Hunt for the Decepticons Hailstorm Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Deluxe, Hunt for the Decepticons, Revenge of the Fallen

Revenge of the Fallen

General Information:
Release Date: September 2010
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missiles x 8

Images:

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
HAILSTORM is famous on CYBERTRON for his unique weapon designs, and ridiculous amount of firepower. What is less well known is the fact that he's terribly clumsy - which is why he avoids fights at all costs, despite his heavy armament. IRONHIDE may be excited to fight him, but HAILSTORM intends to fire his entire complement of missiles, and then escape under the cover of the explosions.

Turn the tables on the good guys when you throw this warrior into the fight! Your HAILSTORM figure is dedicated to destroying any opponent any way he has to get the job done. If robot combat turns into a chase, convert your villain into missile carrier vehicle mode and "rain" his eight firing missile accessories down from the "skies"!

Battle-ready robot-to-vehicle figure converts from robot mode to missile carrier vehicle mode with eight firing missile accessories -- and back again! Ages 5 and up.

It has been a long standing tradition for the Transformers comic book universe to introduce new characters into the canon, but until fairly recently, most of those characters did not wind up inspiring actual action figures in the Transformers toy line. One exception to this is Hailstorm. Inspired by a character in the "Generation 2" comic book named Mindset, this green machine takes that character's rather slim design and bulks it up into a movie style character. Indeed, the primary resemblance between Mindset in the comic books and this character is the fact that both become vehicles with missile racks. Still, that hasn't stopped this toy from being slated to be given a new deco and named Mindset in a future wave of figures.

Vehicle Mode:
After some digging, it seems like Hailstorm's vehicle mode is based on the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System. Like Hailstorm's vehicle mode, this rocket launching vehicle rolls on tanks, has a raised front section and a rectangular rocket launcher system mounted on his back that includes a section that hangs over the top. The front section where the drivers would sit also have cages on the windows set with horizontal strips on the left side, similar to the ones on the M270.

Structurally, there are some differences between this vehicle and the M270. There are chunks in the front that are much more detailed in design including a grille in the center and a raised passenger/driver section on the right side. Smaller details are found here including tubes, raised circles representing bolts and outlines where the doors and windows would be. He also has raised panels that look like they're covering underlying machinery. Hailstorm may look like just two boxes on treads, but he is really heavily detailed, more than I expected.

Hailstorm is cast in five primary colors: red, green, black, grey and gold. The green and black are the most heavily featured colors, with green making up a majority of the vehicle and rocket launcher. The front section of the rocket launcher is cast in black. Smaller bits are grey such as hinges on the sides of the rocket. Gold plastic is used for the treads and small portions of the front section. Red fits into Hailstorm's most prominent section: the missile launcher. Embedded into the launcher tubes are red missiles, eight in total. This is a great blend of colors. It gives the military feel intended for the vehicle and it looks a lot like something you would see rolling into a real life battlefield.

The paint details on this figure are pretty minimal, and on a military figure you don't really need to be super splashy. Paint applications are done here in black, white and silver. The black and white work together to form camo patterns on the sides of the vehicle and rocket launcher section. Black is also used on the grille in the front of the vehicle as well as Decepticon symbols on the sides. Silver is found on the sides of the treads where they are used to paint the wheels of the treads. The details are simple and basic, but they serve to enhance the already cool color scheme.

Hailstorm rolls on four small wheels, two on each side of the bottom of the vehicle. The rocket launcher is able to turn side to side (but not face the back) and move up and down on a hinge. The missiles are pressure missiles, meaning you push them from the back and they come out the other end after enough pressure has built up. All eight missiles can do this and it's rare when a Transformer has so many missiles that can be launched. There's definitely some fun play value with this vehicle mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Splitting it at the middle, swing out the front section of the vehicle.
  2. Swing out the panels that make up the grille section in vehicle mode to form the robot feet.
  3. Swing the front halves of the treads back against the rear halves.
  4. Swing the robot head up.
  5. Pull the robot shoulders out to the sides, which will automatically bring the robot head down to the chest.
  6. Swing the robot hip forward and snap it against the torso section.
  7. Pull the lower legs down to extend them.
  8. Swing the green panel on the top of the rocket launcher out to the side.
  9. Swing each of the missile launcher pods out to the sides, then swing them down.
  10. Close the green panel.
  11. Rotate the panel around so the missile launchers are behind his arms.
  12. Bring the launchers back towards each other so they wind up behind his shoulders where tabs connect to the holes on the black missile pods.

Robot Mode:
The movie aesthetic for Transformers comes into full effect with Hailstorm's robot mode. Often, movie-based Transformers have several panels that look like parts from the vehicle mode, but bent or twisted in some way. Those parts generally cover up machinery underneath while other panels look like they appeared out of nowhere in the robot mode. Another design commonality is the use of beast influences in the head designs (such as mandibles on Starscream). Odd proportions are also a part of that design that carried over to many movie designs. Hailstorm embodies all these aesthetic aspects.

The best example of the "warped panels" can be found on his chest, where it looks like the front grille of the vehicle has been bent at the middle. On either side of his chest, the hinges that form the shoulder joints stick out to the sides. His head design has a design that looks almost bird like. The top of the head angles out to the sides and the sides angle back while his mouth looks like a beak. Finally, his proportions are rather brutish looking. His upper body is wide and his thick arms add to the width. Then his forearms come down past his knees. With his relatively small legs, he looks like he could take any enemy down with one swipe. Add to that the missiles on his back and it's quite a visual effect!

Just as the vehicle mode had cool detailing, so does the robot mode. Among my favorites are small weapons on either side of the head with three barrels, tubes and hinges connected to the upper arms and really dangerous looking claw hands that have each finger sculpted in a slightly different position. He just looks functional in a way not all Transformers do. You can imagine his pistons and parts inside the joints moving with each lift of his arm or each step he takes. It's a fantastic looking sculpt overall.

The robot mode shows off more of the colors that were not heavily featured in vehicle mode. Gold and grey in particular take center stage here. The grey plastic shows up heavily on the shoulder joints and the elbow joints. The gold colors come out boldly on the upper arms, the knees and feet. The gold and silver colors bring a lot of details out such as the hinges on the fingers. Red paint is used for the eyes and the barrels on the small weapons near the head. What I enjoy most about the color scheme is how much the colors pop out of the darker plastic colors such as the green. Very well done.

Hailstorm has seventeen points of articulation in this form. Each arm and leg has four points of articulation and his head can be moved as well. The articulation is a combination of ball joints (on the hips for instance) and hinges (on the elbows). One unusual point are his feet, which turn in or out at the ankle joint. His missile firing action works in this mode very well. The only minor problem is that the missiles stick out the back a lot and it looks a bit odd. It's a minor quibble to me however, but I can see others having an issue with it.

Final Thoughts:
Hailstorm is a fantastic figure. It's also cool to see a figure in the "Hunt for the Decepticons" line that isn't a redeco or a retread of another character. Highly recommended!