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Transformers: The Movie
by yo go re

Total garbage!

Junkheap leads the efforts to piece together the remains of Ultra Magnus.

When Transformers: the Movie took the story to junk planet, there were only three Junkions who had speaking roles, and the only one of those who got a name was Wreck-Gar. The other two continued to show up, though, and were eventually assigned names in a 2009 book collecting the '80s design work - this character was called "Junkyard" there, but Hasbro already has one of those, and for once GI Joe doesn't get the hand-me-downs!

Since Junkion 1 and Junkion 2 - aka Junkyard and Scrapheap - had lines, they also got full character models designed by Floro Dery. (There were dozens of Junkions, but most of them were just mixed-and-matched from those three; you know, "arms from A, legs from B, torso from C," etc.) So while this figure is retooled from last year's Studio Series Wreck-Gar, he still gets plenty of unique parts. The most obvious, of course, being the chest: while Wreck-Gar famously had a pair of laser guns sticking out of his nipples, Junkheap had an angled chest with, like, roll bars or some kind of pipe extending along it. He also gets new arms, with panels on the outsides (present on Dery's original model sheet, but missing in the "simplified" model created by the animation studio), and new shoulders with round pauldrons and spikes on top. So really, it's just the legs that are the same, and the colors and paint masks aren't even similar, so those look different as well.

Naturally, the head is new. The Junkions may have been created by trading a set pool of bodyparts, but each of them got their own head - that's the thing that made them feel distinct (distracting from the re-use and thus helping to hide it). From a design standpoint, the head is supposed to be the eventual front of the bike, so all the Junkions had "horns" that served as handlebars; Junkheap's curve like cow horns, but with a spring/corkscrew shape at the base. He lacks Wreck-Gar's mustache and has a visor instead of separate eyes.

The figure gets the same spinning four-blade axe and spiked shields as Wreck-Gar, though because of the new plates on his arms, those latter items can only attach to the outside of his knees, not be worn on the arm like an actual shield would be. In the original model sheet for the character, Floro Dery had the wheels placed in the back of the legs like Chromia or Prime Arcee, but remolding the legs that much would have defeated the purpose of reworking Wreck-Gar in the first place. But it's okay, the arm-plates add a bunch more spikes and the left one even looks like it has a gun pointing off the front, so the trade-off works.

He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, a swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, hinged ankles, and rocker feet. There's a hinge in the waist used for transformation, but it doesn't really lock in place in this mode, so sometime Junkheap wants to flop forward. Similarly, the hands are way too willing to fold away when you put any pressure on them.

Converting Junkheap is a little tricky, but only because the instructions aren't illustrated very clearly - there will be quite a bit of guessing until you get familiar with what they actually want. Like, it's entirely possible to miss the step where you tuck the head, with its faux windshield and handlebars, into the real windshield area. Plus, it's a good thing the handlebars are super soft PVC, because you can't rotate the arm panel around without flexing that out of the way.

All the movie Junkions turned into motorcycles, which remains true here. The wheels roll, but the stud spikes all around the circumfrence mean they won't actually do so on a hard surfacce - carpet yes, desk no. The shape of the bike is very blocky, in part because of the new gas tank mold, but the saddle bags at the back aren't hindering that impression, either. The fake windshield on top of the robot's head is visible through the real windshield it represents, and there's a big, noticeable gap between the former robot chest and the rest of the bike. The new arm plates do make for a more complete look, though the seat area remains mostly hollow.

While Wreck-Gar is mostly orange, Junkheap is gray. He keeps the brown and red accent colors, though they're in different places. So overall the two characters share a similar vibe, while still looking distinct. And if you want, you can even have one ride the other, just like in the movie (though it works better with a somewhat smaller robot). The axe can be stored on the back in this mode, but it's not concealed as anything - it just sits there. Kickstands can fold down to keep the bike standing.

"Reveal the Shield" Wreck-Gar was repainted into a supposed version of Junkheap, but it didn't look like the existing character at all, so this really is the first toy he's gotten. Junkheap may not be as well-known as Wreck-Gar, but a lot of work went into the toy's design to make him stand out. Now the question is, are they going to do Scrapheap, the third distinct Junkion model, too?

-- 07/26/22

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