Dark of the Moon Blackout with Scorponok Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Commander, Cyberverse, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Movie (2007)

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: May 2011
Price Point: $5.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Scorponok mini-figure/weapon

Images:

*Images and text in italics below from the official Transformers web site:
Together with SCORPONOK, this massive DECEPTION destroyer seeks out his leader’s enemies and annihilates them. BLACKOUT leaves no witnesses to his passing, preferring to destroy everything around him rather than leave anything behind that might benefit the enemy.

Get ready for “high-flying” fun with this aircraft-to-robot villain! Switch your mighty BLACKOUT figure from Sikorsky Pave Low aircraft mode to battle-ready robot mode. Then convert him back to aircraft mode so he can chase down his enemies. As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth, so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him! Ages 5 and up.

The "Cyberverse" of Transformers is partly made up of figures that are somewhere between the traditional Scout Class in size and complexity and the old Legends Class of figures. In general, Commander Class figures in the Cyberverse (not to be confused with Commander Class figures in the Power Core Combiners line) have weaponry that can be utilized by the smaller Legion Class figures. In concert with the Legion Class and playsets being released, the "Cyberverse" forms a complete world of play at a smaller price point.

In the first "Transformers" live action movie, the Decepticon known as Blackout took part in one of the most dramatic scenes in the movie. He was one of the first Transformers we got to see transforming on screen and I remember my breath being taken away the first time I saw the footage. While Blackout may have met his untimely end in the first movie, the designers clearly couldn't get enough of his design, bringing back a modified form of his CGI model in "Revenge of the Fallen" as "Grindor" (who also didn't survive the film). Alive or not, Blackout returns once again, this time as a member of the "Cyberverse".

Robot Mode:
The choice of using Blackout as a Commander Class figure certainly makes sense. While his exact size has been debated, it is clear that Blackout is one of the larger Decepticons in the movies and certainly one of the more intimidating looking characters. Blackout is designed with a very wide body frame this time out. His chest is wide, with his arms set out even sider. His forearms are relatively big and his lower legs and feet are huge, making him look like a Decepticon who could stomp all over Autobots easily. Many of the requisite details from the CGI model and previous figures are represented in this sculpt. This includes:

  • The head sculpt, which looks like a modified version of the Decepticon symbol with a high central crest, angled lines on the top of the head with small eyes and a mouthplate with a divide in the center.
  • The round EMP generator mounted on his back is present here, prominently displayed above his head.
  • On either side of the chest are two tubes on the panels connected to the arms, these are details found in other iterations of Blackout as well.
  • Each hand has three fingers.
  • The chest is made up of the front of the vehicle mode, showing details such as the sensor pod and "fuel probe" in front sticking out.
  • His feet are "clawed" feet, with two extensions in front and one in the back for his heel.

Blackout is very well detailed. The head sculpt is fantastic, with lots of small grooves and lines carved into its design. His forearms have some nicely sculpted wires and machinery on them while his legs have everything from tubes to armor panels to pistons worked into the design. Even his EMP blaster has some grooves and lines matching the curve of the weapon that look fantastic.

Blackout is cast in two plastic colors: dark blue and dark grey. The blue makes up most of the robot mode, with the grey making up robot limbs such a the upper arms and thighs. His paint applicaitons are done in silver, gunmetal and red. The silver is the most heavily used color. You'll find it on his legs, forearms and chest where it is used to paint a Decepticon symbol right in the center. Gunmetal is used for smaller details such as his head. You probably guessed it already, but the eyes are painted red, matching the traditional "Decepticon eye color" carried over form Generation One. The paint job sounds simple, and I guess it is, but it is done well and you really don't feel that he is missing much thanks in part to the way his plastic colors are distributed.

In this form, Blackout has sixteen points of articulation, which is quite a bit for a figure of this scale. This includes ball joints at his shoulders and hips, but what I also like are the ways that his forearms and lower legs are able to rotate in and out (this is partly to accomodate his transformation). I'm not counting the ability of the panels on the sides of the chest to swing in and out, but they do give a tiny bit more posability if you wanted to count them.

Being a Commander Class figure, part of the play feature of this figure is having a weapon and in this case, Blackout is once again partnered with Scorponok, the creepy crawly Decepticon featured in the first Transformers movie. This is in essence Scorponok as a Targetmaster. His "robot mode" is really his beast mode as seen in the first Transformers movie. He has his distinctive corkscrew style claws on his arms, his segmented legs and angled armor plates sculpted along the length of his body. His tiny head sculpt even has the big creepy bug eyes from the model seen in the first film. His tail is divided up into armored segments, coming to a three tipped point at the end. Overall, this is a fantastic sculpt for such a tiny figure. Unlike Blackout, Scorponok is cast in soft plastic, which I'm sure is cheaper but also eliminates any safety issues with his sharper bits. The section with the head on it is painted silver, but there are no other paint applications. I'd be interested to see if the Japanese version many have any more paint applications.

Scorponok has two points of articulation, both on the tail. It has a hinge at the base and one in the center. The "Targetmaster" functionality comes into play when you flip the robot head back, folding out his weapon barrel. The tail then attaches to it and Scorponok is now in blaster mode. A small peg is revealed on the underside of the weapon now, which is how other Transformers can hold him. I like the fact that he turns into a dual barreled weapon, with the weapon barrel on the bottom and the tail/stinger on the top. It's a cool looking weapon that brings about an additional dimension to the character that fits in with his role as Blackout's partner. I also dig accessories that also serve as characters in their own right. In a nod to his appearance in the first movie, Scorponok can also attach to the back of the EMP weapon using the peg found there. This functionality is based off the scene where Scorponok "ejects" from Blackout's back during his attack on the military base in Qatar.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the front of the feet up against the lower legs.
  2. Swing the heel pieces up.
  3. Rotate the lower legs and press them against each other with the heel sections facing out to the sides.
  4. Rotate the "EMP" weapon section around.
  5. Swing each leg up at the knee joint and connect the small tab on it to the back of the "EMP" weapon.
  6. Swing the robot chest up.
  7. Swing the rear helicopter section on the right arm out.
  8. Rotate the forearms so the hands are pointing up.
  9. Swing the panels the arms are attached to back.
  10. Swing the side panels back and connect the forearm sections together.
  11. Push the forearms (now the rear of the helicopter) up to connect it to the middle of the vehicle.
  12. Splay the helicopter blades out.
  13. Scorponok can clip to the back by attaching the "C" clip on top of the Scorponok figure to the bar on the underside of the vehicle's rear section.

Vehicle Mode:
Blackout is one of the Transformers whose vehicle mode represents a real life vehicle, in this case a Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low Helicopter. I'm really impressed by how elegant the sculpt for this figure's vehicle mode is. Almost all the robot parts fold nicely together, leaving only two key robot parts exposed (namely his fists, which actually serve a purpose here, more on that in a bit). All the key features of the Pave Low are represented here including:

  • The distinctive four bladed rotor in the back and six bladed primary rotor.
  • A distinctive front ened with three windows and a fuel probe (the longer extension) and a sensor pod on the other side.
  • Two engines on either side of the rotor engine.
  • Small "wings" out on the sides with extended pods under them.
  • A distinctive horizontal panel on the back the extends out to the right side.

These larger details are bolstered by tiny sculpted details including armor panels running along the sides of the vehicle along with some windows and even tiny landing gear sculpted onto the "wings" and the front of the vehicle. I was also impressed to see how the curved sections of the robot legs in the middle actually resemble parts of the rotor engine on the Pave Low. Overall this is a really nicely done sculpt. I'm quite impressed.

This mode shows mostly dark blue plastic, with some grey showing on the rotor blades. Silver paint is found on the middle and back of the vehicle with a tiny bit of yellow used on the edges of his side windows. I also like the way his Decepticon symbol winds up prominently showing in the front of the vehicle.

It was mentioned earlier that Scorponok can attach to the rear section of the vehicle. If you want to arm Blackout even more, there are two holes on the underside of the vehicle that you can fit more weaponry on. Need some more? Pick a Cyberverse weapon with a relatively long peg (such as Optimus Prime's) and you can slip it into his fists which stick out in the back in this form. I'm glad to see that the designers found a way to use the fists sticking out instead of just having them sit there and stick out like a sore thumb. I really like how heavily armed this figure can be made in vehicle mode. Nicely done!

Final Thoughts:
Blackout was an unexpected figure in this line, but there's no doubt he was a significant presence in the "Transformers" films. I like this figure a lot. It's a great representation of the character on a smaller scale and the inclusion of Scorponok is a fantastic touch. Highly recommended!