Thursday, 19 January 2012

Toy Review - Transformers Alternity Dai Atlas

I just can't call this Dai Atras... It is ATLAS!
The colour homage is there, and if they still did bios, I'm sure it was meant to be named for the Japanese character from the original series - Dai Atlas.
It's almost like someone at Tomy did it intentionally to poke fun at their "Engrish"... or at least, I'm hoping so, as it wouldn't make any sense for them to go to so much trouble using English on the packaging to not proof-read or notice the name being spelt wrong.

So here it is... I don't have the original Dai Atlas yet, so like with my recent review on the Generations Sky Shadow (Black Shadow) toy, I can only comment on what I have seen of the original in pictures.
Note that the toy is mostly blue, with black, white and some orange placed in some odd places.  Although, it wouldn't look odd, if the orange wasn't so clashing to the rest of the dark colour scheme.  It isn't even the same orange of the original Dai Atlas toy, which had a lighter shade. But taking another look at the original toy, the blue was also a lot lighter... so perhaps the lighter orange didn't work well with the dark blue of the Alternity figure (which I think needs to utilise real-world car colours). Since the car had to be a dark blue, the orange probably would have been darkened up to match.
I still don't like it though. Especially on the wrist panels, and the head. (I can understand the head being half painted orange, as it succeeds in "hiding" the Optimus shape of it)

The transformation of Alternity toys has a gimmick that was utilised in the 2007 Movie toys - a part of the toy "auto transforms" during the process of conversion. In other words, when you move one part of the toy, another part will be moving into place, thanks to gearing within the toy. It's an interesting gimmick, don't get me wrong, it does work, and does appeal to fans.  However for me, who always tries to convert a Transformers toy before resorting to instructions or packaging pictures, any part that moves on its own is unplanned and often not taken into account. As I'm trying to work out the puzzle that is a Transformers Toy, I'm planning ahead on what moves I'm going to make, or need to make in order to get from start to finish. If I come across a toy that is meant to have parts move into position on its own, I'm usually not going to be ready for it (as in, I'm working on a different procedure or order when converting sections of the toy), which can even sometimes lead to damaging the gears from trying to force parts (or prevent parts) to go where I'm wanting them to go.
The auto-transform component of this Alternity mould (there have only been four Alternity moulds created so far), has the side panels of the car front, slide forward and together to make the chest, when folding the whole top half of the robot torso into place.

I like the car mode detailing, and the robot mode isn't too bad. "Heavy" diecast is always a plus, from the perspective of a classic, old-time fan.
But I just can't get past the colouring.  It just didn't work on this toy, and surely they have other homages they could have done instead. (and Dai Atlas was a jet, drill, and base - where does "car" come from that?)

And is it just me, or is the inability to stand a common problem with this Alternity mould?  The front of the feet have to plug into posts to lock them into place, but that then makes the ball joint at the ankle useless... preventing any posing or balancing of the toy to compensate the tiny heels. I have to keep the toy leaning forwards, or make sure it doesn't do any action poses, as the huge backpack kibble pulls its centre of gravity back past the tiny heels... on feet that can't be posed thanks to ankle joints that are locked in place with pegs & post holes.

Oh, and that reminds me... The big thing that annoyed me most was actually in car mode - the right front panel of the car just wouldn't line up with the rest of the car. I could get it to lock into place near the door & windshield, but then it would sit up at the front bumper. And when I'd push that down into place, it would push out at the door end.
It felt like a production flaw - something put together at just a marginally wrong spot or angle. Considering the amount of parts to these toys, and the repetitious, boring, and difficult working conditions, I'm surprised more of these complex toys (by regular toy standards) don't have similar alignment issues in the end product.
We often have fanboys crying over paint smudges or loose parts, or even wrong parts... but maybe they should sit in for a day and produce these things at the same rate for little reward, and then see how "perfect" their efforts end up.

I don't really recommend this particular figure, unless you are a completist. The mould was better done four times beforehand as Optimus/Convoy, and even though this is the first time it has been done in blue, the orange spoils it too much to be worth getting the blue version of this mould. If you want this mould, look for a previous version. 2/5

For anyone interested, all previously released Alternity toys can be seen here, from my collection:
(the smaller ones on the right side - click on the photo to see it full size)

So far in the Alternity series, there have been:
5 Convoy/Optimus (Silver, Red, Ultra Magnus/White, Black, Dai Atlas/blue)
3 Megatron (black, grey, blue)
3 "Seekers" (Starscream/white, Thundercracker/blue, Skywarp/black)
3 Bumblebee (yellow, Cliff(jumper)/red, Goldbug/gold)

(I don't have Goldbug yet, as it has only just been released).


  1. I thought this was a waste of a name. The body has no relation to Dai Atlus at all and the colours look like barf. The instruction sheet for Convoy had an Alternity story on that, did this one have anything?

  2. Those beautifully done back-of-instructions bio & scan of the previous Alternity figures, was abandoned with this one, as the back is blank on Dai Atlas... so unless there is something mentioned on the packaging somewhere, there doesn't appear to be any explanation as to who this character is, or its relationship to the pre-existing Dai Atlas. Heck, they coulda just said something like Beast Wars Megatron, in that this character took on a name and purpose of one he idolised. At least a lazy explanation is better than none at all. It just feels like Hasbro's "slap an established name on anything" policy.