"Transformers Energon" Beachcomber Toy Review


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General Information:
Release Year: November 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missile launchers x 2, Missiles x 2

It's repaint season! As most fans know by now, the third and fourth waves of most Transformers lines nowadays involve a significant portion of the waves being made up of toy redecos. However, unlike most recent redecos which were just "powered up" versions of the original toys such as Energon Ironhide, this one is a new characters. Beachcomber is a redeco of the Cliffjumper toy. Check out that review for detailed info on the toy itself. This review will cover the changes made to the toy for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
Beachcomber is basically a "color homage" of sorts to the G1 character of the same name. His primary colors are blue and grey, the same as G1 Beachcomber's. However, the grey used here is a much lighter shade than the original, and there are actually two shades of blue present here. Throw in red, silver, yellow and gold and you have a nice color combination. Blue and grey pretty much share equal space here, one doesn't overwhelm the other. While the front end and parts of the sides are blue details are painted in with dark blue. The headlights are red with black trim and the very front has silver trim.

Yellow comes into play on smaller parts such as the triggers of the missile launchers and the springs on the rear wheels. Gold is used for the sides of the wheels. The windows are black.

In a tiny bit of disappointment the engine isn't colored. It would have been nice to see this spray painted silver or something to make it look less plain. Still, the overall color combination works and looks really nice.

Robot Mode:
All the colors from the vehicle mode carry over to the robot mode, including the red. Beachcomber's head is mostly blue with a grey visor and the lens painted red. His lower face is painted a dark, gunmetal color. Grey makes up the base of his upper body and shoulder armor, but blue is painted in along with white and red. In this form you can see the yellow carry over on his chest's "V" shaped piece as well as his shoulder joints.

The lower arms are the same dark brown as the tires and his fists are grey. The grey continues from his waist to his upper legs. However, the mid-torso section has a break in the grey with that section painted brown with blue and yellow details. The waist also has some blue and brown as well.

The lower legs are basically just the sides of the vehicle mode facing forward. However, it is ncie to see that the dark blue details against the blue plastic are more prominant here.

I'm actually very happy with the robot mode deco here. Light grey is a good color to use, but it can also quickly become monotonous if one is not careful. By carefully choosing parts to break the grey, and then using a heavy contrasting color like blue, the robot mode looks varied and exciting rather than dull.

For those curious, Beachcomber utilizes the same sound effect as Cliffjumper, and does not include the two AAA batteries required to activate the sound.

Lower Body Mode:
The lower body form really gives you an idea just why Beachcomber has a brown section on the mid-torso area in robot mode. Here it basically acts as a color "border" between him and any 'bot that he Powerlinks with. For some reason, I'm kind of amused that the Powerlinx point itself is yellow considering no one ever actually sees that once you link him with someone else.

The legs reveal more grey, but since the mid joint between the upper and lower legs is blue, it provides a clean visual break between them. The silver, red and black on the lower legs really look nice too. What's nice is that the grey and blue are neutral enough colors that many 'bots can Powerlink with Beachcomber without looking out of place.

Upper Body Mode:
Beachcomber's upper body mode is surprisingly different than all his other ones. Because a lot of the blue winds up on the underside of the lower arms, he looks mostly light grey in this form. The top parts of his arms are grey pieces with black detailing. His shoulder armor is also grey, so it really pushes the color a bit. With the missile launchers in his hands, the grey really becomes more prominant.

One thing I did like seeing was the attention paid to the Autobot symbol on his "V" shaped chest piece. Although the designers could have easily just painted the Autobot symbol red, they went the extra step of making the background of the symbol white, bringing it out a lot more.

By no means does this form look bad. The blue is still easily seen and present, and in fact having this form be mostly grey makes it easier to match him up to other Autobots color-wise.

Final Thoughts:
I really don't prefer Beachcomber of Cliffjumper or vice versa. Both are cool toys and both have neat decos. Let your personal color preference dictate which one you buy, either way they're both recommended.

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