Hunt for the Decepticons Hunters Rumble: Barricade versus Sideswipe

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Hunt for the Decepticons, Revenge of the Fallen, Target Exclusive

Revenge of the Fallen

General Information:
Release Date: July 2010
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: Target Exclusive
Accessories: Probes/weapons (Barricade)

Images:

Almost every quarter seems to reveal some new group of exclusive figures. One of the biggest carriers of exclusive Transformers is Target, which often receives a wave of many figures focused around a theme. Late summer 2010 has brought us the "Hunt for the Decepticons" Transformers series of toys, a sequel of sorts to the "Revenge of the Fallen" movie. As part of their exclusives line for this summer, Target has released several deluxe scale two packs featuring movie characters. The "Hunter Rumble" features redecos of both Sideswipe and Interrogator Barricade. This review will focus on the changes made to these figures for this release. For Barricade, check out my Barricade review from 2007 for a detailed rundown of the mold. For Sideswipe, check out the reviews of Sideswipe and Strike Mission Sideswipe for more details on the figure.

Barricade Review

Images:

Robot Mode:
When he was introduced in 2007's "Transformers" live action movie, Barricade was a black and silver police car. Both in robot and vehicle modes he was very dark, and most of the redecos that have been introduced since all had a dark color pattern. While many of Barricade's parts are still dark colors, for the most part he's lightened up a lot. The primary plastic colors on Barricade are now white, black and, wait for it...neon yellow! Not a darker shade of yellow, not an even yellow. This is an honest to Primus yellow that you'd use to highlight words in a textbook in school. one of my friends has referred to this yellow as a "safety" yellow, and I'll agree with that, especially given Barricade's alternate mode. Most of Barricade's parts are white, with a lot of smaller sections cast in black such as his inner forearms and inner legs. The yellow comes into play in sections that contrast heavily with the black. For instance, his inner legs are black, but his knee joints and feet are neon yellow, offering a very stark visual contrast between sections of the robot mode. A couple of Barricade's parts harken back to his darker colors from the first movie. The head and the accessory "probe/weapons" included with the figure are cast in a softer, gunmetal silver color, which looks almost too "realistic" in color to be part of such a bright color assortment, but at the same time it helps ground the figure a bit from looking too outrageous.

Paint applications are done up in several colors including black, white, blue, silver, yellow and red. The black color is mostly found on the top of his chest, painting the top of the hood. You'll also find black striping on the sides of the arms. White paint is used on the chest section, forming the words "Police" in both Chinese and English. The silver color is the least used, mostly found on his mouth area on the robot head. The blue and yellow colors are used together, forming a checkerboard pattern you'll find on his arms (more on this later in the vehicle mode). Red is used here and there. You'll find it on his arms under his hands as well as on the ends of his weapon accessories. Blue paint is also found on the legs, where it is used to paint sections that angle downward, drawing emphasis to those parts sticking out.

It isn't hard to look at this color scheme and think "Good gravy, it's a wacky explosion of color!" but for the most part I can see why the designers went this route. The yellow and blue colors from the vehicle mode definitely inform this one, and I think part of the idea was to move as far away from previous releases as possible while still keeping the theme of a police vehicle. In that respect, this figure absolutely succeeds in color palette, but that doesn't necesarily make it something very collector will appreciate on a visual level.

Barricade's articulation points all still feel tight, which frankly is not something I expected. This is roughly the fifth time this figure has been released in a new deco (this number includes international releases). After so many uses, some tooling has been known to wear down and result in inferior products. In this case however, everything functions well. His parts are tight and his extending arm still works like a charm. The new addition to Barricade's arsenal are base don a scene from the first movie. When Sam Witwicky is cornered by Barricase in vehicle mode, the Decepticon extended probes out from the front of the car to examine the human. It is these probes which serve as the basis for the cannons mounted on his back and coming out across the hood past his eyes. They attach by clipping to the sections behind the robot head. These probes look fantastic, with etched lines running along the length of the handle and then the ends have claws on them with a circle in the center (a sensor presumably). That center section is painted red, looking like energy is glowing from the piece. It's also worth nothing that his spring loaded left arm "punch" still works well, I just found snapping the forearm back into place to be a bit tricky if you didn't press it into place.

I was pleasantly surprised by how tight the parts on this figure are and even more surprised that the spring loaded mechanism isn't super sensitive to the point of uselessness at this late date.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  • Detach the probe weapons if attached.
  • Rotate the top parts of his arms around.
  • Straighten out each arm and push in the thumbs.
  • Push the spikes on the robot feet down, then swing the feet up against the lower legs.
  • Push the lower legs up, swinging the knee joint so that the lower legs wind up a bit behind the thighs.
  • Push the head back into the chest.
  • Swing the car windows on the back down.
  • Push the two halves of the robot chest together to form the hood of the car mode.
  • Swing the windshield/windows section up.
  • Pull the robot feet down and connect them together.
  • Swing the lower section of the robot back.
  • Rotate the arms to align them with the rest of the vehicle mode, then push them in.
  • Collapse the arms of the probe weapon and then slide into the slot behind the front grille of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
The vehicle mode is very much the reverse of Barricade's first iteration in 2007. A lot of the coloring is white, with black making up some details. The only neon yellow you see now is through the clear plastic that makes up the windows and windshield. Translucent red and blue plastic are used for the siren light bar, and it looks really striking against the white color that dominates this mode.

Much of the detailing in this mode was visible in robot mode, but it now comes together. On the hood, the black base comes together to form a cohesive piece, with white text on top. The sides of the vehicle have the boldest pattern, a checkerboard pattern of blue and yellow details. Before you think this is some deranged, outrageous design, the yellow and blue checkerboard pattern is actually an established, real life police vehicle pattern that is found in countries that include China and the UK. After seeing Barricade take on several US based police car forms, it is kind of cool to see one from another country. Black paint is used for the edges of sections like the cabin cover and the words "Police" (in English and Chinese) on the sides. Black is also used to paint a large Decepticon symbol on the top of the car. Red is used for the rear lights, but the front headlights are cast in clear plastic.

I won't lie and say that I find this color pattern unusually bright for a Transformer, and doubly so for the character of Barricade. However, I also see where the designers drew their inspiration and after looking up some similar police car patterns online it is rather faithful to those cars. I definitely dig the color scheme, but more in the "unexpected Generation 2" sort of way than a conventional Transformer color scheme.

I did not get to review Interrogator Barricade when it first came out, so I should take a few moments to comment on the new accessory included with this version of Barricade. For this release, the Frenzy mini-figure was removed, and in its place are two probes that look like arms with eyes at the end of them. These are based on the probes shown in the first "Transformers" movie when Barricade faces down Sam Witwicky. In this mode, you can swing the cage in front of the grille down and expand the arms out so they stick out from the front of the car, simulating the appearance of the vehicle from the aforementioned scene. It looks fantastic and I really dig the accessory. That said, I do regret that the Frenzy figure had to be removed completely since I feel it was more of a value add than this accessory. Still, considering how many times it has been used I can understand folks wanting something different with this toy.

Images:

Robot Mode:
In stark contrast to Barricade, Sideswipe does not move away from the first release of this figure much at all in terms of color. For the most part, the robot mode is still mostly silver plastic. Some parts are different colors now such as the forearms and thighs (cast in black) and smaller joint sections such as those on the sides of the forearms, now cast in electric blue. Some gunmetal colored parts are found on the figure as well, most notably the upper arm/shoulder section. It's not a bad color set by any measure, but after two releases in a primarily silver color scheme, I was surprised to see the figure using silver as its base color again. I can't help but think maybe something dramatically different such as say, yellow may have been more visually striking (and evoke the character of Sunstreaker to boot).

Paint applications are done in silver, metallic blue, black and red. The silver paint is used on parts like the waist, chest and thighs, offering color continuity with the primary color on the figure. Metallic blue is found on smaller bits such as the shoulders and knee armor. While some parts are already cast in black plastic, others are painted black. Most notably the middle section of the body starting at the underside of the chest leading to the legs. Red paint is the least used color, found on the rear vehicle mode lights on the chest and this time painting the inside barrels on the four cylinders behind the head. I'll reiterate that there's nothing wrong with this color scheme. Indeed, the black offers a very striking contrast against the silver and grey plastic used on most of the figure. I just wish a color scheme that was more different from the source figure was used instead.

All of the joints on this figure are still tight and the gear system that lets his blades swing forward and back in concert still operate without a hitch.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Rotate the arm blades so they point up.
  2. Swing the robot fists into the forearms.
  3. Swing the robot feet up to the sides.
  4. Rotate the foot pieces so the headlights of the car point down.
  5. Swing the heel pieces out.
  6. Connect the two legs together at the feet.
  7. Extend the side panels of the car back.
  8. Swing the door pieces in.
  9. Detach the mid-body section from the chest and swing the chest up.
  10. Swing up the windshield section and connect it to the rear window section.
  11. Swing the mid-section back and tuck it against the underside of the windows.
  12. Swing the side and hood panels forward and connect them together onto the robot feet.
  13. Rotate the robot arms so the forearms point towards the back of the vehicle.
  14. Swing the arms in, under the car and press the arm blades tight against the sides to form the doors.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode, there is no benefit of the black pieces from the robot mode to help distinguish this version of the toy from the first one. In effect, this winds up looking a lot like the first version of the figure with most of the vehicle being silver and translucent sections being done in translucent blue. This includes the headlights and the entire top canopy section that is translucent blue.

Where the designers did try to make a lot of difference are the paint decos. The paint decos include black, blue, metallic silver, red and silver paint. The silver paint is the most extensively used color, mostly due in part to the need to color the translucent blue plastic on the top of the vehicle. Unfortunately, this is also whdere I was very disappointed in the quality of the paint job. Towards the front, on either side of the windshield silver paint is used to paint bars that curve down to the hood section. While the right side looks fine, the left side stripe has a smudge and actual signs of a fingerprint. Now, I'm not saying that this is going to be the case for every single release of this redeco, but it points to a lack of quality control that is unfortunate and weakens what is already not a very strong redeco.

The best details are found on the hood of the car where blue and black are used to form fascinating patterns with a combination of triangles, L shapes and more. It's a very "tech" looking pattern that adds some nice detailing to the car. Metallic blue is used on the doors, on the lower section of each door. The red paint of course is found on the rear lights of the vehicle. These details are done very well and are a welcome sight considering the aforementioned smudge.

Final Thoughts:
I think it says something if one of my conclusions about this two pack is that the figure that has been put out about six times already with neon yellow in the color scheme is the stronger figure in the set. I genuinely like the Barricade redeco, partly because it does reflect a real life styling on police vehicles and it's very different from the previous releases. That said, I can also see how it may not be quite to everyone's taste. In sharp contrast, Sideswipe is a missed opportunity that's simply done badly. Unless you totally missed very previous release of these two figures and want them desperately, there's no real incentive to purchase this set. Not recommended.