"Transformers BotBots" Cranks Toy Review
Release Date: December 2018
Price Point: $2.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
*Special thanks to Hasbro for providing Ben's World of Transformers with a sample of this figure for review.
The initial launch of Transformers: BotBots featured a total of 61 individual figures. They were released in both multi-packs and individual blind boxes. A select group of figures were only available in blind boxes. Cranks was one of these.
Cranks'name is perhaps one of the most obvious references among the BotBots. With his alt-mode being a pencil sharpener, a crank is literally part of his body. At the same time, his personality indicates he can sometimes be irritable or if you prefer "cranky".
The BotBots blind boxes are small, vertical cards using the same light blue background as the larger BotBots packaging. The "Transformers BotBots" logo is very prominent in the middle. The lower section features a red plastic bubble hiding the BotBot inside. Surrounding the bubble and logo are cute illustrations of the various BotBots found in the blind packs including Professor Wellread and S'up Dawg. There are some figures shown who come in multi-packs including Bonz-Eye and Dimlit. While the packaging appears identical in the case, each blind box actually had a number scrawled into the back of the card identifying who was inside. In Cranks' case he is number 22. The Transformers Wiki has a fantastic breakdown you can use as reference.
Pencil Sharpener Mode
I remember during my days in Grade School, there was a "primary" pencil sharpener in my classrooms. It was often screwed down into a piece of wood or into a piece of furniture to hold it in place. Sometimes we would be given an assignment to sharpen enough pencils for the entire class to use during an exam. I always liked using the classroom sharpeners since they would sharpen my pencils very nicely.
Cranks sparks a lot of these memories thanks in part to how many details the designers got right for this mode. If you look at a real life pencil sharpener you will see a lot of common details. This includes the sharpener sitting on a flat platform, a crank arm on one side and a cylinder with multiple slots for different size pencils on the other. The top has a raised, rectangular strip. Even better? The crank arm can turn so you can simulate sharpening up some pencils to keep Cranks from getting hangry!
Cranks is cast in silver plastic. There is quite a bit of paint in this mode. Green is used all along the main body of the sharpener as well as the platform it rests on. Very obvious robot eyes are painted yellow on the sides and the handle of the crank is painted black.
Transformation to Robot Mode
- On each side gently pull the arms out. You might actually need a tool (a paperclip will do) to nudge the arms out the first time.
- Rotate the platform on the bottom to form the feet.
Cranks is one of the BotBots whose robot mode is just a slight variation on the alt-mode. His eyes are clearly visible in the pencil sharpener mode so that gives up the game early on, but context is everything. In pencil sharpener mode, the section with the eyes is clearly meant to be where you feed the pencils into the sharpener. In this mode, now the same area looks like mean visor eyes (he does get hangry, remember) and a mouthplate that looks like it came from some riot gear helmet. Even better, the rectangular strip on top forms a very traditional Transformers-style crest at the top of the head! Add to that the robot arms and blocky feet and you have one mean looking little 'bot.
This mode pretty much shows off all the same colors as the previous one, but I was surprised to see some green paint on the inside of the arms. It's such as subtle detail that the designers could have left it out, but there it is and I am grateful for it.
Cranks has three points of articulation. The arms can move up and down and you can swivel him on his legs.
Cranks instills a certain nostalgia for my school days while also being a fun toy himself. He looks great in both modes and I appreciate the attention to detail such as the turning crank. Highly recommended!