Energon Toy Reviews: Scorponok

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: December 2003
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $29.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 4
Accessories: Missiles x 2

Images:

Sounds:

Scorponok is a name that has been applied to more than one Transformers toy. In Generation One, he debuted as one of the four "city" Transformers who
could transform from base, to scorpion to robot (and he was a Headmaster to boot!). When the Beast Wars rolled around, he was turned into a smaller
Transformer who changed from scorpion to robot. He even was released as a McDonalds toy during Beast Wars, taking on a Transmetal form. So now we've reached 2003 and the newest incarnation of Scorponok has risen, and this time, it's the closest to the G1 version yet.

Ground Vehicle Mode:
Calling Scorponok a simple ground vehicle does the toy an injustice. What we have here is a vehicle created by designers who thought "Okay, let's take
G1 Scorponok, make him a detailed, powerful looking vehicle but still have him look like a scorpion!" The result is nothing short of awesome. In his ground vehicle mode, Scorponok is a truck, but a unique one. While the center of the body has a "cab" of sorts down to the front grille, the side of the vehicles have arms that end in big shovels, looking like something that can be both destructive and constructive all at once. The vehicle rolls on two treads
(actually small wheels on the underside of the treads). From the back, a tail raises up and ends with a crane hook.

But wait, didn't I say he looks like a scorpion? Well, he does. The two shovel arms out to the sides look like a scorpion's claws. The crane tail
looks like a scorpion tail, and the crane can be lifted up to form a "stinger". While the central body does look like a truck (driver's area, front grille, fender etc.) he also has mandibles on either side! The result is a fascinating combination of creature and vehicle, something that the defunct "Transtech" line was going to attempt many years ago. As a whole, the result here is a wonderful homage to the original Scorponok, while making this toy unique at the same time.

But wait, there's more! Scorponok is choc full of design details. Among the highlights:

  • The shovel "claws" each have teeth that resemble individual fingers. They also have piston like designs sculpted in.
  • In front of each tread is another shovel that no doubt lets Scorponok tear things up.
  • On either side leading up to the cockpit, there are ladders molded into the sides.
  • At the back of each tread are large claws sculpted to look like they are connected to pistons. These are reminiscent of similar details on Beast Machines Scavenger.
  • Towards the center of the main body, you'll find lots of small, mechanical details etched into the black section.
  • His Energon weapon missile launchers have quite a bit of line detail sculpted in.

And he's not just about looking pretty, he has a bunch of neat action features:

  • The claws move forward and along with them, the hinges that move the black "inner claw" pieces. Also, each claw has an Energon "claw/blade"
    which can move back and forth.
  • There is a missile launcher contained in each claw.
  • On the top of the tail is a blue and gray piece which looks like a cockpit cover. Slide it back and two guns swing forward to add firepower to the tail.
  • The mandibles on the front of the truck section can move up and down.

Scorponok has ten points of articulation in this form. He also has a really neat set of sound effects. The sound mechanism is built into the tail,
so that's where you'll find the buttons to activate the sounds (here comes another list):

  • Move the tail and you'll get a sound much like heavy machinery moving. This (most likely unintentionally) harks back to Scorponok's appearance in
    the three part "Rebirth" series where he made similar noises whenever he moved.
  • Push back the cockpit on the top of the tail to activate a machine gun noise.
  • The button on the back of the tail activates an engine rumbling noise.
  • Hold the button at the lower part of the tail and then slide the tail
    cockpit back and a different sound effect will activate, sounding like a deeper, slower machinery movement sound. This too sounds a lot like the sound effects used in "Rebirth" for Scorponok's movements.

All this homage, poseability and sound fx goodness really makes this one of the coolest Transformer alt modes to date.

Transformation to Aerial Mode:

  1. Swing the side pieces (that the arms are attached to) out, and fold the halves of the front of the ground vehicle up so they are at a right angle with the side pieces.
  2. Rotate the shovel arms so the shovels face the other direction.
  3. Swing the tail down on the beige section with the small wheels.
  4. Swing the treads up so the yellow "Energon claws" are pointing forward.
  5. On each tread, swing the blue turbine to the sides.
  6. Swing each half of the front of the vehicle form out to the sides.
  7. Swing the tail out to the front and straighten it out.
  8. Deploy the two Energon blasters on the tail.
  9. Move the shovel arms so they rest up against the main body.
  10. Move the Energon claws/blades on the shovel arms out.

Aerial Vehicle Mode:
If G1 Scorponok could have 3 modes, why not his Energon counterpart? What I love about this form is that it's a rather simplistic change from the ground mode, but it totally works. The tail becoming a long nosecone looks great, and it we now see just why there was a cockpit on the top of the tail. A wonderful touch is having the shovels on his treads have a turbine that is mostly hidden in the ground mode. Here it's so prominant it looks like it was there all along.

Other than the turbines, the only real "new" detail revealed are the tubes revealed during the transformation. On each of the halves that make up the front of the ground vehicle, he has metallic blue details that look like they could be energy conduits of some sort.

The aerial mode is not just meant to be a stand alone form. Between his Powerlinx points and a ton of holes to attach weapons to, you can hook up Scorponok with lots of extra weapons. From the treads, to the cockpit to the arms, there are slots for weapons such as those from other Energon figures or Armada figures.

Scorponok's aerial mode is fun and looks really cool.

Transformation to Robot Mode (from Ground Vehicle Mode):

  1. Swing the treads back and straighten them out to form the robot legs.
  2. At the ends of the treads, flip up the red/orange shovels, and push the heel piece on the other side down.
  3. Split the front of the vehicle in half and swing them to the sides.
  4. Swing the driver's area compartment up and swing out the robot head. Close the compartment.
  5. The tail can be tucked behind Scorponok or raised up behind him as an additional weapon.

Robot Mode:
While the ground vehicle mode definitely harks back to the classic G1 Scorponok's scorpion mode, this form definitely harks back to G1 Scorponok's robot mode. Many of the details in this form resemble something from G1 Scorponok:

  • The head sculpt is very similar to G1 Scorponok's, including the brow and antannae protruding from the sides of the head.
  • The visor that slides over Scorponok's eyes is reminscent of the clear plastic piece which would slide over Zarak when he was G1 Scorponok's head.
  • The chest piece has a prominant Decepticon symbol on it like G1 Scorponok's, and the rectangular shape with designs like vents on it appear influenced by his G1 predecssor's.
  • The dual barrelled lasers on Scorponok's hips look like smaller versions of the dual barrelled cannons that G1 Scorponok had on his shoulders in robot mode.
  • The way the shovel arms become almost claw like arms is very much how G1 Scorponok looked.

While homages are great, how does Scorponok stand up on his own? Very well would be my answer. While not exceptionally tall, Scorponok has a lot of bulk. His shoulder armor sweeps out to the sides nice and wide. His arms are big, chunky and imposing looking. All the translucent yellow parts (indicating Energon weapons) adds to his powerful look, and if you deploy the tail, Scorponok looks even more threatening.

Scorponok is also very stable for a toy that has so many bulky parts. The foot pieces are very tight, so they don't allow a lot of potential flopping about. Also, assuming parts become more loose with wear, this guy ought to last the kiddies for quite some time!

Scorponok has a (rather notable) seventeen points of articulation in this form, counting the tail. Nineteen if you want to go nuts and count his hip guns. What's impressive is that even though his arms don't rest on a typical shoulder joint, the upper arms were given two ranges of motion to make up for the unusual structure. This range of movement allows for some real cool display poses as well.

Scorponok can still use his tail and missile launchers in this form. The holes at the base of his shovel/claws can fit Energon or Armada weapons. The holes on the sides of his knee joints are also sized to allow weaponry to be attached. On the tail and the right arm are Mini-Con Powerlinx points. You can easily attach Minis to these points for added power to Scorponok (and of course, play value).

I will say right now that I am very happy and impressed with this toy. It only suffers from one major drawback: its color scheme. Advance pictures of the Takara version of this toy shows a rather uniform green/translucent green/gold type color scheme. This color scheme is, as my wife said to me "confusing". The dark gray, metallic blue and green do somewhat mesh. But then you suddenly toss in the red/orange on the arms and you're left scratching your head wondering "What happened there?". To be frank, the original green/purple color scheme of G1 Scorponok would have worked very well here. Even the Takara version of this toy would have worked, but if some red/orange parts are the worst you can say about a toy, it's a pretty darn good toy. Highly recommended.