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Ghost Rider

Transformers Crossovers
by yo go re

Some guys will just never be team players. Despite what the Champions would have you believe, Ghost Rider is one of those guys. Sure, he may join forces with other supernatural defenders to beat back some myustical threat, but he's not going to carry an ID card and sit for monitor duty. Why, then, would Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man spend the time and money to give him a battle suit?

This battle suit was built specifically to take advantage of the magical energies that give Ghost Rider his powers. It is the perfect fusion of technology and sorcery, enhancing the arcane flame that Ghost Rider uses as a weapon.

We've been waiting for this one ever since the design art was shown at Toy Fair. He was supposed to be out in "spring," but here it is "not spring" and he's just shown up for the first time. All year long we've been suffering cheap, Iron Man-themed repaints, but at last a new toy has arrived.

Ghost Rider is the only Marvel character [other than Ulysses Solomon Archer! --ed.] who's actually associated with a vehicle, so naturally it's taken two years for him to become a toy. The bike is 9" long and 4⅜" high, which means it's the right scale for a 6" figure, but don't expect to put your ML Ghost Rider on it: the proportions are too strange. He'd have to drive with his feet, and while that may be okay for a demon-fueled spirit of vengeance, it's still going to look out of place.

The design is more demonic than Johnny Blaze's bike, but more of a bike than Danny Ketch's. The overall asthetic owes more to Danny, though, with a black body, flaming tires, and the big angular skull shield in front. On the other hand, the long, curving exhaust pipes are more of a Johnny feature. A chain wraps around the front fork, and the seat is a padded red material.

Depending on how you choose to position the front wheel, you may have trouble hiding the robot's head. The bike looks most natural (as far as such a thing is possible) when the fork is extended fairly flat; however, that leaves the robot's eyes poking out quite blatantly; you can reposition the head and tip the chin down, leaving only the forehead exposed. The "correct" positioning brings the front wheel closer to the rest of the bike, raising the whole thing up slightly and making the proportions even weirder; however, this does hide the head completely, so you'll have to decide which version you like best.

Converting the bike to a robot mech is pretty simple - you can probably tell just by looking at him how he changes, and you might be able to do it without even looking at the instructions. After all, the trickiest part is the head stuff we talked about before, and that's only when you're going the other direction. The instructions do fail to mention that the bike's handlebars can be folded away, but that's not really so surprising.

The mech is 7" tall to the top of its head-flames, and looks pretty impressive. He's still mostly black, with just a few silver accents. Again, this is theoretically Danny's design, since the mech is dressed like a biker instead of a stuntman, but Marvel's really adopted that for both its Ghost Riders, so who can say? The torso suggests a giant skull, with eyes on the chest and teeth reaching down below the waist. There are silver spikes on his chest, waist and legs, and black skulls on his knees.

Ghost Rider is articulated well, with a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows (double-hinged on the right), a swivel/hinge right wrist, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel hips, hinged knees and hinged ankles (to an extent). It's all good, but the hips are ratcheted, which means they have the problem of all ratchet joints: if you want the legs positioned between Point A and Point B, you're out of luck. In this case, that means you can't really spread his legs at all without spreading them nearly all the way out - it's hard to get a natural stance.

Most of the orange is actually translucent plastic, which allows light to shine through. This is a particularly nice feature on the head, since the skull face is painted silver - it makes for an excellent contrast. The figure is armed with a length of chain and a pop-open buzzsaw in place of his left hand (the chain doubles as the key).

After too many months of repaints (and just plain old bad toys), it was exciting to see something new on the shelves. Luckily for me and my poor impulse control, Ghost Rider makes for a nice Transformer.

-- 11/16/10

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