Saturday, 28 June 2014

Fangwolf and Mindswipe (Transformers: Age of Extinction Kre-O Microchangers)

Company: Hasbro

Year: 2014


A few weeks ago, I reviewed another character from the Transformers 4: Age of Extinction blind-bagged Kreons, an endearing ankylosaurus by the name of Silversnout. But I’ve picked up a few others, too. So today, we take a look at the two mammal-based Transformers from this dino-dominated series – Fangwolf and Mindswipe.  

If you’ve read any of my previous reviews of Kreons, you’ll know that Kreons are pretty much all built on the same basic body. Fangwolf and Mindswipe are no exception, though they both have unique aspects to their bot mode which make them stand out a little from their kin. 

Fangwolf is based on a character called Snarl from the Transformers: Cybertron series, which aired about 10 years ago now. I had watched the earlier series that aired around the same time – Armada and Energon, but I really didn’t like the animation style of Cybertron. As a result, I skipped it and the toys too – which is a bummer, cause I totally would have bought this awesome toy if I’d known about him. Aftermarket prices are currently a little more expensive than I would like to pay.   
Fangwolf’s bot mode is particularly cool. One of his hands is a wolf head! On the old Snarl toy, the wolf head was on the left wrist, but the picture shows this one on the right. I went with the older style, but the choice is up to you. His other hand holds a sword, which in alt mode becomes his tail. And as for his alt mode – his name gives away the secret; he does indeed become a wolf. Resemblance to a real wolf is not guaranteed, though.

Mindswipe is apparently based on Mindwipe, a G1 Headmaster toy. Apparently he had mystical hypnosis powers and could commune with dead Transformers – or more accurately, he wanted to, but couldn’t. I have to admit that I don’t remember him at all.  But he was a Decepticon then, and he's retained that allegiance now.

Mindswipe turns into a bat. His is probably the simplest “transformation” of any of the Kreons – you just pop off his helmet, face it forward and pop it back on. You can jiggle his wings and claws around a little to distinguish him more if you want, but it’s purely cosmetic. His head is the same piece as Fangwolf’s, but it’s cast in maroon, rather than white. It doesn’t specifically look like a bat, but combined with the wings it works as a whole.  His wings are enormous -- possibly a little too big, you'll definitely need the stand for him -- but they give him a really distinctive look that makes up for his overly simple bot-to-beast mode.   

Fangwolf comes with his sword/tail. Mindswipe doesn’t come with any additional weapons, but both come with the basic Kre-O stand that we've come to know and love.

All the paintwork appears to be done by tampographs, and all of them cleanly applied. However, I should add that this is the second Fangwolf I’ve bought – the paint scraped off some of the face on my first when I was trying to adjust his helmet. I haven’t had this problem with any other Micro-Changers, but I’d suggest you keep an eye on it.

Unusually, Mindswipe’s head is cast in black, and his face is tampo’d on in grey. It’s a really cool head, actually – I like the idea of mixing and matching it with other Decepticon pieces to make a custom one, but whether I follow up on that remains to be seen.   

Fangwolf gets a lot of points by virtue solely of being a wolf – just look at the name of this blog! Combine this with his arctic colour scheme, and we have a real winner here. Admittedly I’m biased due to his wolf status, but he’s one of my favourite characters from the series -- and I'm giving some thought to picking up a Cybertron toy of him, should I find one at the right price.  

Mindswipe is pretty good. He’s not my favourite from the line, but overall he’s $4 well spent.
This has been a fun series of Micro-Changers, and I should get some more reviews online soon. Hopefully the attendant movie will be fun too – I don’t expect great things, but it is pretty hard to stuff up giant robot dinosaurs. Hopefully some of these more obscure characters from the line will show up in the movie too, even if they’re only cameos.   

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