"Generations" War for Cybertron: Paleotrex Toy Review

12/06/20

General Information:
Release Date: Q4 2020/Q1 2021 (Estimated)
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: N/A (Figure separates into several pieces)

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:

  • DISCOVER KINGDOM: Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever
  • BEASTIFY THE BATTLEFIELD: Unleash the primal power of the beasts with the ancient and highly advanced F.O.S.S.I.L. technology. Sentient Fossilizer bots, infused with primordial energy, break apart and weaponize their allies
  • BEASTIFY OTHER FIGURES: Use this Deluxe Predacon Fossilizer figure to beastify other figures with epic bone weapons and armor! (Each sold separately, subject to availability)
  • UNLEASH THE FOSSILIZED BEAST MODE: Paleotrex toy converts into a T. Rex fossil mode in 32 steps. Features lower jaw articulation optimal for roaring poses
  • GOLDEN DISK CARDS REVEAL POSSIBLE DESTINIES: Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)

Beastify the battlefield! Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever. With the ancient and highly advanced F.O.S.S.I.L. (Fossilized Osteo-Skeletal Shield Integration Loadout) technology, Fossilizer bots, infused with primordial energy, break apart to weaponize their allies. The bone pieces of this Paleotrex figure break apart and attach to other figures. Use this Deluxe Predacon Fossilizer figure to beastify other figures with epic bone weapons and armor! (Sold separately, subject to availability.) Paleotrex toy converts into a T. Rex fossil mode in 32 steps. Features lower jaw articulation optimal for roaring poses.Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.)

Disclosure: This action figure was provided by Hasbro as part of a Kingdom unboxing event. BWTF thanks Hasbro for its generosity.

The first two chapters in the War for Cybertron series introduced the idea of Weaponizers and Modulators, characters who could break apart to form accessories for other Transformers figures. This play pattern was largely dependent on the 5mm port/peg system and gave the designers a chance to feature characters like Brunt and Powerdasher Zetar as individual releases on the Deluxe scale. The Kingdom version of this play pattern are the Fossilizers. These Transformers characters feature unique, skeletal beast modes and some very alien looking robot modes. So far all of the Fossilizers have been new characters including Paleotrex.

By its nature, the Generations line relies heavily on new interpretations of G1 characters. Now and then it goes beyond G1 paying homage to lines such as Armada. However it is exceedingly rare for the line to introduce brand new characters into the Transformers line. Paleotrex is one of these exceptions (as are all the Fossilizers revealed so far).

Packaging:
A new style of packaging has been introduced with Kingdom. The shape is very similar to what has been seen with Siege and Earthrise, with a rectangular box that has an angled panel on the left. This time however the box does not have a window in front that shows off the entire figure. Instead, the window is much smaller and basically shows the figure from the mid-body up. This small window has plastic over it, but what this allows for is artwork featuring the character in both modes, something that is extremely uncommon for the Transformers line. Like previous Generations packaging the Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with the Generations and Takara Tomy logos above it. On the lower part (under the window) is the Kingdom logo. On this box, Paleotrex is shown running in both modes. Behind him is a mountain with the Nemesis on (or possibly in) it. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous and there were many fans on the Unboxing Event call who asked for a coffee table book of the artwork from the Generations line.

The back of the box shows Paleotrex in both modes calling out a thirty two step transformation. Above him is a modified Predacon symbol with some extra details added in compared to the traditional symbol. In the corner is a nice, classic callback featuring the Transformers logo with the "More than Meets the Eye" tag line under it. Overall this packaging is beautiful and I think it is really going to pop on store shelves.

Paleotrex himself is attached to a cardboard insert inside the box. The insert itself is covered in patterns based on the Golden Disk, which played a large part in the cartoon. On the back is a small slot where the accessory is stowed away, so always be sure to check the entire insert before tossing it out! Also included is a collector card/sticker.

Robot Mode:
Paleotrex is likely going to be a polarizing figure when he is put out at mass retail. I think this is going to be a "love it or hate it" figure because its design is very different than traditional Transformers design. Most G1 era inspired Transformers designs are blocky and very mechanical looking. However, Paleotrex goes in the opposite direction to the extreme. Keep in mind, his alt-mode is literaly a dinosaur skeleton like you would see in a museum. That means his robot mode has a very organic look to it, with virtually no hint of any mechanical parts or machinery at all. Most of his body is made of bone-like pieces including rib cage halves making up his thighs and the tail and beast mode feet making up the robot arms. He is also asymmetrical, featuring an axe-shaped shoulder on the right shoulder while the left shoulder is made up of the beast mode's tail piece. Spikes on his chest and the huge claws on his arms add to his very savage appearance. Even his robot head and face look organic, though his eyes are a tad more traditional looking (the only real hint of mechanical parts on this figure).

The end result of all this? Some fans justifiably pointed out that this design is reminiscent of the Dinozaurs designs. However, I think what we have here is a seriously alien looking Transformer that evokes scifi creatures such as the Alien Xenomorph from the Alien franchise. Between his non-traditional head design, long arms with huge claws and the rib bones on his legs there is an extremely creepy looking character and I love it. Kingdom is meant to partly pay homage to the Beast Wars era of Transformers. If there is one thing Beast Wars did in the 90's, it helped redefine what a Transformers character could look like. Paleotrex continues this tradition and I think he looks amazing. That said, I can totally see how this aesthetic will not agree with everyone (hence my earlier comments about it being polarizing).

Paleotrex's main plastic colors are dark brown and dark beige. These colors are meant to lean into the "fossil" color but he also has a lot of brown paint used in both spray ops and washes that you do not often see on Transformers figures. The eyes are painted yellow and the chest has a purple Predacon symbol in the middle. This may not sound like a terribly interesting deco but I love it. The blending of colors is really impressive and there is something very "ancient" looking about him.

There are twenty five points of articulation on this figure. This includes seven in each arm and four in each leg. The head's "helmet" section can swing down to reveal a skull-like face with spikes on it. This design is an Easter Egg referencing the mace weapon that came with the original Ultra Class Optimus Primal figure from the 90's! I love how obscure this reference is and it makes this Beast Wars fan a bit whistful. Also, one can consider this a "double" Easter Egg referencing the "Mutant Heads". For the uninitiated, many of the original Beast Wars figures had two heads: a robotic one and a more "beast like" one. This feature on Paleotrex appears to be a callback to those "Mutant Heads".

Each hand has a 5mm port in it, allowing you to attach his tail weapon or weapons from other figures. That said, his joints are not super stiff, so if the weapon is too heavy he likely won't be able to hold it up. You can also use the 5mm ports on his heels to attach Weaponizer parts. His "axe blade" shoulder features a 5mm port, a 5mm peg and interestingly enough a slot on the back for you to attach the tail/sword weapon for storage.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the sword and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Push each heel piece down.
  4. Swing the helmet/mask piece down.
  5. Detach the arms, and separate each one into two pieces.
  6. Detach the lower legs and set them aside for now.
  7. Detach the waist/thigh section.
  8. Detach the chest plate and set it aside for now.
  9. Rotate the robot head around, then swing up the dinosaur skull over it.
  10. Attach the "axe" piece to the neck of the beast mode.
  11. Attach the left side upper arm and sword together, then attach this to the back of the "axe" piece to form the tail.
  12. Attach the rib cage sections to the main figure using the pegs on the sides of the "axe" piece and the corresponding ports on the rib cage halves.
  13. For each leg, attach the robot forearms/hands to the robot lower legs. Then attach these legs to the sides of the main body.
  14. Attach the robot chest piece to the underside of the rib cage sections.

Beast Mode:
Yes, I know, this isn't exactly a "beast mode" in the traditional sense since he's basically a skeleton in this form, but he is meant to be a functional, beast-like creature so I'll roll with it. As his name indicates, Paleotrex is meant to represent the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. While dinosaurs have always been popular, the Jurassic Park franchise sent the popularity of this dinosaur over the top. Since then the T-Rex has appeared on toy store shelves regularly with both Jurassic Park branded merchandise and in other toy lines. Having a T-Rex among the Fossilizers is a no brainer, and Paleotrex certainly offers a different take on the dinosaur in toy form!

While his robot mode looks very alien, this mode will be familiar to anyone who has ever visited a museum with a dinosaur section. His skull has the large holes you would expect to see in a T-Rex skull. The ribs are very prominent on the main body and his long tail has very detailed vertebrae running from the base to the end. Overall this sculpt looks fantastic. The detailing is super intricate and it brings me flashbacks to my childhood when I would visit the American Museum of Natural History.

All the same colors seen in robot mode carry over here, they're just distributed differently. Context is key here. As a dinosaur skeleton, the brown and paint wash really helps sell the illusion that this is a dinosaur skeleton that was dug up somewhere on Earth.

There are seventeen points of articulation in this mode. This includes six in each leg and the mouth being able to open and close. Both sides of the neck have 5mm ports, as do the ankles so you can in theory attach weapons, though his joints can only hold so much weight up so I would experiment with different accessories for fun if you want to give him some weaponry in this mode.

Weapon Mode(s):
Turning Paleotrex into weapons is mostly an exercise in imagination. Take the figure apart as you would during the transform (including pulling the head out) and you have a few potential weapons right off the bat:

  • The head (with helmet down) forms a hand held mace weapon with a 5mm handle.
  • You can connect the beast mode legs to the rib cage section, then attach the rib cage section to the back of figures from lines like Siege to give another Transformer "slashing" weapons over their shoulders.
  • The tail/sword weapon can be held by any figure with a 5mm port.
  • Combine the base part of the tail with the right side shoulder "blade" (ha ha, I just got the pun as I was typing this) to form a long handled axe weapon.
  • The T-Rex skull can be held via a 5mm peg as a "biting weapon".

I'm sure industrious fans will come up with plenty of other weapon combinations, especially as their Fossilizer collection grows!

Final Thoughts:
I absolutely love this figure. It is alien looking, creepy and nostalgic for me all at the same time. However, the aesthetics can easily put off some fans, and I totally get that too. Highly recommended (to a very specific part of fandom)!

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpt in both modes.
  • Beautiful deco.
  • Fun weapon/accessory possibilities.
  • Excellent articulation.

Cons:

  • Some joints are not as tight as I would have liked them, but given that you basically disassemble the figure from one form to another this is to be expected.
  • The non-traditional aesthetics are not for everyone.