Only having a peripheral familiarity with G1 Axer, I originally passed on the remold of most recent Lockdown. The reason I was not too familiar with him was because he was part of my least favourite Transformers toyline, the Action Masters.
I found him in a bargain bin at the last Botcon for a couple bucks, which is how he found his way into my collection. In fact, originally the only reason I was aware of him at all was the point his peculiar history crossed over into the universe of Robots in Disguise. For reasons unknown, the people writing Robots in Disguise Axer’s bio decided to crib directly from his G1 bio,
Motto: “No prey is too large, no fee is too small.”
“Axer learned his craft hunting down microchip smugglers in the slag swamps of Cybertron.”
Then they took it a step further by including the line,
“Following a rescue mission into a black hole, AXER joined GALVATRON on Earth to keep tabs on his “operation”.”
The end result is that it is pretty commonly held that these two are actually the same, dimensionally-displaced guy:
A repainted and slightly retooled version of G2 Roadpig, RiD Axer was released in a two-pack with RiD Sideways, a repainted, retooled version of G2 Road Rocket.
A nice little twist between the two was that G1 Axer drove “his custom-designed all-terrain Turbo Cycle” which was “equipped with heat-seeking proton missile batteries, quadrophonic sonic blasters and magnetic-lock targeting destabilizer rifle”. Sometime between that and falling through the black hole that took him to the Robots in Disguise universe, Axer could now actually transform into a “custom-designed all-terrain Turbo Cycle” and now it was he himself “equipped with heat-seeking proton missile batteries and quadrophonic sonic blasters”.
When I finally accepted that “Axor” — as he was now called — having a completely different head and an axe in place of Lockdown’s hook was cool and that his somewhat underwhelmingly, primarily grey paintjob only really worked as an update to the original, I figured he warranted a (albeit discounted) purchase and he became my Generations Axer.
The mold itself is phenomenal, with insane amounts of articulation and detail.
Of course, he also shares Lockdown’s spiky muscle car alt mode.
His online “battle bio” even goes so far as to explain his resemblance to Lockdown to hilarious effect,
“Rumor has it that AXOR’s physical similarities to LOCKDOWN are more than mere coincidence, and most DECEPTICONS believe that he actually had his appearance modified to resemble that of his fellow bounty hunter and one-time mentor. AXOR dismisses this as mere jealousy, challenging any DECEPTICON who doubts him to tell him to his faceplate. So far, none have stepped forward.”
Compared to the original G1 toy, the paintjob works but is far too subdued. However, the new headsculpt is great.
The darker shades of his paintjob can sort of be explained by the fact that he was released as part of the “Hunt for the Decepticons” subline commonly attributed to the somewhat more realistic attempting movie line. I’ve already ranted at length about why the Transfomers 2010/Hunt for the Decepticons/Reveal the Shield lines are a multi-versal extension of Generations and patently not a strictly movie-verse line so I’ll leave that there. Generations Axer he is.
A little more problematic is Circuit. Released only in European Markets, G1 Circuit was an Autobot redeco of Axer released with a different vehicle to ride into battle. Being one of the European releases of the early 90’s, he was done up in eye-searing shades of yellow, orange, and blue. This made him a prime, though unexpected target for the Transformers Collectors’ Club’s Subscription Service. Arriving as the third in the series that started with Scourge, TFCC’s Circuit is more a work of art than a toy.
The magic the TFCC folks can do with paint apps is positively stunning.
No attempt is made in either G1 or Circuit’s new TFCC bio to explain the resemblance to Axer. Looking at their bios, from Axer the bounty hunter to Circuit who is “sought after with a vengeance by both friends and enemies who have been victimized by his latest scam”, it’s hard to imagine they aren’t related in some way.
The reason Circuit is problematic is that TFCC has stated that the cover with his original reveal art tells you exactly what universe he is from. This would be the cover of Issue 48 where he appeared standing in a car dealership with the words “Uncle Bobby B Approved.”
This means he’s from the movie-verse but thanks to his bio and the magic of Axiom Nexus, this problem kinda resolves itself. Into the Generations battle they both go!