"Robots in Disguise" (2015) Overload Toy Review
Release Date: December 2015
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Backtrack Mini-Con, Leg Armor (small) x 2, Leg Armor (large) x 2, Helmet, Blasters x 2, Backpack
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Get a dynamic duo of Mini-Con fighters with these awesome Overload and Backtrack figures! Your Backtrack figure is a small but mighty fighter who converts in 1 step from covert mode to warrior mode with a terrifying blade attack. But his Overload buddy is a Mini-Con Deployer who can launch Backtrack into battle when he’s in tank mode! Kids can scan the Overload figure’s badge and unlock the character in the Transformers: Robots in Disguise app (device not included). With these Autobot fighters working together, Decepticons don’t stand a chance! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
In the summer of 2015 "Robots in Disguise" added a new segment to the line: Deployers. These were Transformers figures a bit larger than the Warrior Class who had built-in launchers to fire Mini-Cons in weapon mode. One of them was Fracture, the Decepticon bounty hunter who was paired with the Mini-Cons Airazor and Divebomb. This particular set includes a new Decepticon warrior Overload with his Mini-Con Backtrack.
Overload and Backtrack are packaged in a box and set side by side. Behind Backtrack is a Decepticon symbol shaped parts tree. The package art shows both robots separately. The top has Overload launching Backtrack. The side shows the Mini-Con transforming to robot mode. The back of the packaging has photos of the figures in the set along with tons of legal information below it. Between the window box showing off the figures and the dramatic package art the packaging is very eye catching.
Backtrack is a new type of Mini-Con known as a "Cyclone-type". That basically means he transforms into a ball that can be fired by Overload as a projectile. His robot form is quite unique among Transformers. He has a short, squat appearance with much of his robot mode detail on the inside of the "ball" sections. He has a mean looking face and wide arms/hands. His feet are the lower half of the ball shape but it is likely he scuttles along on four feet instead of rolling along. The center of his chest has a circle detail that looks like it could be a blaster. Backtrack has just the right amount of detail to look good.
Backtrack comes with several accessories to enhance his play value.
- He has a helmet with a small central crest and two raised details on either side.
- A back pack features rocket boosters, implying with this Backtrack can fly.
- There are two Blaster Cannons that you can attach to Backtrack's shoulders.
- There are four foot/leg armor pieces. Two are smaller than the others. They each add to the appearance of Backtrack having "feet" otherwise he looks like his legs are two big semi-circles.
Backtrack is cast in blue and and silver plastic. You have to look inside the "ball" and see his joints to see the silver plastic. His face and eyes are painted with silver and red paint. A scannable Decepticon symbol is found on the top of the head. You can scan this with the official "Robots in Disguise" mobile app. The accessories are all cast in translucent orange, which helps give the character a feiry appearance when they're attached.
Surprisingly, Backtrack has two points of articulation: his arms. I say "surprisingly" because most Mini-Cons in "Robots in Disguise" have zero articulation. Both forearms and swing up and down at the elbows. Functionally all his accessories attach nice and tight, but there is one problem. The transformation mechanism involves his various parts popping out from a ball shape, so he's mainly resting on hinges. These have a tendency to sink down a little. Not so much that you can't see the robot mode parts, but the robot mode looks smaller than it really is as a consequence.
To transform Backtrack, remove all the armor pieces first. Then straighten out the arms. Push the legs in, then press the arms in. The head will "auto-transform" into the ball mode.
Backtrack's "weapon mode" is basically a Cybertronian cannonball. What's really neat is that you can attach all his armor pieces and then attach him to Overload in vehicle mode which gives Overload some additional firepower (the cannons wind up pointing forward).
For fans thinking you've already seen this design somewhere before, you are probably thinking of the "Robots in Disguise" (2015) episode "Out of Focus" where Optimus Prime was being trained by Micronus to prepare for his battle with Megatronus. During that training exercise a faceless robot launched "Cyclone" Mini-Cons as part of Optimus' training. Little did fans know at the time that this robot's design was an advance preview of an upcoming action figure! It would later turn out that robot was an illusion, but it is the same base model later used for Overload in the TV show.
This figure has several of the main design elements seen in the "Out of Focus" episode. The chest features a curved design with two thin strips that resemble headlights. Over the top near the shoulders are raised sections that resemble straps. His shoulders have large wheels on them and his forearms are angled and chunky looking. Looking further down the waist area has an octagon shaped detail that resembles a belt buckle. His legs are kind of plain, but they have raised knee armor that comes up over the thighs a bit, just like the animation model.
When the Overload animation model was used on "Out of Focus" it looked like he had no head, but you could see a distinctive crest where the head would be. Overload has that crest and a proper face but he also has a panel that slides over the face for the vehicle mode transformation. This also has the added effect of making him "faceless" just like the cartoon model.
Overload also shares functionality with his animated model in that he can "store" Cyclone Mini-Cons in ball form on his shoulders. They attach to the rectangular tabs on the sides. Add in the launcher claw on his back and he can store three Cyclone Mini-Cons at a time. The animated model had two more Cyclones on his forearms, but the figure cannot do that. I noticed that Ratbat had a port that also allowed him to attach to these tabs as well.
Unfortunately, Overload cannot launch his Cyclone Mini-Cons in this form. You can attach Backtrack with his armor bits as sort of a back mounted artillery unit and that's about it. Overload's right hand also has a 5mm port to attach weapons from other figures in the line.
Overload is cast in metallic teal and gunmetal grey plastic. The metallic flake in the plastics really gives a nice shine in the right lighting. The teal makes up most of the figure, with the gunmetal being used on smaller parts like the thighs and feet. Paint applications include gunmetal (intended to match the plastic), silver, orange and red. The gunmetal is found on his knee armor, shoulders, the "straps" near his shoulders and his knees. The silver is used on his face and mid-body area. The red is used for his eyes and the light strips on his chest. Finally the orange appears on his crest and cannon. Overall it's a simple color scheme, and yes, there are definitely parts that could have used more detailing (the forearms and lower legs come to mind) but overall it looks good thanks to the contrast between the colors chosen.
There are four points of articulation on this figure. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulder and the legs can swivel outward. The main gimmick here is the launching and Mini-Con attachment so this is no surprise. To work in this feature loss of articulation and the hollow arms are definite signs of keeping costs down to create this figure. I find this unfortunate since it lends itself to a perception of being a "cheap" figure. Sure his arms are hollow and he's not super posable, but the plastic quality is good and the robot mode is fun to play with.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach any Mini-Cons and set them aside for now.
- Swivel the cannon on his left arm out.
- Slide the face cover up.
- Swivel the arms up so the sides of the shoulders are facing forward.
- Clip the ends of the forearms to the small tabs on the sides of the lower legs.
- Swing the legs out, then swing the lower legs in.
- On the back of each leg, swing out and straighten out the tank treads.
- Swing the launcher piece on the back forward.
- Swing the treads back.
- Make sure the trigger mechanism on the cannon is attached to the Mini-Con launcher mechanism.
Overload's vehicle mode is a Cybertronian tank with a turret set to one side. Of course, his main weapon is actually his Mini-Con launcher in the front! This section looks like a giant claw but it's really just there to hold a Cyclone (or Torpedo) Mini-Con in place. Pressing the button on the cannon launches the ball. I really recommend not have any accessories attached to the Mini-Cons when you do this because things can get messy really quick with parts flying everywhere. It's a fun action feature and from a play perspective this is the mode where the figure gets to shine.
Most of the details in this mode were visible in robot mode, but some of them change in context. For instance, there are two raised circles on his forearms that now look like hatches to control the tank. Looking along the sides you now see raised panels that look like additional armor on the tank. Of course, you also get a good look at his treads (even though he just rolls on four small wheels).
All the same colors that appear in robot mode are found here. A bit more orange appears in the middle of the tank and his scannable Decepticon symbol appears on the top of the right side.
Being a "gimmick based" toy, Overload won't appeal to many fans. However if you're looking to complete your roster of characters in the line, this may be worth adding to your collection (keep in mind, you're getting two characters in one set). For kids who just want to have some fun and transform a figure quick, this is ideal. I personally dig the figure's design, deco and gimmick.