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Transformers: Prime
by yo go re

For cryin' out loud - here we go again with the colors!

Chaos and destruction are all that Decepticon Rumble lives for. His powerful pile drivers send shuddering shockwaves through the earth strong enough to knock Autobots from their feet, collapse buildings, and open chasms in the ground. He opens every Decepticon assault with an overwhelming seismic assault that can send entire armies sprawling. Along with his love of destruction goes a sarcastic sense of humor that he uses to issue a steady stream of insults against any enemy unlucky enough to get within earshot.

That bio, by the way, is longer than the one printed on the figure's packaging: everything after "chasms in the ground" is only found on Hasbro's website. Rumble's altmode is a little blue car of indeterminate type - something small and sporty and probably popular with hoons. You know, whatever the equivalent of a Ford Fiesta is in the world where Transformers: Prime takes place.

It's a two-door hatchback that measures 4⅝" long, 2⅛" wide and 1¼" tall. Considering that this is a tuner car, it's frankly a bit surprising that the body is solid blue. Shouldn't there be some kind of crazy details painted on the doors? It's a very plasticky blue, too - it looks like a toy, not a small car. The windows are red (which doesn't seem like it would be street-legal), the wheels and grill are solid black, and the bumper is dark silver. The back end has a lot of sculpted details that get no kind of attention, such as the tail lights, license plate, and rear windows.

To convert Rumble, pull the doors out to the side, fold the roof over to be the arms, and pull the legs out of the hood. Actually, there's a hitch to that part: you fold the legs halfway, then swing the bumper out of the way, and finish straightening them out.

Rumble makes for a strange-looking robot. He has these massive pieces of car kibble on his shoulders that just look completely out of place. Measured to the head, Rumble is 4½" tall, but that shoulder junk can take him almost up to the 6" mark. It would have been fine, if they'd just figured out something better to do with the roof of the car (and the windows attached to it).

The figure's head, surprisingly, is not any kind of update or reference to any previous version of Rumble (or Frenzy, for that matter). It's a rather nice design, with antenna ears, a mouthplace, light-piped red eyes and a stripe down the center of his blocky forehead. It's just a good Transformer head; we can appreciate that.

For some reason, Rumble's chest looks like a giant face. Yes, even more than Starscream and Soundwave's chests look like faces. The pseudo "eyes" in his chest are even lightpiped, so they completely stand out! If Rumble were actually a character on the cartoon instead of being seen only in the toys, you'd almost expect him to be the head of a combiner - or maybe built from the decapitated head of a larger 'bot. Obviously the they're meant to recall the cassette tape holes on the old figure, but they don't really read that way.

Part of the car kibble is used to good effect, rather than just being poor design. The spires that rise off the back of his shoulders are sculpted with bits on the inside surfaces that are clearly callbacks to the thruster guns (or whatever they were) worn on the Cassetticons' back. That works much better than the chest-holes do!

The articulation is mostly good, with the exception of the waist. It's a balljoint, but it's stuck fast in its socket. Attempting to move it at all only serves to make the plastic flex, threaning to shear the joint off. There's a crotch plate in front of the joint anyway, so it's not like you're losing much by ignoring the joint altogether.

Rumble comes with two accessories, his big springy piledrivers. You can put them over his hands (to make it look like he's transformed his arms) or store them behind his shoulder kibble. Hey, maybe it serves a purpose after all! Looking at the promo shots on the back of the card, there were supposed to be blue paint apps on the backs of the piledrivers, but those didn't make it to final production.

Rumble isn't a terrible figure, but he's really not very good, either. He falls on the bad side of mediocre, and that's disappointing. Between the lack of paint, the kibble no one bothered to deal with, and the stuck joint, this is one you'll be okay leaving on the shelf.

-- 12/11/12

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