"Age of Extinction" One Step Changer Stinger Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Decepticon, One Step Changer, Vehicon, Wal-Mart Exclusive

Age of Extinction

Stinger General Information:
Release Date: September 2014
Price Point: $9.96
Retailer: Walmart Exclusive
Accessories: None

Images:

Official Hasbro Text:
Decepticon Stinger is back, and he's tougher than ever! This Decepticon Stinger changer fights his Autobot enemies every time he can, and he converts so fast they'll never be able to keep up. Press him to convert him from mighty robot mode to speedy sports car mode in just 1 step, then convert him back again when the battle calls for it! Autobots will never be able to handle your fast-changing Decepticon Stinger figure!

Decepticon Stinger is one of those odd figures in Transformers history fans will probably talk about for a while. The character made quite a splash in the "Age of Extinction" film as one of Galvatron's "Vehicon" warriors. He was described on screen as a "replacement" for the "outdated" Bumblebee (much to Bumblebee's dismay) and was featured in several key scenes. However, while he got all this attention (including his own wallpaper on Hasbro's web site) there was no word of any type of unique, "Generations" style figure for the character. Now with 2014 almost over it's clear that he won't be getting his own Deluxe figure. There is a rumored redeco of the "Movie Advanced" Dino figure that will be sold "as" Stinger, but that's a substitute at best.

Instead, it appears the closest we're going to get to an original Stinger figure (that isn't a redeco of a previous figure) is this One Step Changer. However, to complicate things more, despite having his own product page on Hasbro's web site, the One Step Changer figure wound up becoming a Wal-Mart exclusive, mixed in with figures that came out around the time the film was due for DVD/Blu-Ray release. Oddly, some were found at other stores so it is likely the figure was intended for mass release and was yanked and made into a Walmart exclusive late in the planning of assortments. Outside the United States the figure has seen uneven distribution with it being a Walmart exclusive in Canada but mass release elsewhere such as some parts of Europe.

Vehicle Mode:
Stinger's vehicle mode is a licensed Pagani Huayra. This is the only figure of the character to sport this officially licensed vehicle mode for the foreseeable future (keep in mind as I type this review the Transformers brand team is already working on 2016 product). The sculpt does a fantastic job of recreating the real car. It has the car's unique, streamlined shape with a low, curved front end leading to a raised rear section and a cabin section that is teardrop shaped on top. It also has several details carried over from the real life vehicle including:

  • The headlights are a set of four, thin oval shapes with little circles inside.
  • The front end has a distinctive grille section with some raised sections in the center and a honeycomb pattern underneath.
  • The side view mirrors extend out from over the front wheel wells.
  • The wheels have a distinct, curved shape to each spoke on the rims.
  • The rear lights have three small circles on each side.

Stinger is cast in red and black plastic. There are quite a few paint applications on this vehicle. The most heavily used color is black. It is used on part of the hood, the cabin section leading all the way to the back. It's also found the sides. A large, purple Decepticon symbol is painted on the top of the car. The headlights are painted silver. Overall he looks good, but I would've liked the honeycomb details on the front grille to be painted black to better match the real life car. I would have also liked the rims to be painted silver, again to better reflect the real life vehicle. Still, being a One Step Changer, one needs to expect simplified paint applications.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
This figure uses the same transformation mechanism as One Step Changer Lockdown. I liked One Step Changer Lockdown, so I was a disappointed when I found the transformation mechanism on Stinger quite simply didn't work. I would push the button on the windshield and...nothing would happen. I wound up disassembling the figure to see if something was broken. Nothing was broken, but it seemed to have been screwed so tight that the mechanism that executes the transformation (essentially a peg that smashes into the spring loaded transformation mechanism) couldn't do its job. I loosened up the screw a bit and now the figure transforms about 40% of the time when I press the button (better than none, I guess). Now, I haven't heard rampant reports of this, but when I took out my One Step Changer Crosshairs (who uses the same mechanism) - the same problem occurred! This seems to be a flaw in the overall design - but I stress that it was these two figures that had the issue but not One Step Changer Lockdown (who I've transformed back and forth dozens of times without an issue).

Robot Mode:
Stinger's robot mode design was intended to be an "advanced" version of Bumblebee's, complete with the "car parts on chest" and insectoid head design. You'll recognize many Bumblebee-esque design elements in this figure. This includes the shape of the chest, which resembles the front of a car but curved and the head, which looks like Bumblebee with his "battle mask" down. He also has a distinctive mid-section with springs sticking out to the sides and a rounded piece that looks like a light in the center of the waist area. A lot of details are a bit more "extreme" than the traditional Bumblebee sculpt. For instance, his legs have jagged, triangular shaped sections on them and event he shape of the shoulders with their up angled sections look really awesome and dangerous.

In this mode, Stinger shows off a lot more black plastic in the form of his legs and forearms. Black and red paint are used for detailing on the figure and the middle of the body has gunmetal grey on it, offering a really nice "metallic" looking color into the mix. I like the way he looks and he definitely looks like the on screen model in many ways.

Like Lockdown, the only articulation here are the forearms, which move up and down. Since my review of Lockdown, the purpose for the metal circle on the foot has become clear. On the underside of the left foot is a small metal circle. This is used by sensors on larger figures such as "Stomp & Chomp" Grimlock to identify the figure and activate specific sounds/features. Having it on the left foot indicates this is a Decepticon.

Final Thoughts:
Finishing off this review puts me in a bit of a conundrum. I actually like a lot of the aspects of this figure. I like the aesthetics, I dig the (theoretical) mechanism behind the transformation and I think for a "simplified" figure the deco is solid. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend a figure that has a broken feature that is its primary selling point. If the problem had only been on this figure then I may have let it slide, but the fact that it's also happening on my Crosshairs leads me to believe this problem is more endemic of the design/mechanism than just my copy of the figure.