"Reveal the Shield" Perceptor Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: January 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

*Text below and images from Transformers.com
PERCEPTOR is one of the most brilliant scientists ever produced by CYBERTRON. Much of the technology the AUTOBOTS take for granted is due to his discoveries. It is rare that he actually builds or invents anything himself, but his insights make it possible for engineers and inventors to continue the pace of technological development.

Turn the tables on enemy forces when you throw this warrior into the fight! Press the button to reveal this figure’s robot allegiance and then prepare him for a battle. Your PERCEPTOR figure is dedicated to destroying any opponent and his light bar that converts to a shoulder blaster will help you two get the job done. If robot combat turns into a car chase, convert your warrior into research truck vehicle mode and send him racing off to rule the “road”!

Ages 5 and up.

Diversity of characters and roles has always added a bit of spice to the Transformers line. Sure there are tons of warriors, but someone has to perform other tasks related to warfare such as scientific breakthroughs. For the Generation One Autobots, one of their go to scientists was Perceptor. With the tail end of the Generations toy line and the current "Reveal the Shield" line focusing on the 1985-87 era of Transformers, Perceptor was a natural choice to join this group of Generation One characters reborn in a new form.

Vehicle Mode:
In the Generation One era, Perceptor transformed into a microscope and that's about it. He wasn't exactly shown as a robot of action, but that fit with his role as a scientist. All that said, the original Generation One toy of Perceptor did feature a vehicle mode, a "tank" mode that was meant to accomodate a "Microman" figure. This came from the toy's history as part of the "Micro change" toy line in Japan, long before Transformers were a twinkle in Hasbro's eye. While this mode was never used on the TV show, his last incarnation as a Legends figure in 2006 did have an armored vehicle mode. That however was a redeco of a previous figure. In this incarnation of Perceptor, he finally gets a new and original sculpt so he also gets to have a vehicle mode all his own.

Based partly on his Generation One "vehicle" mode and partly on his "Transformers Animated" appearance, Perceptor now transforms into a halftrack vehicle. He is basically a combination of a truck in the front with a rear section that resembles more of an armored transport vehicle, complete with treads in the back. Running across the top of the vehicle are three lights connected together. The front end is very sleek and wide. It definitely has a strong, imposing appearance while managing to look sleek at the same time. It has a lot of the typical features found on modern day trucks including a wide front grille and a hood with a raised air intake. On either side are sideview mirrors that have angled sections that match with the more angled areas on the front section. The rear section is also wide and gives the vehicle a strong appearance. I really like a lot of the smaller details sculpted into the vehicle including vents on the sides, patterns etched into the round lights on the top of the vehicle and a really complex looking set of machinery on the sides of the treads. This is a theme that will recur in the robot mode as well, namely amazing sculpting all over this figure in both modes.

Perceptor is cast in red, black, translucent yellow and green plastic. These colors are inspired by colors found on the original Perceptor, especially the red, black and green. The red makes up most of the vehicle, with black used on the wheels, side view mirrors and treads. The translucent plastic is used for the windshield, headlights, side front windows and the lights on the top of the vehicle. Paint applications are done in black, grey, orange, white and gunmetal. That's a lot of different colors, but they're used nicely. The black is found on the front grille and on the alpha numeric used on the license plate. Grey is used on the side windows towards the back and the rear windows. The gunmetal color is found on the sides of the wheels and treads, giving them a very industrial look. Finally, the orange is a neon shade used on the rear lights. The aforementioned license plate reads "MR51409" which is related to the birthdate of a family member of one of the Transformers design team members, Bill Rawley (I am not giving the details out on purpose out of respect for privacy), but it is really cool to see such a personal homage on a Transformers figure.

The vehicle rolls on the two front wheels and small wheels on the underside of each tread piece. There really are no other action features in this mode though if you wanted, you could transform the lights on the top of the vehicle into their cannon mode to give him a weapon in this mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the lightbar out to the left side.
  2. Swing the center section back.
  3. Swing the two side lights together.
  4. Push the silver, vacuum metallized disc forward to extend the end of the barrel.
  5. Flip the translucent yellow targeting scope up.
  6. Flip the vehicle over and swing the robot arms out.
  7. Swing the robot arms to the sides.
  8. Swing the windshield forward.
  9. Swing the front of the vehicle down.
  10. Split the rear section in half.
  11. Swing each half down to begin forming the robot legs.
  12. Swing the rear panels from the vehicle up over the top of the vehicle's rear section, attaching it to the tabs on the top.
  13. Move the black foot pieces down and rotate them so they point forward.
  14. Swing the treads in.
  15. Shift the door panels in, then swing them down.
  16. Connect the door panel and the tread pieces together using the tabs on the treads to clip onto the rectangular holes on the door panels.
  17. Swing the waist section up and clip it to the chest section.
  18. On the back of the robot is a grey plastic piece. Push it up to reveal the robot head.
  19. Push the front of the vehicle (with the arms on it) up against the main body.
  20. Point the shoulder cannon on his right side so it faces forward.

Robot Mode:
Perceptor's vehicle mode had hints of his G1 toy via the treads hinting at his G1 tank mode, but the robot mode is filled with nothing but visual callbacks to his Generation One figure. First his overall shape is based on the G1 figure including a rounded head attached to a wide chest with a cannon on his right shoulder. General shapes aren't all there is to this figure of course, there are many details that come straight from the original version of Perceptor:

  • The head sculpt is based on G1 Perceptor's animated appearance, with a rounded helmet section that has a crest in the center. Like the animated version of the character, he has a regular face with eyes, nose and mouth instead of the mouthplate that the G1 figure had.
  • The shoulder cannon has a dial on the top based on a similar detail on G1 Perceptor. There his shoulder cannon was actually the scope of his microscope form, and that dial was meant to adjust the lens in and out. Here it serves a similar purpose, but brings a cannon end out instead. G1 Perceptor had come with several weapon, which included a missile launcher that had missiles with very pointed ends, and the end of his shoulder cannon is very reminscent of the design of those missiles.
  • The torso design borrows several elements from G1 Perceptor including having a panel with a clear section in the middle allowing you to see details underneath, the rectangular plate in the center complete with a hinge piece that connects to the waist.
  • The arms each have dials on the ends, just like G1 Perceptor.
  • On each leg, the treads wind up on the back of the lower legs, just like G1 Perceptor. Also, at the knee level are two horizontal pieces sticking out, one on top of the other. These resemble similar designs on G1 Perceptor's knees.

As I look at Perceptor I truly have to say that his detail level is pretty insane. There's not an inch of this figure that looks dull or isn't exploding with detail. His arms have tons of layered details sculpted into them including horizintal and vertical lines along with triangles. The dials on the sides may not serve any particular practical purpose for the alternate mode, but here they have small holes in them that allow you to clip on weapons such as those included with Generations Skullgrin with sculpted details inspired by the G1 version of Perceptor including trapezoids on the sides. Behind his chest panels are a complex set of details including tubes, wires, circles and more. They look absolutely fantastic and I'm very impressed that this level of detail was put into the figure. Want a better look at these details? Just swing down the chest panel and you'll get a perfect look at them. His legs are not any different. Each of them have tons of sculpted detail on both the upper and lower legs with everything from small tubes on the sides of his thighs to circle details with a cross in the center on his legs. I could go on and on but suffice it to say that Perceptor is choc full of detailing and is a very impressive sculpt.

In this mode, Perceptor shows off the same colors as the vehicle mode, but there's a lot more diversity. Sure red is still the star, making up most of his shoulder cannon, upper arms, lower legs and good chunk of the torso. However, the blue-green color now shows up on his lower arms, shoulder joints, upper legs and hinges on his legs and back. Black plastic makes up smaller portions such as his head, hands, waist and feet. This arrangement of colors is no accident. The layout is almost exactly the same as Generation One Perceptor down to having a black rim around the end of his shoulder cannon and the way his arms and legs use three colors each. Translucent yellow is used on the robot head for light piping and on the targeting reticle attached to the cannon.

Paint colors are done in silver and neon orange. The silver is found on the sides of his upper arms and his head. The orange is found on his legs. On the inner portion of his chest is an Autobot rub symbol set in the center. This doesn't sound like a lot of deco, and truth be told if you just go by the numbers or amount of paint it isn't. But two things save the figure from looking dull. The first is the use of vacuum metallized silver on the dials on his arms, shoulder cannon and chest panel. The second is the sheer amount of sculpted detail, which gives plenty for the eyes to appreciate.

Perceptor has nineteen points of articulation in this form. This includes the ability for his cannon to swing up and down as well as four points in each arm. Unfortunately it is there that a lot of good on this figure breaks down into something not so great. When you try to move Perceptor's arms, the entire back section of the figure tends to go with it, meaning his entire back basically dislocates. Of course, this won't happen if you hold the back piece in place, but it really shouldn't take that in order for something as simple as arm movement to be done properly. This point really frustrates me because he is so well done otherwise and looks fantastic on display. I also wish I could say only my Perceptor has this particular issue, but other fans I've talked to mentioned theirs does the same. On the plus side, Perceptor's hands are sculpted to allow him to hold weapons from other figures such as Kup's rifle or even a Mini-Con weapon. I wish he had come with at least a rifle or something but he does not.

Final Thoughts:
Perceptor is a bit of a condundrum for me. You'll see I'm not giving him a particularly high rating, but at the same time there are aspects of the figure that I think are absolutely superior to many other deluxe scale figures including the aforementioned sculpted details. While Perceptor looks great, functionally there is much to be desired with the back piece swing out way too easily. I'm also disappointed he did not come with at least one weapon considering most of the other deluxe scale "Generations" and "Reveal the Shield" figures come with either a weapon or accessory. I wish I could come out and recommend this figure wholeheartedly, but alas I cannot.

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