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Star Wars Transformers
Han Solo and his first mate, Chewbacca, have really done it this time! After making the Kessel Run in the Millennium Falcon in just under twelve parsecs, an Imperial spy on the Garrison Moon alerts the Empire to their presence. Han and Chewie are determined not to give up without a fight. Using a new modification technology, Han morphs the Falcon into mech mode as a Star Destroyer approaches. The Falcon suddenly splits into two heavily armed attack robots! The Imperial ship is rocked with a barrage of missile fire. Although she may not look like much of a threat, the Millennium Falcon sure does pack a solid one-two punch of speed and power!
Isn't that cute? They've got a little story and everything. According to the Expanded Universe story, the ship that would one day be the Falcon was built by the Corellian Engineering Corporation as a standard YT-1300 model light freighter. It was a completely average ship, the white panel van of the Lucasverse, until Lando Calrissian won the ship in a card game and started making improvements. He totally pimped that ride.
George Lucas has admitted, however, that the ship is really based on a hamburger and a pickle. Dig in.
The detailing on the ship is truly impressive. The mission of the Star Wars Transformers is to look like the vehicles first, and the characters second, so there are all sorts of technological details all over the surface. The Falcon is 9 1/2' long and about 7 1/4" wide, counting the offset cockpit. The radar dish rotates, the landing gear lowers, you can fire a missile from the port mandible and the load the weapons onto the gunner's stations. The body of the ship is nearly white, but there are lots of complex paint apps to capture the look of the ship - silver and bronze highlights, various greys to bring out the detail and even scorch and exhaust marks on the surface. This isn't some spit-polished Star Trek ship, that's for sure.
She may be the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, but she still needs a crew to run her. To that end, this set includes tiny, tiny figures of Han and Chewie. The scruffy-looking nerfherder is 1 1/4" tall, while the walking carpet is half an inch taller. They're detailed about as well as you'd expect for figures of this size,and they move at the hips and shoulders - not individually, but as one. The limbs are molded as a single piece, with a single bar runnning through the figure's hollow torso. Both figures can fit in the cockpit (though tandem, rather than abreast) and Han can fly solo in the upper gunner's station. And hey, they're both painted about as well as the average Star Wars figure.
Before you can transform the Millennium Falcon, you have to remove the radar dish, the guns and the cockpit. Just set them aside for now. The ship splits in half, with the front half changing into Han and the back becoming Chewbacca. It's actually a bit hard to get the two halves apart. The sliding panel that connects them does its job extremely well. It almost sounds like it's breaking when it does finally come apart. We won't try to explain the instructions - not with two separate robots to form - but you'll get the hang of it in no time.
The Star Wars Transformers are, again, not intended to look exactly like the character, but rather to suggest them, and in that capacity both bots in this set work rather well. Though they both remain mostly white, a lot of color is pulled out of the ships to make them stand apart. Han Robo gets a lot of black on his legs and shoulders, suggesting his vest and dark pants. The browns on Chew-bot-ca fill a lot of harsh angles, making them look like fur.
Han is 7 1/4" tall, but has two huge bits of kibble on his shoulders which make him even taller. The gunner's station rests squarely in the center of the robot's chest, so Han can pilot the mech from in there. though it's nearly invisible in ship form, the technological detailing forms the unmistakeable outline of Han's holster on the robot's waist. He's got a spring-loaded gun rather than his small blaster, and a button on his belt activates lights and sounds. Han says five phrases:
"She's the fastest ship in the fleet."
Chewbacca says things, too, but it's all "growl growl," so no point in listing them all. He's 8 1/2" tall, and is left with a giant chunk of the Falcon hanging off his shoulders. He doesn't have a lot of actual costume for the sculptors to re-create, but he does have a small bit of bandolier across his back. The robot has little claws on his toes, and the "fur" on his head is suggested via bundles of cable rather than actual hair. The ship's cockpit sits on top of the robot's shoulder, with Chewie piloting from the back seat. The lower guns become Chewie's familiar bowcaster - just remember that the obvious barrels are now the stock, or he'll be shooting himself in the elbow all day.
The Millennium Falcon is really heavy, due to the electronics and batteries that make it work. The buttons that make the robots talk (or growl, as the case may be) also provide lights and sounds for the ship. The front button lights up the guns while we hear them firing, or hear R2-D2 beeping at the ship's computer. The rear button ignites the engines and sends the Falcon into hyperspace. So how does the toy know when to make the human sounds and when to make the mechanical sounds? Are there sensors that tell it which mode the Transformer is in? Hardly. If you want dialogue, push the button quickly. If you want engine noise, hold the button down until you're tired of hearing it. A quick press versus a long press makes all the difference.
The Millennium Falcon is the largest Star Wars Transformer in the series, and it shows that combiners work just as well for this line as for the normal TFs. While the robots may not have anything more than a passing resemblance to the actual characters, they're not supposed to. This may be more of an "alternate universe" than the "expanded universe," but it's still pretty cool.
What other combiner-style SWTF do you want to see? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.