"Generations" Studio Series Deluxe Stinger Toy Review
Release Date: February 2018
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Throwing Star weapons x 4
Official images and text in italics below from HasbroToyShop.com:
The Autobots clash with KSI in the Hong Kong Pursuit from Transformers: Age of Extinction. Decepticon Stinger materializes from Transformium to blast firepower at opponents. He scales skyscrapers pursuing his prey until Autobot enforcements storm the city.
This Studio Series 02 Deluxe Class Movie 4 Decepticon Stinger figure converts from robot to sports car mode in 21 steps and comes with 4 weapon accessories. Remove backdrop from pack to showcase the elusive KSI warrior in the Hong Kong Pursuit scene.
- Includes Transformers Studio Series 02 Deluxe Class Movie 3 Decepticon Stinger figure, 4 accessories, removable backdrop, and instructions.
- Studio Series Deluxe Class 02 Movie 3 Decepticon Stinger figure
- Premium figure and packaging inspired by the iconic Hong Kong Pursuit scene
- Figure scale reflects the character's size in the world of Transformers Movie 4
- Converts between robot and sports car modes in 21 steps
- Removable backdrop displays Decepticon Stinger figure in Hong Kong Pursuit scene
- Figure scale: 4.5 inches
- Ages 8 and up
- Warning: Choking Hazard -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
2017 was a milestone in Transformers history. The live action movie series was now ten years old meaning an entire generation of fans had grown up in an era where they had a live action Transformers theatrical film every other year to watch. In 2018 Hasbro launched the "Studio Series", a "Generations"-esque line of figured focused on the live action movies. The series boasted toys that were made in rough scale with each other using the CAD files from Paramount Pictures as the basis for the design. Part of the idea was also to fill in gaps in previous lines by making characters who had not appeared in the line previously.
Stinger was introduced in "Age of Extinction" as one of the Vehicons created by humans using "Transformium". Stinger was meant to be the Decepticon counterpoint to Bumblebee (so much so that on screen they shared most of the same CG model in robot mode). However when the toy line was released, the closest Stinger got to an action figure in the "main" line was a One Step Changer (that sadly, did not work well). Other figures existed such as two Legion/Legends Class figures, but both were simply redecos of previous figures. Takara Tomy released a Deluxe retool/redeco of Bumblebee as Stinger as part of the "Movie Advanced" line but that figure sold out fast and costs a pretty penny on ebay right now (roughly $70-90 USD). This made Stinger a perfect choice for the first wave of Deluxe figures in the Studio Series. It represented a brand new Deluxe Class sculpt for a character who had been mostly ignored previously.
The Deluxe Studio Series figures are packaged in boxes similar in size to the boxes used for "The Last Knight". The boxes are vertical rectangles with a large window in the front. Instead of the lighter colors of "The Last Knight" boxes, this box takes a more "Generations" style approach, using a black background and a vertical "Transformers" logo to the right. Above that is the "Generations" logo. Reflecting the new, unified approach to the Transformers toy line both Hasbro and Takara Tomy's logos appear on the front of the packaging. Towards the lower part of the box is the logo for the specific film the character comes from. To the left is new package art with blue borders. The packaging also has package art on the side and a large collector number designated to each figure. In Stinger's case he is number 2. The idea is that you can line up all these figures on a shelf to show off the collection numbers. It's a neat idea and has kept me from tossing out the box so far.
The back of the packaging shows Stinger in both modes along with the logo for "Age of Extinction". It also describes his transformation as having twent one steps. Towards the bottom it shows you how you can take the cardboard insert from the inside of the packaging and use it as a display base and background for the figure. In Stinger's case, he comes with a background with a battle scene happening in China as seen in the final battle of "Age of Extinction". Next to that are the cosells for this figure: Ratchet, Crowbar and Bumblebee. Below that is all the requisite legal information for the figure.
In "Age of Extinction" Stinger's CG model was largely a reuse of Bumblebee's. That meant the two shared many features in robot mode, but then transformed into two completely different vehicle modes. You can see my review of the Bumblebee figure here to get a sense of how the character looked on screen. However, in order to make Stinger so he could transform into a vehicle like the one that appeared on screen, the designers had to make some changes. This is both good and bad. It is good in the sense that you are not just buying a Bumblebee retool or something. This is a whole new action figure. However this is bad because there were indeed some design compromises made that wind up making this look less like its on-screen counterpart than the "Movie Advanced" version.
Stinger's base design uses a lot of design elements from the film's CG model. these include:
- A head sculpt that looks like a more angled, sharper version of Bumblebee's "battle helmet". The eyes are thin and set at angles giving him a very evil appearance. The top of the helmet section sweeps back into small antennae. The sculpt looks great and screen accurate.
- The arms feature small details like cogs and springs on them, something also see on screen when Stinger transforms.
- The chest features angled sections that look almost like insectoid eyes on his chest.
- The legs have distinct, oval like shapes coming to points on the ends. His knee armor comes up over the thighs a bit and ends in a point at the top.
- The feet share design elements with Bumblebee's such as a single "toe" in the front and parts that stick up at angles on the sides.
- On the back of the figure are four bars that end in 5mm pegs. These are designed to hold his star weapons. This is seen on his back in the film.
Overall Stinger looks good, but there are a couple of design elements I am not fond of. First, the headlight sections of the car mode wind up on the back of his shoulders and they just kind of sit there and don't look particularly great. The one design choice that bugs me however is found on the right arm. There you will see a large chunk of the vehicle mode's cabin section cover folded up. Now, at first I thought this was a cool way to work in an arm/weapon transformation of sorts. Unfortunately this piece does not have the hinge required to have the canopy cover parts fold over the forearm. This is a shame because the parts form a rough claw shape and could have looked like a weapon formed from the arm. Instead, the piece just hangs there distracting from the rest of this nice sculpt.
Stinger is made up of red, black and translucent grey plastic. The red and black are pretty well divided on the figure. Red is more heavily used on the top while most of the bottom half is black. Red and black paint are used to fill in details such as the black on the chest and the red on the legs. A bit of silver is used on the feet and arms as well. The eyes are painted bright green, a distinctive feature of the character in the film. I would have liked a bit more silver on some of the smaller details such as the cogs and springs on his arms, but overall I like the color scheme.
There are eleven points of articulation in this mode. That may sound below average, but it is important to note that his shoulder, elbow and hip joints are all ball joints, so his range of articulation is really good. For those worried about whether the wheel wells on the back of his lower legs interfere with articulation, they really don't. You can still bend the leg at the knee and have it swing back. I do miss wrist articulation, but to be fair it would not add a whole lot to this figure since he does not come with hand held weapons. Instead, he comes with four throwing stars (which wind up looking kind of like saw blades). These attach to the aforementioned bars on his back for storage, but they can also be attached to pegs on the top of his forearms.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Detach the throwing stars and set them aside for now.
- On the right arm, rotate the piece with the cabin cover on it and swing the panels out.
- Holding the lower body, pull the top half of the figure up gently.
- Left the arms up, then rotate the top half of the robot around.
- Straighten out the arms, then swing the sections with the headlights on the shoulders forward.
- Rotate the section with the robot head on it around.
- Rotate the bars on the back of the figure so they are now vertical instead of horizontal.
- On each leg, swing the rear wheel wells up, then push the feet down.
- Swing the legs up to begin forming the sides of the vehicle. They connect to the central part of the figure via round discs at the central hinge pushing into round holes at the knees on each leg.
- In between each of the rear wheel well panels is a triangular piece, push it down gently.
- Push each of the arms down/back to form the sides of the vehicle. Push them in towards the back (near the robot wrists).
- The cabin cover swings over the top of the car. Then push it down (gently). There is a tab on the left side that fits into a slot on the left side of the vehicle.
- Swing the panels with the headlights over the front of the car.
- The throwing stars attach to the bars from the robot mode and the pegs near the wrists on the bottom of the car.
Stinger transforms into a Pagani Huayra, a rather exotic and futuristic looking vehicle (even now, three years after "Age of Extinction"). Interestingly, Stinger's packaging has no Pagani logo, no trademark information about the Pagani Huayra and yet the sculpt is clearly a licensed representation of the car. From an outline perspective it features the real life car's distinct, oval shape. It rides low and the center section comes up on a curve instead of the more traditional rectangular cabin seciton on most cars. It also features many of the Huayra's unique details including:
- The front of the vehicle features a distinct grille shape with vertical panels over a grille in the back.
- There are four tiny headlights on either side, each set in a thin, oval shaped casing.
- The hood features a Y shaped design where the top of the "Y" curves upward.
- Each side features a distinct side view mirror that sticks out of the area right above the front wheel wells.
- The sides feature curved vents right near the back windows.
- The rear section has the Huayra's distinct design featuring three rear lights on either side, four exhaust pipes in the middle and honeycomb patterns.
Overall this sculpt is gorgeous and I love how many of the smaller details from the real life vehicle made their way into this figure.
Most of the vehicle mode is red plastic, but black plastic is used on the front, back and the wheels. The center section is mostly translucent grey plastic. From the hood to the back there is a beautiful metallic black paint used to fill in the center section. Silver is used on the headlights. Meanwhile the sides feature black and silver bars. The finishing touch is a purple Decepticon symbol in the center of the hood. Decepticon symbol aside, this vehicle mode's colors are largely based on one of the variants of the real life Huayra featuring a combination of red, black and silver colors. The real life Huayra however has a nice, metallic deep red while this red is much brighter than its real life counterpart. Overall the deco looks great and I am very happy with it.
After three plus years fans finally have a proper Stinger who transforms into the Huayra seen on the big screen (let's not talk about the One Step Changer). The figure looks cool in both modes (though the robot mode is not perfect) and I like the deco quite a bit. More than creating new versions of characters who were already released before, this is what I hope to see more of from the Studio Series: figures we did not get before in "Generations" style. Recommended!
- Good sculpt in both modes.
- Licensed vehicle mode which represents the Huayra beautifully.
- Good deco.
- Utilizes a lot of on-screen details in its sculpt.
- Robot mode has some odd design choices such as the car cabin section on the right arm.
- Unless you push the throwing stars really hard against the connection points on the bottom of the vehicle mode they tend to lift the car up a bit.