Energon Toy Reviews: Perceptor

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Energon, Mini-Con, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: February 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: None

Images:

Now that Mini-Cons are firmly rooted in the Transformers lexicon and backstory, it seems appropriate that their ranks would continue to grow within the Energon line (which takes place in the same universe as Armada after all). The first wave of basic sized Energon toys introduced us to the
Energon Saber, a conceptual descendent (and a retool) of the infamous Star Saber. The next team to be reintroduced to the Transformers line is the Street Action Team. This time, they are being sold just as "Perceptor", so the trend seems to be to sell each team as the object or character they combine into. However, instead of a simple redeco and/or retool, these guys have received all new molds!

Grindor

Vehicle Mode:
Grindor's back, and this time he's in (what I consider to be) a slightly more dignified form. Instead of a skateboard, Grindor is now a futuristic looking (presumably Cybertronian) hovercraft. It's a really sleek, bubble shaped craft. Those two terms may seem incongruous, but in reality they're not. The craft is fairly long (for a Mini-Con) and it has some nice, smooth lines running from front to back. But at the same time, the central part, (what is presumably the pilot's seat) is oval and protrudes up a bit - but not to the point where it is ugly. Of course, no hovercraft is any good without some type of propulsion. In this case, there are two. At the rear of the vehicle are fans (nicely sculpted within outer coverings) and on the sides are large fans. The side and back fans can be moved and adjusted as both rest on ball joints.

While sleek, Grindor is hardly devoid of detail. At the front are two headlights sculpted on either side. Towards the back are vents on the side, and the
rear of the vehicle has some nice line details.

Grindor is easily the most colorful of the entire team. He is mostly blue, with metallic orange stripes running from the front to the back. The side hoverfans are white and the rear ones are also metallic orange. The cockpit section is a light, metallic gold color. Overall, the colors on Grindor are very muted and not overwhelming at all. The white offers a nice contrast to the dark blue and metallic orange.

Of course, what good is a Mini-Con who can't Powerlink? On the underside of the hovercraft, right in the center is Grindor's Powerlinx point. The flat
underside of the vehicle allows this to easily attach to larger Armada or Energon figures with Mini-Con Powerlinx ports.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the front halves of the vehicle out to the sides to reveal the
    robot head.
  2. Move the side hoverfans out and up.
  3. Rotate the rear fans around to form Grindor's feet.

Robot Mode:
While Grindor is in a new form, his robot mode is somewhat reminscent of his Armada form. The front halves of the hovercraft hanging to the sides resemble the "wings" formed from his skateboard mode in Armada. The robot face is designed to resemble the Armada face, but it's ab it wider and looks a bit tougher. The main body is mostly blue, with metallic silver paint used to fill in detailing. The ends of the side hoverfans reveal small, three fingered hands. It would've been nice to see some kind of color on these parts since the white looks really plain, but the rest of the figure is colorful enough to make u for
it.

Grindor has six points of articulation in this form. For a Mini-Con, that's not too shabby. However, at least two of the points kind of stretch things.
The way Grindor is designed, he has very small, stubby little legs. While these are articulated, there's not a whole lot to do with the articulation. Far more useful is the arm articulation, which rests on ball joints.

Grindor is a cute little robot. His vehicle mode is cool, and his robot mode is goofy like so many other Mini-Cons.

High Wire

Vehicle Mode:
Out of all three members of the Street Action Team, High Wire is probably the one that is most unchanged between his Armada form and his new Energon form. Instead of a bicycle, High Wire is now a dirt bike. However, this is no redeco or retool of the original High Wire toy, despite surface appearances.

High Wire's seat is a lot wider than the one he had as a bicycle, and there are much more tech details thrown into the mix. The handlebars each have grips while the lower part of the vehicle is sculpted to resemble an engine. From the side and back you can see a tailpipe, and the front wheel is connected to parts with sculpted details that look like suspension springs. A sculpted Mini-Con logo is present on the front of the bike.

High Wire is mostly white with black tires. The are in front and behind the handlebars are mostly light blue, with the seat painted black and metallic orange at the tip. This is the same orange used with Grindor.

High Wire's kickstand (also the head in robot mode) doubles as his Powerlinx point here. Like the original High Wire, this Powerlinx point sticks out on the side, which makes it neat to put this on vehicles like Armada Red Alert as a sporty "carry on" vehicle or something similar. To keep the vehicle standing, you can just lean it on the head/kickstand.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the tire sections down.
  2. Move the seat over to the left side and split it to form the robot
    legs.
  3. The handlebar section can go behind High Wire's robot head.
  4. Straighten each arm out.

Robot Mode:
High Wire's sculpt is a real nice upgrade to the original. The face looks like a wider version of the original, with a brow over the eye area and a mouthplate. His right arm is a regular robot arm with the exhaust pipe attached to it, making it look more like a blaster. His other arm is just a wheel, but given the alt form, that's almost to be expected with a toy this size. The feet take a bit of doing to get the figure standing, but once you get the hang of it it's easy. High Wire has an amazing thirteen points of articulation. It was rare for Mini-Cons in Armada to have a lot of articulation, specially a lot of ball jointed articulation, which High Wire has in spades.

What is a bit discouraging about this form is how plain it is color wise. Virtually every part of High Wire's robot mode is white except for his wheels and lower legs. To add insult to injury, the packaging shows High Wire's robot mode as having painted details. It's discouraging because the sculpt is really neat, but it definitely could have used more color detailing.

Sureshock

Vehicle Mode:
Sureshock has moved up a level in the vehicle mode department. Instead of a two wheel scooter, he is a sporty, four wheel scooter! The sculpt is fairly solid, with the four wheels he is the most stable member of the team on wheels. The design is simple, yet it looks nice and futuristic. The front is an oval shaped windshield piece. The back has panelson either side and the handlebars are sculpted in as well. There's even a small viewscreen between the handles (or it could be a blank instrument panel). The four tires roll just fine. Sureshock actually has two Mini-Con Powerlinx points in this form. One is located on each side of the bottom of the vehicle.

Sureshock is the happy medium between the very heavily colored Grindor and the almost blank High Wire. He is mostly white and dark blue. The side, rear sections of the scooter are painted red. The seats and "windshield" are a light shade of metallic gold.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the scooter over and swing up the blue parts and swivel them out.
  2. Swing the driver seat up, and then flip up the gold part to reveal the robot head.
  3. Move the front tires forward, and then swing down the wheels.

Robot Mode:
One of Sureshock's more striking features were his large arms in Armada. Seems like that design element has followed him through to his new form. Although the center of his upper body is thin (relative to the rest of him), his arms (which also become Perceptor's) are huge, while his feet are short and squat. This makes him look like he has massive upper body strength. The face design is made to resemble his original face, especially the round, beady eyes. Sureshock really only has four points of articulation, all focused on his arms. Other than that, he's pretty static.

The colors all come from parts that can be seen in vehicle mode except for the robot head. The head is dark blue with yellow eyes. With the red details on his shoulders and the gold on the "windshield" piece are just enough to keep the toy from looking plain. A really neat little Mini-Con.

Perceptor

The following instructions assume you are beginning these transformations with the Mini-Cons in robot mode.

Transformation to Perceptor

    High Wire
  1. With High Wire's back facing you, swing the legs out to the sides.
  2. Swing down the blue motorcycle piece to reveal Perceptor's head.
  3. Make sure the motorcycle wheels are pointed downward.
  4. Swing up High Wire's head to reveal the Powerlinx point.
    Sureshock
  5. Swing down Sureshock's shoulder/head section and flip the head piece in.
  6. Swing the front wheels to the sides, then swing each wheel piece up.
  7. Pull the lower arms down to extend the arm size.
    Grindor
  8. Hide Grindor's hands in his "hips" as if he were in vehicle mode.
  9. Rotate Grindor's feet around so they point backwards.
  10. Split the main body in half and swing down each side.
    Combination:
  11. Attach Grindor to Sureshock via the two pegs on the black center piece.
  12. Attach High Wire's Powerlinx point to the Powerlinx connector on Grindor's black central piece.
  13. Move Perceptor's head forward a bit.

Perceptor's new form is bigger and a bit more "grown up" looking than the Armada version. In Armada, he looked like a small, child-like Transformer. Here, his size is on par with a basic sized Energon figure, and his bulk has substantially increased. The face sculpt is an updated version of the Armada face sculpt, the visor eyes and "helmet" being the more familiar visual factors. Unfortunately, there's not much happening in terms of poseability. His arms can move up and down and his head can do the same. However, one really neat design element are the Powerlinx points on his lower arms. These are the points that belong to Sureshock, and here they can be used to connect to weapons with Mini-Con Powerlinx pegs on them! To get the weapons to hold up though, you'll have to push the lower arm up since it's on a hinge. That touch alone makes up for the lack of articulation, giving this team a cool level of interaction with other figures in the line.

Perceptor is a fantastic update of the Armada Street Action Team. Mind you, these are not conventional Transformers. Their aesthetic runs decidedly in the "cute" direction. But the result should appeal to fans of the first team. Highly recommended.