"Generations" War for Cybertron Transmutate Toy Review

08/24/21

General Information:
Release Date: August 2021
Price Point: $22.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Limited Release (BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Hasbro Pulse, Specialty Shops etc.)
Accessories: N/A (Figure separates into several pieces)

Official images and text below in italics are from Hasbro Pulse:
Inspired by the character's appearance in the Beast Wars animated series comes this special edition Transmutate figure! Transmutate was once a Maximal protoform, but after taking heavy damage to her stasis pod she was left warped and unable to convert. She has an innocent nature and unassuming form, but when threatened, she unleashes her immensely destructive super-sonic scream!

Transmutate was originally released as a build-a-figure in 2006, and now, she's available in a single pack! Paying homage to the original, this Transmutate figure can break apart into pieces. In this edition of the figure, the pieces can be used as bone armor and weapons for other figures (each sold separately, subject to availability). Though Transmutate cannot convert in the show, this figure converts from robot to beast mode in 32 steps.

Includes Generations Selects Deluxe Class Transmutate figure, and instructions.

  • Generations Selects is a fan-dedicated line of figures featuring special edition characters that can’t be found in the main line
  • Transmutate was originally released as a build-a-figure in 2006. Now, she's available as one whole figure, paying homage to the original with her ability to break apart into pieces
  • Figure features her innocent-yet-twisted face as seen in the “Transmutate” episode of the Beast Wars animated series
  • This Transmutate figure converts from robot to T. rex fossil mode in 32 steps
  • Figure scale: 5.5 inches
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

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.

The unique appearance of these figures led to an unexpected, but welcome redeco/retool opportunity for Hasbro. In late summer of 2021, Hasbro released a retool and redeco of Paleotrex as the Beast Wars character, Transmutate! The original character was introduced in the Beast Wars episode "Transmutate". Portrayed as a Protoform that did not quite form as expected (no beast mode, asymmetrical parts etc.) the story would go on to become one of the most poingnant episodes of the series reflecting on acceptance of those who are different than others and the horrible price of war. This review will focus on the changes made to the Paleotrex figure for this release.

Packaging: Transmutate is a Selects release (though she is clearly meant to be associated with Kingdom) so she comes in a standard rectangular cardboard box. There are some graphics printed on the top with an Autobot symbol and the "War for Cybertron" logo. A sticker with her name (and other legalese) holds the flap closed. When you cut it open Transmutate is in robot mode attached to a cardboard insert (replacing the older plastic inserts). Removing the figure is easy. Just snip away the small ties that hold it down and pull it out, but be careful as she is meant to come apart and accessories can drop easily.

Robot Mode:
Transmutate uses Paleotrex's body sculpt, but the head is a whole new sculpt based on her appearance in the Beast Wars series. The head design is very smooth, almost human in shape with sad looking eyes that angle downward. Instead of the "Mutant Mask" gimmick that Paleotrex has, Transmutate can open her mouth wide, a callback to her ability to emit a powerful blast when she screamed in the show. What's amazing is how the simple act of tilting the top half of the head back into the "scream" changes the face from a peaceful and friendly expression into a frightening one!

The Paleotrex body sculpt works very well for Transmutate. Like the original version of the character, the body has some lanky looking parts, but here the bone-based designs give it an extra creepy texture. Back in 2006 there was a 10th Anniversary version of the figure as a build-a-figure (you can see it in the gallery below). I interpret this version of Transmutate as an alt-universe version that was part of some off-screen adventure set in the Kingdom cartoon universe. Perhaps she was one of the "200" Maximals lost during the Beast Wars mentioned in the show? I love speculating about this stuff!

In a fun variation on the Paleotrex robot mode, you can detach the axe blade piece on the shoulder and attach it to her hand. The result makes her arm look like the "arm cannon" the original Transmutate had. I love this little touch and wonder how much of it was by design or serendipity.

Transmutate is mostly gold and turquois green. The same colors are used for paint applications along with red on the eyes. Among my favorite paint applications are some green on the thighs and a spray op on the axe blade.

All the joints on my copy of this figure are just as tight as those on my copies of Paleotrex.

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:
For the most part, Transmutate's beast mode looks like Paleotrex's but because of the unique shape of her robot head, it winds up sticking out a bit at the back of the skull section. This winds up creating something that looks almost like a back swept crest which I like. The rest of the figure has the same colors as the robot mode, though here there are more "solid" turquois pieces including the arms, neck and the end of the tail. I really love the color combination here. That said, there is some debate among some fans about the gold color versus silver. Depending on the lighting and scene in the episode, she could look like both. I personally tend to lean towards the silver color, but I think using the gold looks good and gives the figure a bit more visual depth.

Weapon Mode(s):
Turning Transmutate 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 forms a hand held weapon with a 5mm handle but without spikes it looks almost more like a giant drumstick.
  • 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 dinosaur 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'm a big fan of the Fossilizer concept and execution. They have a wonderfully creepy and weird look that really drive home just how different the aesthetic of Beast Wars was versus what came before. The new head sculpt looks fantastic and I love the colors. If you are a Beast Wars fan this figure is definitely recommended!

Pros:

  • Calls back to a fairly obscure character in Transformers lore.
  • Excellent sculpt in both modes.
  • Beautiful deco.
  • Fun weapon/accessory possibilities.
  • Excellent articulation.

Cons:

  • The non-traditional aesthetics are not for everyone.