"Generations" Tankor Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2014
Price Point: $14.99 (Depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Amazon.com:
Tankor is a mountain of pure destructive force. Give him an objective and it's as good as done (and quite possibly crushed, smashed, or completely demolished). The Vehicon General doesn't have much for brainpower, but his skill in battle is nearly unrivaled. Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! This Vehicon Tankor figure is fierce in robot mode, and he can fire a missile at his Autobot foes. But when he needs to just rumble over the foe, he can convert to Cybetronian tank mode with a missile launcher! Whatever mode your Vehicon Tankor figure is in, his enemies will think twice before taking him on! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

As the 30th Anniversary of the "Transformers" toy line rolls forward, the "Generations" portion of the toy line continues to pay homage to different eras of the line's history. Sure there are Generation One nods aplenty, but this time out Hasbro has put together a Beast Machines homage in the form of the powerful Vehicon Tankor! Tankor was one of the "Vehicon Generals" created by Megatron in "Beast Machines" to lead his legions of Vehicon drones. Large, unstable and powerful, Tankor was already threatening - but became more so when he gained intelligence and threatened Maximals and Vehicons alike. More recently an alternate universe version of the character has made appearances in the IDW Pulishing comic books. Add to that his alt form of a tank and he makes for a fun addition to the "Generations" line.

This is a whole new sculpt, but it is worthwhile for you to check out both my Beast Machines Tankor and Tank Drone reviews to get a look at how the character has been done in toy form before.

Robot Mode:
This Tankor figure is heavily based on his appearance in the "Beast Machines" cartoon. There, he was a gigantic, boxy robot who rolled on treads in both robot and vehicle modes. The original action figure looked quite different from the CG model, which was pretty much the case for almost every figure in the "Beast Machines" toy line. In the line's second year, the Tank Drone was released. While it was meant to serve as Tankor's army, the design was much closer to the CG model than the previous year's figure. Even the McDonalds figure was relatively close to the CG model. However, this figure is the first shot Hasbro's taken in ages to create a "show accurate" representation of the character.

Many have said they feel Tankor deserves a Voyager Class figure, and I'm in agreement with this. Still, this is a step "up" from the last time we saw this model in toy form which was in a Scout Class figure (known as "Basic" back then). For a Deluxe Class figure, Tankor does a good job of visually expressing the bulk and imposing presence of the character. His shoulders and torso form a really wide upper body while his short, tread legs make your eyes focus more on his upper body, making it look even bigger than it really is. His head is also a bit taller and wider than previous incarnations (which tended to give him a flat or regular sized head).

I think in many ways the previous Tankor toys achieved the overall look of the character, especially the Tank Drone figure. However, as the old saying goes the devil is in the details. Sure you can have Tankor's overall shape correctly laid out (basically lots of angles and boxes sitting on top of one another), but when Tankor was introduced in the show his CG model had a lot of detail and color that was not used on the Tank Drones. This figure has a lot of those details including:

  • The head design includes his distinctive mouthplate with circular shapes on it and sets of three "lights" on the sides of his head.
  • The chest has a set of five (non-firing) rockets built into the left and what look like small machine gun ports on the right.
  • Under each piece of shoulder armor is a "circuit" like pattern with a circle and an angled line running out to the sides.
  • His shoulder armor has four grooves sculpted into them that run along the front to the sides and then to the back. The side of each shoulder armor piece has a bar right above these grooves that represents a light seen on the CG model.
  • The design of the cannon is similar (but not exactly like) that of the show model complete with a curved section in back and a triangular shape in front. It does not however have open gaps as the one in the show had, this shows the cannon in its "closed" form.
  • The arms each have "saws" built into them. This is a detail that was found in the original Tankor toy and carried over to the CG model.

Of course, with any transforming figure of this price point, there are some design sacrifices made to make it a functional Transformer. Here the big sacrifice is the bulk of his arms, but I think the designers handled it in a very clever way. In the CG model the forearms on Tankor were very thick and powerful (similar to the character he was inspired by, The Hulk). However, here they are rather thin, a necessity since they have to fold against the shoulders/upper arms for the transformation. To simulate the "bulk", the arms can be rotated so when you see them from the front they look wide and thick. It's a really nice design compromise and I'm happy with it.

Tankor's plastic colors include light blue, dark blue, dark grey and red. The dark and light blue make up most of the figure with the dark blue mostly found on the torso and shoulder armor. The light blue is found on parts like his forearms, thighs and waist area. The dark grey is used for smaller parts such as his treads, claws and the "saws" inside his forearms. Red is used for his missile and eyes. I was a tad disappointed his eyes weren't done in translucent red since the head was clearly designed to allow for that. Of all the colors, the light blue plastic is the only one that I was surprised by. I would have expected those parts to be more of a light grey or an off-white. However, I can see why the designers went for this color. Depending on the scene Tankor appears in and the lighting, his lighter color tones shift a bit and I think the light blue tinge on some parts is meant to reflect the unique lighting used in the "Beast Machines" series. Another major difference is the barrel of his cannon, which is dark grey instead of the lighter white/grey color from the TV show. Other than that however the layout of his colors is pretty much accurate to the TV show's CG model.

Paint colors used on this figure include gunmetal grey, silver, red and yellow. The gunmetal grey is distributed all over the robot mode. You'll find it on his forearms, the middle section of his torso and even as a background color for the "rockets" on the left side of his chest. Silver is used on his mouthplate and on the shoulders. Red is used to paint the "rockets" on his chest. Yellow is found on the "lights" on his head and the aforementioned grooves and "light bar" on his shoulder armor. It's also used for the curved sections right under his chest. Finishing all this color off is a Vehicon symbol on the right side of his chest painted in silver and light blue. Now, one can argue that for the sake of screen accuracy he should really have two Vehicon symbols, one on each shoulder armor piece. However, given that the symbol would've had to overlap both grooves in the shoulder armor and the yellow paint, I think this was the better choice. Overall, this is a great set of paint apps. After seeing so many figures in the "Age of Extinction" line that look like they are missing paint applications, it's nice to see a figure that actually has more color than its on-screen counterpart.

There are twenty three points of articulation on this figure in robot mode. This includes six in each arm and five in each leg. His arms are particularly interesting as it is a pretty complex series of hinges and swivel joints, but they're sculpted in such a way that it doesn't look clunky at all while allowing for a wide range of poses. The missile can be fired from his cannon by pushing the barrel back. It's a pressure/marble launcher but it goes a respectable distance. His claws open and close and the "saw" in his forearms can spin. The cannon can be detached and if you position it properly, he can hold it in either claw hand. It's not ideal, but it's nice to have the option. From a functionality standpoint Tankor is not only fun, but he also matches up nicely to his on-screen counterpart.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Make sure the claws are in the "closed" position and straighten out the arms.
  2. Point each of the tread/feet down, then swing the blue panel above them down.
  3. Pull the torso panel forward, the panel with the head on it will also move forward.
  4. Swing the panel with the head on it up.
  5. Swing the entire torso/head panel forward.
  6. Swing the robot legs up and then connect them to the waist area of the robot mode using the pegs on the legs and the holes on the sides of the waist panel.
  7. Fold each forearm up so the saws face out to the sides.
  8. Swing each arm in, filling in the gap created when you pulled the torso panel out.
  9. Position the cannon so it is over the right side of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Unlike the traditional tank design we see in Transformers toys with a rectangular vehicle sitting on two large treads with a turret in the center, Tankor's vehicle mode was designed to look a bit more alien and also allow the character to express himself in tank mode. Instead of just a single large section in the center, there are several smaller sections that slope downward to the front. The robot mode head sits in the middle towards the back since on Cybertron disguise is not a concern. The cannon wound up hanging over the right side of the vehicle instead of being centered. The result is a vehicle mode that was more about function (Tankor speeding around while blasting away and yelling) than hiding from Earthlings. This figure has all those features in this form as well as a couple of smaller details such as vents that flank the robot head.

While the tank mode bears a lot of resemblance to the on-screen CGI model, there are some significant differences. The cannon is connected to the rear of the vehicle via a single hinged bar instead of a square shaped hinge piece (as the CGI model had). On the panels over the front treads, there is a handle and outlined panel that in place of the small headlights the Tankor CGI model had in the same place. Also, due to the transformation scheme, there is a rather wide open section in the middle on the sides that shows off the sides of the robot hips. Honestly, none of this jumped out at me until I stared at Tankor's CGI model and put it right next to the figure. Overall the figure looks good in this mode, and there are plenty of key details from the CGI model that do make it though so the differences are hardly a deal breaker in my book.

Virtually every part that shows in this mode was visible in robot mode (a consequence of the non "disguise" type vehicle mode) so there are no real color surprises. You do get to see that the legs are cast in light blue plastic and then painted dark blue. You also get to see how there is red paint in the waist section that now faces front. This part is just grey on the CGI mode's robot mode, then magically becomes red in tank mode. A lot of the Vehicon transformations in "Beast Machines" were basically "cheats" (with tons of parts just kind of falling out of place and magically reforming into a vehicle) and this need to compromise 'show accurate' paint applications in one mode versus another reflects this.

Tankor rolls on five wheels in this form. Four are connected to the front treads (they're actually two wheels on an axle on each tread) and then one central drum/wheel in the middle. The rear treads are for show only. His head can turn but not all the way around. The cannon can still fire its missile forward and up at angles, but unlike the character's TV show counterpart the cannon can't turn side to side. I think if this figure had been made on a larger scale the cannon would have probably been ball jointed but I'm not stuck on it at all.

Final Thoughts:
Tankor isn't the "perfect" representation of the character, but I think he comes darn close. I think it's easy to say "This figure should have been a Voyager Class" and just dismiss it based on that, but if you did I really think you'd be missing out on a fun figure. Highly recommended!

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