Beast Wars Transformers Retrax Toy Review

in 1997, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Deluxe, Predacon

Beast Wars Transformers

Name: Retrax
Function: Desert Demolition

Burrowing deep into desert sand dunes, Retrax survives in a series of cool, caverous tunnels lined with the remains of his fallen enemies. His greatest defense is his ability to curl into a ball and escape danger by racing across the desert like a turbocharged tire screaming down a mountain. Or, when attacking, he can roll over a similar-sized enemy and crush their body upon impact, then use his powerful front pinchers to dissect them in seconds.

Strength: 8.0 Intelligence: 8.0 Speed: 1.0 Endurance: 9.0
Rank: 7.0 Courage: 7.0 Firepower: 2.0 Skill: 8.0

Images:

Retrax is one of the deluxe releases of the 1997 Beast Wars Transformers line. This figure relies on a gimmick that more or less works, and has become a subject of much debate amongst Transformers fans. This is purely my opinion of this toy, everyone is free to have their own.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Retrax is a slightly mutated pillbug. I say slightly mutated only because he has certain features which "normal" pillbugs do not including pincers on the beast mode head and a slashing hook on the tail. Retrax's primary color scheme is green, neon yellow, a dark transluscent green and some white. This dark color scheme gives Retrax a very "earthy" underground type of look, but a darker shade of yellow may have been better to use.

As a pillbug, Retrax has three primary "action features". One is activated by pushing the small lever on the top of his beast mode head. This snaps the two pincers on his mouth together. A similar mechanism snaps down the hook on his rear. The final spring loaded feature of this toy involves pressing the two "L" shaped levers on his back. This curls Retrax up into a ball (which pillbugs can do in real life). Because of the antannae, hook and various bumps and pincers on Retrax's body, this form cannot roll very well and looks very strange.

The detailing of this mode is very nicely done. Retrax's back has a lot of spike like formations and there is a nice rough pattern on his back, as if this Transformer has moved through a lot of underground passages. In this mode, poseability is mainly limited to the pillbug legs totalling ten in all. Other points of poseability are the aforementioned action features and antannae, bringing the total number of points of articulation to fifteen. This is a very nice beast mode, both creepy looking and weird all at once.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin my folding up all of the small pillbug legs. Then flip him over and pull down the robot legs and straighten them out. Next, flip down the small piece with one of the pillbug legs on it and then flip down the chest piece. The head folds up and Retrax's robot mode is complete.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Retrax looks very much disappointing at first. Most Beast Wars Transformers toys have a great amount of poseability and look rather "humanoid" as a robot. Some of this effect is lost however since Retrax's arms are basically stuck to his pillbug "halves". His hands can be swung forward a bit but the arms cannot be lowered or put into any position other than the outwardly stretched position. The purpose behind this is to be able to utilize his pillbug "ball scrunching" action into a grabbing action in robot mode. The hook and pincers still work as weapons here as well.

Retrax's color scheme is the same in this mode as the pillbug's, but shows more white here. As a robot he has twelve points of articualation. To be generous, I am including the ability of the hands to move and the three spring loaded abilities as points of articulation.

Overall this is not a bad toy, but it certainly isn't the best the Beast Wars line has to offer up. Recommended if you like bugs and creepy crawly Predcons. B-

Additional Thoughts (June 2012):
Retrax is definitely an outlier in the Transformers universe. The figure has a gimmick that overwhelms the figure and unfortunately makes him look a bit ocmical (especially given his rather grim personality). I can't help but think with some minor changes (mostly around eliminating the spring loaded gimmick) this would've been a much better figure. Still, there is some top notch sculpting in this figure and its bug mode especially looks fantastic.