"Transformers Universe 2.0" Inferno Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: December 2008
Price Point: $21.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile x 1

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Though search and rescue is his primary function – and one he happens to be very good at – INFERNO loves nothing more than a good fight. In fact, he will often abandon his duties or even ignore direct orders, just to go antagonize DECEPTICONS. He especially loves to get up close to his enemies, where the energy-damping field he generates to help suppress fires can eliminate the effectiveness of their weapons. He uses the chemical foam sprayed from his arm cannon to blind opponents as often as he uses it to put out fires.

Prepare to roll into battle with this Generation 2 Series AUTOBOT ally! In robot mode, blast at the enemy with his firing arm cannon! Convert to fire-rescue vehicle mode and this warrior sports a launching “water” blast! The battle is on – are you ready?

Inferno has always struck me as a bit of an anomaly in Transformers history. Originally introduced as one of the "new" Autobots on Earth in the show's second season, he had a good number of appearances but never seemed to become as popular or stand out as much as characters such as Jazz or Starscream. Still, the character was one of the Autobots chosen to be brought back in Generation 2. His name was co-opted for a bit by the Beast Wars fire ant, but not too long after the name "Inferno" became associated with vehicles again including an appearance in Energon and Universe. Of all those, his Energon incarnation was probably the closest to paying homage to the original character. Now he's back as a Voyager Class figure with an all new sculpt. I'm guessing part of the appeal of the character (when he's done as homages or pseudo homages to G1 Inferno) is his alternate mode of a fire truck, which then expands out into the category of "emergency vehicles". This incarnation returns him to his roots as a fire truck.

Vehicle Mode:
True to his G1 form, Inferno is a fire truck. However, the packaging for Inferno notes that he represents the Generation 2 line. This is mostly due to the large water cannon mounted onto the top of the truck which fires a translucent blue missile shaped like liquid, simulating a "water blast". I thought this was a pretty neat way to represent a generation of Transformers that has been largley forgotten outside of hardcore fandom.

I don't envy designers who have to take a form like a fire truck and make it look interesting in toy form. Sure, in real life they're huge and have a grand appearance, but sometimes in toy form they can look really plain. The designers tried to overcome this problem in two ways. First, they made sure Inferno's vehicle mode wasn't just a simple boxy rectangle and second, they added a lot of sculpted details into the figure.

The front end of Inferno's vehicle mode starts out as boxy on the bottom, but his windshield angles inward a bit leading to a flat top. Then that part goes straight back to another piece that angles upward before angling back down and stretching back into the most boxy part of the vehicle. The potential monotony of the shape is broken up by the aforementioned water cannon his back, which is mounted on the back and is long enough to come to the middle of the vehicle. Add in the front end of his missile into that equation and it goes over the middle section. I really dig this slightly irregular shape as it blends both the the boxy, rectangular shape of a fire engine with a slight twist of something a bit more modern.

I have to admit that when I first heard Inferno was being done for "Universe", my first thought was "How dull." However, after seeing this sculpt in person I am nothing but imressed. A lot of care went into this vehicle. The headlights and grille are super detailed, with small horizontal lines on the headlights and circular lights underneath. Small circular shapes adorn the front section above the grille showing where armor is bolted on. The cab section has seats and a steering wheel inside and side view mirrors on the sides. The side view mirrors are not simple plastic nubs sticking out but rather are tall pieces with tall mirrors as you would find on a real life vehicle. He has sirens mounted on top of the cab section which have horns inside for him to blare as he races to the rescue! Well, in my imagination at least...

Running along the sides of the vehicle you'll find everything from tech details to pressure gauges to doors for storage compartments. Handles on the top of the vehicle and layers of mechanical detail on his water cannon add to his nicely sculpted appearance. He even has rocket boosters in the back! Need to get to an emergency in a rush? Just activate your fire truck's handy dandy boosters! This is one of the most amusing and fun details on this figure. If you miss Inferno having a ladder on top, fear not, they're not totally forgotten as he has a couple sculpted into the back of the vehicle.

Inferno is cast in dark red, gunmetal, black, dark grey, translucent blue and clear plastic. The red is the dominant color, making up most of the vehicle. The black is used for parts like his cannon, wheels and the seats inside the cabin. The gunmetal colored plastic is used on the mid-section of the vehicle and the boosters in the back. The translucent plastic is used for parts like his windshield and the sirens. Sure there are no real surprises here, but the colors are perfect for the character, but of course there's more to Inferno than that.

Paint decos on this figure are done in silver, white and red. The silver is used on the front grille and the horizontal lines extending out of it as well as parts on the sides of the vehicle. White is used for the headlights and several decos involving the numbers "401" (this is the area code for the area where Hasbro is located). On the sides the white forms a thick horizontal stripe that then angles upward sharply. The words "Fire Rescue" show in red where the white does not fill in any detail. On the front, driver side is a an Autobot symbol done in white outline. The red paint is used on his wheel hubs, which are painted a dark red that goes nicely with the dark red plastic on most of the figure. The "401" and the Autobot symbol are my favorite details since they work so well on the character and act as a nod and a wink to Hasbro and his alternate form respectively.

Inferno's cannon can turn around but it is not in a simple circle. Since it is mounted onto one of his robot arms in the rear section, it can turn most of the way in one direction but you'll have to reverse the turn to point the cannon in the opposite drection. The cannon can also swivel up and down and a press of the trigger launches the missile about six or seven inches. I think it was a neat idea to combine the fire truck element with a projectile firing element into one piece on the figure that also links it to a previous Transformers generation, really nice touch.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. I recommend firing and setting aside the missile during the transformation process so it doesn't go flying off into parts unknown.
  2. Rotate the cannon back so it is pointing back.
  3. Swing out the gunmetal grey sections in the middle of the vehicle.
  4. Flip the truck over and swing in each of the front wheels.
  5. Separate the lower half of the back of the vehicle from the top and swing it down.
  6. Swing the robot legs forward all the way on the hip joint so the front wheels disappear underneath the cabin section.
  7. Separate the legs from each other and swing the robot feet out. Then rotate each lower leg so the feet point forward.
  8. Swing the front bumper down.
  9. Pull the two halves of the top of the fire engine out.
  10. Separate the panels with the "401" on the sides from the central cabin piece.
  11. Swing the panel with the window painted black against the panel with the "401" on it, then swing each of those panels up.
  12. Swing the robot arms forward.
  13. Swing the red panels on the forearms back.
  14. Rotate the panels on the forearms around.
  15. The panes on his shoulders can be swung back or kept out to the sides (whichever you think looks best).
  16. Swing the black panel on the back out and flip the robot head up. Swing the panel back up against his back.
  17. Insert the missile back into the cannon.

Robot Mode:
Inferno may be a rescue vehicle, but that doesn't mean he doesn't look like he's ready for action. The original Inferno was very rigid looking, mostly because his legs were very long and his overall shape was rectangular even in robot mode. He had some nice detail to be sure, but by today's standards he was rather plain looking. However, by having many of his parts expand outwards and giving him good posability, Universe Inferno ends up looking very dynamic. Standing at about 7.25 inches tall, he is also wide, with a large torso section and thick legs and a serious expression on his face. Coupled with the panels on his shoulders that can be positioned in different ways, he definitely looks very striking!

Universe Inferno takes a couple of the basic elements from the original Inferno and updates them. The head design is based off of G1 Ifnerno's including a large central crest and two smaller extensions on either side. He even has small "wings" sweeping back on his head, a reference to similarly shaped "wings" he had on the G1 figure which mounted on either side of his head. Inferno's arm design is based on the G1 figure, which had a vertical rectangle with horizontal lines stacked on top of each other on his shoulders. His lower arms had four raised segments going around the entire arm, just like this Inferno does.

Like the vehicle mode, Inferno is choc full of detail in this form. In addition to his aforementioned details, his feet have two pistons sculpted in each while his inner thighs have tube detailing. Overall there is some fantastic detail on this figure.

There are no real new color reveals in this form. Newly revealed parts such as his feet and fists are all cast in plastic colors seen in the vehicle mode including black for his upper arms and feet while gunmetal grey is used for his thighs and waist piece. A few new color decos show in this form including the silver parts on his head (which includes the face) and the painted details on his knees and feet.

Inferno has twenty points of articulation in this form. this includes six in each arm and five in each leg. His cannon is mounted on the underside of his right arm and can still swivel up and down and turn around. The fist holes in this figure have been made the semi-standard size used the past six plus years or so in the "Transformers" toy line. This allows him to hold other "Universe" weapons including Cyclonus and Silverbolt's guns. I used Nightstick in the picture since I thought it was neat he can hold the modern version of a weapon his G1 incarnation was given when that figure was given a new deco and released as "Artfire" in Japan.

Final Thoughts:
I really love getting to review new sculpts based on old characters in the Universe line. I remember not too long ago many fans wondered "What if they took X character and remade him with today's toy technology?" and in some cases we now have the answer. Inferno's new form is true to his original, while having an awesome sculpt, fantastic posability and a cool color scheme to boot. Highly recommended!

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