"Transformers" Timelines Botcon 2010 Cindersaur Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: $72 (in a two pack with Rapido, limited to 1500 pieces)
Retailer: Botcon 2010 exclusive souvenir
Accessories: Cyber Key, Missile, Missile launcher/tail

Botcon 2010 sought out to celebrate Generation 2 in many ways, and one of them was to give a character a chance to "join" Generation 2 who hadn't been in it before. A bit of history first. In Generation One, a team of Decepticons was released called the Firecons. These three characters (Sparkstalker, Flamefeather and Cindersaur) turned into vaguely bird or dragon like creatures into robots. The main gimmick was that each one had a flint system inside that would utilize a wheel to make sparks when you rolled them along the ground. In Europe, Generation 2 utilized some sculpts from Generation One and released those sculpts as the G2 versions of those characters. While Sparkstalker and Flamefeather were both got the "G2 treatment" as brightly colored, partially translucent figures, Cindersaur never became part of that release set.

Fast forward to 2009 as we contemplated who to put in this set. Those of us who consult for Fun Publications really liked the 10th Anniversary Beast Wars Megatron sculpt and have been trying to find a way to use it for a Botcon toy for a while now. When we decided to do G2, we thought using this as Cindersaur's way to bust into the G2 world was a fun idea so we went with it. I never managed to do a full review of the first two releases of this figure, so I'll do a rather thorough review here keeping in mind that this was intended to be another character altogether.

Beast Mode:
The 10th Anniversary Beast Wars Megatron and Optimus Primal figures were developed to be reinterpretations of their forms as seen in the first season of the television show. In that season, the beast modes of the Transformers were meant to be completely organic, shielding them from the Energon overload that was all over Earth at the time. However, for the 10th Anniversary figures, Megatron and Optimus Primal were given a more "techno organic" look that meshed organic and technological looking details into the beast and robot modes. Taking the cue from Beast Wars Megatron, this beast mode is a Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, instead of the more mechanical looking Transmetal Megatron of seasons two and three of Beast Wars, this figure has very rounded and smooth lines, making him appear organic overall despite details such as armor plating on certain sections. To dig into more detail, the organic features include:

  • The dinosaur arms have skin like wrinkles on the upper arms and a bit of a ridged skin like design right behind the arms.
  • On several parts of the body there are rounded ridges that are uneven enough to look more organic than mechanical. These sections include the upper legs, the tail and under the eyes.
  • The lower part of the tail has wrinkle lines resembling skin.
  • Most of the lower legs on the sides have ridge lines etched into them, looking like the skin on the arms and tail.
  • There are several tear drop shaped sections on the body of this figure that have ridge lines inside them. This can be found on the tail and the back.

To complement the organic designs, there are a lot of mechanical/technological looking details as well:

  • Running along the back and the tail are V shaped plates sculpted into the figure.
  • Several sections have tubes running along them including the upper legs and the area above the jawline on the sides of the head.
  • Several sections have raised sections that look like small armor plates in many shapes including rectangles and trapezoids. These can be found everywhere from the area behind the neck to the snout.
  • The tongue is segmented with angled lines, giving it a more mechanical look than organic.
  • Near the base of the tail is the port to insert the Cyber Key (more on that later) and it has the arrow detail that was used on many figures of that era along with tubes and circles to denote where to insert the key.

The Firecons were definitely not the most celebrated characters to come out of Generation One, but that's a good thing. In a way that gave Fun Publications a lot of freedom when it came to reinterpreting the character for a new age. We did want to stay true to the other two G2 Firecons however, so the colors of purple and green were kept intact with a third color added in. The third color chosen was blue. On the G2 Firecons, the third primary plastic colors were translucent. To uphold that tradition, several parts were made translucent blue on this figure while others were kept solid blue for plastic tolerance purposes. The primary color is a solid blue, with translucent blue used for the beast mode arms and the sections the arms are attached to. Translucent blue is also used for the Cyber Key and the tail. Several smaller pieces are cast in purple and neon green. The purple is found on the underside and neck (and the tongue!) while the green is mostly seen peeking out at joints such as the neck and the insides of the thighs.

Paint applications are done in colors that contrast well against the aforementioned plastic colors. Red, silver and neon green are the primary paint colors. Silver is the most extensively used color, found on the armor plates on his back, his teeth, the knees and the claws on his hands and feet. Red is used on the organic looking parts with ridges such as those inside the mouth and under the eyes. Neon green is used for the eyes as well as the S shaped detailing on the sides of his neck. Overall, this is one frighteningly crazy color scheme. Yet somehow the colors don't totally blind you with their brightness due in part to the rather dark blue plastic they are set against. The translucent blue plastic is pretty dark, and the solid blue is only a few shades above that, making a nice canvas for all the other colors. At the same time he represents the crazy color aesthetic of the Generation 2 era very well and he fits in with the other Firecons from Generation 2.

As mentioned before, the Cyber Key is cast in translucent blue plastic. The Key used is the Decepticon Key with a Decepticon symbol sculpted into the center of the Key's round section. Triangular designs stick out the top, evoking the shape of the Decepticon symbol while six tabs stick out of the sides (three on each). The edges of the Key are painted purple while a silver Generation 2 Decepticon symbol has been painted onto the front of the key, mostly obscuring the sculpted G1 Decepticon symbol. As an aside, a silver G2 Decepticon symbol is painted onto the right leg of the figure towards the top.

Cindersaur has thirteen points of articulation in this form. This includes four in each leg and the ability for his mouth to open and close. His neck can also allow his head to move up and down and a separate joint allows it to tilt around. For a beast mode, this is quite a bit of articulation and I think it's important to keep in mind this sculpt was originally released in 2006, so the engineering principles back then that result in figures like the current "Generations" line were in the process of being elevated from the more blocky, less sophisticated figures like some found in "Armada". In particular, I like the way the design of the figure allows you to balance it on the front end of the feet, resting mostly on the claws instead of having to rely on the heel pieces (intended for the robot mode). This allows you to have the body pointing forward, matching current scientific thinking about the way T-Rex dinosaurs truly walked (instead of the older school of thought which placed them in an upright position). Despite being a slightly older sculpt and one that has been used twice in previous releases, all the joints on this figure are still very tight.

Cindersaur's main action feature involves his Cyber Key features which is placed in a rather unfortunate area at the base of the tail. Considering he is a partly organic dinosaur, the implications about what could normally be in the same spot are a bit frightening to think about. Anyhow, insert the key and his tail lifts up (again, the biological analogies are most unfortunate) and his missile launcher is revealed. Cast in blue plastic with a silver missile, you press the silver tab on the right side to fire the missile. I honestly think someone on the design team was giggling madly the whole time designing this action feature. The obvious place to put a launcher or any sort of weapon would have been the head, but this is certainly different and frankly quite comical.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the tail and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing out the purple heel pieces on each leg.
  3. Swing the legs down so they are pointing to the back of the beast mode.
  4. Straighten out the feet and the legs.
  5. Shift the blue panels on the sides of the upper legs down.
  6. Swing the sides of the purple section on the chest down.
  7. Swing the blue panel behind the neck back.
  8. Swing the panels with the beast mode arms up.
  9. You should be able to see the robot chest piece now, rotate it around.
  10. Swing up the robot head.
  11. Push the robot chest piece back.
  12. Swing down the purple shoulder armor piece over the left shoulder.
  13. Straighten out the dinosaur head arm.
  14. The tail/missile launcher can be attached to his left arm via the pegs on the sides and the hole on his arm.

Robot Mode:
It is important to keep in mind when looking at this robot mode that it was originally intended to be Beast Wars Megatron, and thus it has many of the features you would expect to see on that character. This includes the head with an angled helmet containing a central crest, tube designs on the top of his chest, the dinosaur head acting as his right arm and the clawed feet. There was no new sculpting for this mold, so if it screams to you "Megatron!" more than "Cindersaur!" it is totally understandable.

In this mode there is a lot more mechanical detail revealed, as is appropriate considering the robot mode was meant to be the "true" nature of the Transformer in "Beast Wars". In this case, the chest, shoulders, head and newly revealed arm/leg sections are all mechanical looking. That said, the details are quite intricate and flowing including vents on the sides of his chest, tubes running at a horizontal angle on his waist and metallic band lines around his right arm. His left arm has three large claws, which is nice to see since it doesn't cheat and simply make the tail the arm (as the first version of this figure did). There are some smaller details that are revealed in this mode that I really like a lot. On the top of his left shoulder armor is an intricate set of details with a raised circle in the center. On each of the translucent blue pieces on his back, look near the base of the ball joint and you'll see rectangles and triangles coming outward from the joint. A new mode should reveal new details, and Cindersaur definitely does that. What I also appreciate about this sculpt is how bulky it looks despite being a deluxe class figure. His shoulder armor makes him look wide, his claws on his feet are long while the claws on his left hand look thick and dangerous. His legs look strong and solid (and well protected thanks to the armor pieces on the sides). Overall, this is a fantastic looking sculpt.

The same colors that dominated the beast mode are present here as well. Purple and blue are the most prominant, with purple making up most of his upper body and the left forearm. Blue is found on his right forearm and on most of the legs. Neon green, which only peeked out a bit on the beast mode is in full force here as his head, upper arms and the thighs. Silver plastic made an appearance in the beast mode, but here it is also found on his hip joints.

The colors that were used for the paint deco in beast mode appear here as well. Silver paint is seen on his waist, legs and the teeth on his right arm. Red paint is prominant on his legs and waist and in a nice touch, is also used for his eyes. Neon green is found all over the upper body, set against the purple and looking super bright while contrasting well against the purple. Blue paint is used on the head where it covers most of the helmet portion of his head with the top section painted purple. Make no mistake, this scheme was made to grab your eyeballs and not let go, and it does it really effectively!

There are twenty four points of articulation for Cindersaur in this mode. That includes six in each leg and waist articulation. The articulation points are meaningful as well. His arms can move up and down and bend at the elbow sure, but they can also turn with swivel joints between the shoulders and upper arms. The ball joints on the hips connect to thigh sections that can also swivel. Beast Wars pretty much made high articulation a standard for Transformers figures (though the tend began in Generation 2) so it is great to see that tradition continuing in a figure meant to pay homage to that line. The missile launcher in the tail is meant to be used in this form as well, and here it looks a lot less inappropriate than it does in beast mode! The joints are still tight and the weapon attaches to his left arm really well without falling off easily or flopping around.

Final Thoughts:
As a Megatron sculpt, this figure totally rocks. I really like it (and I promise I will eventually get around to creating a review of the base figure). For Cindersaur, it's perhaps not the most expected fit, but I think it works well and offers a rather impressive looking upgrade for the Firecon. I also enjoy the fact that this Firecon finally gets his due in a G2 line over a decade after the original. It's this type of "fill in the gap" that Fun Publications likes to do as part of Botcon and the Transformers Club. This guy is going to cost you a pretty penny, but if you're into unconventional color schemes and an awesome beast sculpt, this figure is for you!

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