The Unicron Trilogy: Cybertron Unicron Toy Review

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Cybertron, Deluxe, Generation One, Unicron

Transformers Cybertron

General Information:
Release Date: 2006
Price Point: $9.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile x 1, Cyber-Key, Claw weapons x 4

Images:

*Images with asterisks from Amazon.com.

In the Marvel G1 comic book series, writer Simon Furman made the character of Unicron a crucial part of Transformers history. As the opponent of Primus, the creator of the Transformers, he is a force that Transformers have fought time and time again, including the recent "Transformers Prime" series. Most of these tales end with Unicron being destroyed, but inevitably the big fella winds up coming back. Back in the "Cybertron" series of figures, one of Unicron's resurrected forms was created in the Deluxe scale and it was one of the few times he was not given a planet as an alternate form. This release was not shown in the television show, but it was featured in the Fun Publications exclusive comic book series.

Vehicle Mode:
To simply call Unicron's vehicle mode a "tank" feels like a bit of a disservice. A lot more thought went into this than just giving Unicron a destructive vehicle mode. The general shape of the vehicle resembles a Scarab Beetle. Unicron's shape is oval, with curved panels coming out from the central section. Attached to the vehicle are claw like sections on the sides, and in the front his armor curves up to look like two additional appendages. Right in front are two mandibles (which also implies the form of the Stag Beetle as inspiration. So conceptually, what's the big whoop? Well, the Scarab Beetle was associated with the ancient Egyptian God Khepri. Khepri was a God that symbolized transformation and resurrection all in one shot, two concepts that are easily with associated with Unicron. I really like this ancient and conceptual interpretation of ancient legends being integrated into the design of a Transformer, especially one that is supernatural in nature such as Unicron.

Unicron isn't all just about beetle inspired details. Look at the tank and it's obvious he is still geared for destruction! A large turret is mounted on the right side of the center section towards the back. On the other side is a smaller machine gun. This leads down to a section towards the front in the center that looks like a control center for the vehicle. A radar dish sits in the middle, near the base of his weaponry. This adds to the very "scifi" feel of the vehicle. The aforementioned claw like protrusions on the sides look like they could impale enemies on the battlefield and the mandibles in the front look super dangerous as well. This is definitely one of those designs that was created to scream "Destruction!", the perfect theme for Unicron.

Several of the details on Unicron are directly inspired by his previous planet mode, these include:

  • The large mandibles in the front of the tank resemble those that Unicron would use to draw planets into his maw to consume them.
  • The "claws" on the sides of the vehicle are sculpted with a series of tubes of varying sizes, a serrated side and spheres integrated into them. All these details carry over from the "ring" that surrounded Unicron in his planet form.
  • The panels on the sides of the vehicle have designs similar to those of his planet form. Their curved shape further suggests inspiration as one of the panels from his ball shaped planet mode.
  • On the top of the vehicle, near the base of the weapons is a circular design that resembles Unicron's maw from his planet form where he would speak from and ingest planets. It also sort of looks like the part on the larger Armada Unicron figure where you would attach his Mini-Con Dead End.
  • Right in front of the "maw" is a half sphere shaped section. This opens and closes with "teeth" and resembles part of Unicron as shown in the movie inside his body, where he would crunch things he ate with "teeth" that moved from side to side instead of up and down. It also bears resemblance to the "mouth" of the Armada Unicron figure as well.

Unicron is cast in very similar colors as his previous incarnations. Most of his armor is orange, with smaller parts cast in light grey and brown plastic. The grey pieces are most of his more dangerous bits such as the mandibles in the front, the machine gun on top and the claw weapons on the sides. A darker grey plastic can be seen on the front end of the vehicle, but it comes into play more in the robot mode. There are also two shades of translucent plastic on this figure. The missile, the cannon inside his "maw", the windshield on his front end and the "radar" dish are all translucent red. Meanwhile the Cyber Key included with the figure is cast in translucent orange.

Paint applications are mostly done up in a metallic purple color and silver. The purple is found all over the figure including lines on either side, the outline around the windshield and on the front end. Silver is used on the sides of his treads and wheels as well as the end of his cannon. The Cyber Key also has some silver on the outer edges. A bit of yellow paint can be found on the circle near the radar dish and some red is found on the thrusters at the back. Overall the color scheme works very well. There is little doubt just who this figure is meant to be and I dig the way his colors pay some homage to the G1 character, but focus on representing the Armada version (which this guy is meant to be a reincarnation of).

Unicron wouldn't be much of a tank without a cannon, and he has one mounted on the right side. It can swing up and down, but barely moves side to side. Press the trigger on top and it fires a missile. On the left side is a small machine gun that is set on a ball joint, allowing it to have a wider range of movement. Unicron rolls on four wheels, two huge ones on the back and two tiny ones in the front (under the tread details). Unicron's Cyber Key can slide into the slot behind the radar dish. When you do so, the "maw" towards the middle section of the vehicle opens up, simulating the visual of Unicron munching on planets from his previous incarnation. You can push the key in part way and take it out to create this "eating" motion or lock it in to reveal a tri-barreled cannon cast in translucent red. This adds some more firepower to the vehicle and it looks great. I love the nod to his planet mode as well.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Disconnect all the claw weapons on the sides and the Cyber Key if attached.
  2. Pull the sides of the vehicle out, and then swing them down to begin forming the robot legs.
  3. On the top of the vehicle, swing down the radar dish and turn it around to reveal the robot head.
  4. Push the front sections with the mandibles on them down, then swing them out to the sides.
  5. Both of the sections with the mandibles on them are connected to a central piece on a hinge. Swing that section back on the central hinge.
  6. Pull on the central waist/hip section that the legs are attached to and swing it forward, then push it up against the peg on the underside of the vehicle's center section.
  7. Swing the robot arms up, then rotate the shoulders around.
  8. On each arm, open up the panel on the forearm and swing out the fists, then swing the mandible and panel together and rotate the forearm around.
  9. Rotate the waist section around.
  10. On each leg, swing out the feet and heel pieces.
  11. Push the side panels on the legs in.
  12. Swing the panel with the cockpit section in, tucking it under the chest piece.
  13. Attach the weapons to his hands or the holes on the side panels on his legs.

Robot Mode:
Unicron's G1 design and Armada design were very blocky in robot mode, and that was largely appropriate as it really provided a sharp contrast between his round planet mode and his more angular robot form. In this incarnation however, Unicron has gone a lot more sleek and slick in appearance. Sure, there are still plenty of chunky and blocky parts but overall most of this mode is made up of curved and sleek looking sections. The result is a very dynamic looking design that still echoes many of G1 and Armada Unicron's design elements.

Let's start by looking at the design elements from G1 and Armada Unicron. The head sculpt is the most obvious. With a curved "samurai" style helmet, two large horns on the head and a crest in the center, Unicron's head design is unmistakeable as anyone else other than the Chaos Bringer. Inside his crest is a small circle, a detail inspired by the Armada Unicron head design. The face is a bit different than what you'd expect. It looks like a skull face with a double pronged chin piece (a nod to his G1 "beard") which has caused many a fan to liken this design to the Decepticon "Bludgeon", and rightfully so. Between the orange color of the figure and this helmet design, it would be very hard not to think of G1 Bludgeon (or his movie counterpart).

Other elements inspired by earlier versions of Unicron include his shoulder armor, which is designed with part of a circle curving down from the top to the side with three circles sculpted into it. The forearms have a blocky design reminscent of the original Unicron and his feet are pointed, claw like feet, similar to those on Armada Unicron. Another fun bit of homage design is found around his neck area, where there are two raised sections that form what looks like a collar around his neck, a feature found on G1 Unicron (but not his later incarnations).

Most of the sleek and curved parts come into play in the form of his lower body and weaponry. The waist section is a three pointed shape that angles out and downward. His legs are attached by ball joints, leading to relatively thin, curved leg designs with his knee armor stucking up and his feet pointing out. In between are nicely sculpted details including spikes on the insides of the lower legs. Along with his curved claw weapons, Unicron looks especially dangerous in this mode. I never thought of Unicron as being "fast" looking until this toy came out. In this form he looks like he would be a fierce warrior on the battlefield!

In this mode, several of the vehicle mode parts are still showing, but a grey color (with a tinge of brown) is found on several parts including his shoulder armor, forearms and legs. Brown parts are used for his hands, upper arms and sections of his legs including the thighs. His head is cast grey and translucent purple plastic. His feet and knee armor are cast in orange, the same shade as the vehicle mode. Again, these colors totally work in the context of the Unicron character, although this leans much more towards the Armada iteration of the character.

There aren't a ton of paint applications in this mode in terms of parts that were hidden in vehicle mode. The head is painted orange with metallic purple. His shoulders have red on the three circles found on each side. All the other details were already revealed in vehiclemode such as the silver on his cannon barrel or the purple and grey used on the maw connected to his chest. I do wish there were a few more paint applications, perhaps some silver on his arms or legs may have helped. This is the primary "ding" I would put on the figure, but it's not a huge one as the vehicle mode colors do offer a nice diversity of colors.

If you include his weapons, Unicron has twenty four points of articulation in this form. This includes ten points of articulation between the two arms and waist articulation. He can hold his claw weapons in his hands or any standard 5mm peg weapon. His hip joints are ball joints and he has many double joints including those at the elbow, allowing the arm to move up and down and out to the sides. The Cyber Key feature works in this mode as well.

Final Thoughts:
I've always been fond of this figure and the concept of having a Deluxe scale Unicron. It makes the character accessible at a lower price point but also offers the opportunity to represent the character with a different physical expression. That said, I'm very fond of all the "classic" and Armada Unicron elements that were worked into this figure's design. This figure is actually due to be re-released (and possibly given new colors) as part of Japan's version of the US "Generations" line, so if you don't want to troll ebay, retailers such as Image Anime should soon be carrying this sculpt again! Highly recommended.