Transformers Generation 2 1994 Toy Reviews: Manta Ray

in 1994, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation 2, Rotor Force

Transformers Generation 2

General Information:
Retailer: General (Toys 'R' Us, K-Mart, Bradlees etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on retailer)
Accessories: Rotor launcher, Rotor Blades x 2

Images:

*Tech Specs courtesy of the Hartman brothers at The International Tech Specs Archive.

As Generation 2 moved along, more and more new molds were introduced along with more new sub-groups of Transformers. One of these sub-groups were the Rotorforce, a small group of Transformers (two Autobots and two Decepticons) whose gimmick involved their weapons. Each weapon had a spinning disc that you could turn a few times, press a button and launch, spinning like a blade. Manta Ray was one of the Autobots in the Rotorforce.

Vehicle Mode:
Manta Ray is one of the more unique Transformers to come about from Generation 2. His vehicle form is a sleek powerboat, one which which has not been used again since (at least, not with this particular type of boat) in the Transformers toy line.

The design of the boat is extremely nice. It curves from two points in the front to the back where two fins angle outwards on either side. At the center is a driver's section with two seats. The motor which runs this vehicle is in the back, with a great turbine design etched into it on one side, and of course the standard "Rotorforce disc" attached to the other. Here however, this disc design works well as it looks like a huge motor fan used to propel the vehicle forward. What's even better is that because of the way the motor/weapon attaches to the vehicle, it can tilt up and down for imaginary "directional control" of the vehicle.

The colors here are basically the inverse of Leadfoot. Manta Ray is mostly blue with some yellow. Green is employed here for painted detail running along the sides of the vehicle, as well as making up the words "Autobot" on the sides. The words "Power By" are painted above the word "Autobot", which is kind of funny. In the middle of the vehicle you'll find the G2 Autobot symbol with the word "Autobot" next to it stamped on. Talk about wanting to go for branding. Stickers are a bit sparse here, consisting mainly of angled stickers for the front with a yellow background and green circles. Frankly, the big "Autobot" words painted on the sides are enough detail for my tastes. Any more stickers would have made this toy look positively loud.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the disc.
  2. Pull the rear halves of the vehicle apart just a bit to detach the weapon.
  3. Slide the central piece (with the translucent red windshield) back to reveal the robot head.
  4. Fold the front yellow points of the vehicle down.
  5. Flip the vehicle over and swing the robot legs down.
  6. Swing the arm pieces down.
  7. Place the disc on the weapon and then place the weapon in Manta Ray's hand.

Robot Mode:
I have always been a fan of robot modes that do not rely on using vehicle-ish bits as part of the robot mode. It adds a level of "mystery" to the ransformer and makes for a better toy. And it is this factor that makes Manta Ray's robot mode pretty spiffy, even though it does somewhat "cheat" to get the effect. Essentially in this form you're looking at the underside of the vehicle, so of course most of this detail was hidden in vehicle mode. Still, it looks good.

The two fins that angle out to the sides not only look great in vehicle mode, but they do wonders for the robot mode too. Here they're on the back of his high angled shoulders, giving a very "anime robot" type look. His face sculpt is kind of neat, looking like he's wearing some type of hat shaped helmet over his visor eyes and mouthplate. The chest design is basic, but nice - from the top it slopes down three different levels until you reach the waist, which then bevels out a bit. The legs have some designs sculpted into them too, but they're a bit hard to see because of the blue color.

Manta Ray's sculpt is nice - but the deco really doesn't do it justice. He's basically blue, with some green painted details on the sides and the upper body. That and his eyes are translucent red - that's it. Even a G2 Autobot symbol sticker on his chest or shoulder would have greatly enhanced this toy. I'm personally hoping for a Transformers Universe redeco of this guy in camo or something!

Manta Ray has little articulation (like all the Rotorforce toys). He can move his lower arms up and down and really that's it unless you count the joints that can move for the transformation. The rotor gimmick works by turning the disc, and then pressing the button to launch it spinning into the air or at Decepticons. It's a fun little gimmick.

Final Thoughts:
Manta Ray is a very cool toy, his only real let down is the lack of color/sticker detail in robot mode. Recommended.