Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: Included free with 2010 Collectors Club membership, $25.00 for members and $65.00 for non-members
Retailer: Transformers Collector's Club Exclusive
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Missile launchers x 2, Cop-Tur Mini-Con figure
Text from transformersclub.com:
Here is DION - the Transformers Collectors' Club FREE Membership Figure for 2010! This figure will be sent to any Transformers Club member who's membership is active by March 16, 2010. Dion will also come with the two exclusive Henkei missile launchers as well as his mini-con partner, Cop-Tur. Members can expect to receive this figure with all his accessories in late spring/early summer.
As part of being a member of the Official Transformers Collector's Club, members receive a free action figure each year. In the first four years of the club's existence, these were combiner parts from Energon such as Landquake. In the fifth year, members received a deluxe scale figure to serve as the torso of the combiner Nexus Maximus. In 2010, the use of a deluxe figure as the exclusive continues with Dion. The figure itself is a redeco of Universe 2.0 Hot Shot, specifically the Henkei! Japanese version of the figure that includes the weapon accessories. The character of Dion was originally introduced in the Generation One cartoon series episode "War Dawn" as the best friend of Orion Pax, the robot who would become Optimus Prime. While the writers may not have intended him to even be thought about beyond that episode, speculation went by for years that after his "death" that he was rebuilt as Ironhide or Ultra Magnus. In this continuity, he was indeed rebuilt, but retained his identity as Dion.
Included with Dion is Cop-Tur, a Mini-Con whose colors and personality are partly based on the 80's Go-Bot character of the same name.
This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. For a detailed look at the mechanics of the figure, check out Universe 2.0 Hot Shot's review.
In vehicle mode, the red plastic from Jolt has been replaced with blue, matching one of the Go-Bot Cop-Tur's primary colors. The black plastic remains, making up the back of the turbines on the sides and his rotor. The paint applications are slightly different on this figure. The two front windows are painted silver, matching the pattern from Jolt. The details on the back match up on the curved portions, but there is an additional paint detail at the base of the helicopter's tail. These details are painted in orange, another color that was found on the Go-Bot Cop-Tur. The rotor blades still spin freely and the parts on this figure feel solid in this form.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Swing the bottom of the figure down to form the robot legs.
- Swing the cockpit section down.
Cop-Tur's robot mode is mostly blue, but now the orange details wind up on his chest. The one extra orange detail in the center adds quite a bit visually, drawing your eyes in. His face is painted silver and his upper arms are cast in black, just like Jolt. The joints from the robot mode are tighter on my Cop-Tur than the ones on my Jolt figure. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean Cop-Tur can stand on his own easily (if at all, I gave up after ten tries). Unfortunately the section on the back is too heavy and winds up pulling the figure back constantly. This is just an unfortunate design flaw. I still think the figure is well sculpted, and I'm glad there are good points of articulation on this figure. Still, I can't help but think that somewhere in the quality assurance department someone would have picked this up. Go figure.
In "War Dawn", Dion was portrayed as a pickup truck type of vehicle (albeit with Cybertronian flourishes in the design). For his upgrade, he has adopted a much faster alternate mode, a sports car inspired vehicle. There are five primary plastic colors in this form. The main color is metallic orange, one of the main colors featured on the cartoon version of Dion in Generation One. The wheels and engine are cast in black while the windows are cast in dark grey translucent plastic (with the exception of the side windows). The lower half of the vehicle's front end features white plastic. This may sound extremely bright to the point of silliness, but in fact the color balance works out well. The orange is metallic but it is a darker shade that contrasts well against the white. The translucent grey plastic is dark as well, standing out well against the orange plastic. The fifth color takes the form of clear plastic used for the headlights.
To paraphrase Lanny Lathem (creative director of Fun Publications, who designed this deco), there are a ton of paint applications on this figure. Hot Shot was fairly simple in color scheme, following the color scheme of Armada Hot Shot as its guide. In this case, Lanny treated the car as a clean canvas to paint on an interesting design. There are eight paint application colors used on this vehicle form. To put this in perspective, your average deluxe figure has an average of about four or so colors, and each color adds on cost to the figure, so clearly creating a good looking design took precedent here, which is a great thing to see considering the cost of the figure (whether you purchase it separately or as part of your membership).
The most broadly used paint applicaiton is done in blue. Blue was one of the primary colors featured on Dion in "War Dawn" so it is a color that needed to be on the figure. The blue can be found on almost every part of the figure including the hood, over the wheel wells, the spoiler halves and most notably on the doors of the car. The door designs are the coolest. On the front of each door the design begins as an Autobot symbol and then leads to streaks going back with a matching line starting on the rear wheel well and pointing in the opposite direction. It's a beautifully done detail that I would love to see on a real life car, and it alludes to Dion's new found love for speed. Take a closer look and you'll find the numbers "85" by the Autobot symbol in tiny numbers. This serves a dual purpose. One, it is not uncommon for vehicles nowadays to have all sorts of numbers on them (with various points of significance) but more importantly this was the year that "War Dawn" aired (1985). These details alone are quite awesome, but there's more!
The lower half of the front of the car as well as the sides and back are painted white. White was also a color found on Dion in the cartoon, so it is great to see the color integrated into the figure. White is also not a color you get to see often on Transformers in such abundance, so it is refreshing in that respect. The side mirrors are painted grey in an attempt to keep consistancy with the translucent grey plastic. Silver paint is used on the grille details on the front end of the vehicle as well as the sides of the wheels. Yellow is used for detailing under the headlights while red is used on the rear lights. The red on the rear lights is quite deep and really draws your eyes in. I thought it was translucent red plastic at first! A bit of black paint is used at the ends of the vents in front of the rear wheels. This is significant since often such details are left unpainted and such attention to detail shows a lot of care went into this deco. The last color I'll note is one that can almost be missed if you don't stare for a bit - orange. While there is plenty of orange plastic, in order for the cabin cover to match up, a bit of orange paint is used on the rear window section, bringing Dion up to an incredible number of paint applications.
Dion still has the same functionality in this mode as Hot Shot including having a Powerlinx peg in the back. Cop-Tur very loosely slides into the slots on the spoilers but unfortunately does not fit into it snug. This is more a weakness of the mold itself before it ever became Hot Shot and really there's not much that could have been done with it without an extensive mold change.
Where this figure differs from Universe 2.0 Hot Shot is the design of the back of the figure. Using the HenKei! mold, the rear sections have a curved gap in the back that allow the weapons to attach as exhaust pipes. The missiles for these launchers double as exhaust plumes sticking out the back of the figure. These are designed to look more like a blast of flame and are shaped in a thin cylinder, enhancing the emphasis on speed in this figure. The missiles are cast in translucent blue and look really cool.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach Cop-Tur if attached.
- Flip the car over and detach the missile launchers if attached.
- Swing the door panels out and forward.
- Split the front end of the car.
- Split the back section and cabin section of the vehicle and swing the sections out to the sides.
- Swing the sections from the back of the vehicle and the robot arms up, then swing the robot legs back and connect the waist pieces together.
- Rotate the lower legs around so the parts with the circle details face forward.
- Swing out the feet on each leg and then swing out the front halves of the feet.
- Swing the windshield halves on each leg down, then tuck them in behind the lower legs.
- Swing the panels on each forearm down.
- The missile launchers can be put into Dion's fists or attached to the sides of his forearms.
To quote another 80's cartoon character "Wowzers!". I've often spoken of the power of a new deco scheme to give life to increase the appeal of a figure while also making it look like a totally different character even without any remolded parts or new heads. Dion is a model of this idea. When you first transform him his colors almost invert. Blue becomes the dominant color with orange still playing a significant role. White, black and translucent blue plastic come into play as well, working together to create a sharp looking figure. While blue does dominate several sections including the torso, waist and upper legs, efforts were made to break the color up. His forearms and feet are white and thanks to the car shell parts, he has orange on his head, back, arms and legs. A bit of black plastic shows in this form on his elbow joints and small bits on his back armor and joints.
Much like the vehicle mode, Dion has many more paint colors than the average deluxe figure in this mode. Altogether he has six different paint colors: silver, two shades of blue, white and two shades of orange. The silver is found on the robot face, helping it stand out from the rest of the colors. A flat blue color is used on his shoulders, matching up with the blue plastic that makes up most of his torso. Metallic blue paint is found on the middle of his helmet section and on the panels in the front of his legs. White paint is found on his chest, mid-body and legs, giving him a very distinct paint pattern from Hot Shot. A shade of bright orange fills in a lot of the details on his chest and legs while a darker orange is used to color a horizontal section of his waist. As if this was not enough detail and color, Dion has an "Elite Guard" badge tampographed onto his left shoulder. I've got to say this color scheme is absolutely fantastic. I really love the way the white is used to outline orange details on his body, and the white paint on his thighs really offers up an unexpected and welcome detail. Overall, this is simply a better looking figure than Hot Shot.
One of my major criticisms of Universe 2.0 Hot Shot was his lack of play value. Part of this was due to shoddy construction (his lower legs pop off constantly when I transform him, whereas I've transformed Dion several times and had it only happen once). This time around I have to say that the joints feel more stiff on Dion than they do on my Hot Shot. Don't get me wrong, the limitations of his back kibble are still there, but at least the figure holds together better. Also, enough cannot be said about how much having the weapons adds to the figure. Instead of just having a helicopter sitting on his shoulder, now he can fire at enemies while a helicopter sits on his shoulders! I'm especially appreciative of the fact that these weapons can either be held in his hands or mounted on the sides of his forearms. They may be only simple cylinders without too much design embelishment, but they look great and a lot of the sculpting went into the missiles, which look really nice in their translucent blue color.
In an allusion to his past as a dock worker, Fun Publications offered up an alternative pair of accessories for Dion in this form. Detach the rear-vehicle mode kibble from his back and attach them to the sides of his forearms to create "duro lifters". You can then attach his weapons in his back for storage (they almost look like smokestacks back there). While I'm not generally an advocate of disassembling parts that weren't meant to come apart, this actually works really well and I've done it a few times now without the plastic stressing or becoming loose. That said, I don't recommend doing it often.
It's so strange when I don't like a figure, and then I wind up loving it's redeco. I won't place Dion in the "highly recommended" category, partly due to the inherent weaknesses of the sculpt (my Cop-Tur is still flopped over on my desk) but I will bump this up to "recommended" on account of so much care being given to the deco, better quality control, excellent homage material and most of all use of weapons not released in the US. Overall, this figure is something special and worthy of being in your collection.