"Generations" War for Cybertron Kingdom Rhinox Toy Review

02/27/22

General Information:
Release Date: May 2021
Price Point: $29.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Chainguns of Doom x 2

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:

  • DISCOVER KINGDOM: Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever
  • BEASTIFY THE BATTLEFIELD: Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Rhinox collectible figure, featuring detailed beast mode with intricate molded rhino skin texture
  • EPIC BEAST MODE: Rhinox toy converts to Beast Wars-inspired rhino mode in 35 steps and features an articulated lower jaw
  • CLASSIC BEAST WARS GATLING BLASTERS OF DOOM: Comes with twin Gatling Blasters of Doom accessories inspired by the Beasts Wars cartoon. Can be stored on the figure’s back in robot mode
  • GOLDEN DISK CARDS REVEAL POSSIBLE DESTINIES: Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)

Beastify the battlefield! Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever. Primal power floods the battlefield as the fierce beast modes of the Maximals and Predacons are unleashed! Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Rhinox collectible figure, featuring a detailed beast mode with intricate molded rhino skin texture. Toy converts to Beast Wars-inspired rhino mode in 35 steps and features articulated lower jaw so fans can imagine the brilliant Maximal scientist saying something really smart. Comes with twin Gatling Blasters of Doom accessories that can be stored on the figure’s back in robot mode. Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.) Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Packaging:
A new style of packaging has been introduced with Kingdom. The shape is very similar to what has been seen with Siege and Earthrise, with a rectangular box that has an angled panel on the left. This time however the box does not have a window in front that shows off the entire figure. Instead, the window is much smaller and basically shows the figure from the mid-body up. This small window has plastic over it, but what this allows for is artwork featuring the character in both modes, something that is extremely uncommon for the Transformers line. Like previous Generations packaging the Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with the Generations and Takara Tomy logos above it. On the lower part (under the window) is the Kingdom logo. On this box, Rhinox is shown in both modes. The robot mode shows him holding both his Chainguns while the beast mode is charging at an unseen enemy. The artwork on these boxes is one of my favorite parts of this line. It's beautiful and really striking.

The back of the box shows Rhinox in both modes calling out a thirty five step transformation. Above him is a modified Maximal symbol which appears to incorporate elements of the Autobot symbol. In the corner is a nice, classic callback featuring the Transformers logo with the "More than Meets the Eye" tag line under it. Overall this packaging is beautiful and I think it really stands out on toy store pegs and shelves.

Boxed figures such as Rhinox include a card featuring characters in the line and their potential "destinies". There are 16 variants of these cards to collect and they come randomly packaged in the inserts. Just peel back the top sticker and underneath you can see a potential future for the character on the card. I also highly recommend being careful with the cardboard trays. Do not just toss them out. Look on the back and sides to be sure you have removed all the accessories and cards before you dispose of them.

Rhinox is a character whose origins go back to the 1996 Beast Wars toy line. There, he was a Deluxe Class figure. The animators at Mainframe Entertainment would then go on to take that figure and reshape it into the hulking figure that appeared in the Beast Wars TV Show. There have been a few Rhinox figures over the years, but in 2013 Hasbro released what is perhaps the definitive Rhinox figure with Generations "Thrilling 30" Rhinox. Kingdom Rhinox is a brand new figure, not a retool or re-release of the 2013 figure. That said, comparisons between this figure and its predecessor are inevitable so you'll see that throughout the course of this review.

Accessories:
Rhinox includes two weapons based on his famous "Chainguns of Doom" that were introduced in the Beast Wars episode "Chain of Command" in one of the most memorable moments of that entire series. The weapon was actually made up by the animators based on the accessories that came with the original Rhinox figure. On that figure however the weapon was a melee weapon with a round saw blade and barbs attached to chains all attached to a base that spun around. To turn this into a ballistic weapon, the animators concentrated all these details into a gun that fired bullets as the saw blade and barbs rotated. It was, in a word, awesome.

Each of these weapons has the same base design as the animated weapon with the saw blade and barbs on the edges. However, in the name of savings (and presumably having room for weapons storage in beast mode) the back of these weapons is...well...kind of sad looking. The weapons in the animated series had a large, rectangular boxy section and then a handle, giving the weapons some impressive bulk. These however basically just have a small section behind the "saw blade" and a handle. They simply do not look particularly robust and that goes against the "spirit" of the design. When the "Thrilling 30" Rhinox was released those weapons looked like they came right out of the show with the boxy section in the back.

The front of the weapons have four attachment points to connect Blast Effects. Two are pegs, two are ports so you can attach different types of Blast Effects. Now, this is cool and very appropriate to the War for Cybertron trilogy of toys. However, it really does not beat the weapons that came with "Thrilling 30" Rhinox which looked amazing and when you pushed a tab, the weapons actually spun just like they did in the TV Show. I know given the economics of toy development between 2013 and 2020 (when this figure was likely designed) this comparison may be unfair, but I cannot help but want more out of this weapon design.

Robot Mode:
Most of the time when I write reviews, I try to take figures purely on their own merits but in this case it is hard to dismiss the "Thrilling 30" figure that preceded it. Also, it is really hard to ignore the concept art posted on Facebook by Ken Christiansen, both of which represent much stronger potential aesthetics for this figure. You can see the artwork in the gallery below and it differs so much from the final product that I was stunned. Anyhow, let's get into it.

So let's start with what's good. Purely from a silhouette you are not going to mistake this figure for anyone else. He has Rhinox's distinct shape with the top beast mode head raised up behind his robot head, large, round shoulders, a wide chest and bulky legs with distinct armor sections broken up on top of each section. Look at the details and you'll see more details from the animated series and concept art including the distinct head design (complete with what looks like a strip of "hair" running across the top of his head) and what is intended to represent the lower jaw of the beast mode forming a wide plate of armor over the front of his torso. One really cool detail is found on the hands, which only have four fingers each, a carry over from the design of the animation model from the 90's. He even has parts of the beast mode hooves over the sides of the wrists on both arms. The figure is unmistakably Rhinox, and yet there are some odd design choices.

When I first took this figure out of the box, something just didn't "feel" right. However, it was not until I looked at the ol' "Thrilling 30" figure and Christiansen's artwork that I realized what was "off" about this figure. The biggest issue I have with the aesthetics comes down to how plain a good portion of the figure looks. If you watch the original animated series or look at the concept art you'll see how Rhinox's arms and legs are broken up into very distinct sections. Each has armor plating running over it with thick borders differentiating one from the other. This figure does not have that. Indeed, the upper arms and the lower legs look kind of flat. Then we also lose some detail in the form of the spikes found on his lower legs in both the animated series and the original Beast Wars figure. Without those distinctive edges and sections, Rhinox's arms and legs look too uniform.

I want to be clear that I do not think this figure looks terrible or that the aesthetics are bad. He still looks bulky and strong with some of the "organic" looking parts overlap mechanical parts to remind us that Rhinox is a bio-mechanical creature. I love the lower jaw detailing forming the torso armor as that look is heavily inspired by the animated series. There are also some nice details including the "teeth" on the torso armor panel and the series of lines running across and around the forearms. The organic bits also have nice textures on them that resemble real rhino skin. It is not a bad representation of the character, but it could have been much better.

Rhinox is made up of grey, metallic green and black plastic. Paint colors include gold, red, silver and off-white. Between the head and torso armor you'll find a lot of gold and silver coloring and it looks great. I am also glad they kept the eyes red, a detail that goes all the way back to the original Rhinox toy. Special shout out for some light splotches that can be seen on parts like the shoulder area and lower legs. These are based on similar coloring some rhinos have in real life and they look great here.

There are twenty four points of articulation on this theory including five in each arm and six in each leg. He has 5mm ports in each hand to hold his weapons. You can also store the weapons on his back panel using two 5mm ports on either side of the panel in the middle. There are additional 5mm ports on the back of the sections that flank the head, allowing him to have weapons attached over his shoulder.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Lift up each forearm panel and swing the fist in, then swing the panel back into place.
  4. Rotate the forearms around so the beast mode feet point forward.
  5. Swing the chest panel forward, swing each half of the panel back, then push it into the cavity in the chest.
  6. Swing the small rhino skin pieces under the chest up.
  7. Rotate the robot head around.
  8. Lift up the beast mode head.
  9. Swing each of the robot arms up using the hinges on the green parts of the torso.
  10. Swing the beast mode head over the robot head.
  11. Bend the legs at the knees. This allows the clearance for the next couple of steps.
  12. Swing the front panels on each lower leg out.
  13. Swing up the sections inside the lower legs with the rear beast mode legs attached.
  14. Push each of the "skin" panels on the thighs down.
  15. On the each leg, swing out the small tail pieces.
  16. On each leg, swing the rear beast mode legs up, rotate them around, then swing them out completely.
  17. Swing each foot up.
  18. Rotate the feet up, then swing them in so the tabs on the sides of the feet connect to a corresponding slot on the insides of the lower legs.
  19. Swing the lower leg panel next to the robot feet in, connecting them to the feet.
  20. Carefully swing each robot leg section up, tucking the robot feet under the section with the beast mode head connected to it. During this same part you'll have to swing the back section with the rear beast mode legs up into place. There is not a lot of clearance and the plastic can break if you push too hard, so be careful.
  21. Push the two weapons together, then connect the pegs on the back of each weapon to the ports on the insides of the robot thighs for weapons storage.
  22. Now fit all the panels together. There is a lot of tabbing here. Virtually every "skin" section needs to tab into the one next to it so be prepared to fiddle a lot with the panels.

This transformation is one of the most frustrating in the entire Kingdom line. The entire transformation of the rear section is entirely too fiddly. There is very little flexibility and clearance and it relies way too heavily on things tabbing together just right. I transformed the figure a few times during the course of photographing it and reviewing it and the transform never got easier for me. Maybe it's just me? I would love to hear that everyone has an easy time with the transform.

Beast Mode:
Part of the design philosophy in Kingdom was to create beast modes that looked more like a representation of real world animals versus the more stylized beast modes from the past. Rhinox is no exception. In this form he has the giant bulk you would expect of a rhino. Each leg ends with hooves that are nicely sculpted. His head features two horns, one significantly larger than the other. In this mode you can really see the attention to sculpted detail in the texture of the skin and I appreciate that.

This mode mostly shows off the grey plastic, with some of the green peeking through on the robot arms. The hooves are painted off-white, the same color as the horns. The eyes are painted red, and the aforementioned "splotches" on the skin are very present in this mode. The deco is nice, and if it weren't for green bits of plastic on the front legs, it would be easy to think this was just a toy of a rhino and not a transforming figure (okay, okay, you'd have to ignore all the panel lines on top too). Overall this is a good looking rhino mode.

Rhinox has...one point of articulation in this mode. No, I'm not kidding. His lower jaw can move up and down and that's it. Technically his front beast mode legs can swivel out, but that's more a function of transformation than actual articulation. And um...yeah. That's it. Other than that Rhinox is pretty much a brick in this mode.

Final Thoughts:
I don't want to say that Rhinox is a bad toy. If I were to look at him in a vacuum, forgetting other Rhinox toys and ignoring his concept art, I would say "Yes, that's a fun rhino to Maximal toy". Indeed, compared to what we got in 1996 he's exceptional. So I'll say this - if you do not have the option of getting T30 Rhinox and you just need "a" Voyager Class Rhinox, this figure will do. However, I personally cannot help but feel disappointed that this figure did not live up to its potential. Mildly recommended (and I'm being generous there).

Pros:

  • Nice detailing in both modes.
  • Good deco.
  • Looks imposing next to other Maximals in Kingdom.
  • Good articulation.

Cons:

  • Lack of detailing on parts like the rhino skin sections makes parts of the figure look flat and dull.
  • Chainguns of Doom need to look more robust.
  • Transformation is overly fiddly and complex.