"The Last Knight" One Step Changer Barricade Toy Review
Release Date: April 2017
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Barricade is one of the first Cybertronian characters fans were introduced to in the 2007 live action Transformers movie. His relentless pursuit of Sam, his barking voice and the irony of a Decepticon transforming into a police car all worked together to make him an unforgettable character in the films. It was largely assumed that Barricade had been destroyed along the way (though exactly when has been debated by many fans) so it was a bit of a surprise when Michael Bay announced the character's return in "The Last Knight"!
One of the first versions of this character was released in early April 2017 in a limited distribution at Gamestop stores in the United States at a slight markup to $11.99. A week after I purchased this figure he appeared at a K-Mart store in the New York City area, however they refused to sell any of the product citing a street date (rumor has it the date is either April 24 or 28th depending on who you ask).
The new One Step Changer packaging for "The Last Knight" actually takes a design cue from the 2017 One Step Changers in "Robots in Disguise". Instead of a flat card and a bubble, the new packaging is cardboard which has a plastic tray attached to it. The figure is tied to the tray and then cardboard wraps around it to provide additional graphics. The background features a close up of the character art (roughly from the neck up). The figure is packaged in vehicle mode and the part of the card that folds over the front shows off part of the robot mode. This line introduces a new sub-category of figures, the "Turbo Changers" which seems to include anything that falls under the 1-5 Step change category. So in this case this is a 1-Step Turbo Changer figure. On the right side of the card (if you are facing it) is the vertical Transformers logo used since "Age of Extinction" and on the front is the logo for "The Last Knight" set against a black background. The back of the packaging features the figure in both modes, emphasizing its One Step transformation.
In "The Last Knight" Barricade takes on the form of a modified Ford Mustang, much like his original 2007 movie form. However, for whatever reason (possibly licensing) this vehicle mode is not a Ford Mustang. Indeed, the Ford logo appears nowhere on the figure or packaging. On top of that, there are large differences between the design of this vehicle mode and the real life vehicle. For reference, you can check out my photos of the real life vehicle here. Here are a few:
- The shape of the vehicle's front end lacks the "honeycomb" grille pattern and the grille cage does not have the "cowcatcher" style scoop at the bottom.
- The hood has a raised section in the center, but the real life vehicle actually has two raised parts on either side.
- The lightbar on top is rather thick here whereas the one on the real vehicle is thin.
- The back of the vehicle lacks any of the Mustang design features including the rear lights with three vertical sections.
- This mode lacks the side view mirrors mounted over the front wheel wells that are found on the real life car.
- The real life vehicle has a spoiler on the back, but this vehicle mode does not.
I find myself quite surprised that this vehicle mode is not an official Mustang since the toys from the first movie all made sure to make Barricade an official Mustang in vehicle form. Don't get me wrong, the vehicle looks cool. It is sleek and streamlined looking with an aggressive profile. Unfortunately it is not screen accurate other than vaguely being a sports car with a lightbar on top.
This vehicle is mostly cast in a dark, metallic blue plastic. The wheels are cast in black. The deco on this figure is sparse, as you would expect from a One Step Changer. Light grey paint is used on the doors and the middle section of the lightbar. The ends of the light bar are painted blue on the right and red on the left. The hood has a small Decepticon symbol in silver towards the front. Unfortunately that is it for the deco. It is unfortunate because Barricade has such a distinctive deco there are missed opportunities including having the word "Police" on the sides and the "Punish and Enslave" motto over the rear wheel wells. That said, the metallic blue plastic is really gorgeous and sparkles under the right light.
There is one additional element to the deco. The upcoming Dragonstorm figure has a light that you can shine on some other figures to reveal hidden details! This feature is referred to as "Cyberfire". In the case of Barricade, shining this light will reveal a flame pattern on the hood along with a large Decepticon symbol. This is a neat little gimmick that hearkens back to the experimental type of feature that used to appear in the G1 toy line.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Holding the gab in the back (where the rear window is located), pull back and the figure will unfold. The robot arms will reveal themselves and you will uncover the robot head, torso and legs.
While Barricade's vehicle mode may have been a bit of a disappointment from the perspective of being "screen accurate", the robot mode has no licensing issues to hold it back from looking like his on-screen counterpart. Barricade's new robot form was originally revealed in August of 2016 which is much more humanoid looking than his original form. This sculpt has a lot of the key features from that design including:
- The head looks like it is inspired by an insect design, featuring multiple round eyes, parts that curve back on the helmet section that could be interpreted as antennae and mandibles over his mouth.
- The chest design features a "collar" area around the neck with lots of wires and tubes going from the neck to the chest.
- The center of the chest has the "honeycomb grille" design found on the real life Mustang. This makes sense since the chest is supposed to be formed from the front end of the vehicle mode.
- The center of the torso section has four piston-like designs that lead from the waist area to the underside of the chest section.
- The hips have holsters on them, though they are a tad hard to see on this sculpt.
- The legs have several armor panels formed from curved pieces of the vehicle mode including distinct knee armor and angled armor on the lower legs.
- The left forearm has a round weapon wrapped around it with eight small barrels.
- The right forearm has raised, rectangular pieces on the side that could be weapons (I can imagine them being a Transformers-size taser).
Of course, being a One Step Changer there are some design sacrifices. Barricade suffers a but from "car on my back" syndrome with a bit of the car sticking up over his head and some between his legs. To me it looks okay (not great) and it does not detract from some of the really nicely sculpted details mentioned above.
This mode is almost all dark metallic blue. The upper arms are painted light grey and the eyes are orange and...that's it. I do wish at the very least the Decepticon symbol on his chest had been painted but again, One Step Changers are not known for their deco schemes. Still, so much dark color kind of has the negative effect of hiding a lot of the wonderfully sculpted detail on the toy and that is unfortunate.
There are two points of articulation on this figure: the arms. They can move up and down. The right hand has a 5mm port allowing it to hold weapons. The left arm has a neat little feature: the eight barreled blaster on it can spin on the wrist, making it look like a gatling gun firing!
Barricade is a fun little One Step Changer. As a toy he's fun. The vehicle mode looks good and I like the spinning "gatling gun" action on his left arm in robot mode. I am however very disappointed that the vehicle mode is not a Mustang but just a generic vehicle. If you are looking for a more robust figure, I would aim to get the upcoming Deluxe Class Barricade. For a fun "pocket sized" figure, this figure fits the bill. It is not a bad figure, but many fans will want to skip it.
- Gorgeous metallic blue plastic color.
- Robot mode sculpt is very detailed.
- Nice "gatling gun" feature.
- Lack of articulation.
- Not a screen accurate Ford in vehicle mode.
- Very little deco.