is used for the line details on the hood, while a lighter blue is found over the front wheel wells. A different blue is used for the headlights and the blue on the lightbar. Gunmetal grey is used for the grille and front bumper area. Meanwhile back is used to paint the windshield and side windows (sadly the rear window is unpainted). Finally red is used on the right side of the lightbar and the Autobot symbol on the grille. I really love this deco. There is a lot of attention to detail and the lines on the hood are particularly impressive. My only wish would be two things: paint the rear window and paint the blue circles on the sides of the wheels.

Strongarm featuers a 5mm port on the top of the light bar. This allows you to attach Sawtooth in a kind of "cannon mode". You can of course attach other 5mm peg weapons to this section as well.

Final Thoughts:
Strongarm with Sawtooth is a really fantastic Battle Pack. I love the look of the figure and Sawtooth is a really fun Mini-Con. If you can afford to get this version I would choose it over the Hasbro version. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Great sculpt, represents both characters well.
  • Sawtooth is really cute and cool all at the same time.
  • Fantastic deco.
  • Interactivity between the two figures and the armor is very fun.

Cons:

  • Sawtooth has limited articulation.
  • The armor seems more natural on Sawtooth than Strongarm.
  • The ball joints on Strongarm are not quite strong enough to hold Sawtooth in spear mode in various poses.