Transformers Timelines Buzzclaw Toy Review

in 2005, Botcon, Decepticon, Generation One, Insecticon, Timelines

Transformers Timelines

General Information:
Release Year: September 2005
Retailer: Botcon 2005 Exclusive
Price: $315 for Botcon 2005 registration that included boxed set, $265 for members of the fan club
Accessories: Claws/Weapon, Tail/shield

Images:

The Botcon 2005 set of toys consists of seven figures: Buzzclaw, Chromia, Deathsaurus, Dirge, Fallback, Ironhide and Ricochet. The concept was to create a story-centered set of toys. The Botcon program with the "Descent into Evil" comic book is included with this set. Attendees who received this boxed set were able to purchase an additional loose, polybagged set as well. Buzzclaw is one of the Insecticon warriors in this set.

Background Information:
There has been much talk of Buzzclaw being an odd choice when so many other insectoid sculpts exist in Transformers history. The fact of the matter is Buzzclaw was among a list of sculpts that included Beast Wars Insecticon and Scarem. However, Hasbro was unable to produce these tools for Fun Publications to use for the convention. While the toy is a Fuzor with elements of a mantis and a lizard, it is primarily insectoid, making it a good choice for a creepy looking Transformer.

There has been some question as to whether or not Buzzclaw is the same character as his Beast Wars namesake. To be honest, when I wrote his tech spec I had no intention of making him the same character. In fact, I originally wanted to use one of the G1 Deluxe Insecticon names such as Barrage. Time was not our friend however, and Buzzclaw (a name we submitted early on) cleared, so we went with it. Other names such as "Venom" were off-limits of course thanks to the Marvel Comics property. So, my intent was to create a new Insecticon character, but I do not see any reason why he couldn't be the character who later appears in Beast Wars.

Some may be curious about my reference to the Insecticon "clan" in the tech specs. This came out of an idea that was inspired by G1 having the "deluxe Insecticons" as well as the three original ones. In this universe the Insecticons were a group of insectoid warriors who were able to clone themselves at will as we saw Bombshell, Kickback and Shrapnel do in the G1 TV show. However, as time went along and the "originals" (such as Venom or Barrage) were destroyed, the ability to create clones from them was lost over the generations.

I never did a proper review of this toy myself, so I will review Buzzclaw here as the "base" mold noting changes from the Beast Wars version of course.

Beast Mode:
The sculpt for Buzzclaw originally served as a Fuzor, a part of the Beast Wars line that focused on beast modes combining elements of two creatures. In this case the sculpt was designed to combine the forms of a lizard and an insect. It's a fascinating combination. You can tell the sculptors and designers gave this one a lot of thought. The lizard parts come from the arms and legs. Each leg is a very lizard like leg, including a rough skin texture (as opposed to an insectoid one) ending in feet with four claws. The upper arms have a similar texture and actually end in claws that then extend into insectoid claws.

The insect parts make up the rest of the figure. The head is obviously an insect head with its mandibles and bulging eyes. The main body and wings lead to a tail which are all extremely detailed. I love how finely detailed the wings are, with each tiny line in the wings etched into the plastic. The eyes are the part that creep me out the most with their small segments finely etched into the plastic. The mandibles also have small teeth on them making this guy look quite scary.

Buzzclaw's color pattern was inspired by the colors used on the G1 Insecticons. Purple, black, yellow and red are the primary colors here. The main body is mostly translucent purple. The arms, upper legs and feet are black. The lower legs are also translucent purple. The shade of yellow used here is darker than the one used on the G1 Insecticons, but it works nicely as it is painted on the head, lower legs and tail. Red can be found on the eyes, wings and tail of the beast. The red is very vivid and looks striking against the darker black and purple colors. We decided to use translucent purple on this toy to give it the look of a "gross monster", something that we see on Page two of the "Descent into Evil" comic as the Clones emerge from a gross muck. In the back of my head, the idea was that these two Insecticons had incorporated techno-organic bits into themselves as the years went along. I think the translucent purple works much better than a solid color would have. One beautiful detail is a bit of light purple spray over the insect eyes which adds a bit of depth to the color scheme.

Buzzclaw has twelve points of articulation in this form, mostly concentrated in the arms and legs. Press the lever on the back of the insect and his arms spread out wide as if about to strike. If you position the arms in certain ways, this really helps look like he's striking an enemy from both sides!

One point worth addressing are the mandibles. Many fans have correctly noted that the mandibles on Buzzclaw (and Dirge and the Virulent Clones) are assembled wrong on the head. On the Beast Wars Buzzclaw, the mandibles came forward, to match the angle of the head. However in this case, the mandible piece was reversed. This does not affect the functionality of the toy, but it has led some to say that Buzzclaw looks like he has a mustache (and yes, it does kind of look like that). The thing to keep in mind is that we were not the first to use this sculpt in recent time. A year or so ago, Hasbro planned to release a redeco of Buzzclaw as Repugnus (a G1 Monsterbot). An assembled, in package sample of this was shown at Botcon, and lo and behold, its mandibles were assembled the same way - backwards. So, unfortunately, the factory was already used to assembling this one way - and went with it.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the red and black tail/shield piece.
  2. Swing the insect head forward.
  3. Move the wings/arms piece back.
  4. Rotate the wings/arms piece around so the wings face up.
  5. Flip the robot head up, then swing the beast mode head down to form the chest.
  6. Swing the beast mode legs up on the black hinge pieces to become the robot arms.
  7. Fold the beast mode feet back to reveal the robot fists.
  8. Split the tail to form the robot legs, rotate them and flip the feet up.
  9. Attach the tail/shield piece to the peg on the left arm.

Robot Mode:
Buzzclaw's robot mode truly shows off the wonder of Transformers toys. While a totally organic and creepy looking insectoid creature in beast mode, what we have is a techno-organic looking robot in this form. The primary elements that "give away" his alternate form are the chest and wings, but they become functional parts of the robot form enough that they look great. The newly revealed robot parts are just as well sculpted as the beast parts. The robot head has a really wicked, toothy grin on it that looks fantastic. The robot legs also have some nice mechanical looking detail on them in the form of angled and cut lines. Another detail I love are the sharp points formed by the back of the lizard feet. Here they look like wrist mounted claw weapons, something I made sure was featured in the comic book.

The same primary colors from the beast mode carry through here, though we do get more purple and yellow parts showing thanks to the head, arms and legs. While in the beast mode the translucent plastic gives off an organic feel, here I believe it gives off the feel of energy coursing through the body of the robot mode. I love how the toothy grin on Buzzclaw's face is painted with white teeth. If you look at the inside of the tail/shield piece, you'll find that a tampographed Decepticon symbol replaces the heat sensitive faction symbol that Beast Wars Buzzclaw had. Fortunately, the rectangular section in there gave us a good, flat surface to tampo the graphic onto.

Buzzclaw has fourteen points of articulation in this form. This includes head, waist and foot articulation. Aside from the shield mounted on his arm, you can also detach the wing/claw section from his back and place it in his hand as a slashing weapon. This looks a bit awkward, but it is good to know the designers were thinking of giving him some type of weapon when they created this toy.

Final Thoughts:
Buzzclaw is a really cool toy. The sculpting is very well done and the action feature is nicely done. The redeco colors for this release are my favorite out of the three uses of this sculpt this year since they most evoke the G1 Insecticons. I was very happy with the way this guy came out.