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Transformers Classics
by yo go re

For several years now, Transformers have offered "Legends" class figures, small, simple Transformers sold at a relatively cheap price. However, for the most part, they've all been teeny-sized versions of existing characters in the line. But now Universe/Classics 2.0 has used the opportunity to give us updated versions of the characters who were originally this size, the G1 Mini-Bots.

No interest in warfare; prefers long, lone trips into deserts and along coasts... only places he feels he can escape to and relax. Cool-headed, low-key, personable - what Earthlings call "laid-back". Fights when called upon despite anti-war feelings. Range of 800 miles... can go over very rugged terrain. Sensors can determine chemical composition of land and find needed resources. Susceptible to mental stress.

Yep, that's Beachcomber in a nutshell: a dirty hippie! He hangs out in the woods, talks to animals, and cries when things get destroyed. If there was a way for robots to smoke pot, he'd totally do it. And yet, when the situation demands it, he's just as brave and capable as even the biggest fighters on the team.

In a reversal for Transformers, the Legends are packaged in robot mode. Beachcomber's new design is based more on his animation model than the old toy, but that's for the best. It means he has a more expressive face, and a sleeker shape for his body. He's blue and white, and the design on his chest doesn't really look like exhaust pipes anymore. His goggles are a metallic blue, and his face is silver.

Articulation is decent, with balljoints at the shoulders and hips, and hinges atthe knees. It may not sound like a lot, but it just about double the range of the original toy, so it's acceptable. You can only do so much with a figure that's just over 3" tall, right? [Tell that to Minimates. --ed.] Changing him to a vehicle is so easy, there aren't even any instructions included: it's just printed on the back of the card.

Just like in 1985, Beachcomber turns into a dune buggy, but the style has definitely been updated. No longer does it look like a go kart with a fancy rollcage, but is instead (like Hound) a lot closer to Master Chief's Warthog: it's all angular and high-riding. Here the white is constrained to the front fenders, while the dark blue covers the rest of the vehicle. The cage is silver, and the headlights are yellow. The wheels roll freely, and the robot's feet form seats for passengers.

The buggy, 2½" long and 1½" wide, has a spare tire on the back, as well as a mounted machine gun. How crazy is that? Here's Beachcomber, a (tie)dyed-in-the-wool pacifist, and he's pretty much the only Mini-Con Legend to come bearing weapons. Congnitive dissonance!

Using the Legends class pricepoint to update the old Mini-Cons is quite nearly a stroke of genius. Beachcomber wouldn't really support a larger toy by himself (pay attention, Powerglide), but in this scale? He's great. The robot is a heavy homage to the old days, while the vehicle is brand new. He's cheap and fun, and if you can find one, it's a good value.

-- 05/26/09

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