Cybertron Toy Reviews: Payload vs. Ascentor

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Armada, Cybertron, Mini-Con

General Information:
Release Year: January 2006
Retailer: General Release (Target, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on retailer)
Skill Level: 2
Accessories: None

Images:

Mini-Cons were one of the most successful aspects of the Transformers line in the past few years. Now the little robots are brought back as full fledged Autobots and Decepticons, removing them from their status as a third faction all their own. Having chosen sides, the Mini-Cons are now all packed in "versus packs", with one Autobot and one Decepticon affiliated Mini-Con in each pack.

The Payload versus Ascentor two pack features redecos of Ransack from the Armada Adventure Team and Dualor from the Armada Destruction Team respectively. This review will focus on the changes made to the figures for this release. Check out their original reviews for more details.

Payload

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Tech Specs:
You'd expect anyone as big and tough as Payload to be pretty dumb, or at least used to relying on his natural strength and endurance to get him through life. Many have made the same mistake, but you underestimate the intelligence of this Mini-Con at your peril. Payload would much rather outwit his opposition than destroy them in a straight fight. he therefore spends his time setting traps and pitfalls for Ascentor, who - while smart - is often distracted by his own thoughts.

Strength: 8 Intelligence: 8.5 Speed: 5 Endurance: 7 Rank: 6 Courage: 8 Fireblast: 8 Skill: 8.5

Review:
While his deco pattern is not dramatically different from Ransack's, but because the new colors chosen are so different than the original it looks very different. His primary color is blue, in place of Ransack's green. The rear storage area is painted light brown and instead of painting the lights running along the top of the vehicle, the set mounted on top of the cabin have been tipped with orange. On the top of the hood is a large Decepticon symbol painted in metallic silver, overlapping the sculpted Mini-Con symbol. The headlights are painted yellow, but the shade of yellow is darker than the one on Ransack. In robot form the robot arms are cast in grey and several smaller parts such as the sides of his chest and the hook for his line are neon green plastic. His eyes are painted yellow.

Although the deco pattern was only changed slightly (with nothing really added other than the Decepticon symbol), Payload looks good. His bright color scheme contrasts well when put next to his fellow team members Kobushi and Scattorbrain. The neon green offers continuity with the other two members while the blue makes him distinct. It's a great combination.

Ascentor

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Tech Specs:
Unlike Monocle, and Landslide, Ascentor maintained contact with the Mini-Con robots that returned to Cybertron after the Armada Battles. Over the years, he has developed a philosophical give-and-take with the Mini-Con Council of Sages. This ongoing discussion occupies much of his core processor time, causing him to be distracted, and vulnerable to the traps set by payload. However, his years of deep thought have also caused his sensory and motor-control systems to rewrite themselves, giving him what appears to be nearly be a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding pitfalls and sneak attacks.

Strength: 9 Intelligence: 7.5 Speed: 8.5 Endurance: 8 Rank: 6 Courage: 7.5 Fireblast: 4 Skill: 9

Review:
Ascentor is almost the inverse of Dualor. Whereas Dualor's primary color was grey with yellow used for other details, Ascentor is primarily yellow with dark metallic grey cannons. Other parts are cast in brown as well. I was surprised to find that his deco pattern is actually a lot simpler than Dualor's. On the top of the turret there is a small tempographed Autobot symbol towards the back, and the hatch cover is colored gunmetal grey. On the front the two rectangular series of lines are painted metallic dark grey (almost black). The wheels on the treads are painted gunmetal grey and that's it. In robot form, other than having the optic sensors painted grey, there is no other painted detail. I grant there is not a whole lot of room to paint detail, but even something along the top of the chest or on the feet would have been nice.

It was disappointing to see this since the original had more deco than this. The turret and the sides (above the treads) are wide open for decos and were left blank. Sadly, combined with the bright yellow color it visually washes out a lot of the sculpted detail in the figure.

Final Thoughts:
This two pack was a bit disappointing to me. While Payload is nice, Ascentor is just really dull, especially when compared to previous incarnations of the figure. If you never purchased these figures before, then it's worth it to get them since they're readily available. However, if you already have the previous releases and are not a completist, you can skip this one.