"Robots in Disguise" (2015) Warrior Class Strongarm Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Elite Guard, Prime, Robots in Disguise (2015), Warrior Class

Robots in Disguise (2015)

Strongarm General Information:
Release Date: December 2014
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Blaster

Images:

*Images and text below from Amazon.com:
Deceptions beware, because this Warrior Class Strong-arm figure converts in a heartbeat from robot mode to police car mode and he's got a powerful blaster that will make his foes think twice about taking him on! Convert him in 8 steps to either mode and keep converting him back and forth so his Deception enemies can't keep up! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Strongarm is a new Autobot being introduced in "Robots in Disguise". The name Strongarm had previously been used for a character in "Energon", but this is a whole new character.

The "Warrior" Class is a new class created to take the role that the "Deluxe" Class once held but only in the "Robots in Disguise" line (so far). The "Deluxe" Class lives on in name via the "Generations" segment (making it the last class of figure to survive from the era of "Beast Wars" to now).

Packaging:
Strongarm is packaged in a bubble that is both glued and taped to a card. Similar to many Japanese Deluxe Class figure releases, the bubble is glued onto the card except one side that overlaps onto the back. That section is taped on. Strongarm is packaged in robot mode. Don't worry if you can't see her weapon, it's actually behind her in the bubble. The card design feels like a descendent of the "Age of Extinction" packaging, with a white background and the "Robots in Disguise" logo on the upper right hand side. The package art mirrors the style of the TV show animation and I was happy to see just how prominent the art is. Not only does it appear on the card, but it is also on the insert. Interestingly, while Strongarm is a very bulky looking action figure, the artwork has "slimmed" her down considerably.

The back of the packaging has no tech specs information at all. The instructions are printed there and below that are disclaimers in multiple languages with a blurb for the "Robots in Disguise" app in the center. As packaging goes it's rather dull on the back, but looks great from the front. As a long time fan this bugs me, but honestly most kids are just going to toss away the packaging so I get the desire to not invest tons of money into the back of the card.

Robot Mode:
Over the past decade, female Transformers characters have begun to appear more and more in fiction. From the Unicron Trilogy all the way to "Prime", we had characters such as Arcee appearing in animated form. Even the live action "Revenge of the Fallen" film had three female Autobots in it. However for the most part, the design of these characters has centered around making them small, lithe and thin. Whether it's Movie Arcee's "snake" like form or "Prime" Airachnid, it seemed like female Transformers were going to be forever relegated to thin, lithe forms and almost always turning into a small vehicle like a motorcycle.

The introduction of Strongarm changes this by making her a very bulky character whose does have some small, sleek parts, but for the most part looks like an armored up warrior ready for combat. Almost every section of Strongarm looks like it's built to stand up to firepower and melee attacks. Her shoulder armor is huge, the forearms look like she has giant gauntlets and her lower legs look like they have thick, protective armor attached. The chest looks like it has a bullet proof vest on it too.

The mid-section is somewhat more traditional and thin, but I noticed that the waist area has a belt sculpted into it that has what looks like a buckle in the center and pouches flanking it. Overall I love the aggressive look of this figure. It's a very non-traditional female Transformer design that I'm very happy to see as a main character on the TV show and in the toy line.

Strongarm's head design is an interesting one. It appears to be partly influenced by G1 Prowl. There is a crest and "horn" section sticking out to the sides. These evoke the look of G1 Prowl's head, a design that even carried over into the recent One Step Changer Prowl. The sides of the head have sections that extend out to the side with small horizontal indentations. This design could be considered a enlarged extension of the small panels on the sides of G1 Prowl's head, but they also remind me a lot of the sides of the head design on "Age of Extinction" Drift. The face clearly takes its influence from the "Prime" era, most notably with the lack of a nose in the middle of the face (and no, I don't get why the "Prime" design team seems to have a thing against noses). The brow is sculpted as if Strongarm is in deep concentration. The eyes are actually sculpted with the pupils instead of just being flat. This is another "Prime" design element. Her mouth has some thick lips relative to most other "male" Autobot face designs that traditionally feature thin lines as mouths. This is one of the few indicators in this entire sculpt that indicate the robot is a female Autobot.

Strongarm is cast in black, white and blue plastic. The colors are distributed fairly evenly on the figure. For instance, the white is used on the upper arms and forearms while the elbows are black. The chest is white plastic while the waist and thighs are black while blue is most heavily concentrated on the lower legs.

Paint colors include blue, silver, white and yellow. There are two shades of blue. The darker shade is intended to match up with the blue plastic. The lighter shade is used on parts like the eyes. The colors on the head are a bit reminiscent of G1 Bluestreak (to me at least). You'll find the darker blue on the chest and shoulder armor. The yellow is used for the crest and "horns" on her head. Silver is found on the face and the front of the lower legs are painted white. On the right side of the chest is a round Autobot symbol with a circle around it. This symbol is a special one intended to be scanned as part of a game in the mobile "Robots in Disguise" app. That side of the chest is actually sculpted with a circle in it to fit the symbol, which I found to be an interesting design choice to accommodate a deco application. Overall I think the colors on this figure convey the "Emergency Vehicle" theme very well. I did find myself wishing for a bit more color on the mid-section, which is just all black (perhaps paint the "pouches" and/or the "buckle") but that is a minor quibble.

There are twenty points of articulation on this figure. This includes five in each arm and four in each leg. The only issue I had is with the way the shoulders are constructed. Both shoulder sections are connected to a central hinge piece. This is a key part of the transformation, however in this mode the chest plate is supposed to keep the shoulder hinge from swinging up, but it only does it part of the time. Now, this isn't a tremendous deal because all that winds up happening is both arms move up at the same time. It's not a terrible thing. If you're playing with the figure, it's not a big deal for both arms to move up at the same time. If you're just posing it, each shoulder is on a ball joint anyway so you can pose it without a problem. Still, it is a weakness in the design and worth pointing out.

The weapon included with this figure is a blaster sculpted with the "energy blast" detail at the end. The weapon is black and the "blast" at the end is painted blue. At first this bothered me, but it's been growing on me. It seems to add a dash of "life" to the figure that it would not have had otherwise. At the rear of the weapon are two pegs on the sides. This allows you to attach even more weapons to the sides, creating a super weapon! Strongarm has 5mm ports in each fist, so she can hold other weapons. If you want to store the weapon, there is a port on the back that allows you to store the weapon.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out each leg and swing the robot feet back.
  3. Connect the two lower legs together.
  4. Rotate the lower body around.
  5. Swing the chest panel down.
  6. On each forearm, swing the inside panel out.
  7. Swing the arms up on the central hinge piece.
  8. Push the shoulders against the main body.
  9. Swing the forearms up and rotate them around. Then push them in to cover the head. There are small blue tabs that fit into slots on the forearm panels.
  10. Swing the back panel down, and swing the sides of the vehicle down and secure them in place.
  11. The weapon can be stored on the underside of the vehicle or attached to the top.

Vehicle Mode:
Continuing the theme of an unconventional form for a female Transformer, Strongarm's vehicle mode is an emergency SUV. This is a large vehicle mode for a modern day Deluxe. She measure roughly 5.25 inches (approximately 13.3 centimeters) from front to back. The width of the vehicle is 2.25 inches (approximately 5.7 centimeters). Size wise, this actually makes her larger than "Transformers Prime" Sergeant Kup in vehicle mode. Yes, a lot of this is formed via "panel-forming", but given the current economic realities constraining prices and how much material can be used in figures, I think it works out nicely. The vehicle looks solid and impressive.

The design of the vehicle is very aggressive. The body of the vehicle is mostly blocky and angular, especially the front half which features a thick grille section, a raised air intake on the top of the hood and a thick, angled bumper. The top of the vehicle has a light bar sculpted onto it leading to the rear section which has a rear section that almost resembles the bed of a pickup truck. There are some nicely sculpted details including two smaller lights within each headlight section, rear lights and both raised and indented lines on the front end.

The deco from the robot mode carries over here, with blue, black and white being the primary plastic colors. Metallic blue is used for the sides, starting at the front wheel wells and leading to the doors. Light blue is used on the headlights. Red can be found on the light bar and the Autobot symbol in the center of the grille. The windows are painted a matte black. I was a bit bummed that the rear window and rear lights were not painted. The sides of the wheels have also been left unpainted, giving this mode a bit of an unfinished appearance. This is perhaps my biggest criticism of this mode. Two or three more paint applications would have elevated the look of the vehicle quite a bit instead of leaving it feeling incomplete.

Strongarm's weapon can be stored on the underside of the vehicle or attached to the top. The 5mm port for the weapon is in the middle of the light bar on top of the cabin section. She doesn't have any other connection ports, but since the weapon allows you to attach additional weapons to it I'm think there's still plenty of potential to give Strongarm extra weaponry!

Final Thoughts:
Strongarm is a really fun figure. I like her design a lot, and I enjoy the idea that a female Autobot can be more than just a thin robot that becomes a motorcycle. I have nothing against the more traditional motorcycle/female Transformer design, but we've had quite a few of those appear in various "Transformers" toy lines and I think it was time for something different. My only quibbles are the shoulder hinge issue in robot mode and the need for a tad more deco in vehicle mode. Even without those issues being fixed however, the figure is still fun and I'm happy to have it in my collection!