"Age of Extinction" Power Attacker Vehicon Toy Review
Release Date: Q4 2014
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: Limited Release (Online retailers, Ross stores)
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Gear up for power-punching Transformers action with the Power Attackers! This mighty Vehicon figure converts in 8 steps from robot mode to muscle car mode. When he's in robot mode, his spinning chainsaw attack will shred any Autobot who gets in his way! Convert and attack with your Vehicon Power Attacker! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
In what has become a recurring theme over the years, "Age of Extinction" ended its run in toy stores with a small wave of figures that only saw a limited release. One of these figures was Power Attacker Vehicon, a character who did not appear in the movie but whose vehicle mode did, opening the door to speculation that perhaps the vehicles seen in the movie were just the vehicle forms of Vehicon drones used by the nefarious "Cemetary Wind" organization. There is nothing in the film to back this up, but it's fun to speculate just as it's valid to think Longarm was towing Bumblebee's damaged body around in the first "Transformers" live action film.
Vehicon is packaged on a blister card. The card features the character artwork on the left and a Decepticon "Age of Extinction" logo on the right. The figure is packaged in robot mode. The insert in front of the figure advertises his "Chainsaw Thrash!" attack and the "Transformers" logo is set vertically to the right. The packaging identifies Vehicon as a Decepticon, adding to the speculation that this was a Vehicon drone built by "Cemetary Wind" who would ultimately go on to serve Galvatron.
Since the character of Vehicon didn't appear on screen (all speculation aside), the designers had freedom to give him whatever design they wanted in robot mode. For the most part Vehicon is a very standard looking Transformer with echoes of many forms from the past. This includes the front of the car becoming is chest, the sides of the vehicle swinging out to reveal the arms and the back of the car becoming the legs. Where he stands out are the details in his sculpting. His head has a distinct look with a sleek, angled appearance sloping down from the top to the chin. Most of the face is taken up by a large visor forming his eyes. He has a crest, horns and a mouth piece at the end that looks like the top of an old style microphone. His chest shows off a winch in the center. One of his most distinct details is the chainsaw attached to his left arm and the machine gun next to it. More on that below. Some other cool details can be found on the mid-body and thighs where he has pistons and springs sculpted into the thighs. Overall I'm very pleased with the detail level on this figure. I think he looks scary while having more traditional Transformer design elements than we typically see in a live action Movie toy line.
Vehicon is a mixture of a very dark blue and black plastic. The blue makes up most of the body with black used for smaller parts like his arms and wheels. For a "simplified" figure Vehicon has much more paint than I had expected. His paint colors include silver, metallic purple, metallic blue and green. The silver is found on his face, chest, mid-body, chainsaw and lower legs. The purple is used to paint details on his forearms and thighs. The blue is used on his headlights while the green is used for his eyes and mid-body. Overall the combination of colors works really nicely and I cannot help but think of the G1 (and G2) character Rage who featured similar colors back in the day. That's a compliment by the way. Not only do the colors really pop, but I like the way they're arranged.
Being a Power Attacker, the emphasis on this toy is not posability so he really only has two points of articulation: the right elbow and the left arm at the shoulder. If we want to really be generous we can include the feet. Vehicon's main action feature is his Chainsaw Attack. To activate this, you have to first make sure the left shoulder section is pressed up into the cylinder next to it attached to the main body. Now press down the panel behind the head formed by the vehicle mode's windshield. This will bring the left arm up, causing the chainsaw to flop around while the machine gun in his arm extends. This all happens very fast and the chainsaw doesn't always move to the side. Unfortunately there was no way I could find to keep the chainsaw to the side to extend the gun without just holding it in place since it is spring loaded. If you pull out the left should slightly so it's not 100% aligned with the cylinder, you can move the arm up and down on its own. Overall the action feature is nice, but it's not the most impressive one among the various Power Attacker figures.
One additional note on functionality: the bottom of the right foot has a silver circle on it. This metal piece is meant to allow this figure to interact with larger figures like "Stomp & Chomp" Grimlock. The silver piece being on the right side helps the larger toy "know" this is a Decepticon. Place him on such a toy and the lights and sounds that will play are different than those that would be activated by an Autobot.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms.
- Push each of the feet up.
- On the panel behind the head, swing the windshield piece up.
- Pull the robot shoulders out a bit to free up the chest piece.
- Swing the chest piece up.
- Rotate the lower body around.
- Push each lower leg piece up and fit them together to form the rear of the vehicle.
- Swing in the panels with the robot arms.
- To add stability, the end of the chainsaw has a small hole which attaches to the peg next to the rear wheel.
During one of the key scenes in "Age of Extinction" the human group "Cemetary Wind" attacks our heroes using Local Motors Rally Fighter vehicles. It is that vehicle mode that Vehicon uses as his vehicle form. The regular Rally Fighter is a sleek looking vehicle that has the look of a sports car until you get a look at the huge wheels the vehicle rests on! For "Age of Extinction" the Rally Fighter was modified to include a winch in the front and a closed cabin section with a bar over the top that has four lights built into it. All those details are present in this figure and more. It looks like the designers took great pains to make sure this vehicle mode looked like its real life counterpart. These details include:
- The side view mirrors stick out a bit from either side and have flat, oval shapes.
- Underneath the winch is an additional bumper piece with lights sculpted into it.
- The sides of the vehicle feature a rounded detail that almost looks like the tail of a stingray.
- There is a small light detail sculpted into the area in front of the forward wheel wells.
The biggest difference between this figure and the vehicle used in the movie is the lack of a spare tire in the back. Of course this makes sense since such a piece would either add an accessory or another transformation step so I'm not surprised it was eliminated.
The vehicle mode mostly shows off blue plastic. Black plastic is found on the wheels and the front bumper. Silver is used to paint all the windows (much to my surprise). In this case I don't mind the rims being unpainted since they were not silver in the movie. Silver is also used on the winch. Metallic blue is used for the headlights. Red is used on the lights in the rear. This is also a surprise since that is a detail most Transformers don't have painted nowadays. The final touches are three sections featuring silver text. On the hood the words "Rally Fighter" are printed on the left and right. In the back you'll find the "Local Motors" logo down to a "TM" trademark symbol. Overall this deco is really strong. I'm happy to see that even though the designers saved money on articulation, they didn't skip out on deco!
Other than rolling on his four wheels there are no other action features in this form.
Vehicon is a good toy, mostly for younger fans who aren't looking for complex transformations or tons of articulation. That said, I wouldn't spend more than $10-15 on the figure. The high after market costs are driven by the toy's scarcity, not its inherent functionality or deco. To a certain segment of hardcore collectors the scarcity of this figure will be its main appeal (I fall into that category to a degree) so it is an interesting "end of line" curiosity piece for "Age of Extinction" on top of being a good toy.