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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

We know our reviews influence you to buy things, but we get influenced, too. If not for good comments from people we respect, today's review would still be in a box on a store shelf somewhere.

With the power to mesmerize other robots, Mindwipe might be a match even for Optimus Prime. The Matrix of Leadership renders the Autobot leader immune, but Mindwipe has a host of other robots totally under his control. He stays safely in the air, while Optimus Prime struggles against a horde of hypnotized minions.

Mindwipe is a snazzy F-117 Night Hawk - aka the famous stealth bomber. It was "introduced" in the late '80s, but had actually been in use since the first half of the decade. An iconic bit of military hardware from the end of the 20th century, the Stealth Bomber was actually retired in 2008, so Mindwipe's "disguise" isn't as good as it could be.

The plane is 8½" long, 7" wide and 2" tall. It's mostly a green-grey with some purple accents, a clear red canopy and Cyberglyphics on the wings. There's a winged Decepticon logo on the top, and three four wheels you can fold down on the bottom. Surprisingly, there are no missiles or bombs in this mode - we're not saying that's a bad thing, it's just unexpected. Usually Hasbro loves play features like that.

Converting Mindwipe to robot mode is very difficult - more accurately, the first step is very difficult. It gets better after that. The instructions tell you to begin by flipping the back half of the plane, but it cannot be done that way. The way the pieces fit together prevent it, unless you're willing to reach in there with a screwdriver or letter opener and pry them apart. Trust me, I know, I did it. To get him started without wanting to murder everyone you know, fold the wings down at the sides; that will spread things apart just enough that you can then flip over the body of the plane the way they want you to.

"Mindwipe" is a G1 name, and he was an evil hypnotist back then, as well. He was also a Headmaster and turned into a bat, but those haven't been carried forward to the ROTF version. Well, perhaps a bit: he does still have large wings coming off his arms, just as the G1 Mindwipe did, but that's a stretch. Of course, the original Mindwipe was also ridiculously boxy (as was the style at the time), while this one looks much, much better.

Movie Mindwipe very much uses the movie aesthetic: he's quite angular all over, and has the bent, animalistic legs. When you fold the wings back the tips automatically bend in toward the middle and four small blades rise up. There isn't a lot of unadjusted kibble on him, and his head is a pretty cool design, with a silver band running along the jawline and onto the mouth. He has two eyes, but they're hidden behind a translucent red visor.

The figure stands 8¾" at its highest point, and is heavily articulated. He has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, hinged wrists, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, hinged hocks and hinged fetlocks, plus hidden hinge joints in the feet that allow them to remain flat on the ground even in wide-legged poses. The plane's cockpit splits to become twin knives, but they're permanently attached to his hands. They're spring-loaded, so they can be folded away against his arms, but you have to tilt the hands down in order to do it, and he's still gingerly clutching the hilts (which are unpainted, and thus the same color as his hands).

If you've got the ROTF Skystalker (who's still hard to find as of this writing), his vehicle mode can attach to the top of Mindwipe's plane, and there are also a few fan-designed ways to turn the little guy into armor for the robot, as well. Someone even designed a "bat" mode, for those who want a reference to the G1 toy. Even if you don't go for any of those unofficial modes, Mindwipe is a good toy, fun in both modes and, once you realize the mistake in the instructions and work around it, a snap to change. Plus, between Mindwipe and Bludgeon, we only need a movieverse Bugly and we'll have the complete Chaos Trinity, the guys who originally summoned the Fallen.

-- 05/18/10

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