Cybertron Toy Reviews: Shortround

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Cybertron, Decepticon, Earth Planet, Galaxy Force

Shortround Packaging art

General Information:
Release Year: May 2006
Retailer: General US (Toys R Us, Target etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Accessories: Cyber Planet Key, Gun
Difficulty Level: 2

Images:

Tech Specs:
Some might call Shortround obsessed because of the way he follows Thunderblast around, but most Decepticons just call him annoying. Still, he servies his purpose running supplies at speeds up to 250mph over land and sea, and whenever the Autobots show up he freaks out - filling the air with enough super heated plasma to allow other Decepticons to escape in the confusion. He may be a nerd, but at least he's a destructive nerd.

Strength: 6 Intelligence: 5 Speed: 7 Endurance: 6 Rank: 4 Courage: 5 Firepower: 6 Skill: 5

Each Cybertron Transformer comes with a Planet Key with a code printed on it. Shortround's code is s639. As of the writing of this review, there is no online content at Transformers.com unlocked by this code. Once Hasbro puts the information up it will be added here.

Vehicle Mode:
Shortround is one of the few brand new sculpts being released in this wave of Transformers Cybertron toys. His vehicle mode is the rather uncommon one of a hovercraft. I would say about less than ten Transformers or so over the years have taken such forms (originating with the G1 Autobot Seaspray). This gives his vehicle form a dual function (as mentioned in his tech specs), allowing it to function on land or over the sea. Real hovercrafts do exist and you can learn about them at the Hovercraft museum.

Shortround is a very typical looking hovercraft in general shape. Curved at the front with a solid structure on top, twin engines in the back and a "skirt" underneath that is inflatable on real life hovercraft. Of course, this is a Transformer from Cybertron and a war machine to boot, so extra details have been added on. The front of the vehicle has its cabinet windows (forward and angled on the sides). The center has vertically mounted fans sculpted into the plastic while the rear engine and skirt sections have horizontal fins that add an aerodynamic look to the vehicle. For some nice (non Cyber Key based) firepower, Shortround's gun mounts onto the back section of the vehicle, taking up quite a bit of space on the top of the vehicle. In between all these larger details are a wealth of smaller lines, raised surfaces and vent lines adding a wonderful amount of smaller detail for a Scout class Transformer.

The colors used for Shortround's deco are an uncommon combination. He is mostly cast in light grey, dark grey and metallic light blue plastic. Hints of purple from the robot mode peek through here and there. Dark metallic gold color serves as the primary paint color used for details such as angled lines on the sides. A bit of metallic light blue paint is used on the front to match the blue plastic and some purple is used for the windows and the small Decepticon symbol on the front of the vehicle. The distribution of these colors is nicely done. The bottom section (aka the "skirt") is dark grey, with the grey continuing to the bottom landing pads. The top section is light grey with the gold paint apps. The gun, part of the front, the gun and the rear engines are metallic light blue. This color combination is fairly simple, but the way in which it is used is very dynamic making for a nice visual presentation.

Insert the Cyber Key in the back of the vehicle and two missile launchers flip out from the twin engines. The missiles themselves are painted metallic gold (a lighter shade than the rest of the vehicle form). Combined with his gun, this makes Shortround one heavily armed hovercraft!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the Cyber Key and fold back the missiles (if revealed).
  2. Detach the gun.
  3. Swing each half of the bottom of the vehicle up.
  4. Slide the blue sections on each half of the skirt back.
  5. Swing the front half of the vehicle down, then extend it to reveal the robot legs.
  6. Swing the very front of the vehicle up to form the robot feet.
  7. Swing up the robot head (located right in front of the twin engines).
  8. Attach the gun to one of Shortround's claws.

Robot Mode:
Shortround is one of those Transformers whose robot mode is a matter of extremes. His proportions are highly exaggerated. From the top his twin engines are mounted on his back, looking huge in comparison to his rather tiny head. Then his chest looks big and impressive, connected to his largely oversized arms. Then his waist section is a rather thin piece, connected to even thinner upper legs - which then bulge out into his lower legs.

All along the way with these odd proportions are nicely sculpted bits of detail. On the newly revealed upper legs and waist there are lots of line details and small raised surfaces. On the arms the blue portions of his claws have serrated parts along with small piston details sculpted into them. His chest has vent details on either side and small circular details in the center. His head sculpt is perhaps the component which interests me the most. While not exact by any means, it seems to be a bit of a design homage to Beast Machines Jetstorm, who was later given a new deco and released as Jhiaxus. Like Jetstorm he has a central crest and two large wing like protrusions angling back on the top of his head. He also has a "breathing mask" on the center of the face with tubes coming out the sides. Of course, with Jetstorm the visual reference alluded to the masks pilots wore at high altitudes. In the case of Shortround it alludes to an underwater breathing apparatus. Still a very interesting way to work in a homage where it is least expected.

Color-wise this mode adds in a good bit of purple, some more metallic light blue (on the claws and head) and more metallic gold paint in the chest and the eyes.

Shortround has eleven points of articulation, which is fairly standard for Transformers in this day and age. This includes two points on each leg and three on each arm. I do wish the arms had been designed slightly differently. The way the elbow joint is designed, you can only swing it up with the larger claw on top. That means when you mount the gun on the claw, it can only be held to the side, which visually can get in the way of the central robot form. It would have been better if the arms could have bent with the claws on the sides so the gun would be on top in a more traditional position.

The Cyber Key gimmick works to give Shortround shoulder mounted missile launchers in this form. It is a simple way to give him added weaponry and it looks really cool.

Final Thoughts:
Shortround is a fun little toy. However, his aesthetic will not appeal to everyone. He reminds me a lot of Beast Machines Vehicons (not just because of the Jetstorm head) but rather because of his odd proportions and fully mechanical appearance. Had his arms been designed better I would highly recommend him. Barring that, I say he's recommended if you are cool with his unusual appearance.