"Timelines" Zaptrap with Beet-Chit & Spy Eye Toy Reviews
Release Date: June 18, 2015
Price Point: Botcon Attendee Exclusive
Accessories: Beet-Chit figure/weapon, Spy-Eye figure/weapon
The theme of Botcon 2015 is "Cybertron's Most Wanted". This doesn't just refer to the story where the boxed set had a group of criminals in it, it also refers to toys that represent characters that fans have wanted for a long time - with a new spin of course. The attendee exclusive figure is Zaptrap, a redeco of Legends Class Skrapnel. Included with this figure is a redeco of Reflector (who came with Skrapnel). A surprise extra mini-figure comes in the form of Beet-Chit, a redeco of Chop Shop from the Legends Class Megatron set. This review will focus on the changes made to these figures for this release. Definitely check out my original reviews of each figure/set for my detailed thoughts on the sculpting and functionality.
Zaptrap is packaged in a sealed plastic bag. The bag has the name of the character along with other production information printed on it. Inside the bag is another plastic bag wrapped tightly around the instructions and tech specs. The figures themselves are inside the bag without any type of plastic tray.
Beet-Chit's name may strike you as odd but its origins actually lay deep in the pre-Transformers era of toys. In 1985, the Transformers toy line expanded significantly, and among the figures that were brought into the line were a set of transforming insects known as the "Deluxe Insecticons". These were larger than the regular Insecticons and they also had the distinction of not being produced by Takara. They were licensed toys brought into the Transformers toy line and thus did not wind up on the cartoon show. One of these characters was Chop Shop, based on a figure from the "Beet Gadol" line of figures so yes, you guessed it, the "Beet" comes from that line! "Chit" refers to a part of an insect and when you put the two together the unusual name is born. It is worth noting that not too long ago Takara Tomy released an exclusive blue plastic version of the mini-Chop Shop figure named Beet-Chop, so you can see this pre-Transformers era influence takes hold in many places.
Beet-Chit is cast in blue and silver plastic. The blue is a light shade of the color, making up most of the figure. The torso is silver with silver paint on the ches and waist area. His eyes are painted red. The peg handle in the center of the torso is left unpainted (which is good since paint would scrape off when he is used as a weapon repeatedly). On the top of the beast mode are white lines just like Chop Shop's. The deco itself is fairly standard, but it's the homage here that makes it special.
In both the comic books and tech specs, Beet-Chit is shown as the smaller robot that controls the larger Zaptrap. This is a callback to the "Diaclone" era when Takara created a line of transforming figures that would one day become the Transformers we all know and love. Back then the robots were not sentient beings, but rather mecha like constructs controlled by people. The people were represented as small "driver" and "pilot" figures included with the Diaclone toys that could sit inside cabins and cockpits. Beet-Chit's colors evoke the colors of one of these pilots, especially the metallic silver on his torso, a trademark color on those small figures
In terms of functionality Beet-Chit's joints are nice and tight. Also, the mechanism that moves his mandibles as his legs move is intact. That said, because of the design on Zaptrap's arms, you need to have Zaptrap's arm straightened out and Beet-Chit will be turned a bit to the side due to the insect arms on Zaptrap's arms. The other way to attach him is to attach him to the underside of the forearm (with the peg going into the fist from the bottom). It looks a bit odd but it works nicely.
Spy Eye is a redeco of the Reflector figure included with Skrapnel. The figure is cast in silver and red plastic. These are two of the same plastic colors found on Zaptrap. Since the two likely share the same tooling set this is not a surprise. The silver is used for the arms and legs while the red is mostly used in the torso and head area. Blue paint is used for the eyes and chest while red paint is used on the lower legs. For the camera and weapon modes you'll find some black paint at the base of the figure. While it does use silver like Reflector, the colors are much more bright and in line with the colors often found on Diaclone era toys. Back then, red, orange and yellow made a lot of appearances on toys from the line. Since this set of toys takes a lot of inspiration from the Diaclone era, this color combination fits the theme nicely.
Spy Eye is technically not partnered with Zaptrap in the fiction. The character is actually used by the Earth based "Diaclone" warriors Lift-Ticket and Burn Out. However since the tooling is part of the Skrapnel set it was included here. Still you can use the 5mm peg on the figure to attach it to Zaptrap in both the robot and beast modes. Functionally I have no issues with the arms or transformation.
Long before the Insecticons were released as Transformers, the sculpts were used in the Diaclone toy line as insectoid machines that could be piloted. Each one featured a cockpit section. While the Skrapnel sculpt doesn't have this element, the in-story idea of having Beet-Chit "pilot" the robot takes its inspiration from that era. It also uses the colors of the figure from that era. This is not the first Zaptrap toy released in the Transformers toy line. Back in 2004 the G1 Insecticon toys were given new decos and released as a Japanese exclusive set representing the Insecticon "clones" seen in the cartoon. Shrapnel's "clone" was named Zaptrap in this set. While this character is technically a "Waruder" and not a Decepticon, it takes its inspiration from the same source.
Zaptrap's colors are inspired by the Diaclone version of the G1 Shrapnel toy. Unlike their Transformers counterparts, the Diaclone Insecticons were a mixture of black, red, yellow and silver colors - so the designers at Fun Publications made sure to include these colors on this figure. Zaptrap is cast in black, red and silver plastic. The black is used for the torso and lower legs while red is found on the arms, thighs and feet. The mandibles that extend out to the sides are silver plastic. These roughly align with the Diaclone Shrapnel colors. The chest panel is painted red. Blue details are found on the top of the chest, the waist and the sides of the legs. Yellow is used on the front of the lower legs and his face is painted silver. Most of these colors line up very nicely with the 2004 Zaptrap figure, solidifying the pre-G1 roots of this color scheme and identity. It also helps to differentiate the figure from Skrapnel even though the two sculpts share two of the same plastic colors (black and silver).
The joints on this figure are all nice and tight. There doesn't appear to have been any mold degradation with this release. He can hold either weapon just fine in his hands and hold his arms up without them sinking down.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Swing the mandibles up.
- Push the robot feet down.
- Swing the panels on the sides of the lower legs over the front of the lower legs.
- Connect the two lower legs together.
- Pull the torso panel out and push it up over the robot head.
- Swing the insect legs up.
- Swing the robot arms under the torso section and attach the tabs to the corresponding holes on the arms.
- Swing the waist piece back, then push the robot legs forward to form the back of the insect.
Zaptrap's beast mode has many of the same colors as the robot mode, but this time the blue paint colors get more emphasis on the front and back of the insect. He actually winds up with more paint applications than Skrapnel thanks to the blue in the front. This gives the insect "eyes" that I like a lot. It makes him look more menacing somehow. The red and black colors look nice against each other on most of the beast mode while the silver color on the mandibles pops really nicely in the front. Apart from being a cool Diaclone homage the colors simply look great.
Both weapons can attach to the hole on the back of the insect. However, Beet-Chit's peg is a bit short so he barely hangs in there. Spy Eye attaches much better.
Zaptrap is a really cool figure. I have a fondness for items that reference the Diaclone/Microman era of Transformers toys. All that said, Zaptrap is going to wind up costing you around $50-100 on the after market, so this really is a figure for hardcore fans.