Rescue Bots Axel Frazier with Microcopter Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot

Rescue Bots

General Information:
Release Date: August 2011
Price Point: $5.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Microcopter vehicle

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Transformers.com:
It’s AXEL FRAZIER and his Microcopter to the rescue in this awesome 2-pack! Your AXEL FRAZIER figure can sit in the cockpit of the Microcopter and use the working winch to save the day! Spin the rotor blades for realistic helicopter action! Convert the rescue gear to robot tool mode and back, and keep switching so that your AXEL FRAZIER can handle whatever emergencies come his way! Figure and vehicle come with tear-away character card. Ages 3 to 6.

As long as Transformers have been around, there have always been sub-lines of toys dedicated to a younger age group than the main toy line. In 2011, the "Rescue Bots" line takes this role. Focusing around Transformers working with humans on rescue missions using equipment ranging from helicopters to rocket packs. Unlike previous attempts such as "1-2-3 Transformers" and "Go-Go-Gobots" however, this line actually includes Generation One inspired characters in it. This line is firmly aimed at the younger set (ages 3-6 according to the packaging), so I'll say right away that older collectors may find it a bit lacking by their standards.

Axel Frazer:
Unlike past lines of Transformers figures aimed at younger kids, this line pairs up Transformers with humans in a partnership to perform rescue operations. One of these characters is Axel Frazier, a pilot whose vehicle is the "Microcopter". Axel is designed with very exaggerated proportions. His head, hands and feet are huge in proportion to his arms, legs and torso. This very cartoonish design is also spotlighted by Axel having only four fingers as opposed to five. His head is sculpted with a helmet on and the visor pulled down. To the side is a microphone hanging from the side of the helmet. He wears a tight vest that looks like it has armor pieces sculpted on to it. The legs include designs such as knee pads and straps on his boots. It's a nice, basic design that winds up looking a bit sleek and cute at the same time.

Axel is cast in yellow and black plastic. Most of the upper body is yellow while the lower body and hands are black. Silver, black, yellow and light blue paint are all found on this figure. The silver is used for the armor pieces on his arms and his belt. There are dual black stripes on both his helmet and vest. Yellow is used to paint his knee pads, contrasting nicely against the black plastic. The light blue is used on the visor, making it one of the most prominent details on the figure. The final detail is an Autobot symbol that has been tampographed onto the back of the figure. Clearly Axel is proud to be part of the Rescue Bots team! The color scheme on this figure (and his vehicle) align with those on Bumblebee, which makes perfect sense. If you're going to sell an accessory/figure set, having it match a larger figure provides a visual incentive to make sure you have both items.

Axel has eight points of articulation, which to be honest is a lot more than I expected when I first saw the figure on the shelves. His legs swing forward and down (allowing him to sit in vehicles) but they swing together, not separately. Each of his arms can move up and down at the shoulder joint, but there is also an extra hinge allowing the arms to swing out to the sides. His wrists can turn, allowing him to accomodate handles on vehicles or other tools. Finally, the head can turn from side to side. I was very pleasantly surprised with this level of articulation on such a relatively simple figure. On the bottom of Axel's feet are two holes to accomodate pegs on the Rescue Bots vehicles such as the Microcopter.

Microcopter Vehicle Mode:
The term "Microcopter" is definitely appropriate. Relative to the size of the Axel Frazier figure, this vehicle is relatively tiny. The vehicle has a front end with a hook and line on it. There are handlebars, flat panels on the bottom for Axel to rest his feet on and a helicopter rotor with horizontal stabilizers under it. There are some smaller details sculpted into this relatively simple figure including a raised grid on the flat panels for the feet and a segmented design on the handlebar grips.

Like Axel himself, the primary color on this vehicle is yellow. Silver plastic is used on the flat foot panels and the rotor. Black plastic is used to sculpt the handlebars and a hinged panel on the front of the vehicle. Green blue plastic is found on the front end of the vehicle, where it looks like a spotlight and the hook in the front. Black and silver are the two paint colors used in this form. Black striples are panted onto the sides of the front end and the rotor section. Silver is used on the hinge on the back of the vehicle, offering a nice break from one section of yellow plastic to another. On the right side of the vehicle's front end, you'll find a tampographed Autobot symbol in bold red and white colors.

Axel doesn't really sit on this vehicle. Instead, you stand him on the silver platform pieces, using the peg on the left side panel to attach to the hole underneath his foot. This holds the figure in place nice and tight. His hands can fit right over the handlebars, making him look like he is "piloting" the Microcopter.

The Microcopter comes with a motorized winch system. Hold on to the hook at the end and pull and it extends out on a blue string. Press the green blue "spotlight" piece in the front of the vehicle and it reels the line in. I could imagine this little vehicle going on quite a few rescue operations with that capability! In addition, the rotor can be spun manually, though it's not very loose so it's hard to get a good "spin" out of it.

Transformation to Robot Tool Mode:

  1. Swing the tail piece back.
  2. Swing the lower part of the tail piece forward. At the same time, a blue handle should swing out from the underside of the vehicle.
  3. You can collapse the two blade halves into one by swinging one around on top of the other.

Microcopter Robot Tool Mode:
The old Generation One fan in me loves the fact that Bumblebee's prime accessory in this early phase of the Rescue Bots toy line is a helicopter-like vehicle. Back in the days of Generation One, when Bumblebee had become an Action Master, he chose to use a back pack that was, essentially, a small helicopter back pack. In this case, the Microcopter is meant to be held in Bumblebee's hand, which increases what the figure can do since it lacks articulation. As near as I can tell, the Microcopter is a two in one tool. First, it has the hook/line which could be used as a rescue device. Then he also has the rotor blades, which I can imagine being used to cut away at something in the way of rescuing someone.

There are no color or detail surprises here. Everything you could see in the vehicle mode is plainly visible here. I really like the bit of character continuity mentioned above (intended or not) and I'm glad the figures have accessories that help bring them to life.

Final Thoughts:
Axel Frazier and the Microcopter is a cute little toy by itself, but combined with Bumblebee it's almost a perfect combination. Remember, I'm not telling every Transformers fan to run out and buy this now, but for those looking for a neat accessory to go with their Rescue Bots and a human buddy to join them in rescue operations, this little set is on point. Recommended!