Transformers Universe 2.0 Toy Review: Tankor

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Triple Changer, Universe 2.0

Transformers Universe 2.0

General Information:
Release Date: June 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Guns x 2, Claw weapon/oil tank cover

Images:

*Images from Hasbrotoyshop.com.

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Other DECEPTICONS would call TANKOR a dirtbag, if it wasn’t for the high-octane fuel he supplies to them. He’s a sleazy liar who will steal or manipulate anyone, so long as it helps him get his way. As such, he fits right into the most dangerous battlegrounds across the universe, where survival depends on maintaining an advantage. The only reason other DECEPTICONS will have anything to do with him is that he always seems to have a supply of fuel when everyone else is tapped out.

In Plane Mode, this fierce-looking figure converts to either transport plane mode or tough tanker truck mode, both ready to help you take on the AUTOBOTS team! The truck’s top becomes a melee blade in robot mode. Combine blasters to form a quad laser for the weapon-wielding robot figure and prepare to take on enemy forces!

With Astrotrain having been introduced in Classics wave one and Blitzwing sitting pretty in the "Animated" line, only one triple-changer Decepticon from G1 remained to be reimagined: Octane. Originally not introduced until the show's third, post-movie season, Octane was a greedy, self serving Decepticon who enjoyed even the suffering of his fellow Decepticons. Largely ignored in Transformers history, he now returns with a new name (thanks to trademark issues) as Tankor in Transformers Universe. While the name "Tankor" previously belonged to a Transformer who actually became a tank (and later a Micromaster train), the name is still apt since one of his modes is a tanker truck.

Cargo Plane Mode:
Tankor is packaged in his aerial mode, which makes the most visual impact in package. G1 Octane's plane mode was also a cargo plane, but in many ways it resembled a commercial airline plane with no visible weaponry and very little hint of what kind of power it had. Tankor's plane mode seems to be loosely based on the Hercules C-130 military transport plane. The Hercules' somewhat bulbous front end and the four propellers on its wings and the T shaped end are all features Tankor has borrowed for his plane mode. Triple-changers are notoriously difficult Transformers to make, and at times they come out beautifully while at others they wind up looking odd in at least one mode. In this case, Tankor's plane mode is very "thick" looking, but given its function as a transport plane that can be easily understood. Due to the bulk the figure needs to contain
for his other forms, the main body of the plane winds up being rather thick, especially the cockpit/nosecone area which seems almost squat. The relatively small wings enhance this illusion. I say these things more as a statement of fact than a criticism. The plane mode doesn't look bad per se, but one wonders if it could have benefited from slightly larger wings to balance out the bulk of the plane's center section.

All that said, there is quite a bit of cool detail in this mode that helps add to its visual appeal. Running all over the body of the plane are small square and rectangular shapes indicating everything from windows to armor panels. Other cool details include piping towards the rear and small vertical rectangles on either side under the cockpit area resembling doors with a tiny window. The wings have really nice detailing as well, indicating more panels of armor. Each wing has two propellers mounted on it. What's nice is that each propeller has small notches sculpted into them, giving a level of detail that is not often seen for such a small piece.

The parts which betray Tankor's other forms are the underbelly, formed from the piece that becomes the "tank" for his truck mode and blue pieces on the back end that become the front of the truck mode. They hardly draw your eye thanks to the plane's wings and detail level, but it's worth noting that this form is not as seamless as one would hope. I do credit the designers for trying to work some functionality into the bottom piece however. The bottom piece has three wheels to act as landing gear for the plane.

Tankor is cast in light grey, black, silver and blue plastic. A bulk of the figure is light grey, with black making up smaller part such as the propellers and the joints at the base of the wings. Dark blue is seen at the end on the parts that form the front of the truck as well as the rudder. The piece on the bottom is cast in silver. Tankor's paint deco seems to draw its primary inspiration from G1 Octane's cartoon and comic book appearances rather than the original figure. His main colors are black, purple and dark blue. The dark blue is used for parts like the cockpit windows. Purple and black make up the designs on his wings and rudders. No sign of light blue appears, which was a color used on G1 Octane's wings (among other parts).

Unlike G1 Octane, Tankor seems perfectly capable of defending himself in this form thanks to twin dual barreled guns that mount under his wings in this form. The propellers can also spin around if you flick them. Overall, this is a cool plane mode and it's nice to see Tankor get some weapons in vehicle form. I know I have gone on and on about its large size or truck parts, but in truth after staring at the thing and poking at it for a while, the effect diminishes and you just adjust to this being a rather large, thick plane. Tastes will vary on this, but fortunately you can see this form right in package before deciding to buy/not buy.

Transformation to Tanker Truck Mode:

  1. Detach the piece from the bottom of the plane.
  2. Swing the horizontal stabilizer wings in the back up.
  3. Swing the wings up.
  4. Detach the weapons from the wings and set them aside for now.
  5. Flip the vehicle over and swing up the two black panels with the Decepticon symbol in the center.
  6. Split the cockpit section in half and swing them out on the blue hinges.
  7. Split the rear section of the plane in half and swing it down over the wings you folded together in step three.
  8. On each half of the rear of the vehicle, swing the dark blue piece down and rotate them around to reveal the sides of the truck mode.
  9. Bring the two halves of the truck mode together.
  10. Attach the silver piece onto the back of the truck mode by attaching the notches on its side into the clips towards the back.
  11. Attach the weapons to either the peg holes towards the front or back of the vehicle.

Tanker Truck Mode:
Just as the designers took G1 Octane's more civilian looking plane mode and gave him a military plane mode, they also took his civilian style tanker truck mode and made it into a military style tanker truck. In this case, it seems they based this Plane Mode on the HEMTT M978 tanker truck. Like that real life vehicle, Tankor's front end is very squared off and boxy looking. However, this looks like a futuristic extrapolation of the M978. While it has the forward angled large windows, the front section sweeps back at an angle and has large windows that also angle backwards in a very sleek fashion. Like the M978, the tank on Tankor's back is flat, rather than being a regular cylinder and he has four wheels on each side with a separation between them in the middle of the vehicle.

Since this mode opens up the figure a bit more than the plane mode, a bit of robot mode detail peeks through, but fortunately it is designed to blend in well with the Plane Mode's details. Among the nicer details on the Plane Mode are vent lines in the front, a large looking front grille, piping on the sides and raised handle like details on the tank itself. In keeping with the sleek, sweeping look of the front end of the truck, the back end of the tank slopes down and has some nice circlular and line detailing sculpted into it. The illusion is broke a bit when you look directly at the figure from the back since it's just an open area showing the two halves of the plane cockpit, but it's a forgivable design necesity of having three forms and keeping within cost constraints.

All the previously mentioned colors are present, but distributed quite differently, and here's where the illusion of the alternate Plane Mode works well. The front end of the vehicle is dark blue plastic, with the middle and the back end showing the light grey of the plane mode (meaning it's largely obsucred). The silver tank piece makes up a huge chunk of the vehicle's rear section and black makes up the rest of it such as the center and wheels. Silver and purple paint make up most of the detailing in this form, with the silver coloring the windows, the side of the vehicle and the top end of the tank cover piece. Purple shows through towards the back where the lower robot arms are rather conspicuous.

While the instructions say to mount Tankor's guns onto the peg holes towards the front of the vehicle (where they can serve as guns or smokestacks if placed vertically), I've found I prefer mounting them towards the back where the robot hand holes are facing out to the sides. Not only does this make him look less "front heavy" but it also obscures some of the robot mode detail that is best left hidden in this form. Either way it works fine and it's nice to have options on weapon placement!

In many ways, I find the truck mode a bit more successful than the plane mode in terms of proportions and not looking overly large or small in any way. However, there are still big open areas that kill the illusion of an extra Plane Mode a bit, so in a way both Plane Modes have some positive and negative elements to consider, but for the most part I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and tank cover. Set them aside for now.
  2. Split the front of the truck mode and swing the halves out.
  3. Pull on the front halves of the truck mode to extend them and reveal the thigh sections of the robot legs.
  4. Swing the robot waist piece forward.
  5. Flip out the robot feet by swinging out the windshield sections of either lower leg.
  6. Swing each half of the plane front ends back on the blue hinges and then down to the sides on the black hinges.
  7. Swing out the lower robot arms and straighten the arms out.
  8. Push the chest panels up to slide the head up, and then swing them out to form the robot chest.
  9. Swing the wings out to the sides on his back.
  10. Split the tank cover in the middle to for the claw weapon and attach it to one hand.
  11. Combine the two guns by attaching one's peg into the hole in the other and attach to his other hand.

Robot Mode:
Like his Plane Modes, Tankor's robot form is inspired by his G1 predecessor but doesn't exactly copy it. The general shape is definitely similar to G1 Octane, with wings in the back (that can be positioned straight out or slightly upwards at an angle the way G1 Octane had them) and a rather blocky looking central body. The robot head is a definite modern day extrapolation from the original head, using the "V" shaped designs leading to a center crest on the top of the head with a face section underneath. The chest is pretty much rectangular with some added designs that resemble windows. This seems to be a compromise between the G1 toy design and animated design. Whereas the toy had the truck's front end as its chest, the animated design simply gave him a flat rectangular panel for a chest. This is a flat panel with suggestions of a truck windshield, so it works out nicely as a nod to both designs.

Most of Tankor's other parts are more original to this version. His arms are formed from the cockpit halves, so they are much more tube like in shape and he has high rising shoulder armor (whereas G1 Octane's arms were more normal in size and shape for a Transformer). His legs look a bit long thanks to the lower
legs being so significantly larger than the thighs, but it works out as it helps keep him from looking too squat or short.

Tankor has a lot of nice detail. His shoulder armor has nice thin, horizontal line details, his lower arms have tubes and other lines while his center body has several raised rectangles and trapezoid type shipes sculpted into it. The armor paneling and line details from the plane and truck modes carry over into his legs, giving them a nice, detailed appearance as well.

In this form we see a lot more black color than the previous two forms. Black forms most of the central body piece and his thighs as well as his elbows. This contrast works very well, especially with silver and white paint used against it for detailing. A Decepticon symbol is tampographed right in the center of his chest, exactly where it would have been in the G1 animation model. His robot head is painted purple and silver. While he was designed with translucent blue light piping (go figure), the eyes are painted red to match the "Decepticons have red eyes and Autobots have blue" theme carried over from the G1 television show.

Tankor has thirteen points of articulation in this form. This cinludes ball joints on his elbows and legs. His arm articulation is interesting since part of his arms are made up from two of the tires from the truck mode, so they can't turn all the way outwards on that joint, but rather rely on a hinge joint on the shoulders.

The claw weapon's claws are ratcheted, allowing you to position them independent of each other. His guns can combine into one or fit into his fists or even the holes on the sides of his legs (though the practicality of that seems suspect).

Final Thoughts:
Tankor is a cool update of G1 Octane, but he is not without his problems. Both Plane Modes are good but not great, but his robot mode is very strong indeed. If you're the type of fan who is understanding about the complexities of creating a triple changer such as this and can ignore truck kibble on a plane, then this is the figure for you. If you need your vehicle modes perfect and outstanding, you may want to consider something like Sunstreaker instead. Recommended with caveats.