Topless Toy Chest: Transformers Construct-Bots

By Luke Y. Thompson in Toys
Monday, November 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

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I've had this toy since Comic Con, and only now am I getting around to opening it up. This is less a reflection on my busy schedule than my general lack of enthusiasm. I love Lego, but I don't think everything need to be Lego. Transformers already has brick toys in the form of Kre-O, but now Construct-Bots look to muscle in on the Bionicle market. Bonus: they actually transform. Kind of.

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Optimus and Megatron come in separate trays, embossed with Autobot and Decepticon logos respectively, which makes the finding of parts easier.

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In recent years, as I've written more and more about toys, I've tried various construction sets, and I must say, these have nice clear, simple instructions that allow you to put the figures together fairly quickly.

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I don't know if Hasbro ever considered making these compatible with Kreons, or whether that was just one engineering step too far. What is significant is that the ball-joints, unlike Lego's have rubbery coating on the tips, which gives the joints extra friction and make any posing feel less smooth. On the plus side, it's a tighter joint, but I fear they could stretch and crack after a whole lot of play (not that that'll be an issue for me).

Okay, so here's Optimus in robot form, next to the analogous Lego Iron Man. He feels lighter and less solid...is shorter too.

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The transformation tricks are somewhat familiar. Put a ton of kibble on the arms that transform into wheels and fender, open the torso, fold down the head, use the double joint to rehitch the torso slightly higher, rotate the lower body 180, fold up[ like a Gobot, but peg arms into legs...here's Optimus in vehicle mode.

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There are also a whole bunch of extra parts you can use for customizing. The green is a bit of a color clash, though.

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Honestly, I called it a night after this. Then a couple days later, decided to go back and do Megatron. I wound up liking him a little better, though he mixes mediums a bit - has the face of classic G1, and the alt-mode of Revenge of the Fallen Leader Class. Same basic transformation tricks as Prime, though.

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Parts do tend to pop off when you're transforming - but that's par for the course now even for normal Transformers toys. Megs' extra parts include wings.

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So, okay, I didn't expect to be that impressed by these, and I wasn't. I do like that they actually transform, however junky they may look, and I also appreciate that some kids have parents who only want to buy them "constructive" toys, and this is a way to sneak classic action figure brands under that particular radar. I'm not the target market for this, and if I had to guess I'd say people will choose between this and Kre-O, and this is likely to lose out. But it shouldn't - by virtue of being transformable, I give it the qualitative edge.

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