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by yo go re

Most of the Transformers gestalts followed the path set by Devastator; robots that turned into vehicles (or whatever) or combined into a larger robot. It wasn't a bad scheme, and served the series well for quite a while. But there was one combiner that broke the mold.

Reflector was the Decepticon's master spy, infiltrating wherever Megatron commanded and collecting intelligence. In his disguised form, Reflector was a camera. When it was time to transform, however, Reflector turned out to be extra special - rather than one robot, Reflector was actually three.

Loves to observe things: vegetation, architecture, Earthen topography, and particularly comrades' mistakes. Likes to blackmail his associates and is impressed with his own ability. Has highly developed infrared vision that can record images in darkness, through camouflage and at great distances. In camera Mode, can emit powerful flash explosion that leaves enemy blind and disorientated for up to 15 seconds.

Once he transformed out of camera mode, Reflector was no longer "Reflector": he was now Spectro, Viewfinder and Spyglass. On the cartoon, the three were fairly interchangeable. Even though Viewfinder had that big circle on his chest, they were still pretty much triplets - one episode even suggested the various clones worked rather like Marvel's Multiple Man: two of them bumped together, and one was absorbed into the other. The toys give them more of a separation, if only in color; they still lack distinct personalities.

Each of the robots has a unique transformation, oddly enough. The two side robots pull off the camera, leaving Viewfinder on his own. Remove the lens, pull out the arms and rotate the legs down into position. That's it. Viewfinder is the only one of he toys that actually bears any resemblence to the Reflector of the cartoon series. Amazingly, Viewfinder's viewfinder really does work; there are two mirrors directing light from the lens to the eyepiece, and it even magnifies its subject.

Reflector is from that era of Transformers in which everyone's allegience was in question - you had to rub a thermic panel to see if an Autobot or Decepticon symbol would show up. The panel is on Viewfinder's shoulder and, as you can see, it still works after all this time.

Spectro is the red robot on the left of the camera, and he sports the shutter button. He faces the rear of the camera, with his legs folded behind him and his arms pulled to the front. Nothing hides his face.

Spyglass is the blue guy on the right. His arms go behind him and his legs are in front, making him the opposite of Spectro and meaning that he faces the front of the camera. Fortunately, the flash fits over his head, which keeps his face hidden.

Reflector is probably one of the least popular Transformers. He showed up a lot in the early episodes of the cartoon, because there weren't many Decepticons, so his multiple bodies were a great way to fill up crowd scenes, but was only in one issue of the comic, and was a mail-away offer. Not exactly tearing his way through the fan polls. Still, I like him, and I'm glad I got him when I could. Reflector's a unique piece in Transformers history, unmatched even today. True, he's in desperate need of an update, but at least you don't need a smaller, lamer robot to make him work.

-- 02/23/03

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