The Avengers Captain America Flip and Change Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Avengers, Heroes, Jumpstarter

The Avengers

General Information:
Release Date: August 2012
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None
Images:

*Official photos and text below in italics from The Official Hasbro Web Site.
Race and flip your way into robot action with this awesome converting CAPTAIN AMERICA Flip & Attack Ultra 4x4 figure! Its TRANSFORMERS technology makes it double trouble – one minute it’s a speedy vehicle, the next it’s a CAPTAIN AMERICA attack bot! Pull the Ultra 4x4 back in vehicle mode and let it go to rev and race against the most powerful villains in the world!

Rev and race your CAPTAIN AMERICA Flip & Attack Ultra 4x4 vehicle into major MARVEL THE AVENGERS action! Vehicle uses TRANSFORMERS technology to convert from vehicle mode to bot mode. Pull the vehicle back to rev it, then let it go to race it! Vehicle converts automatically! Includes figure. Ages 4 and up.

Captain AmericaIn the days of Generation One, the dominant gimmick in any Transformers toy line was the transformation itself. However, additional gimmicks wound up getting added on to figures over the years to make them more interesting. One of these gimmicks from the early days of Generation One was the "Jumpstarter" technology. The idea was a Transformers figure that transformed by itself. You pulled back the vehicle in vehicle mode and it had a motor inside that propelled it forward and then transformed it into robot mode automatically, "jumping" into robot mode. Only two Jumpstarters were released in Generation One, but the two characters have gone on to be featured in Transformers media including the recent "Last Stand of the Wreckers" comic book mini-series.

With the release of the 2012 "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" movies, part of Hasbro's toy lines for each of these films includes the release of transforming robotic figures using the old "Jumpstarter" technology. In general, these figures are a bit smaller than their G1 counterparts, roughly qualifying as a Deluxe level figure. Unlike the current Star Wars Transformers, these figures are not being marketed as "Crossovers" Transformers. However, they do mention "Transformers Technology" on their packaging. Interestingly however, outside of this small use/mention of the "Transformers" logo, there is nothing else on the packaging mentioning Transformers such as trademark information mentioning Takara Tomy. Also, if you read the text above (taken from Hasbro's own web site, they mention these are mecha created from "Transformers technology", solidifying the crossover of the two worlds. This is quite appropriate since Marvel Productions was the company that developed the fiction we have come to take as classic G1 lore back in the early 80's, and now the worlds have crossed over again.

Robot Mode:
In "The Avengers" feature film, Captain America is portrayed as a character who primarily relies on his mental and physical prowess to survive and fight. He doesn't carry around large blasters or wear a suit of armor. His most specialized "tool" would be his shield, which is still mostly used as either a defensive tool or a melee weapon in the movie. The design of his mech seems to have followed this line of thought. The Captain America "Flip & Attack" mech is a bulky looking brawler, with big, thick looking fists and feet. The chest section is curved but most of his torso and waist area also have big sections sticking out. The head sculpt has a long face with a solid looking chin piece and a grim, determined look on its face. Overall, this does not look like a mech that is messing around!

The design of this mech takes several cues from Captain America as he was featured in "The Avengers" feature film. This includes the head sculpt which features a "helmet" section that has an "A" sculpted in the crest and circles on the sides of the head. The shoulders have striped details set at angles and the chest has a giant star in the center. The middle section has sculpted lines running down at angles from the chest to the waist, another feature found in the feature film costume. To take it a step further, let's look at the deco on the robot.

Captain America's mech is cast in metallic dark blue plastic which served as the primary color of his costume. On top of that are several other colors including metallic red, a pearlescent white, flat white, grey and light blue. The red is used to paint the forearms and lower legs, effectively simulating Captain America's gloves and boots. A combination of the red and pearlescent white is used on the middle of the body, simulating the "stripes" from the costume in the movie. A bit more white is used on the elbows and the angled lines onthe shoulder armor. The face under the helmet "mask" is painted grey along with the "A" on the crest. The grey is also used for the chin strap and the circles on the sides of the head. To top it off, the eyes are painted blue with white pupils! I was surprised at how intricate the paint detail on this figure was, especially on the head.

Like all "Jumpstarter" style toys, the only posability to speak of here are the arms, which can move up and down. Given that the primary gimmick here is the transformation, I'm okay with this. Besides, this further enhances the mech's role as a brawler!

Transformation:
Captain America's mech uses the old "Jumpstarter" style transformation. The legs of the robo latch onto the hook on the chest. Pull back the vehicle until you hear a click and then let go. The vehicle will roll forward on its own and in a few seconds, it springs the legs forward and lands in robot mode. With Generation One's Jumpstarters, one of the complications with the figures was balance. They didn't usually land on their feet, so adjustable weight balances were put on their heads for you to play with to get them just right. The figures in this line don't have such balances, but overall they perform well. I tested each figure out with five successive transformations and only one out of those four times did the figure not land on its feet.

To transform the figure back, just push the legs up and connect them to the hooks on the chest. If the hook is out of alignment, you can just roll the wheels on the back a bit and let them spin so the hook readjusts. If even that doesn't work I recommend returning the figure for another.

Vehicle Mode:
It's got to be tough for designers to use this type of transformation on a vehicle and come up with a credible vehicle mode, no less call it something recognizable. For Captain America, the use of a "4 x 4" vehicle echoes the "Crossovers" action figure which had a vehicle mode based on a Humvee. Really though, the only thing making this a "4 x 4" are the arms, which have wheel wells and wheels sculpted on the sides (complete with stars to match the one on the robot chest). The front of the vehicle has some headlight details on thearms and grille details in the center. Higher up are some vent like details that resemble shielded windows on some military vehicles. On the side are small windows (one triangular, the other four sided) and a door. Unlike many of the "Amazing Spider-Man" Flip & Attack figures, this sculpt does not have thrusters sculpted into the back for its (imaginary) propulsion. Instead, this seems to be an attempt to make it a true vehicle that rolls on four wheels. I'm definitely not in love with this vehicle mode sculpt, but at the same time I recognize the limitations the designers were working under and I really think they tried their best with what they had.

This mode mostly shows off colors from the robot mode, but the focus changes a bit. We get to see the white on the sides of the wheels, painting the stars. On the middle of the vehicle the window covers are painted black and the vents towards the back are grey. The colors are still distinctly "Captain America" colors, so have no fear in not being able to identify the character!

Final Thoughts:
The Captain America "Flip & Attack" mech is a fun toy for sure thanks to its unique play pattern and I like the robot mode sculpt and deco a lot. The vehicle mode is nothing to write home about, but it works for the character and the attempts at making it something other than a futuristic scifi vehicle are appreciated. Recommended with reservations.