Transformers Movie(2007) Blackout Review

in 2007, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Movie (2007)

Transformers Live Action Movie

Blackout Box Art
General Information:
Release Year: May 2007
Retailer: General release (Wal-Mart, Target, Toys 'R' Us etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Depending on retailer)
Accessories: None

Images:

Tech Specs:
BLACKOUT is the largest of the DECEPTICONS. Most often seen looming silently over the right shoulder of MEGATRON, he is his leader's hound. He pursues relentless efficiency, allowing nothing to stop him in his task. Those who defy him beware: his rage knows no bounds. He will fill the air with fire and burn the land clear to take his revenge. Paired with his minion SCORPONOK, he is a dangerous and a deadly foe.

Strength: 8  Intelligence:Speed:Endurance: 7
Rank: 7  Courage: 5  Firepower: 9  Skill: 5


When it was announced that a Transformers film was in the works, some experimental animatics were created that showed a helicopter based Transformer with a head that very much resembled G1 Soundwave. As rumors flew around, it became certain that a helicopter would be in the film, and for a time everyone thought that helicopter would be Soundwave. Now over a year after those rumors first flew, the helicopter has been revealed as a new Decepticon: Blackout. The largest of the Decepticons searching for Megatron and the Allspark, Blackout is a Voyager class figure that represents a powerful engine of destruction.

Packaging:
Blackout is packaged in the standard Voyager sized box curving on the right side and flat on the left. He is packaged in vehicle mode with the rotor blades tied up. Trailing him in the back is the mini Scorponok figure included as an accessory. The curved tech detail section describes "Automorph Technology" and the lower left hand corner has Blackout's packaging art, which is very striking and emphasizes the points on his head more than most depictions of the character. The back of the packaging officially describes his weapon as a "Spinning Blade Grinder" and gives the official name of his vehicle mode, the "Pave Low Helicopter". His cosell is Voyager class Ratchet pictured off to the side.

Scorponok Figure:
While there is larger sized Scorponok figure, the symbiotic relationship between the two characters almost requires that some type of Scorponok figure be included with Blackout. Scorponok is a non-transforming figure cast in the same pearl white plastic as Blackout's hands. The sculpt has most of the features you would expect on Scorponok including his claws, his legs with dual points at the end and the spinning grinders built into the center of the body. A black wash is applied over the figure to help bring out the details and it looks great. While it would have been easy to just create a solid piece, the designers made his tail a separate piece that connects to the body via a spring. Push the stinger forward and it snaps back. It was a solid choice to include Scorponok with Blackout and adds value to the package.

Vehicle Mode:
Of all the Decepticons in the movie, Blackout stands out as the one fans got to see first in the earlier trailers, and he figured heavily in the trailers released after that. Shown transforming and attacking a military base, fans are all to familiar now with this robot in disguise. Like most of the Decepticons, Blackout is based on a real life military vehicle; the MH 53 helicopter. Designed as a special operations mission vehicle, the MH 53 is used today on the battlefields of Iraq.

Often when the Transformers designers approach a vehicle, they start with something inspired by real life and let it ride from there. Here they had to do the opposite, take a real life vehicle and make as accurate a representation as they could. In that respect Blackout delivers. The MH 53 has several distinctive design features, almost all of which are present on this vehicle.

The MH 53 is a large helicopter, so it's quite long from front to back with a thick body rather than the usual cockpit and thin tail. The front end is rounded and sports a pole extending out on the right side and a sensor pod (perhaps for a camera) on the other. Moving back there are two turbines right under the helicopter blades on either side, and below that are sections coming out to the side with cigar shaped pods underneath. This leads back to a passenger section and finally ends in the tail which has a horizontal fin on the right side and the rear rotor blade on the left. All of these design aspects are present on Blackout, including a good chunk of smaller details as well.

One thing I enjoyed seeing were small details such as a small rectangle (perhaps a handle?) on the front section of the cockpit that is also present on the real life vehicle. The window placements are also accurate to the MH 53, down to the square windows in the passenger section towards the rear. Running along the surface of the vehicle from front to back are vertical and horizontal lines representing areas where metal plates join together. You'll also find smaller details such as hatch covers and vent lines. There is a particularly dense set of line details around the rear passenger doors. I love seeing this much detail as it adds to the realism of the vehicle.

Blackout is primarily cast in dark grey blue and black plastic. The black is used for parts such as the rotor blades and the thrusters on the sides. The grey blue makes up the rest. Black paint is used for window detailing and the side windows in the front have a yellow outline around them. Metallic gold can be found on the front sensor pod and there are two red stripes on the tail. A grey paint wash is applied over the entire vehicle from front to back, giving it a more realistic "aged" look. This color scheme looks good, but it is difficult to tell how movie-accurate it is. Blackout has primarily been seen in his night time attack scene from the trailers and there these colors look almost too bright. It seems he should be more of a flat grey or silver, especially based on this render of the character. Still, time will tell once the film is released how accurate this is to the on screen model.

The primary feature of this mode is a button you push on the back to rotate the rotors. Another button on the back opens up his storage compartment, releasing his mini-Scorponok figure onto unsuspecting enemies. Blackout has three pieces of landing gear, the one in the front swings out. You can have even more fun with Blackout by combining him with the deluxe Scorponok figure. Simply turn Scorponok's tail around and plug him into the pegs on the underside of the vehicle and rotate the turret. This causes the claw arms on Scorponok to spin at the same time. It doesn't happen in the movie, and size scale wise it makes little sense, but it sure is fun!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Pop open the rear panel to remove Scorponok, then put it back into place.
  2. Pull Scorponok's compartment down, rotate it around to the top, push it back then push it down into the peg on the top of the tail.
  3. Swing the rotor blades back into a V shape.
  4. Split the halves that form the arms by pulling each side panel out.
  5. Swing the halves of the oval shaped piece above the cockpit out.
  6. Flip the vehicle over and pull down the pieces that form the main body of the vehicle mode.
  7. Swing the side panels out from each of those pieces and swing out the robot heel pieces.
  8. Rotate the lower legs around and swing down the front of the feet.
  9. Rotate the waist piece around.
  10. Push down on the knee armor to swing the lower leg panel forward.
  11. Swing the cockpit section back then forward, activating Blackout's Automorph feature that reveals his head.
  12. Swing each robot arm out from the side sections.
  13. Swing the grey blue panels near the hands back.
  14. Swing the hands forward.
  15. Swing the back panel with the rotors up against the back.
  16. Attach the clip on the main body to the corresponding vertical slits on the side panels attached to the arms.
  17. Rotate the lower arms around.
  18. Swing the pods with the missiles on them out to the sides, then rotate them around so the missiles point forward.

Robot Mode:
There have been a lot of helicopter Transformers over the years, but Blackout definitely has a very distinct appearance that separates him from all the others. Part of this has to do with a design conceit somewhat unique to Transformers: the complete inability to actually be able to look over his shoulders! When you normally look at a Transformer you see a head on top first, but not with Blackout. The most prominant features on his upper body are a huge circular weapon mounted on his back (I'm taking a guess this may be the EMP emitter he is said to have). On either shoulder are several panels of armor from the vehicle mode including the pods with two missiles on each. It isn't until you go a bit lower you reach the chest and head, which is sunken in a bit. The side panels are not quite as prominant on the CGI model used in the movie. Instead, there he doesn't have huge panels on the sides at all, but he does have the turbines on either side of his head which one can imagine still would limit a range of vision (insert here a debate about whether Transformers only use their optics to 'see').

The arms and lower body are very much in line with the look of the movie and the CGI model. With angled patterns, curves and layers of tech detail, he truly looks like a mass of machinery hidden under a helicopter shell. His hands are rather different than most found on Transformers, consisting of three thick digits (two fingers and a thumb) rather than four or five. The front of his feet look more like claws, quite appropriate and evoking a bird analogy similar to the one on Starscream, albeit less blatant.

Small details abound here. The head design is a remarkable work of sculpting. It's amazing how intricate the details are with the top of the head angling outward at an angle not too unlike the Decepticon symbol. The eyes are narrow and evil looking and his mouth consists of several mandibles rather than lips or a mouthplate. Much like Barricade, the head design evokes the Decepticon symbol and an insect at the same time. The maybe-EMP weapon on his back has the same series of lines and circles on the inside as the CGI model. The chest piece is sunken in from the cockpit pieces and has rectangular and square sections. On the lower body, there are lots of parts that look like machinery underneath metal plates at various angles.

Blackout retains the same primary plastic colors from the vehicle mode, but a lot more black shows here, distinguishing different sections from one another. The head is cast in grey blue soft plastic (because of the sharp points) and it has black paint washes and red eyes. His hands are cast in pearl colored white plastic, the same plastic used for the mini-Scorponok figure. On the robot chest is a silver Decepticon symbol.

Blackout has twenty one points of articulation in this form. This includes (as a pleasant surprise) waist articulation, something absent on a lot of the movie figures due to their unique transformation schemes. You do have to be a bit careful when you move his arms as the panels that clip against the torso do not hold there very tightly. This is perhaps the greatest weakness of the figure. Instead of a clip, a peg of some sort may have been better. In lieu of that, perhaps a secondary piece to hold the upper body together may have helped.

I must confess that I was rather disappointed that Blackout does not have the arm cannons he is shown using in the trailer during his attack on the desert base. A pair of chainguns coming out of his arms would have been awesome. Still, the designers did give him a big and impressive weapon. Detach the rotor blade/tail section of the back and fan the rotor blades out. Then swing that piece down. Attach this piece to the pegs on his shoulder armor and have him hold the peg in his hand. You can push the button on the back and the blades rotate for him to cut down enemies in his path. The character has been seen doing this in one of the movie commercials, so it's cool to see a "real" action from the movie here.

Final Thoughts:
Blackout is a great figure. His only real weaknesses are the lack of guns on his arms and the weakness of the clips that hold the shoulder panels against the main body. Other than that he is a solid and strong figure that's lots of fun. Recommended!