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Quake & Chasm

Transformers Titans Return
by yo go re

I didn't have a lot of Transformers as a kid, but one of the ones I did have was Quake. I remember him having nice colors, but otherwise being a kind of crap toy. Let's see how the new one fares!

Chasm opens portals that displace enemies and objects. Quake can unleash his seismic attacks and use the power of Chasm to swallow Autobots into a teleportation abyss.

Since that bio only tells us about powers, not personality, let's take a trip back to 1988 to find out who Quake is and what he's like. He is, according to his old TechSpecs, a destruction-happy berserker who won't stop shooting until there isn't a single stone left standing upon another. Which honestly doesn't make him sound much different from Bonecrusher, but the Constructicon loved showing off for his friends, while Quake didn't care about anything but the act of destruction itself.

This figure is a repaint of Hardhead, despite the fact that the two never looked anything alike. But that does work out in Quake's favor, because the body is molded with lots of sharp angles that make it feel brutish and powerful. The legs are thick and squarish, for stability while destroying Autobot bases, and there's an armored hatch in the center of his chest flanked by silver slats. You could easily imagine that's protecting his spark, but still needs a way to vent excess heat. Proportionally, the arms feel slightly too long, but all the bulk on them gives the impression that he'd be able to punch through even the thickest of walls.

The articulation is precisely what you expect from the Deluxe size class these days: a swivel neck, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, and hinged knees. Everything moves smoothly, neither too tight nor too lose. As a re-use of the Hardhead mold, he carries a large cannon on his back that can be hinged up to point over his shoulder, or removed to become a handheld weapon. He also has a thin grey rifle. G1 Quake was a "double Targetmaster," coming with two robot weapon partners - the modern version doesn't get any.

What he does get is a Headmaster head. It's definitely based on the old toy, with a blocky grey helmet over a yellow face, and it's really over-designed! There are large, angular flaps on the cheeks, a layered band and a tall crest on the forehead, vents flanking that, and then little winglets on the sides. All those details come straight from the original, and they look better today than they did 30 years ago, but still.

Since Quake never had a Headmaster partner before, Chasm has nothing old to copy - which is fine since, as a repaint of Hardhead's little pal Furos, he looks like that. Sure, they could have made him look like either Tiptop or Heater, Quake's old Targetmasters, but that would have required more than screwing on a new backplate/face. Chasm's limbs and head are grey, while his centreal body is navy blue. His chest looks like it's armored, and the lines on his shins make them look reinforced; which, since his power involves opening portals, can't help but make us think about Chell's long-fall boots.

Quake's grey rifle can plug into the top of the black cannon, and the cannon has a hatch that opens to create a seat in which a Titan Master can sit. And the way the lid flips back actually manages to look as nice when it's open as when it's closed!

Converting Quake is slightly more complex than it seems like it would be: tuck the hands away and fold the elbows together. Point the arms forward, raise the entire back straight up, and plug the small bumps on the arms into the shallow holes on the sides of the torso. Flip the feet away, then moves the lower legs out to the side and up next to the thighs. Hinge the entire lower body around to fit under the back, and attach the legs to the tabs there. Flod the blue crotch-plate around so the underside will be flat, and you're all done!

Quake's altmode is a tank. Back in the day, that was a normal style tank with odd colors, while today it's some kind of futuristic space-tank. It has four separate treads (in the '80s, his treads had adhesive properties that allowed him to climb sheer walls, and there's no reason to assume these don't still do that) and an offset cockpit where Chasm can ride. There are tiny wheels embedded in the rear treads, and a rolling log of wheels in the center under the front. Those are all cast from the same trans blue as the cockpit. The maroon color has a much stronger presence in this mode than it did on the robot, but it still looks just as nice. On top of both front treads is a yellow lightning bolt insignia with a Decpticon logo on it, a nod to similar decorations on the turret of the original figure.

Since I had Quake as a kid, I was looking forward to seeing how a modern take on the design would work. Reusing Hardhead's mold wouldn't have been my first choice, but it does an okay job of updating a toy that was only so-so in the first place.

-- 08/29/17

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