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Transformers POTE
by yo go re

The movie came out in June, but we have yet to review any Trans5mers: Planet of the Earth toys. The reason is simple: Hasbro hasn't released any good ones. The initial shipment is still clogging pegs everywhere. That's not an exaggeration, by the way - we are literally three months past the debut of the toys and we are still waiting for enough of the crappy Series 1 (which was composed entirely of characters that had already been made for previous films) to sell so Series 2 (where the first few new characters will appear) can maybe begin to show up before Christmas. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

Toys Я Us, at least, has managed to get one interesting toy out, and that's the exclusive combiner Infernocus. In the film, Infernocus is the combined form of the Infernocons, demonic-lookin' Transformers who serve the film's big bad. There were dozens of them and they all looked identical, but only six of them joined to form Infernocus. Does that mean any of them can join together, potentially creating multiple Infernocuses at once? Or is it just those six specific ones? Are we putting more thought into this than anyone involved in the movie did? Maybe!

We never really saw a clear shot of Infernocus on the screen (because this is a Michael Bay movie, and so we didn't really see a clear shot of anything), but we know he was pretty much a robotic version of The Darkness from Legend. This toy keeps the big horns, though they point straight up instead of poking forward at all, and gets a face that's plainly skeletal, rather than angular. Sure, it looks demonic and scary, but in a generic way, not in a movie way.

The colors are reminiscent of The Fallen, being dark metallic grey touched with bright, vibrant orange. It's a nice combo, frankly, and hints at the Infernocons' connection to the more sinister forces of Cybertron's ancient history. There are cyberglyphics on his chest that predictably translate to "INFERNOCUS," and a bit of a silver drybrushing on the head and torso makes him look battle-worn.

Infernocus is a combiner, so his articulation is only so-so, but he still manages to move at the knees, thighs, hips, elbows, and shoulders, plus a bit of fine-tuning of the poses that you can fake thanks to the fact that all his component parts have their own points of articulation. Which is good, because the way the feet are formed makes them not super stable, so you'll need to fiddle around a bit to find a way that will keep him from falling over.

The toy includes a massive sword that can be held in either hand. Sort of. The handle fits into notches near the ends of the arms, but it's way to small to be "held" by the massive hands.

While movie Infernocus is formed from six Infernocons, the toy is only made from five. The limbs are all repaints of Transformers: Prime's Abominus figures, while the torso is all new. Known as "Skulk," being a new mold means he actually looks slightly like the ones in the movie. The horns from Infernocus carry over here, while the big guy's head is clearly just resting inside the robot's chest. He has skinny goat-legs, because he's a demon, and his arms are gigantic! He moves at the knees, thighs, hips, elbows, biceps, and shoulders. The large sword splits into two pieces that are more properly sized for Skulk to carry. Alternately, they can be stored on the backs of his shoulders.

Infernocus' right arm is formed by Rupture, a tall, skinny robot who is a repaint of Prime Windrazor. Again, all the movie Infernocons looked identical, but the toys have more variety than that, because no one would want to buy a toy that was just five of the same thing. They also had no disecernable personality, because in a Bayformers movie, nobody has any discernable personality. Anyway, Rupture's robot mode looks almost feminine, with wide hips, a narrow waist, and what are apparently high-heeled feet. The only articulation is balljoints in the shoulders and hips, and the arms are molded with a bit of a bend to keep them looking totally casual. She's got major kibble in the form of wings sticking off her arms, and a pointy bird head on her chest. The flared shoulders are a cool touch, and the head has no specifi facial features other than the burning orange eyes.

You'll recall that all the Predacons of Prime were some sort of mechanical dragons, so naturally Rupture turns into some sort of mechanical dragon. Or perhaps a vast, predatory bird. Like a pteranodon, the creature is bipedal, and the joints in the arms give you options for how you want the wings to be posed (this mode adds two more balljoints, in the elbows). The head is hinged, too, so the beast will look right no matter how upright you decide to pose it.

The left arm becomes Thrash, a much stockier 'bot. He has large feet, thick lower legs, and arms that are sharp and spiky. His broad chest has two horizontal orange vents on it, and his head looks more like a normal head with a pointed helmet on it. There's a bunch of kibble on his back, but it just looks like some sort of "Eva fin" or something - they don't look terribly out of place. The balljoints on the limbs really don't do a lot to make him poseable, but he looks intimidating just standing around.

Thrash is a repaint of Prime Twinstrike, so his beast mode is a two-headed dragon. It's not at all surprising that his arms, which happened to look like dragon heads, turn into dragon heads. The big bits on his backs turn into the front legs, while the robot's legs become the rear legs. That sounds plain, but there's a really piece of business where the panels from the robot's shins swivel up to become the animal's thighs, completely changing the look of the legs in the process.

Gorge has a very normal Transformers head, with an orange eye slit, a forehead crest, ear-wings, and a bump on the chin. That could easily be even a Generation 1 design! The body is weird, though: while the trunk and the limbs are proportionately big (outsizing the head by quite a bit), the arms and legs connect to the torso via surprisingly thin tubes. Imagine if a human's arms were separated from their body by the length of a pencil. Gorge has vertical orange stripes on his chest, gigantic clawed feet, and hands that are permanently bent toward the inside, which is just a weird choice.

In a previous life, this mold belonged to Blight, and it is definitely not anything like what you would call a dragon. It's got two arms, two legs, and zero wings. The head sticks out of the front of the torso, rather than the top, and features a bright orange mohawk running all the way back along the neck. The robot's arms and legs become the beast's legs and arms, respectively, which is a neat little feature. He has big claws, though they're not very poseable, and we end up with some major kibble in the form of robot hands sticking off the inside of his ankles.

Glug, née Rippersnapper, is another super burly 'bot. Separating him from Gorge is the lack of any orange on his chest. In 2014, this mold was released as a market six exclusive, painted to look like Grimlock, and you can totally see why they chose it: big thick arms with round shoulders, triangular legs, a broad chest and a large piece of kibble hanging down behind the head. Painted properly, he'd totally look like Grimlock! Of course, that toy wasn't painted properly, and this one isn't either - Glug is a dark metallic grey, which doesn't make him look at all like a G1 Dinobot, but does make him look right at home with his fellow Infernocons.

This mold has been used so many times that it's starting to wear out, meaning not all the pieces fit together as tightly as they should. The robot chest, for instance, doesn't want to fit against the back properly, and the two halves of his face have trouble staying together.The robot's head doesn't actually disappear properly when you change him to his altmode, but that's because it was designed badly, not the result of age. Glug's altmode is... a cybernetic wolfsharkosaur? Something. It stands on two legs and has dangly little forearms, and has a wide fin on its back and a lumpy tail. This is a weird looking animal.

But that's not all! The Infernocons work for the movie's actual villain, Quintessa. In Generation 1, the Transformers were created by a race of beings called the Quintessons, and they lived on planet Quintessa. In Planet of the Earth, Quintessa is a sorceress who claims to be the Transformers' creator, but she's also known as "the great deceiver," so she may very well be full of it.

In the movie, she's a robotic entity who, like The Little Mermaid's Ursula, had a humanoid upper body and legs that were just a bundle of tentacles. The figure is a scant 1½" tall and has no articulation. For some reason, she's molded from trans blue plastic, rather than being silvery, and while the lines on her body are probably supposed to suggest her segmented metal form, all they really do is make her look like something that was 3D-printed.

This set is, as mentioned, a Toys Я Us exclusive. And although it's made of four repaints and one new mold that's lacking a proper altmode, the unified colorscheme makes this a nicer combiner than the previous releases of the figures. Plus, it comes with the only toy at all of the Transformers' supposed creator/main antagonist of the film. A pretty wild series of coincidences led to me getting an amazing deal on the set, so I'm definitely happier with it than I would be if I'd paid full price.

-- 09/12/17

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