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Transformers Crossovers
by yo go re

The backstory to the Marvel half of the Transformers Crossovers line involves Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man building battlesuits for their fellow heroes, based on "alien technology." Considering that the Avengers have crossed paths with the Transformers before, is that the alien technology they're working from?

Ultimate power - that's what you get when you combine the strength of a Norse god with state-of-the-art battle suit technology. This mech was built to channel the thunder god's control over lightning, making it many times more powerful than any battle suit ever constructed. In vehicle mode, Thor can rain justice from above, bringing the weather itself down on his enemies!

Couldn't Thor already rain justice down from above? The guy's a god - a literal, honest-to-god god. How is any battle suit going to improve on that? It's like you have a fancy steel safe, then encase it in a wet paper bag to make it more secure. Besides, didn't those guys learn their lesson about trying to create a technological copy of Thor after Civil War? Who's this one going to kill when it goes cuckoo nutty?

Thor's vehicle mode is a plane. Specifically, an A-10 Thunderbolt II - better known by its nickname, the Warthog. Of course, if you enjoy our weekly Joe Friday reviews, you'll probably recognize it as a Cobra Rattler. Those big turbines mounted above the rear fuselage are mighty distinctive, aren't they? The landing gear doesn't roll, but it does retract. There are removable bombs and missiles under the wings and a gun sculpted under the nose.

The plane is great, except for one factor: the paint. The cockpit is blue with a black canopy, the bulk of the body is red, the tailfins are black and the engines are yellow. It really looks terrible. It's a necessity of the design, which we'll get to eventually, but there's no denying it hurts the appearance of the plane. The sculpt isn't overly ornate, but it seems realistic. The plane is decidedly back-heavy, so even if you just want to sit it on a shelf, it's going to fall back on its butt.

We've had a lot of Transformers that turned into planes over the years, so that means a lot of similar transformation schemes. The A-10 Warthog has been fairly popular choice for an altmode, so converting Thor isn't 100% original. Still, it's a good process, with the most unusual element being the way the engines turn into his legs. Yes, Wing Saber did something similar, but this is much better.

Okay, I take that back: the most unusual element is the way the wings turn into a cape for the big guy. Seriously, a robot with a cape. That's straight out of G Gundam, right there. It also almost totally eliminates kibble, since the worst offender on any plane-based TF is the wings. There are some pieces near the waist that don't quite sit in place the way they should: the instructions say the nosecone should split and lay flat against the torso, but on the actual toy, there's some excess plastic in there that keeps it from working the way it should.

As a robot battlesuit, Thor's colors work much better. His boots are yellow, his body blue and his cape red. The black tailfins fold over themselves to become the large flared knees on the boots, and he even has striped wristbands. The kibble on his back makes him want to over-balance that direction, but his large feet keep him stable. He has robotic blonde hair, and his silver helmet still features wings on the sides. Surprisingly, if you turn his head 180°, he still looks like he has a face - just a more stylized one.

The Mighty Thorbot is 7" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles. In a nice nod to his Norse origins, the surfaces of Thor that aren't visible in vehicle mode - such as his arms or the interior of his cape - have been decorated with Anicent Scandanavian-style artistic elements. It's a small detail, and definitely wouldn't be missed if it weren't here, but its inclusion is very nice.

Thor even gets an up-sized replica of his hammer Mjolnir. In keeping with the idea that only one who is worthy may lift the hammer, no other Transformers can hold it - the handle is a bit wider than the average fist hole has been over the past few years. Mjolnir can be stored in vehicle mode, sort of: it jams into the plane under the engines, and just kind of hangs there. It's not integrated, it doesn't represent anything on a real plane... it's just there. On the plus side, it's low enough that it touches the ground and keeps the plane from tipping backwards, as we warned about above.

I got my first Marvel Transformer, Venom, because he was the right size to fit in with the Alternators. Thor definitely doesn't match that criteria, but I'm still I glad I got him. It's a nice new plane with some really unusual engineering, and though its colors are kind of ugly, they work perfectly on the 'bot. Thor isn't just a good Marvel TF, he's a good Transformer, period.

-- 05/19/09

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