Dark of the Moon Legion Class Topsin Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Cyberverse, Dark of the Moon, Generation One, Legion Class

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $4.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

As part of the "Dark of the Moon toy line release, several price points have been rearranged and renamed. One of them was the line that fans have known for years as the "Legends" class. This line of smaller sized Transformers figures spread across many segments of the Transformers over the years including the movie line, Animated and Classics. Now the class has been renamed as the "Legion" class, with Ratchet being one of the early "Dark of the Moon" releases in this line. Instead of serving as a standalone class of figures, these toys are being placed in a new context, as part of the "Cyberverse", a line of Transformers focused on creating a small world/universe of play at a lower price point than deluxe and ultra sized figures. Included in this line will be "Commander" Class figures, slightly larger figures with weapons that interact with the smaller figures as well as transformable bases, echoing the Micromaster bases from Generation One.

Topspin is part of a team of Autobots being introduced in "Dark of the Moon" known as "The Wreckers", based on a concept that harkens back to Generation One where select Autobots were part of a team that would be sent on missions that many other Autobots could not take on (and sometimes paid a dire price as a result). Topspin shares his name with a character from Generation One who was also part of a team known as "The Wreckers" in two incarnations (first in the Marvel Comics series of the 80's and 90's, then in the more recent IDW series). Like fellow Wrecker Roadbuster, it's cool to have this bit of history linking the name to the group reflected in the new movie.

Robot Mode:
Like his fellow Wrecker Leadfoot, Topspin has a very distinctive outline in this form. Most of his arms and upper body are comprised of the sides of the vehicle from the middle to the front. Meanwhile, his torso and head are relatively thin and sleek. The result is a robot that looks sort of like he's wearing a cape. His lower body is a bit less thin and sleek, with thick, wide legs leading to relatively small feet (width wise). This is a bit out of proportion from how the character will look in the movie as his Deluxe scale "Mechtech" figure has much more proportional parts and car sections that do not take up as much room on the back of the figure.

Despite being a Legion Class figure, there is no scarcity of details on this figure. We live in this great age of toys where "small" doesn't have to mean "plain" and Topspin shows this off well. His head sculpt is perhaps going to be one of the more controversial parts of the figure. Like Leadfoot and Roadbuster, there are features that resemble stereotypes of NASCAR fans, and this one is no exception. Topspin's head is designed to look like he has a mullet, complete with lines that look like sections of hair going from the top of his head down to the sides below the chin. I think it's a rather odd looking head sculpt myself as the middle just looks like a purely evil robot with its beak-like mouth and squinted eyes. Still, it is rather intricate and for what it is, it looks good. I just hope he and the Wreckers don't turn into a new version of the "Skids and Mudflap" mess from "Revenge of the Fallen".

Other great details on this figure include exhaust pipes on either side of the head, claw details complete with teeth and screws on the arms and his torso has very intricate detailing including circles on the chest and near his waist. His arms are relatively skinny, made up of details that look like springs connected to the elbows. Each hand is not so much a hand as it is a claw. The actual character is supposed to have fists I believe (this is being written before the movie is released) but on such a small figure, having big claws is a bit more impressive than molded fists, I guess. What is nice is that each claw has the "teeth" inside sculpted, looking really dangerous to anyone who tries to fight him! On top of each shoulder is what appears to be some type of cannon pointing upwards (though I could be wrong on that, it's an interesting detail regardless).

Toipspin is cast in blue, black and silver plastic. His legs and the side/front sections of the car are cast in dark blue. His torso, head and arms are cast in silver. The waist section (which extends to the back) is cast in black. Paint applications are done in dark blue, metallic blue, silver and white. The dark blue appears on the head while the metallic blue is found in the eyes. Silver is used for an Autobot symbol on his right leg and white is found on his lower legs. It's a very simple color scheme but it works well. The deluxe version of Topspin seems to emphasize blue more than this figure does, but I guess the ultimate test of whether or not this figure looks like its character will be in the feature film upon its release.

There are four points of articulation on this figure, not counting the articulation on the ankles (a function of his transformation scheme). His legs can move on ball joints at the hips and his forearms can bend at the elbow. The left claw can open and close and the right one is sculpted in a neutral position. There is a gap in between the two claws however, allowing him to hold a Commander Class figure weapon.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing each forearm down.
  2. Swing each robot foot up.
  3. Connect the two lower legs together.
  4. Swing the two car halves together.

Vehicle Mode:
In "Dark of the Moon", each of the Wreckers bases their vehicle modes on NASCAR race cars with weaponry added on for dramatic effect. In Topspin's case, he transforms into a NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevy Impala race car. The #48 on the side indicates it is Jimmie Johnson's vehicle (or based on it anyhow). You can see images of the real life prop/vehicle on Auto Ultimate.com.

Here's the weird part. Unlike Leadfoot and Roadbuster, Topspin does not transform into the super modified, weaponry loaded version of the Impala. Instead, this version actually represents the more "real life" version of the vehicle, despite the way it looks in the movie and on the deluxe scale figure. I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand I think it's cool to have a Transformer of the "authentic" #48 Impala. On the other hand, I want the version on screen that's bristling with weaponry. However, since there is a deluxe version of the figure that is choc full of weaponry, I guess I'm not too broken up about a Legion Class not having all the weapons sculpted. Still, I find it an odd choice to sculpt two of the vehicles like their onscreen counterparts but not the third. My guess? The vehicles appear first in the movie as the plain old versions, and then later on sprout weapons as needed.

What this does mean however is that Topspin is much more sleek and smooth looking than Leadfoot and Roadbuster in this mode (based on first looks of the other figures in package). From front to back it's one smooth looking vehicle that looks more like it was poured than slapped together with guns sticking out of it. The vehicle follows the Impala shape very well with a long, flat front end leading to a wide looking cabin section and a spoiler in the back set at a vertical angle. Small details from the Impala are present as well including the thin, mean looking headlights, the plastic grid on the side windows and circles right near the rear lights. It's a great looking sculpt overall.

Topspin shows off mostly dark blue and black plastic in this form, with dark blue making up most of the car and black making up the wheels. paint applications are done in red, white, gunmetal, yellow and black. Normally NASCAR vehicles have tons of advertisements and company logos on them, but for the purposes of this figure only two company logos are apparent. The first is the primary sponsor of this line of vehicle's, Lowe's hardware and home improvement stores. The front hood has the Lowe's logo painted prominently in white, with red creating a house shaped border in red, leading to white paint from the front wheel wells all the way to the spoiler. On the sides of the vehicle are black Sprint logos next to a large "48" done in yellow with a black border. Towards the front of the figure is the Chevrolet logo in white right in the center. Gunmetal and silver are used for the windows and headlights respectively. While they are sculpted, the rear lights are not painted at all.

Final Thoughts:
Of the three Wreckers figures, I'd have to say that Topspin is my least favorite on first glance (I have to review the others quick!). It's not a bad figure by any means, but I much prefer its "Meched out" weapons baring form. It's worth getting to complete your Legion Class set of Wreckers, but don't expect a figure as good as the others.