Energon Toy Reviews: Strongarm

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Energon, Omnicon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: November 2003
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Crane/axe handle, Energon Chip, Axe Blades x 2

Images:

Strongarm is one of the new Transformers being introduced in Energon. Strongarm belongs to the sub-group known as the Omnicons, who have the capability of creating Energon weapons for their respective sides.

Vehicle Mode:
Strongarm is a futuristic jeep in vehicle mode. With Energon being a line that is literally riddled with homages to Generation One, the obvious conclusion one can reach here is that Strongarm is, in part, a homage to the classic Hound character. I won't go so far as to say the designers intended it this way, but many features are similar to Hound's Jeep form:

  • Like Hound, Strongarm has a cannon/turret at the rear of the vehicle mode.
  • Strongarm also has an extra fuel canister hanging on the back of the vehicle mode, like Hound did.
  • Strongarm has a "spare tire" (in the form of an Energon disc) in the back, like Hound.

Of course, these features are fairly common on military jeeps. If this toy had been painted Hound's dark green colors and had a star on it, you'd swear
it was Hound in vehicle form, so the similarities are worth noting.

Strongarm is a nice blend of muted colors. His primary color is a dark yellow. Black is used for the wheels, seats and the windshield frame. The hubcaps of the tires are painted metallic blue gray, the same color used for the front of the vehicle. The headlights are blue. Dark blue can be found on several parts focused at the rear of the vehicle (these parts are more apparent in robot mode). Beige is used for the frame behind the seats and the base where you attach the crane/cannon piece.

Strongarm's sculpt is definitely different than your average jeep. The design has a large rear half while the front half is a bit smaller and streamlined. The rear wheels are larger than those in the front, and the front section is not as wide. There's not a ton of detail, but rather just enough to keep the toy interesting. You'll find in the piece attached to the front wheels, spring and suspension has been sculpted into the plastic. The aforementioned gas can is sculpted into the back as well. The seats are sculpted nicely too, showing indentations indicating cushions. What's kind of funny and neat at the same time is that they don't have a dashboard (which really would not have been a worthwhile detail to shoehorn in) but they do have the stick shift sculpted. They could have easily left both details out, but it's nice to see something so minute thrown in.

Strongarm is armed for battle and, it seems, rescue in jeep mode. His primary Energon weapon attaches to a hinge at the rear of the vehicle. Since the weapon is attached to a peg, it can move around 180 degrees. The hinge allows you to aim the weapon up or down. At the end of the weapon is a crane hook that is also on a hinge and can move forward and back (which was unexpected, they could have easily just made it one piece). The weapon itself has a lot going on. Towards the front you'll find two Powerlinx points that allow you to hook the weapon onto Mini-Con Powerlinx pegs. Towards the rear, there are two holes and two pegs of the "standard" size between Armada and Energon, which allows a lot of possibilities in terms of attaching other weapons to this one.

The Energon Chip included with Strongarm can attach to the Autobot Spark Crystal section at the rear of the vehicle, and the parts which later form the blades of his weapon connect together to act as a "spare wheel" in the back.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach all Energon parts.
  2. Flip the jeep over and swing up the robot arms, then swing them out to reveal the robot arms.
  3. Turn the robot head around.
  4. Swing the front of the jeep forward.
  5. Twist the lower body around so the windshield pieces face forward.
  6. Swing the windshield halves down to form the robot feet.
  7. Attach Energon weapons as desired.

Robot Mode:
Strongarm's design edict seems to have been "make a little guy that looks tough". Despite his classification as a basic sized toy, Strongarm looks big and tough. A lot of this impression is thanks to his upper body, which was already wide (as the rear of the jeep mode), but is now even wider since his arms are sticking out on the sides. Many of the details on his upper body are layers of squares and rectangles with some nice line details etched in.

Strongarm's primary colors remain the same, but more dark blue and beige show up via his arms. Some more red paint becomes apparant, used for such details as his shoulders and the Autobot symbol on the left side of his chest. His eyes are colored blue, appropriate for an Autobot. Metallic blue can be found on his chest, above and under the Autobot Spark Crystal. The color scheme works well since all the colors are nice and subdued.

In this form, Strongarm has thirteen points of articulation, including head, shoulder, waist and knee articulation. This also includes the hinge that his weapon attaches to. It's so great to see a lot of articulation in this price point again. Strongarm shows that just because he's small, it doesn't mean he can't pose!

One of the fun things about Omnicons and Terrorcons are their weapons. In this case, Strongarm's weapons can be used in a multitude of ways. The packaging pictures show the axe blades on his shoulder, with the long cannon/crane on the hinge that it attaches to in vehicle mode. However, you can take the blades and attach them to the cannon/crane and turn it into a big axe weapon. You can also have Strongarm hold each blade individually as some type of half moon slicing weapon and so on. The fact that you can find multiple ways of using his Energon weapons is wonderful and makes the toy more fun than just a typical Transformer.

Strongarm is a fun little toy that has a lot more potential than the packaging shows. Highly recommended.