"Robots in Disguise" (2015) One Step Changer Strongarm Toy Review
Release Date: July 2016
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Strongarm didn't write the book on proper procedures. She just memorized every rule, regulation, law, statute, code, department guideline, pursuit strategy, and police tactic her processors could hold. This 1-Step Changers Strongarm figure switches between modes in one easy step. Change from robot to vehicle and back and seamlessly continue the battle.
But the action doesn't stop there. This 1-Step Changers Strongarm figure works with Mini-Con Weaponizers figures (each sold separately). Each Mini-Con Weaponizers figure converts from robot to a unique weapon in a single step. Add a Mini-Con Weaponizers figure to the battle and imagine Strongarm just got mightier. Mini-Con Weaponizers figures are each sold separately and subject to availability.
The One Step Changers were introduced in the "Age of Extinction" toy line as a simplified alternative to larger, more complex Transformers figures. This segment of the line has generally been used to give us simplified versions of characters available in other scales. In 2016 several main characters from "Robots in Disguise" received new "One Step Changer" treatments. One of them is Strongarm. This figure is an all new design and not a reissue of last year's figure.
Like the "Age of Extinction" One Step Changers, these are packaged in bubbles on small cards. Artwork is on the left side and the Transformers logo is on the right. The back does not feature any tech specs information, instead using the space for the instructions and multi-language legal information. The insert now features a green color that associates the figure with the Mini-Cons who now transform into weapons. I also appreciate the small drawing of the figure, because it's not immediately obvious on store shelves if this is just a repaint or retool of the previous One Step Changer, so the little illustration helps illustrate just what you're getting inside as well as demonstrating the one step transformation.
For those who have any previous version of Strongarm this vehicle mode does not hold any surprises. She is still an emergency vehicle that looks like a pickup truck and Humvee mashed together into one super vehicle. The front end has a lot of the key details from previous versions including an angled hood piece, an Autobot symbol sculpted in the front and headlights that are set in a vertical position, one stacked on top of the other. On top of the cabin section are the emergency lights. The back section has small panels that angle back. Being a One Step Changer, design sacrifices are often made and in this case Strongarm's robot feet are clearly sticking out the back of the vehicle, making it look like someone is hiding in the back or something. It's actually a bit funny and given the limitations of this class of figure, I'm not too bothered by it.
Where this figure falls a bit short in this mode is the deco. The figure is mostly cast in blue, white and black plastic, which is a good start. However the figure is almost unpainted. There is red and blue used on the top for the light bar. The windshield is painted black and the rear wheel wells have dark blue paint over them and...that's it. Other than the scannable Autobot symbol on top of the hood there is a lot of detail left unpainted. What's even stranger is that the deco over the rear wheel wells is a very dark shade of blue that doesn't match the blue on the rest of the figure at all. I think had the blue matched better and the side windows or grille had been painted I wouldn't mind so much, but poor Strongarm looks simply unfinished.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Lift up the top half of the vehicle then swing it up and over and the robot mode will unfold. You can then push the robot arms down.
Like the vehicle mode, the robot mode succeeds when it comes to sculpting. The head sculpt features Strongarm's distinct head design with a crest in the middle that has horns extending out from the center. Her chest has two distinct panels overlapping the middle, looking almost like a collar where they come together. Her arms are wide and bulky looking and her legs look like she is wearing some type of riot gear/armor. I also like the proportions of this robot mode more than the first One Step Changer.
Color-wise there are a lot more breaks in this form. The head, chest and arms are blue plastic. The middle is mostly black and the legs are white. Yellow and silver are used on the head and white is used on the chest. The knees are painted black and the feet are gunmetal grey. Color-wise this mode is more successful than the vehicle mode, which simply leaves too many sections without any type of color break. By One Step Changer standards this mode looks good though I'm willing to bet if Takara Tomy releases a version they will add tons more deco.
Most One Step Changers are pretty static figures, but since Strongarm has been designed to interact with Mini-Cons, her arms can move up and down and out to the sides. Her fists have 5mm ports that can connect to the pegs found on both weapons and Mini-Cons from elsewhere in the line. Unfortunately some Mini-Cons are a tad heavy and her arms will sink down, so you may have to fiddle around a bit to figure out which weapons and/or Mini-Cons are best to attach to the figure.
Most fans are going to want to skip this figure, I'll say that right off the bat with no reservation. This toy is really aimed at a much younger crowd who don't want to spend tons of time fiddling with a multi-step transformation. The robot mode is much stronger than the vehicle form, and I'm very happy to see interactivity with Mini-Cons has been added in. Recommended for a very specific target audience.