"Transformers Universe 2.0" Beachcomber Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: December 2008
Price Point: $4.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Team up with the AUTOBOT alliance and take on DECEPTICON forces! This quick conversion figure is ready for action and prepared for whatever adventure is in store! Battle even the mightiest opponents in robot mode and then convert the figure to dune buggy vehicle mode and roll out!

With the late 2008 wave of "Legends" class figures, Hasbro took a fantastic turn with the sub-line of the Transformers brand. Rather than simply reinterpreting characters who had been created in other size classes, they decided to use it as a way to resurrect a small sub group of Transformers from the days of G1: Mini-Bots. The Mini-Bots were originally a sub-line of transforming cars meant to be slightly deformed versions of existing vehicles such as the Volkswagon beetle and Trans Am. Considering the small size of the Legends line, it is the perfect place to update these characters. The Mini-Bots were touted as Autobots who acted as "spies or messengers", but over time the individual characters took on much more specialized functions and created a small group of characters who have not been given much attention since (with some exceptions such as Bumblebee). One of these oft ignored characters was Bumblebee, who had the distinction of being an Autobot geologist.

Robot Mode:
Like many G1 figures, the toy would wind up getting reinterpreted in some way for the animated program and comic book of the time. In Beachcomber's case, his body was not altered much, but his head was changed almost entirely from one with visor eyes and a mouthplate to a head with visor eyes, a regular nose and mouth along with a unique helmet that had curved sections on either side of the jaw and mouth. Using this as their base, the designers have given Beachcomber an update borrowing many elements from his G1 form.

The two primary elements borrowed from Beachcomber's G1 form are his head and upper body. His head is a slightly elongated interpretation of the G1 head complete with a large visor over a face with a nose, mouth and relatively large chin piece. The curves on his helmet are there as well, but have been toned down a bit. The other aspect borrowed from the G1 figure is his upper body, which features a panel on the top of the chest slanting down to the middle of the body which has three angled tubes on either side of a T shaped design. His arms and legs have the vehicle mode wheels on them, resembling his G1 form.

Beachcomber is cast in blue and black plastic. The blue is rather dark, staying true to the original Beachcomber. It makes up almost the entire bod except for some joints, his upper legs, feet and wheels. Those parts are cast in black instead. White, yellow, red, silver and metallic blue are all used for paint detail. White is used on sections of the lower legs and his upper body. Metallic blue is used for the visor eyes. Silver is used to paint his lower face and part of the vehicle mode on his lower legs. Yellow is used for the vehicle's headlights and the section under the "T" design on his chest. Red is used for the actual "T" itself and an Autobot symbol on the slanted part of his upper body. This deco is really well done and pays more homage to the animation model than the original figure, which primarily had a silver central body.

Beachcomber has eight points of articulation. This includes ball joints on the shoulders and his hips, allowing him a good range of motion for a figure this size.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Pull the upper body up and slide it over the robot head.
  2. Swing the robot feet up.
  3. Connect the two lower robot legs together.
  4. Swing the robot legs back to form the front of the vehicle mode.
  5. Swing the robot arms down and together, connecting them together.

Vehicle Mode:
G1 Beachcomber's vehicle mode was a dune buggy, and a pretty flat and innocent looking one to boot. Not so with Legends Beachcomber. This time he is a rather high riding dune buggy with a good amount of bulk and width. The front end is angled downward slightly with covers over the front wheels extending out to the sides. The rear section is rather high, almost as high as the chairs inside the passenger section. A spare tire can be found on the back of the vehicle and most surprisingly, a machine gun mounted on the back. Considering Beachcomber was often shown as a pacifist who did not want to fight, this is a surprising (but cool) design element.

The parts that cover the front wheels are painted white, with yellow headlights. The rails that form the cage around the passenger seat are painted silver. It looks great and I really like this new "bulked up" form for Beachcomber. It's a nice contrast to the robot mode, which looks much thinner and bears a lot of resemblance to his G1 form.

Final Thoughts:
I think it's a stroke of creative genius to take the Legends class and use it for Mini-Bots, and I'm happy they began with a character who has been largely ignored in Transformers history. The vehicle mode looks awesome and new while the robot mode pays fantastic homage to the original character. Highly recommended.

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