Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review: Unique Toys Salmoore (Not Go-Bots Cy-Kill)

People tend to look down on Go-Bots. And it's true; despite being first to market they were never as successful as their transforming rivals. But I've always been of the opinion that Go-Bots were unfairly judged. Take the cartoon. Many would argue that the Transformers cartoon was vastly superior. I would suggest they rewatch a couple of episodes of the original Transformers cartoon first.  Fried gold, it certainly isn't.

The Go-Bots cartoon is exactly what you'd expect from Hanna-Barbera, in style and tone. I also liked the fact that 95% of the time they didn't cheat with their transformations, unlike Transformers. For example, burned into my memory is Rest-Q, in Ambulance mode, crashing and rolling within the first few minutes of the opening episode of the cartoon, revealing his face underneath...just like the toy. In the Transformers 'toon that toy-limitation wouldn't have been there and you'd have seen a perfect bottom-of-ambulance instead.

The Go-Bots toys were licensed by Tonka from Bandai in Japan. Unlike Hasbro, which bought the moulds to their Transformers toys outright, this means that the names and characters were owned by Tonka but the rights to the actual toys were - and still are - owned by Bandai. This means that it's 99% certain that these toys will never be reissued.

Much later Tonka was bought by Hasbro, who've since released a series of Go-Bots, which had absolutely nothing to do with the original line. They did, however, release Fracture, which is essentially an updated Crasher. But that was it.

Maybe spurred by this lack of production from Hasbro, a number of 3rd Party companies have released Go-Bot homages lately, which brings me nicely (and eventually) to my review: Salmoore aka Cy-Kill, leader of the evil Renegades.

Salmoore is made by Unique Toys who, quite impressively, have managed to up the quality of each subsequent figure they're produced. I'll admit that in the beginning I highly doubted they'd get beyond their first release, but with Salmoore and especially their Galvatron-update, it looks like they'll be here for a good while to come.

The figure is a good update of Cy-Kill. Homaging, but not exactly copying, the original character. He's made of a good quality plastic, certainly the same level as on Hasbro products. The articulation is extensive, though the (removeable) wheels on his shoulders do limit his arm movement somewhat.

Annoyingly, the right shoulder on my figure is extremely loose and flops about. It's alright for static poses, but pick him up and it'll swing wildly. Another nit-pick is that the handlebars and headlight (in robot mode - not such a problem as a bike) fall off relatively easily.

He comes with two chrome large guns, though he never had such things in the original toy or cartoon (he shot blasts directly from his fists). They store nicely on his legs, if you desire. The figure comes with large spiky wheel covers, which I will admit I've never tried on the toy. I don't really know why they're included since they're a big departure from the original. The spikes are extremely pointy, so beware!

Transforming to motorbike is a tad tricky. The arms have to be in just the right orientation to get them to fold in and you can be there for a while fiddling with them and hoping you don't scrape the parts against each other. The lower half is also a bit fiddly, though more from remembering exactly which way you're supposed to twist the body and fold up the legs. It's not horrible, but it will take some time and concentration. Having to remove the wheels from the shoulders and stick them in the appropriate place on the bike may be a bit of a cheat, but it is accurate to the original toy.

On the one hand, motorbike mode is no where near as close to looking like Cy-Kill as robot mode does. Due to the change in how he transforms, there's now a lot less red and a lot more blue. It's a bit sad, but nothing terrible.

On the other hand, motorbike mode is one of the best transforming motorbike modes I've ever come across. It simply looks great. It's scaled so that 6" action figures can ride on him. The wheels don't roll brilliantly and have a tendency to get caught on the bike frame. The tyres are rubber, which means they get top marks from me. I don't like the fact that 'SALMOORE' is printed across it. Since 100% of the people buying it will be pretending it's Cy-Kill it is a pointless and annoying addition.

Size-wise, Salmoore is approximately the size of a Transformers Voyager figure. As such, he's a lot larger than the 'Fracture' figure Hasbro released. Since Crasher and Cy-Kill were always depicted as being the same height in the cartoon, plus motorbikes don't tend to loom over cars, the two don't look brilliant next to each other.

I like Go-Bots and I like this toy. It definitely isn't one to give to a child to play with (especially with the spiky wheel covers) as despite being relatively well made, they're highly likely to break it within minutes. As a 3rd Party product it's a bit on the pricey side, so I wouldn't recommend it for casual fans, but if you remember Go-Bots with a fondness it's definitely worth checking out.

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