Dark of the Moon Deluxe Barricade Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Deluxe, MechTech, Movie (2007)

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster/Blade Claw

Images:

*Images and text below from The Official Transformers web site:
BARRICADE doesn’t make friends, he finds potential victims. His seemingly benevolent police car vehicle mode has been known to trick potential targets into trusting him. BARRICADE has the ability to stalk and eliminate nearly any AUTOBOT he wishes. Humans and AUTOBOTS alike should take cover when they notice police sirens in the distance - it could be the last thing they ever hear! Fasten your seatbelts for some fast-paced battles with this vehicle-to-robot villain! Switch your stealthy BARRICADE figure from Saleen S281 Police Car mode to battle-ready robot mode. His blaster even converts to a robot wrecking claw for maximum destruction. As the battle rages on, convert him back to vehicle mode so he’s ready to chase down enemies! Weapons work with any MECHTECH TRANSFORMERS figure! (Each sold separately.) Ages 5 and up.

One of the new sub-lines of Transformers is the "Mech Tech" line, taking weapons that have standard pegs on them and giving them the ability to transform, mimicking some of the visual effects seen in the live action Transformers films. This "Mech Tech" feature is primarily supported by the Deluxe Class of Transformers.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support (this could change).

Is this disappointing? Absolutely. However, it must be stressed that this seems to only apply to the deluxe wave one so far. Larger figures do have weapons that can "stay" transformed and who knows? A future deluxe wave may have figures that can stay in their alternate form. Also please note that in my photos, I had to use various tricks to make the weapon stay in its alternate form (including liberal use of Post-It notes and paper clips to keep them in place).

Barricade's weapon is one of those interesting ones that isn't a blaster that becomes another kind of blaster. Instead, it changes from a blaster into a melee weapon, something I really appreciate as it emphasizes the transformation aspect of the weapon. The default mode is a machine gun, complete with six small barrels that you can imagine rotating as the weapon fires off Cybertronian bullets (or energy pulses if you prefer). The back is rather large, but angled with some nice details including circles on the sides and vertical lines cast in the plastic. The left side has a flat piece which looks like some type of clip, but is really the mechanism that transforms the weapon. Pull it back and three large claws extend out. I like the use of claws for Barricade's weapon as they echo the design of his own long-fingered claws in robot mode. In essence, this weapon looks like an extension of Barricade himself.

The weapon is cast in black and grey plastic. The main section of the weapon is black while the tab that activates the transformation is grey. Grey plastic is also used for the claws that extend out in melee weapon mode. There are no paint applications, but given the colors of Barricade himself, the weapon looks just fine as it is.

Vehicle Mode:
Barricade's vehicle mode has not changed since the first Transformers movie, and truth be told I'm kind of amazed the designers have not tried to embelish his vehicle form (perhaps with different colors like his Speed Stars incarnations) or just give him a different vehicle mode altogether at this point. With so many versions of this Barricade already in existence, it is expected that the designers can turn out a great sculpt for Barricade any day of the week. This figure is no exception.

Barricade transforms into a modified, Saleen Ford Mustang with a police lightbar on top. He has all the key features of the Mustang at the time including a sleek form with a flat front end featuring a cage on top. He has vents on the top of the hood section and the back of the car features a curved spoiler angling upwards. Other key details include the distinctive Mustang grille and rectangular rear lights along with his custom exhaust pipes that are rectangular with curves on the corners.

Much of the fun of this vehicle comes into play with its deco. Most of the vehicle is cast in black plastic, with clear translucent parts on the windows, headlights and lightbar. The doors are cast in white plastic. His paint colors are white, silver, red, blue and purple. Many of his signature features are intact including the number "643" in silver which appears on the top of the car in big, bold letters. The sides feature the word "Police" in big silver letters with a black outline. Towards the back, written in script are the words "To Punish and Enslave...", a nasty take on the actual police adage "To Protect and Serve.". Towards the front, behind each wheel well is a Decepticon symbol inside what appears to be a stylized police shield. His spoiler looks like it is cast in white, but it is actually cast in black plastic, with white paint applied in such a way that the word "Police" forms on the spoiler. Red and blue paint is applied to the lightbar while red is found on the rear lights.

The Mech Tech weapon can connect to the top of the vehicle mode right in the center of the lightbar. There, you'll see a grey circle that pushes down as you insert the weapon.

One non-functional note that bothers the heck out of me relates to the spoiler in this mode. His spoiler is split into two pieces since the rear of the vehicle splits to form the robot legs. For some reason, the right half of the spoiler keeps falling off, no matter how much I try to reattach it. Krazy glue may be in order here, but it's not a sign of good quality assurance. I doubt every Barricade on the shelf suffers from this, but I would be remiss if I did not mention it.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Pull the sides of the vehicle out.
  2. Swing out the robot hands.
  3. Swing the back section of the vehicle up.
  4. Pull the robot legs out and swing them up to the sides.
  5. For each leg, swing the rear vehicle halves down to form armor behind the knees.
  6. On each leg, swing the robot feet down.
  7. Rotate the grey piece at the waist around and swing the white torso section onto the grey circle in the middle.
  8. Rotate the middle of the robot chest around (this is the piece with the vehicle grille on it).
  9. Swing the front of the car/robot chest piece down, revealing the robot head.
  10. Swing the car windows on the back of the robot up.
  11. On each arm, swing out the white panel with the word "Police" on it.
  12. On each arm, rotate the top piece around.
  13. Mech Tech weapons can be attached to his shoulders or put into his hands.

Robot Mode:
This robot mode represents Barricade as he appeared in the first Transformers movie. This was one of the first exposures to the Michael Bay school of Transformers design. Barricade's form takes some elements of traditional Transformers car to robot design, and then embelishes with a pile of details favored by the designs of Transformers in the live aciton films. The traditional elements include the general configuration of the robot. That is to say the front of the car becomes the chest, the sides become the arms and the back of the vehicle forms the legs.

However, the way these elements wind up looking are quite different than the robots of Generation One. The arms are long, with hands reaching down to knee level. The legs are angled backwards in a "chicken walker" style design and Barricade has tons of intricate looking panels and parts that apear layered and warped sculpted into th efigure. The prime example of this is seen on his chest, where the cage on the front grille appears to have flatened and angled over the grille piece itself. Some of the smaller details on the figure are also very different than what fans have known previously. The robot head has a very scary looking design, largely based on the Decepticon symbol with extra elements grafted on top. The top of his head looks like the Decepticon symbol, with points going up and a crest in the middle while the rest of his face looks like a decaying skull with armor on top. It's a creepy look for sure. Another indicator of Bay-verse design are the hands, which each only have four digits as opposed to five.

Barricade is still mostly black plastic in this form, but grey and white show up as well. The grey is largely used for joints such as the hips, shoulders and knees. The white is found mostly on the center of the body where it forms part of the upper body and the hip area. The paint applications in this form are relatively sparse. He has gold, silver and red paint to fill in details on his face. Silver is also found on the grille inside the chest. Metallic purple is used on the hips and legs. That's really it. If you want to count the silver and yellow from the vehicle mode's front end, that adds a bit to the chest,

Barricade has a remarkable twenty eight points of articulation in this form. This includes seven in each arm and six in each leg. He even has waist articulation, which is one of the more neglected types of articulation nowadays. As mentioned earlier, you can put a Mech Tech weapon in his hand or attach them to his shoulders. You can also use the connection point on the lightbar in the back as a weapon storage area. There's definitely a lot of posability and play factor here, kudos to the designers for that!

Final Thoughts:
I'm really a bit divided on whether or not to recommend Barricade. On the one hand, there are already a dozen or so variations on the character out on the market from the previous films, including a very well done Human Alliance version. Not only that, but this Barricade does have the spoiler problem (but again, not all of them may have this issue) and instead of a Frenzy figure, you get a weapon as an accessory (which can be good or bad depending on your perspective). On the other hand, the figure is well sculpted, has a good paint job and its transformation is a lot more intuitive and less complicated than the previous deluxe version. Overall, I would say if you have no Barricade figures at all, and you've been dying to get a deluxe version, go for it, but if you already own Barricade several times over, you may want to skip this one.