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Stinger

Transformers AOE
by yo go re

I haven't seen Trans4mers 4: 4ge of Extinc4ion, because the commercials for it made Transformers 2 look like Transformers 3. So this may not be the case, but it seems like there are only three Decepticons in the movie: Galvatron, Lockdown, and Stinger.

If Bumblebee is the most courageous Transformer warrior, Stinger is the most devious. Built by humans and controlled by a shadowy organization, he is the evil counterpart to the heroic Autobot, a Decepticon spy programmed for sabotage and destruction.

Stinger's altmode is a Pagani Huayra, a make and model that were both apparently named by pulling tiles out of a Scrabble bag.

There are four Stinger toys in the line, and yet this is the only one that actually uses the licensed Pagani design - the others are Legends Class repaints of existing toys, both from Revenge of the Fallen and TF: Prime. Granted, one sleek sportscar looks pretty much like the next, but the Huayra has a rather distinct profile, with a short hood and a long, low back end that mean the passenger cabin sits closer to the front of the car than the rear.

Stinger is red with a black stripe running along the top of the car. We really need some more black apps to really match the actual car, but that's not a tough fix. He has silver headlights, but no apps on the taillights. There's a giant purple Decepticon logo on the roof that isn't there in the film, but that's nothing new. It's worth noting that the wheels are on backwards: the spokes curve, as they're meant to, but they curve the wrong direction; if all four were on the opposite side of the toy, however, they'd be bent the right way.

In the movie, Stinger didn't have a "traditional" transformation: even in the trailers, you can see that he converts by breaking apart into a million little pieces, swirling around, then reforming as a robot - so basically, a movieverse version of Kre-O. Clearly there was no way Hasbro could hope to duplicate that on their toy, so they didn't even try.

Stinger is part of the "One-Step Changers" line, the spiritual descendant of the G1 Flipchangers (e.g., Topspin/Twin Twist, Runabout/Runamuck) - just that instead of relying on a friction motor to trigger their conversion, you push a button and the whole thing unfolds automatically (though obviously, they no longer automatically jump to their feet).

In Stinger's case, the "button" is the windshield. Press it, and the entire roof of the car lifts up. This also retracts the pegs from inside the body that hold the arms and legs in place. The right arm and left leg are linked, as are the left arm and right leg - they must cross over inside the torso like an accordion gate, or a pair of scissors. It's some clever engineering design (especially since pushing down the car's roof makes the entire thing retract into a car), but it's still undeniably a lot lamer than a Transformer you transform yourself.

Stinger was "inspired by Bumblebee, but better in every way." So basically he's the first-ever "red Bumblebee" who's not Cliffjumper. He's very red, and while he has a decent sculptural details on both head and body, the simplistic paint really undercuts the work. He should have green eyes, and a lot more black all around his face.

In addition to the fun lost due to the automatic conversion (isn't the point of Transformers to enjoy changing them back and forth? Yes, there are those fans who buy multiples so they can have one on display in both modes, but they're weirdos), we also lose out on articulation. A lot of articulation. Stinger has a hinge in each elbow, and... a hinge in each elbow. That's all. Two points of articulation in a 4¾" tall figure. That's not good. It's a reality of the line, but that doesn't mean we have to like it.

"But if you already knew what the toy was like, why are you complaining about it now," asks someone who doesn't understand how reviews work. "Why did you even buy it?" I bought it because it's the only toy of a major character, and because Walmart had all their One-Step Changers on sale for $2 off. It was the first time I'd seen him - despite the fact that the assortment number on the packaging is the same as the mass market toys, and the number of people who managed to spot this figure at Target, all the Stinger toys are exclusive to Walmart. Seriously, in the world of toy exclusives, WM's just trumped them all. To have the exclusive rights to an entire character? That's just nuts! It may also explain why the other versions of Stinger are just repaints, but not why Hasbro didn't make a toy of him for the real line.

-- 11/11/14


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