"Generations" Autobot Whirl Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2013
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Swords x 2, Blaster

*Images with asterisks above are from Amazon.com:
No one has ever seen a helicopter pull the stunts that Autobot Whirl makes look simple. He twists easily through the air, nearly matching the speed and maneuverability of the numerous Decepticon jets. His flashy behavior makes him a target on the battlefield, but taking fire is all part of the job. If the Decepticons are focused on him, after all, they won't see his teammates closing in. The battle between Autobot and Decepticon is never over, and this Autobot Whirl figure is the next generation of awesome Transformers action! Your Autobot Whirl figure is a fierce Autobot who can convert to Cybertronian assault chopper mode when he needs to outmaneuver his Decepticon enemies. But when he wants to really bring them down, he and his allies can combine into a giant robot! Collect all 5 Wreckers (other figures sold separately) so you can build a complete Ruination robot. Keep converting your Autobot Whirl figure back and forth so he can handle whatever his enemies dish out, or make him an arm or a leg for your giant Ruination figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

One of the surprise releases in the "Generations" sub-line was a set of five Combaticons who combined into the powerful Bruticus. Combiners as a whole have been relative rarities in recent years and to have one at this scale was virtually unheard of. Such an investment is not to be taken lightly, and as part of the process of making sure the sculpts pay for themselves and then some, a redeco/retool was inevitable. Instead of another team of Decepticons, the Combaticons were given new decos, identities, head sculpts and weaponry. Representing the Autobot team known as "The Wreckers", the designers decided to get a little meta.

Back in 2000, Japan released a series of Transformers in a series dubbed "Car Robots". This would later be imported into other countries as "Robots in Disguise". This line was made up of a combination of new molds and redecos of older ones. One of these redecos used the original Bruticus figure from Generation One, giving the group a whole new identity. One of these was "Hepter", part of the Valdigus team and a redeco of Generation One Vortex. Later, Hepter would be released outside Japan as "Ro-Tor" in the "Robots in Disguise" toy line. In a rather slick and cheeky move, the designers decided to use Ro-Tor as the basis for the colors on this figure, who himself is a redeco of Generations Vortex who in turn was a redeco of San Diego Comic-Con Vortex. This circular reference is amusing from a long time collector's standpoint and even before diving into this review I'll say I appreciate the forethought that went into this figure. Keep in mind however that this isn't much of a homage to G1 Whirl. A homage to that figure is due out in 2014 in the Voyager Class segment of the "Generations" toy line. I do recommend checking out my reviews of the previous releases of this sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made for this release.

Like each of the Wreckers figures, "Autobot Whirl" comes not only with the weapons included with his base sculpt (in this case two sword/blaster weapons), but also an additional weapon. This weapon is a unique design, with a curved front end that has four barrels in it. The rest of the weapon is large and chunky, conveying a sense of power. The front end is wide, and then angles back to a thinner back section. At the very rear is a cylinder sticking out at an angle (perhaps a power source?). The underside has three 5mm pegs, one in the center at the back and two towards the front. The top has a tab sculpted into it. When you push the tab, the front end extends out and the barrel end spins, looking a lot like a machine gun of some sort firing. It's a cool action and the weapon can stay "transformed" which is always a plus in my book. The weapon also has 5mm ports on either side near the barrel, allowing you to attach Whirl's blade weapons to the sides.

Like the other Wrecker weapons, this one is mostly cast in gunmetal grey. The tab on top and the "neck" of the weapon that extends out are silver.

Robot Mode:
Each of the Wreckers in this release received new head sculpts inspired by the G1 characters they represent. In this case, Whirl has a head sculpt largely based on his Generation One and IDW Comics counterparts. Instead of the usual "helmet on top of a face" design most Transformers have, Whirl's has been on of the more unique ones in Transformers history. His head sculpt is rectangular, with one end featuring a single eye in the middle. The top has a small crest on it and the sides have details that stick out a bit including a circle and another rectangle. The sculpt looks great and immediately evokes the character of Whirl with its unique design.

In terms of funcitonality, the thin nature of this head sculpt allows the head to move with a much greater range of motion than most Transformers. Since it's set on a ball joint, he can look up, down and all around without a problem. This may be a small point, but I think it adds character to the figure.

The rest of the figure uses the same sculpt as Vortex. However his colors are quite different than the other versions of this figure. His main plastic colors are dark blue and orange. The dark blue is inspired by Ro-Tor's main color while the orange is a recurring color in the Wreckers figures. Whirl also features smaller parts such as his thighs and the center of his chest cast in gunmetal grey. There is heavy use of orange paint to provide additional deailing. You'll find this on the torso, shoulders and waist cover. Another heavily featured color is light blue, which paints a lot of his more angular details such as the triangles on his legs (the helicopter windows) and his robot eye. The colors work nicely together, and more importantly they are shades of colors used on several of the Wreckers, helping to give the team a united look.

All of the joints on Whirl are nice and tight. Indeed, I think they're actually tighter than the ones on my SDCC Vortex which is a good sign given that this set of tools has been released in some form or another five times already (SDCC, mass release, G2, Japanese release and the Wreckers). Whirl can hold his new weapon in either hand and you have the option of combining all the weapons or attaching both blade weapons to one hand as a double bladed weapon. Whirl's base sculpt was already quite deadly looking with the helicopter rotor mounted onto the left arm but adding all this other firepower and the swords really makes quite the visual impact!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if attached and set them aside for now.
  2. Rotate the lower body around.
  3. Swing the robot head and the platform it rests on back.
  4. Swing the back section up.
  5. Swing each robot arm up and rotate the forearm around.
  6. Fold the forearm over the upper arm.
  7. Swing each arm up and bring them together in the middle.
  8. Push the robot legs together.
  9. Swing out the skids from the back of the lower legs.
  10. From the inside of the left leg, swing out the blaster.
  11. Swing the lower legs back to form the front of the vehicle.
  12. Push out the helicopter rotors to there are now four blades instead of just two.
  13. You can attach the blade weapons to the sides of the skids, the larger weapon can fit on top of the blade weapons as well.

Vehicle Mode:
In the Generation One and IDW series Whirl has usually been shown as a helicopter in vehicle mode, making this sculpt one of the ideal choices for the character. Like G1 Whirl, this helicopter has plenty of firepower to go with it making an even stronger connection between the two.

No sculpt changes were made to the helicopter mode for this release. Only the colors are different, featuring the same colors as the robot mode. However, this time out the orange paint applications take a back seat to the light blue, which features heavily on the angled windows in front and on thin lines in the back. Smaller orange deco shows up here and there including a large Autobot symbol on the left side of the vehicle. Overall the colors look great, though the Ro-Tor color reference is a tad opaque here since he's not a particularly well known character.

Leg Mode:
Start with Autobot Whirl in vehicle mode. Split the cockpit section in the middle and swing in the machine gun. On the underside of the vehicle, grab hold if the brown part in the middle and pull it forward on the central hinge, elongating the body of the vehicle. Now swing each of the cockpit halves up and put them together. Push the tail of the vehicle forward to reveal the connection point and plug it into Impactor (the side doesn't matter).

Arm Mode:
Start with the figure in vehicle mode, then split the cockpit section open and swing in the machine gun. On the left half of the cockpit is the hand. Swing the hand out and move the thumb to the left or right depending on which arm you are going to make Vortex into. Extend the middle section just like you would for the leg mode. Rotate the forearm section around (depending on which side you are forming). On the underside of the vehicle mode's tail, push the connection piece down, then attach it to Impactor's shoulder joint.

Each of the limb forms for Whirl wind up being a minor variation on his vehicle mode. While having the "hand" in his arm modes helps a lot to sell the illusion, ultimately he winds up looking like a helicopter slapped onto a giant robot - which in the world of Transformers isn't necesarily a bad thing. Indeed, with the gun in leg mode and the helicopter blades in arm mode, he can be quite a useful limb to have beyond just holding weapons!

Final Thoughts:
Of all the Combaticon sculpts reused as a Wrecker, Whirl is perhaps the most appropriate one thanks to he and Vortex both being helicopters in vehicle mode. I love the new head sculpt and the colors look cool (indeed, blue was a major color on G1 Whirl - just a different shade). The added weapon has a neat feature as well. Highly recommended!

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