"Transformers Vintage G1" Outback Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Generation One (Vintage G1), Mini-Bot, Mini-Bot, Wal-Mart Exclusive

Generation One Vintage G1 Reissues

General Information:
Price: $7.86
Retailer: Walmart Exclusive
Release Date: 2018
Accessories: Mortar cannon weapon

Outback

Official Photos above and text in italics below are from Walmart.com:

  • Re-creation of the G1 Autobot Outback figure
  • Inspired by the styling of the 1986 G1 release
  • Vintage decoration and sticker decals
  • Tech specs showing the capabilities of Autobot Outback
  • For Autobot Outback, rules are detours on the road of life
  • Includes: figure
  • Figure scale: 3.6 inches
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts may be generated. Not for children under 3 years.

Experience the figures that started it all. This Transformers: Vintage G1 Autobot Outback figure is designed like the original G1 version -- including figure styling, packaging, and art inspired by the 1986 G1 release, plus classic tech specs and accessories. (Re)start a vintage Transformers collection with this Autobot Outback figure.

Thinks going by the books is going the long way. Doesn't follow plans -- or roads. Cuts across parking lots, sidewalks, and backyards to get where he's going. Travels at 110 mph with a range of 800 miles. His 4-wheel-drive handles the roughest terrain and climbs grades up to 50 degrees. Carries a turret-mounted mortar cannon that shoots armor-piercing shells.

This Autobot Outback figure converts between truck and robot modes in 4 steps. Clip out and save the on-box tech specs to share, then see how this figure compares to other heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons (each sold separately). Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

As of 2019, Transformers will be thirty five years old, making it one of the longest, continuously running action figure toy lines on the market. Of course, as time passes, so does the potential for nostalgia, especially for the original series that started the toy line. Recognizing this, Walmart announced a series of "Vintage G1" figures based on the sculpts of several Generation One figures. Going as far back as May 2018 with an official annoucement in July 2018, the "Vintage G1" line began being listed on Walmart's web site. However, some of the figures were easier to find than others, especially the Mini-Bots. However, around the end of 2018, the Mini-Bots hit Walmart in large numbers as part of a "Bumblebee" movie themed display at some Walmart stores. After the new year on 2019, newer shipments began to trickle into stores as well.

Outback was released in 1986 as part of a wave of Mini-Bot figures. In Outback's case, the figure was a redeco and retool of the 1984 Brawn figure. The character did appear in both the G1 Marvel comics and animated series, making him one of my favorite characters of that year. For many years the character was put on the proverbial back burner until Fun Publications released their first Botcon boxed set in 2005. This set featured Fallback, a rebuilt Outback with a new name (really, we had trademark issues so a new name had to be used at the time). The name stuck for a while, following iterations of the character through both the "Transformers: Prime" and "Reveal the Shield" lines. Finally in 2018 the character returned as "Outback" in the "Power of the Primes" toy line!

Packaging:
There have been many reissues of G1 Transformers figures over the years, but aside from a line of key chains many years ago, the Mini-Bots have never been reissued on cards based on the original G1 packaging. The packaging for the Mini-Bots is a recreation of the G1 card and bubble packages. The front of the card has a large G1 style "Transformers" logo at the top. The character's artwork is very prominent in the middle, set against a grid pattern that itself lays on top of a red, orange and black gradient. The effect is striking and grabs the eye instantly. When looking at these figures on shelf versus other Transformers packaging and other toy packaging such as Nerf, it is striking just how eye catching and colorful the original packaging was.

The figure itself is packaged in robot mode, so a photograph of it in vehicle mode is set on top of the character artwork. The lower left hand side of the card features the classic 80's Hasbro logo and a yellow and black rectangle with the name "Autobot Outback" inside of it.

The back of the packaging features a smaller version of the Transformers logo and the beautiful artwork featuring many of the 1984 characters battling it out in space. Below that are the character's instructions. On the right side is the character's tech specs which have been mostly recreated directly from the original G1 packaging. However, the section with the character's stats (Strength, Intelligence etc.) has been replaced with a similar looking section without the need for a translucent red "Tech Spec Decoder" to read the stats clearly.

The above description covers the United States and Canadian releases of the Mini-Bots. However, other countries received them too, and to conform to the laws of those countries the packaging was altered significantly. First, the front of the cards featured extra text in different languages. You can see this in my scan above of the front since my Outback came from Australia (no, really). The biggest change is on the back of the International packaging which completely omits the tech spec and replaces it with legal information in multiple languages. While I understand the legal reasons for this, it is terribly unfortunate as it really detracts from the "vintage" look of the packaging. Tech Specs were a huge part of G1 and to be missing that is sad. I am glad the North American cards kept them for more of that "authentic feel".

Robot Mode:
Outback (and by extension, Brawn) has a very unique robot mode among the Mini-Bots. The way the legs are formed from the sides of the vehicle wind up making Outback slightly taller than his fellow Mini-Bots. On top of that, the way the doors separate from the fists gives him an extra bit of dynamic looking detail, making him look like he has "wings" on his arms. These are the things he has in common with Brawn. However, like his fellow 1986 Mini-Bots, the designers changed a lot to change this sculpt into Outback.

Most of the detailing in this mode is formed by one large panel that makes up the head, torso, waist and hip area. This entire panel was swapped out with a new one. Instead of Brawn's visor eyes/mouthplate face, Outback has large visor eyes with a nose and mouth. The shape of the torso is also different, with a rectangular section in the middle angling towards the arms. It then curves in before extending out again in the front towards the hips. The key here is that it looks significantly different than Brawn's design, which is what you want in a retool. To add another difference into the mix, Brawn's "claw hand" arm pieces have been replaced with fists. Overall, Outback's sculpt looks almost like a brand new toy in this mode instead of a retool.

Unlike Brawn who is mostly green and yellow, Outback is made up of a dark beige, brown and black plastic. The dark beige makes up the "wings" on the arms and the legs. Most of the robot torso is brown. Like the other Mini-Bots in this wave, deco is done with a combination of paint, stickers and vacuum metallized silver. Silver paint is used on the face, and the eyes are painted blue. This is a carry over detail from the "Encore" release of this figure. The G1 version had silver eyes instead. Stickers are found on the chest and the pelvic area. Each sticker features a colorful assortment of shapes that look like readouts or buttons on an 80's style computer console. The arms are vacuum metallized silver, adding to the robotic look of the figure. The deco is really great and it is rare nowadays to see a Transformers figure combining these three types of deco.

Outback has four points of articulation: the arms and legs. This was very typical for figures of this era.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Swing the forearms back so they are tucked in behind the doors.
  3. Pull each robot leg down.
  4. Swing the doors/arms back, then push them in.
  5. Swing the legs up, then push them back and push them up slightly to get them into place.
  6. Attach the weapon to the spare tire on the top of the figure.

Vehicle Mode:
While his robot mode is significantly different from Brawn's, Outbackand Brawn share the same vehicle mode. This vehicle mode is an approximation of a Suzuki Jimny SJ20. I love the boxy look of this vehicle. It looks like something you would take into a rough and tumble environment and that suits both Brawn and Outback perfectly.

This mode mostly shows off the dark beige plastic with black on the wheels (including the spare tire on top). A bit of brown sticks out in the front (which is really meant to be a winch). An Autobot symbol is tampographed on the right side in silver and red, a carry over from the "Encore" release which used tampographs instead of stickers on some figures. The other side of the vehicle features a heat sensitive symbol. This is inspired by but not a duplicate of the G1 stickers. The outline of the symbol is different, particularly in the "chin" area and the main color it changes into is a red/orange color. It does not turn into various shades of green and blue as the originals did. A finishing touch is vacuum metallized silver on the front grille, which really pops beautifully.

In terms of differences from the original, look no further than the back of the figure. There you will see a © symbol next to the word "Tomy". Below that the country of manufacture is listed as China, which is unusual nowadays since most Transformers production is now done in Viet Nam. Next to that are printed details including "Hasbro SA", #E2797, C-1602A and 82211. What all these numbers mean is unclear to me (I'm sure they have to do with internal identification of the item, perhaps origin etc.). The key point of interest here is that the G1 Outback figure did not have this much printed on the back, so it gives you one easy way to distinguish this toy from the original in this mode.

Outback is unique in that he is the only Mini-Bot to include a weapon! While it is pretty useless in robot mode, this mode allows you to attach it to the port on the spare tire. This gives him a pretty potent looking weapon in vehicle mode and I love it. For those curious, the weapon does not fit on Brawn's spare tire, so that's another mold change to account for.

Final Thoughts:
Outback is one of my favorite toys from the 1986 era. I remember first seeing him in a toy store in New York City's Chinatown and I was so blown away by his colors, the retooling and the weapon. I enjoyed his portrayal in both the Marvel Comics and G1 cartoon and he is a treasured part of my collection. Highly recommended!

Pros:

  • Significant retool and redeco.
  • The only Mini-Bot to include a weapon.
  • Nice combination of paint, stickers and vacuum metallized parts for a redeco.
  • The packaging for this figure is beautiful, well worth getting one to hang on your wall on card.
  • No loose parts, everything holds together nice and solid on this figure.

Cons:

  • Some fans may not like the limited articulation on this figure, especially if they are more used to modern day figures.