Energon Toy Reviews: Landmine

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: February 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $25.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level:
Accessories: Missiles x 1, Treads/claws x 2, Crane/missile
platform/backpack piece

Images:

Sounds:

Landmine is an ultra sized Autobot introduced in early 2004 to the Energon toy line. He's quite unique in that he is not loaded with Enegon weapons, nor does he combine with anyone else. He is a self contained toy that has the ability to interact with Energon weapons, but seems to have been designed to primarily act as a solitary unit.

Vehicle Mode:
Landmine's vehicle mode reminds me a lot of the Cybertronian construction/destruction vehicles seen in the Generation 2 comic book. href="/toyreviews/bm/scavenger/">Beast Machines Scavenger also fits this bill. The look obviously has Earth-influenced parts, but the general aesthetic is somewhat alien (or at the very least, futuristic). At the front, Landmine is a truck, albeit a very sleek one. Instead of being boxy or rectangular, the center of the truck has an almost triangular shape, where it starts at a point in the front and goes wider as it reaches the middle of the vehicle. The sides are angled downward, a very interesting design choice. At the very front of the vehicle is a huge triangular guard which one can assume Landmine uses to plow through enemies. The piece is designed really nicely, with spikes coming out at the front towards the bottom.

The detail work on the front section alone is fantastic. Along the cover to the driver's area are small circles representing rivets holding armor in place.
The windows are translucent, so you can see inside the driver's area. Inside are two seats with designs on them and a divider between them. At the top of the driver's area cover is an Autobot symbol sculpted into the toy. Normally this would be primarily for appearances in the robot mode, but here the piece slopes downward, making it an obvious (and welcome) detail for this form. At the center of the front section is an engine with pipes sticking out to the sides. This really helps enhance the image of this being a powerful vehicle. Another cool detail are Landmine's smokestacks. If they look familiar, they should. This design feature is lifted directly off of War Within Grimlock who has triple smoke stacks like these in his vehicle form. It's nice to
see the "War Within homages" that began with Inferno continue in the line.

The back of Landmine is what makes him a bit unusual. Whereas the front is a truck cab, the back is a tread mounted crane and missile launcher platform. The treads are huge in comparison to the tires in the front section. The detail on them is really cool, including gears, tires and even a piston in the middle. The crane arm has pistons sculpted into it and even a spindle at the end (non functioning). The missile launcher is smaller and not quite as impressive looking, but it needed to be this size so the robot mode could function properly (more on that later). The rear has claws you can lift up to have Landmine drag something or rake the ground. In an odd bit of unintentional homage, Beast Machines Scavenger had similar "claws" on the back of his vehicle mode. The sides of the vehicles rear section have holes where you can fit Energon weapons. Also, the crane has Mini-Con Powerlinx points on both sides of the crane.

Landmine's color scheme is different than others we have seen in Energon. His primary colors are orange and gray. A bit of light blue is thrown in as well (and shows more in robot mode). The treads are a really nice gunmetal color with some silver and red details painted in. The sculpted Autobot symbol on the front section is painted red against a white background, which was a good decision. Normally the red would stand out well against most colors, but the shade of orange used is dark enough that the red would have gotten a bit lost in the mix. The engine in the front is painted silver, and gray is used for large sections such as the area where the headlights are and a good portion of the crane arm.

Aside from the obvious missile firing functionality, Landmine's crane arm is actually a functional piece of equipment! You can pull the crane hook out to
reveal the line its connected to. Then press the button at the end of the crane arm to retract the hook and line and activate a neat sound effect
at the same time! The crane and missile launcher can be turned from side to side, but not completely around.

Landmine's vehicle mode totally rocks. It looks rough and tough and has fun play features.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the back section from the front by pushing against the blue parts visible near the base of the crane. It is connected by two pegs to the front section.
  2. Move the side parts of the front guard to the sides.
  3. Fold the middle of the front guard section up so it snaps into place on the hinge.
  4. Swing the sides of the vehicle out and then down, connecting the halves to form the robot hips/waist.
  5. Straighten out the side guard pieces and then swing them up. Attach the pegs on the triangular part to the holes on the lower legs.
  6. Pull the lower legs down to reveal the upper legs.
  7. Towards the back of this vehicle mode section are the robot arms, swing them forward.
  8. Swing the rear wheel portion down, fold the wheels forward, then fold them flat against the back.
  9. Swing the arms out to the sides.
  10. Swing the panel that the arms are on all the way back, then adjust the arms and push the tab on the lower arms to reveal the robot fists.
  11. Flip the robot head up.
  12. Fold the gray piece on the upper body down to get it out of the way of the face.

Transformation of Rear Section to Gunnery Station:

  1. Detach the rear section of the vehicle from the front.
  2. Fold Rear of the vehicle down so the claws rest against the ground.
  3. Fold the treads down so that the flat part at the front of the treads rest evenly with the claws.
  4. Swing the dark blue wing pieces back to add extra support.
  5. Point the crane and missile launcher forward.

Robot Mode:
You wouldn't think that a rough n' tough truck mode would produce a fairly sleek and cool looking robot, but in Landmine's case, it did. Because a lot of the bulk in his vehicle mode is created by the back of the vehicle, this section is free to have parts which don't look out of proportion. Also, without the
restraints of having to have Landmine Powerlink with other figures, the designers could just focus on making a good robot, not a good robot that has to combine with something else.

Landmine's head sculpt is really super-well done. Consisting of a face under a helmet with a visor over the eyes, this is the model that Transformers should
use for head design: complex, sleek and finely detailed. The head is mostly a large helmet section complete with layered details on the side, chin guard
with line and circle details on the back. The arms and legs are surprisingly small. You'd think they'd be huge, thick arms like those on Ironhide, but instead we have arms that are proportional to the main body and legs that are only a bit exaggerated (until you reach the feet, which are just huge). Despite his huge lower legs and feet, the upper legs are just small tubes with minimal detail, which isn't bad in this case. They look like pistons that simply snap into place for this mode. At the center of the chest is the painted Autobot symbol, and above that is the Autobot "Spark Crystal". The smokestacks from the vehicle mode wind up on his shoulders in this form. They can be either kept pointing up or you can point his arms forward and swivel the smokestacks forward to look like machine gun weapons.

Let's talk articulation. Landmine has seventeen points of articulation in this form, which is a really impressive amount. Extra joints that allow the arms and legs to swivel and ratchet outward are always welcome to see. The large feet actually help give Landmine some extra foundation to balance on so you can
do some neat poses.

Landmine does not have any guns, blasters or melee weapons of his own (outside of his back pack and claws, more on those in a moment) so in this mode he can look rather bare. Unfortunately this is the one failing point of this toy. His fists holes are made to be the right size to wield Energon weapons (and Mini-Cons who become weapons). However, because of the pegs on his wrists, he cannot hold a majority of ballistic weapons. He can hold say, Strongarm's Energon Axe fine, but he can't hold Rodimus or Arcee's guns since they extend to the wrist a bit. It's not that there isn't a bunch of weapons he can't use, but it's a shame that in a line where weaponry interaction is a standard feature, this guy is cut out of half the weaponry he could use.

There are few color scheme surprises here. We do get more blue parts via his lower arms, hips and shoulder areas. The head and upper legs are dark blue (with the face painted red, a nice contrast). The robot head has translucent green plastic on the back which leads to the green eyes on the face for light
piping.

Overall, Landmine's robot mode looks great, is poseable and full of play potential.

Gunnery Station:
The gunnery station is really just the rear of the vehicle mode lifted up, but it's a nice little addition to the toy's play factor. All of the functionality from the vehicle mode remains here. Because you don't have the constraints of the vehicle mode, you can move the turret section a bit more, but not completely in a circle. Also in this form, if you point the crane arm and missile launcher platform forward, you can press the button under the missile launcher to activate the classic G1 transformation sound (slightly sped up). This is really meant to sound off when you combine this piece with the main robot, but it's neat to be able to do this here. However, if you turn the platform, the button becomes locked in place and doesn't press down.

Transformation to Powerlinx Mode:

  1. Transform Landmine into robot mode to begin.
  2. Push Landmine's fists into his lower arms.
  3. Turn the lower arms so the parts with the two pegs face outward.
  4. Detach the treads from the rear part of the vehicle.
  5. Fold out the claws on the treads.
  6. Attach the treads to the robot arms by using the two holes in the treads to connect to the two pegs on Landmine's arms.
  7. Swing the missile launcher and crane on the central unit so both point straight up.
  8. Fold the wings back.
  9. Attach the missile launcher/crane piece to the main body via the clips on Landmine's back.

Powerlinx Mode:
When I first saw pictures of this mode, I honestly thought "Wow, it's just a big jumble of parts", but Landmine's Powerlinx mode is actually a very cool jumble of parts. In reality, you're only adding on three pieces to the main robot, so it's not that bad. The claws look really cool, like tools used for digging (or trashing Terrorcons). The ends of the fingers have a nice "scraped" silver pattern on them which fits nicely. Each claw has a hole on the side which allows you to attach Mini-Con weapons (like the Requiem Blaster) or Energon weapons.

The back pack looks great, with the wings providing a very "anime-suit" type appearance. They add a level of sleekness that the toy would not have otherwise. Of course, Landmine has one heck of a blind spot in this mode. While you can position the missile launcher to be out of the way of his head, the crane basically has to stay put. Of course, the good thing is that both the crane and the missile launcher retain their functionality in this form including allowing Mini-Cons to attach to the crane arm. It is interesting to note that the Mini-Con pegs are functional pegs. When you have the crane line extended, attaching a Mini-Con retracts the line!

With the button that activates the G1 sound pressed, you can now activate the third sound effect on the toy by pushing the button on the back pack. That activates a noise that sounds like something crashing against something else. Maybe it's Landmine stomping into battle? Maybe it's him smacking around an
unfortunate Decepticon? Let your imagination decide.

Final Thoughts:
Landmine is a very pleasant surprise, and an example of not judging a toy solely on its initial pictures on the 'net. He looks cool, has neat sound fx and is, above all else, a fun toy. Highly recommended.