I don’t buy non-fiction based, non-new character repaints of toys I already own. That being said, the new Dark of the Moon Toys R Us exclusive Mission: Earth Scan Series toys (whoa, that’s a mouthful) don’t actually fall into this category for two reasons.
First, technically, even though I tend to refer to them as “repaints”, a toy recast in translucent plastic is not a repaint, it’s actually a remold. However, that distinction doesn’t fool anyone, that’s still bending the spirit of the “no repaints” rule.
Second, these “repaints” are actually fiction-based. Scanning an appropriate alt mode on the fly was something introduced into the 2007 movie universe pretty early on in the first movie. Taking umbrage when Mikaela asked, if he’s a “super-advanced robot, why does he transform into this piece-of-crap Camaro?” Bumblebee scanned a conveniently passing-by newer Camaro and turned from a “piece-of-crap” 1976 Camaro into a pretty, new concept version of the 2009 Camaro.
Third, who cares? Translucent plastic. ‘Nuff said.
Just like the Cyberglyph repaints of ‘Bee and Arcee, the translucent plastic works better in vehicle mode than robot mode. This is doubly so for these guys because only half their vehicle is see-through.
The effect works better on Bumblebee because the back half of his vehicle is the bottom half of his robot mode. On Ironhide, the back half of his alt mode is pretty much the pieces hanging off the back of his robot mode.
On Sideswipe, the effect is even more mixed, with the rear of his vehicle making up the left, right, and back of robot mode.
Oddly, they took the translucence further with Ratchet than any of the rest of them. Like Bumblebee, the back half of his alt mode is the bottom half of his robot mode, but they went the extra step of using translucent green plastic for his arms.
Caveat emptor with this guy. My Ratchet had problems with the hinge on the piece hanging from his right hip. One side of the hinge was too big, preventing it from folding up like it was supposed to. In my attempt to force the hinge into the right position for robot mode, I snapped a tab off and caused severe cracking of the plastic.
Hopefully this isn’t a problem with the toy in general, I’ll find out when I exchange the broken one. Either way, lesson learned regarding the tensile strength of this particular piece, I’ll be much more careful with the new one.
The really beauty of this line, just like the Cyberglyph exclusives, is in the vehicle mode. This is the first deco I can think of that actually represents activity, rather than just being a static paintjob.
You can see the outline as it continues along the side to form the red emergency stripe with the heartbeat pattern; the heartbeat pattern itself drawn out in the blue outline. Between this and the green translucent arms, I can tell whomever did the design work here put a lot of thought into this incarnation of Ratchet.
With the exception of the Alternators, as a general rule very few of my collection gets displayed in vehicle mode. However, these exclusives will go right next to Cyberglyph Arcee and Bumblebee displayed in alt mode. Translucent plastics pretty much bend, if not break, every rule of collecting and displaying I set.