"Transformers Energon" Offshoot Toy Review


"Energon" Logo

General Information:
Release Year: August 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Missile, Missile launcher, Radar attachment for missile launcher

The Energon line has reached past its halfway point - and that means it's time for redecos. This time around, the Omnicon Signal Flare has been given a new deco. However, instead of just calling him "Energon Signal Flare" or something like that, we have a whole new character, Offshoot. For a more detailed review of the mechanics behind the toy, please read Signal Flare's review. This review will focus on the changes made to the toy for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
Offshoot has a very different deco than his predecessor. However, it's also an odd one which doesn't really work one hundred percent. Offshoot's primary color is green, making up most of the center and rear of the vehicle. This is a light, olive type green which goes nicely with the beige and greyish-green used for parts like the wheels and headlights. What I like about these colors is that they give the toy a slightly more militaristic look than Signal Flare. Unfortunately, this visual schema is broken a bit by dark blue, used on the cannon and the robot arm in the rear. While the cannon itself has a piece that is greyish-green like the headlights and wheels, it is mostly dark blue with gold paint details. Now, the blue and gold details themselves don't look bad, but they look out of place with the green. If the green had been say, red or black, it would look just fine.

The translucent pieces (the shield, radar dish and Energon Star) are still red, but darker than the ones included with Signal Flare. These look fine since they work with the blue. Against the green however, perhaps a more orange color would have worked such as the orange used for paint details on the green parts. I do miss one paint detail: the lightning streaks on the cannon barrel. Those were nice and distinctive.

I do appreciate the fact that they have kept one of the nicer paint apps intact - dark wash on the wheels and treads. This really helps give the vehicle a more distinct and (for lack of a better word) "realistic" look.

Functionally, Offshoot has the same gimmick as Signal Flare. Just turn the turret around and the cannon barrel turns, turning the radar dish with it. The parts are still tight and there doesn't appear to be any mold degradation.

Robot Mode:
It may be just me, but in robot mode, Offshoot looks like the arms of another robot were slapped on to him. The central body looks cool. The head has the beige color seen in the vehicle mode with grey-green, gold and orange paint details - all present on other parts of the robot. The central body is mostly green, with black and orange painted onto the chest and legs. But then you get to the arms and they're these big, dark blue things that are just kind of there. They don't blend well at all. Perhaps that was the point, offer a hard contrast, but in this case even the contrast does not work very well.

By the time I transformed this guy a couple times, I realized that his color scheme might have been influenced by the G1 Hardhead. Perhaps what makes me think this the most is the green against the beige (which would be grey on Hardhead). He has that look to him, but the other colors that come into play such as orange and blue definitely aren't part of Hardhead's deco.

Functionally, everything remains the same. No parts are loose or anything, so no mold degradation to worry about.

Final Thoughts:
It's odd, but I actually like a majority of this figure, I just think the overall presentation doesn't work well at all. A good buy if you can't find Signal Flare anywhere, but if you have to choose between the two, go with Signal Flare.

Updated Thoughts (March 13, 2024):
It is interesting how time can change one's perspectives on an action figure.  I think in hindsight, I don't find this toy as "bad" as I did decades ago.  Don't get me wrong, given the choice between this or Signal Flare I'd go with Signal Flare, but the somewhat odd color scheme doesn't quite put me off the way it did in the past.  What's important is that this is a fun toy to play with.

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