"Transformers Universe 2.0" Cyclonus Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: December 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Nightstick Targetmaster weapon/figure

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Constructed from the cast-off chassis of deactivated DECEPTICON® warriors, CYCLONUS was programmed by UNICRON® to be loyal only to GALVATRON®. Powered by nuclear engines, and a small fragment of his creator's supernatural power, CYCLONUS wields enough might to sterilize the surface of an inhabited world by himself. He never unleashes this power without his commander's leave, however, and he focuses all of his energy on ensuring that GALVATRON® is obeyed without question by those under his command.

Convert this advanced conversion figure from robot mode to hypersonic starfighter vehicle mode - and back again! Complete with a NIGHTSTICK robot-to-machine figure that becomes a laser cannon, this is one mighty pair for your collection!

In the animated "Transformers: The Movie", several Decepticons were mortally wounded and given new forms/identities serving under Galvatron. One of the most popular characters to come from the movie was Cyclonus, whose sleek form and powerful personality made him a notable character all his own. I remember sitting at Botcon 2008's Hasbro presentation and hearing the roar of the crowd as the preview picture of Cyclonus came up. It was clear that this was a fan favorite character as hundreds of fans screamed and clapped at the same time! Not only did this figure appear close to the animation model, but it was also going to include a special accessory: Nightstick, the Targetmaster weapon/partner that was paired with Cyclonus during the era of the Headmasters and Targetmasters.

It's rare when an accessory gets its own section of a review, but Nightstick is more than meets ... well, you know. The concept of a Targetmaster is a figure that can transform into a Transformers' weapon. The term has also been loosely applied to any Transformer that becomes a weapon that can be wielded by others. In the case of Cyclonus, the original figure was initially released with a simple gun. Then he was released again, this time with a Targetmaster weapon replacing his original gun. Nightstick was a Nebulan thief who fell in with the Decepticons, and this character is reborn in a new form.

As I compared the original Nightstick to this new version, I was very surprised to see that in terms of the design, the two are very different entities. The original Nightstick had a rather simple appearance. His head had a helmet/face/visor eyes design, and his body was rather sleek with some lines defining armor plating around his chest and legs. It seems the designers wanted to insert some originality into this sculpt, so Universe Nightstick is a whole new design, borrowing almost nothing from the original except for transforming into a gun and being dark colors.

Nightstick's head design is different than his G1 predecessor's in a couple ways. Instead of a crest mounted directly on the front section of the helmet, Universe Nightstick has a crest line that starts at the top of the head and then sweeps backward to a point. His eyes are big, but not quite the visor eyes of the original Nightstick. Also, whereas G1 Nightstick had a simple chest design (two armor plates sculpted to look like they were covering his chest with a relatively flat abdomenal area) Universe Nightstick has a rectangular protrusion in the middle of his chest that angles off to his chest. The center of the body juts out a bit until you reach his legs. His arms also have different design than G1 Nightstick's, which were made up of trapezoid and rectangle shapes. Here, the shoulders have cones in them leading to trapezoid shapes on the upper arms that angle down severaly, leading to very bulky lower arms. His legs are also very different than G1 Nightstick's and tube shaped instead of the more anglular shapes of the origina. Despite all these changes however, Nightstick looks fantastic, showing off what looks be a strong build with his big arms and shoulders. I can easily see him being some thief hanging out with the wrong elements, ready to defend himself at a moment's notice (o attack if you prefer).

Nightstick is composed of three plastic colors: purple, gray and black. Purple is used for parts like the chest and head. Black is the most pervasive color, making up the arms, legs and head. Purple is used for his torso and grey is used on the waist and feet. The original Nightstick was mostly black and silver with a bit of orange, so even in color this figure really isn't so much a homage to the original as it is a new take on an old concept. It is interesting to note that the original prototype version of Nightstick was colored mostly silver as pictured in his official photo. Packaged samples of this color variant do exist but are rather rare (I personally saw one at Hasbro's headquarters in December of 2008).

While he may not be a pure homage, Nightstick does have quite a bit of detaiil in this form. His shoulders have trapezoidal raised details, there are lines etched into the sides of his chest and his waist section has raised portions with square and rectangular details. It's a nice sculpt that definitely has distinct character. I also find it kind of neat how his angled shoulder design mirrors Cyclonus'.

For the most part, the G1 Targetmaster figures were just bricks. Mostly, it was a figure that would fold on a hinge and sometimes flip out a barrel. Universe Nightstick takes it one step further and actually makes the robot mode an articulated figure. Nightstick has six basic points of articulation (two on the arms and one on each leg) but thanks to his transformation scheme, he can bend at the waist as well.

Transforming Nightstick is simple. Straighten out the arms, swing up the cannon barrel from the back, swing the feet up and then swing the robot legs up.

Nightstick's gun mode is sort of the reverse design of the G1 Nightstick. That version had a central barrel with two smaller barrels underneath. Universe Nightstick is the opposite, with one long barrel pointing forward and two smaller ones on top. In a neat design trick, the cones on his shoulders now look like two smaller barrels on the sides of the gun, making this one weapon bristling with firepower! Nightstick connects to Cyclonus in vehicle mode via the hole right behind the cockpit. What's neat is that Nightstick is made to be used as a weapon in two ways with Cyclonus in robot mode. For use as a regular gun, Nightstick can fit into Cyclonus right fist. However, if you want to attach him directly to Cyclonus' wrist, just flip his left wrist in and attach Nightstick directly using the tab on the back of the gun mode. This odd little arrangement stems from the Japanese Headmaster cartoon, where Targetmasters were fused to the larger Transformers at the wrist. I love this trivia-based bit of design and it truly shows how much Hasbro wants to give fans a nod.

Nightstick may not be a super-accurate-homage to G1 Nightstick, but I actually like the originality of the design and the fact that he was included at all. I think fans would have loved to have Cyclonus with just a plain gun, but having Nightstick elevates his weapon from just being an accessory to being both another character and another action figure included with the set.


Cyclonus Review


Vehicle Mode:
Around 1986, Transformers vehicle modes began to take a turn from being realistic vehicles to more "scifi" vehicles. Cyclonus was among the first in this revolution, transforming into a sleek fighter with forward swept wings. The Universe version of Cyclonus takes the original Cyclonus' vehicle form and updates it while keeping true to the principles of the original design. The basic shape remains the same, with a pointy cockpit section, forward swept wings and large engines in the back with vertical rudders. Smaller details also emulate G1 Cyclonus' form including a cockpit window section comprised of several small shapes inside and line details on the edges of his wings. Overall, his general form is very much like his G1 self, with his head forming part of the front of the ship, his arms on the sides and his legs tucked underneath.

While Cyclonus' vehicle form is distinctly based on his G1 form, it has a lot of elements all its own. First, it's much bulkier than his G1 form, which was very flat (and much more simple in transformation). He also has a lot of detailing that didn't exist on the original including armor plating lines on the wings, two small cannons sculpted into the nosecone, three smaller weapon barrels on either side of the cockpit and a layered section of armor towards the back (that could be seen as parts of a thruster unit). Tiny details can be found on parts like the three barrels next to the cockpit and his landing gear, which are intricately designed for such small parts. The landing gear for instance have sculpted struts, hinges and wheels.

Cyclonus is cast in four colors: dark purple, silver, black and translucent red. Dark purple makes up a majority of the figure, from the cockpit section to the back. Silver is the second most dominant color, making up portions of the wings, the thrusters in the rear and the point of the nosecone. Black is found on smaller parts such as the landing gear while translucent red is used for the windows of the cockpit. These are all quintessential "Cyclonus" colors, but they also match up well to the color theme of Galvatron and the classic Decepticon symbol.

Paint applications follow colors used on the original Cyclonus - primarily copper and silver. The copper color is used on a variety of details including line details on the edges of his wings and a staircase-like design on the sides of the cockpit section. Silver is used on the ends of the barrels mounted onto the nosecond of the vehicle. While the paint apps here are few, it actually works out well. Cyclonus has never been an overly ornate Transformer in design, and since there is so much sculpted detail, there's plenty of eye candy to behold!

On the top section of the cockpit is a hole that you can attach Nightstick to in weapon form. Not that Cyclonus isn't already bristling with weaponry, but a few more guns never hurt eh?

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing out the wing sections to separate them from the central body.
  2. You can now see how the robot leg halves fold over to form the rear of the vehicle, so swing each purple half back and connect them together to form the legs.
  3. Swing each half of his feet up.
  4. Push the silver tab on the nosecone back to retract the point.
  5. Swing the panel with the cockpit back, then swing the nosecone end in, then push the panel back up.
  6. Turn the robot head aroudn to face front.
  7. Rotate the black hinge piece around so the tri-barrels from the vehicle mode point downward.
  8. Swing each arm up on the black hinge.
  9. Rotate the robot arms so they face down.
  10. Swing each silver wing piece back so it is behind the shoulder pieces.
  11. Pull on the lower arms to extend each arm.
  12. Flip out each fist.
  13. Nightstick can attach to the right fist in weapon mode or to the ends of his wrists if you fold the fists back in.

Robot Mode:
There are times when I come across certain Transformers figures and I struggle to find what's good about them. Other times I have to give it a lot of thought, but I eventually do see the positive. With Cyclonus, it took me about five seconds. Right off the bat, I will say that Cyclonus' robot mode is a huge bag of win, but I'll be sure to actually give some reasons behind that!

When the character of Cyclonus was designed for animation, there were two distinct animation models. Since the G1 figure was based on the earlier model, there are some discrepencies between it and his cartoon series appearance (with a couple of animation-error exceptions where the earlier model was used). In contrast with the final animation model, the original had a longer face, wings that folded back instead and a slightly different leg design. This version of Cyclonus is based on his final animation model, the one that appeared most frequently in the G1 TV series. The G1 design elements include:

  • Head design: Cyclonus' head is distinctive in its use of the familiar "helmet over face" design, but he also has two horns protruding from the top of his head, gong off in angles. This piece was particularly large on the G1 Cyclonus since it became part of the front of the vehicle mode. Here it is much smaller and porpotional to the rest of his body. The center of his helmet has a crest design, an extension of the same design used on G1 Cyclonus' head.
  • Arms: Cyclonus arms are distinctive in that they have angled shoulder pieces that rise almost as tall as his head. These give him a regal, powerful appearance. Mounted on the back are the ends of his wings from vehicle mode and his lower arms have a rounded shape with smaller wings (really the rudders) sticking out to the sides. All these elements are borrowed from the G1 design.
  • Torso: Cyclonus' entire torso is modeled after his G1 appearance from the "collar" like detailing underneath his neck to the inset details on either side at the top of his chest. His abdominal area has six sided shape in the center taken directly from the original animation model.
  • Legs: The leg design on Cyclonus has always featured very slim, sleek looking legs that curve out on the bottom. The animation model had distinctive six sided "knee armor" that is found here as well.

While he maintains a lot of G1 detail, Cylonus' design incorporates a lot of small details that the animation model did not have. These include lines on his abdominal area, extra raised details on his lower arms and horizontal lines on his knee armor.

In this form, a lot more silver appears on parts such as his chest, arms and legs. This breaks up the potential monotany of having dark purple everywere. Interestingly enough, while his sculpt matches the G1 animation model very closely, the color scheme is from the original G1 figure, which featured darker colors than its animated counterpart. In the movie and series, Cyclonus was more lavender in color with some parts that looked almost pink in color. The same paint colors from the vehicle mode appear here as well, with a silver Decepticon symbol on his chest and copper coloring used on his knees, abdomen and shoulders. Translucent red plastic is used on the head for light piping and works really well when you hold him up to a light. Given the US team's propensity towards using darker color schemes, it doesn't surprise me that they decided to use the original figure's colors over the animated colors. However, as Tomy is out to prove, this sculpt is good enough to look good in any color! I personally think both color schemes work well and reflect the sort of "dual heritage" of the character.

Cyclonus features nineteen points of articulation in robot mode. This includes four points in each arm and five in each leg. As mentioned before, Nightstick can be held in his right fist or he can be attached to his wrist if you swing his fist back into the lower arm via the tab on the back of Nightstick in weapon mode.

Final Thoughts:
It's sometimes hard to write a review for a figure with this much awesomeness because my instinct is to simply say "Go buy it now, just trust me on this one." and end the review right there and then. Put simply, Universe Cyclonus is one of the best figures to come out of the Transformers line in a while, and it should be in your collection. Highly recommended!

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