Release Date: May 2015
Price Point: $297 (Total cost for Transformers Collector's Club Subscription Service 3.0, Nacelle is one of seven figures)
Retailer: Transformers Collector's Club Exclusive
Accessories: G.B. Blackrock Kreon, Gas Station/Cannon KREO kit, Blasters x 2
As part of the "Transformers Subscription Service 3.0" line of figures, the Transformers Collector's Club went deep into Transformers history to come up with a very unique exclusive set inspired by an unreleased action figure from the past. Way back in the "Generation 2" days, Takara was planning to release a small line of Transformers to be called "Block Town". The idea was to take existing Transformers sculpts and pair them with small, LEGO style building sets. Among the sets revealed were a Gasoline Station building set with a character named "Rapid Engine" and a figure known as "Carzap" in a separate set. "Carzap" was going to be paired with...a parking spot, so that's not super fun. Instead, the folks at Fun Publications decided to pair their version of Carzap with the gas station set or rather, a KREO set built to resemble the gas station that was to be paired with "Rapid Engine".
To officially bring "Block Town" to life at long last, Fun Publications took the 2013 Bumblebee sculpt from "Generations" to use as the base for Carzap's first official release. Now, this sculpt has seen some action in the past couple of years. In only two years here's a list of all the ways it has been released:
Four releases in only two years is quite a bit for a sculpt. This release makes the fifth entry into the "Transformers" toy line for this base sculpt. I recommend checking out at least the original Bumblebee review for this sculpt and perhaps the Nightbeat review to get a good sense of the sculpt itself and how versatile it can be. This review will focus on the KREO portions of the set and the changes made to the Bumblebee sculpt for this release.
The KREO set included with Carzap comes unassembled. The instructions are pretty sparse. You have to stare at the picture included with the set (and the photos online) to really figure out how to assemble the gas station set. G.B. Blackrock himself is just a matter of putting together an upper body, lower body, head and hair. It probably took me about twenty five minutes or so to put everything together (part of that time was spent looking up photos online of the set).
G.B. Blackrock is a character who has been part of the "Transformers" universe since the early days of the Marvel Comic book in the 80's. Similar to another mustached, wealthy industrialist in the Marvel universe, this character had many interactions with the Transformers - not all pleasant. He was even at the fateful battle against Unicron on Cybertron in the latter days of the Marvel Comics story. When the "ReGeneration One" series was published by IDW Publishing, Blackrock appeared again in an alternate timeline where Earth was decimated. Clearly the character is important, but this KREON is the first time he has ever appeared in toy form!
The basic KREON body is used for this figure. The shoulders are curved to better resemble a human's shoulders. His colors are inspired by one of Blackrock's appearances in the comic book where he wore a green suit. Most of the body of this figure is cast in green while the hands and head are flesh tone. Black paint is used on the feet to look like shoes. The tampograph details on the figure include suit jacket buttons, a suit jacket pocket and even a shirt collar and tie! The shirt is white and the tie is red (a combination he wore in the comics). The head features the character's signature large glasses and mustache with serious expression on his face as if he is explaining something. Truth be told, I love this little guy. The colors are spot on and call back to the more retro aspects of the character. I also like the choice of a very "80's" hairdo for the hair piece on this figure.
The gas station itself is really awesome. When the designers put this together they really did a good job of using the original Block Town version of this as an inspiration. The center looks like a gas station pump and next to it is a tube with a nozzle at the end. There's even a clear blue brick piece on one side that kind of looks like where the digital display on a real life gas pump would go. A combination of red, silver, black and white bricks were chosen for this gas station. This is very similar to the original gas station set from "Block Town" which was mostly red with some black, silver and white (and purple, but that's another matter).
To transform the gas station, carefully swing up the two cannons and then swing down the hinged base section they rest on. Then swing out the "L" shaped panel to form a "control panel". The G.B. Blackrock figure can stand right behind this panel.
I really dig the cannon mode on this set. The twin cannons look powerful, especially with the base behind it. Designing it so G.B. can stand behind a "control panel" was a brilliant idea. The only thing you have to be careful with is the actual transformation. It's pretty easy to pop off the cannon barrels and the "control panel" but hey, if you do just pop them right back on!
To fully understand Carzap's deco, you have to first see the original figure he was based on. Check out this Blocktown photo on the Transformers Wiki Page. In the "Generation 2" era it seemed like the design philosophy was to have the Transformers call attention to themselves as much as possible (so much for "Robots in Disguise"). To that end many G2 figures had big tampographs and stickers on them. Many of the figures had Autobot or Decepticon symbols stamped on them with the words "Autobot" or "Decepticon" right next to them. The original Carzap (a redeco of the G2 Windbreaker figure) was no exception. While the base color of the figure was white, he featured a bunch of printed details including the G2 Transformers logo and the number "95" (the year the toy was to be released theoretically) and even a big "Heroic Autobots" logo on the hood. Carzap was definitely looking to get noticed!
This new version of the character is no different in design philosophy. The base color for the figure is a flat white plastic. The windows are translucent purple and the wheels are cast in black. The white serves as the perfect canvas for a parade of designs. On both doors you'll find the Transformers logo in the G2 font along with the number "95" and the words "Blocktown Racing" above it. These letters and numbers are all in purple. On the right side of the hood are the words "Heroic Autobots" underlined, all in red. The other side of the hood has the G2 Transformers logo in purple. On the middle of the hood towards the front is the G2 Autobot symbol (which resembles Optimus Prime's head) and the number "95" next to it. In many respects Carzap winds up looking very much like a racing car with sponsor logos all over him, and it's fantastic. These types of decos may not appeal to everyone, but to me there's a cheesiness about it that's brilliantly hilarious and I am happy Fun Publication stuck so close to the design of the original figure.
Now on to more "normal" paint decos. Some white paint is used on the cabin section to match up with the white plastic. The middle of the hood section has an air vent that is painted black with silver in the openings in front. The front end of the vehicle uses purple paint for the headlights. The grille and the area around the fog lights are black. The fog lights themselves are painted yellow. Even better? The rear section is painted as well with yellow on the rear lights and black in between them! Usually the rear of vehicles are left unpainted nowadays so it's always cool to see these details filled in. A final touch are tampographs on the back window. These are purple with black lines running through them horizontally. These are inspired by a sculpted pattern from the original Carzap prototype figure and it's awesome to see this attention to detail. This deco is near perfect, but I would've added some silver on the rims of the wheels to really give it that final touch. To be fair however, the original Carzap didn't have painted rims either.
The holes behind the rear wheel wells are still able to accomodate 5mm peg weapons. Carzap includes the same weapons that the sculpt has come with since the first release. These two wide barreled blasters are cast with a translucent purple flame coming out of the ends. The handles are red plastic. The main body of the weapons themselves have been vacuum metallized in silver, adding to the attention grabbing deco of the vehicle when you attach them! Weapons generally don't receive a lot of attention in the deco department, so seeing the vac metal on these was really cool.
Trasformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Carefully separate the doors from the rear wheel well sections.
- Pull the doors and the parts connected to them (including the front halves of the vehicle) out to the sides, revealing the robot arms.
- Swing the back of the vehicle down and separate the lower legs from each other.
- Swing the robot feet out.
- Swing the hood section (including the air intake) back.
- Push the top section of the robot mode down, revealing the robot head.
- Swing the headlight sections from the vehicle up to form Carzap's shoulder armor.
- Swing the doors forward so they form "wings" in the back.
- The weapons can fit into the hands or be combined into one weapon.
Carzap features an all new head sculpt in this mode. This differentiates him from all previous releases. The head sculpt is based on the G2 Windbreaker figure's head. This design is quite distinct. It features a helmet section with a crest on top, thin panels that stick up on the top and layered sections on the sides. He has a face with relatively large eyes, a nose, mouth and prominent chin piece. The designers did a bang up job on this one. The head looks almost exactly like the head from the Windbreaker figure, just sized up with some parts enlarged (like the layered details on the sides). Indeed, even though I own this base sculpt five times over now, I would happily accept a redeco of this specific tooling as a new Windbreaker.
Unlike the vehicle mode which was mostly white, this mode shows off a variety of colors. White plastic serves as the base and you'll find it on the shoulder armor, chest, waist, hips and lower legs. Red plastic is used for the shoulder joints, upper arms and thighs. The paint colors used on this figure include silver, yellow, red and black. The silver is used to paint the entire head except for the eyes, which are painted yellow. His chest panel has a combination of black and red paint. The forearms have white paint on the sides with the hands painted red. The lower legs have details that carry over from the vehicle mode including the rear lights. His feet are painted red. It's a really cool color scheme. I've always loved the way red and black look on a Transformers figure and this one is no exception!
All of Carzap's joints are nice and tight (which is a relief after the base tooling has been used so many times). He can also hold his weapons in his fists or attach them to the underside of his arms. The weapons can also be combined to form a large "super weapon".
Carzap brings to life an obscure idea from the distant past of the Transformers toy line and I love it! Using KREO blocks to bring the "Block Town" G.B. Blackrock and gas station was a brilliant move and the deco on Carzap is fantastic. I do highly recommend this figure, but keep in mind that it's going to cost a pretty penny on the secondary market so it's really intended for hardcore collectors. The club knocked it out of the park with this one in my book!