The Avengers Hulk Flip and Change Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Avengers, Generation One, 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 Flip & Attack Smasher Tank figure! Its TRANSFORMERS technology makes it double trouble – one minute it’s a speedy vehicle, the next it’s a HULK attack bot! Pull the Smasher Tank back in vehicle mode and let it go to rev and race against the most powerful villains in the world!

Rev and race your Flip & Attack Smasher Tank 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.

HulkIn 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:
While characters like Iron Man lend themselves to being mecha by their very nature, Hulk is almost the opposite. Hulk is a brutish being with little use for technology and only in limited instances does he even resort to using weaponry (the "Planet Hulk" storyline being an exception). The idea of Hulk needing a mech to pilot is kind of silly, but then again, we are talking about a universe with a giant purple guy that eats planets whose herald is a silver guy on a surfboard. Silly comes with the territory.

Hulk's robot mode is made to look a lot like its pilot. His head is designed to look a lot like Frankenstein's head (one of the inspirations for the HUlk). It has a squarish "helmet" section with a central crest in the center. His face has a pronounced brow above the eyes and right above his mouth is a wide section that extends forward a bit. Add to that his squared off chin and circles on the sides substituting for ears and you have one very "organic" looking mechanical design here!

The rest of Hulk's design is clearly mechanical in design as well, but also meant to echo organic parts. His torso has several overlapping panels from the chest down to the waist, all resembling pectoral and abdominal muscles. His arms are mostly made up of the treads and armor from the vehicle mode, but there are two huge fists sculpted at the ends. His legs are curved in a similar fashion to the other Jumpstarter inspired figures in this line, but his foot details end with distinctive "toes", a callback to the Hulk's tendency to be barefoot. True to the character, Hulk has a much rougher and more industrial look than Iron Man or Captain America. Instead of sleek armor everywhere, he has many hard edges and angled sections. All over his body are small, raised circles resembling rivets. He looks like he could have walked out of a classic 50's war film (or monster movie). It's a great sculpt and I dig how much of the Hulk's inherent character is present here.

Hulk's mech is mostly cast in grey plastic, which doesn't sound right when you first see the figure in package as most of the figure appears to be green. However, much to my surprise, almost all the green sections are painted! Usually the most common color would be the one the figure is cast in, but this is an exception. The green color used on Hulk is a shiny, metallic green resembling a military green (which fits with the alternate mode of a tank). It also matches up nicely with Hulk's own colors. Black and grey are used for detailing. The black is found mostly on the top of his head to paint the section representing Hulk's "hair". Bits of grey are used on details on his elbows, over his shoulders and on vents connected to his legs. His eyes are painted blue with white pupils, another touch sometimes seen in the comic books and animation. You'll note that around the area where Hulk would wear his "shorts", the grey plastic is left unpainted, and clearly the intention was to mirror the idea that the mech is wearing "pants" similar to its pilot. I find the whole idea really fun and silly (in a good way) and it really adds a nice punctuation point to the deco overall.

The Hulk mech can move its arms up and down and that's it for articulation, which is par for the course when it comes to these figures. I suspect part of the idea here is to ensure proper balance for the figure when you use its transformation gimmick, and considering the success rate, it works nicely.

Transformation:
Hulk'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:
In vehicle mode, Hulk's mech is a "Smasher Tank", which is quite appropriate for the character. After all, Hulk is not the kind of guy who would want a mech that transformed into a jet or something! This tank looks just like it sounds: bulky, powerful and destructive. The tread sections on the sides look great, with layered armor panels over the treads, bit, boxy sections with vents and armored parts with "X" marks on them. The front has two blades sticking out, reminscent of Generation One Topspin, who featured a similar detail. The best part however are the two big tank turrets on the top of the vehicle. These cannons are big relative to the rest of the vehicle and they each have hatches on top, which gives you a sense of how big this mech is meant to be. I definitely wouldn't want to be in blasting range of that weaponry!

This mode features the grey and green colors of the robot mode, with the grey mostly in the front. This time out, we get a bit of a grey blue color for the turrets as well, adding a nice, brighter color to an otherwise rather dark figure. Could the deco in this form be better? Sure, but I'm always one for more deco. By the standards of this line so far, this guy looks just right.

Final Thoughts:
Hulk's mech is a fun toy that represents the physicality and personality of its "pilot" very well. If you're into this quirky line of toys, then definitely add this guy to your set. if not, it's a cool curiosity to check out if someone you know buys it. Highly recommended!