Wednesday, February 23, 2011

REVIEW: Transformers Deluxe Terradive

Transformers Deluxe Terrdive | Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010

Terradive loves to dive toward unsuspecting prey with the sun behind him. The light blinds his target, and the scream of his engines terrifies them, leaving them easy pickings for the blades of his trident. With Jetblade serving as a decoy, Tomahawk will never know what hit him.

Welcome to the first - and last - That Figures Transformers Review.

GI Joe Vs Transformers - An Experiment in Fun
I need to explain why this Review is here. Last week I decided I was going to start collecting a new range of toys. I stood in Target, weighing-up my final choices: on the one hand there was Zartan from the latest GI Joe wave (he looked cool and had nice accessories) and on the other was Terradive from the Transformers (my favourite toy-line Microman spun-off into the Transformers, so they should be good.) In the end I decided to buy both and, whichever one impressed me most, would wind-up as my new obsession.

As followers of this blog may have noticed, there have been a lot of GI Joe Reviews recently and this is the first Transformers Review. I think you can work-out which line won. Hopefully this Review will explain why...

Terradive's packaging is nicely produced. It's eye-catching and unique to the figure. I like the way the figure is packed in vehicle mode but show in robot mode in the illustration (and in photos on the back of the box.)

Unfortunately you will end-up damaging the packaging when you remove him.

The figure is held in-place with some twisties through the retaining tray. It's all nicely held and quite snug, so no pieces came loose in-transit. The figure is easy to remove once the packaging is open.

In his vehicle mode, Terradive is a Sukhoi Su47 Berkut fighter-jet. The jet it's modeled on is cool, with the forward-swept wing gives it an unusual but pleasingly futuristic look.

Unfortunately whilst the upper half of the toy looks quite like the original jet, the underside is messy, given that that's where the robotic parts are tucked-away whilst in jet mode. It's a shame the aesthetics of the upper body aren't reflected below.

Now we come to the ''fun'' part -the transformation into a robot.

As Jane Austin* once said, ''one half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other'' and this is true of the Transformers and me. I don't understand where the fun comes from with these toys. Look at those instructions. And that's only for a one-way transformation. If you want to switch back, there's another set of instructions on the other side...

I'm sure some people - engineers, maybe - might enjoy this but for me, this is a horrible, gimmicky process that's about as much fun as explaining Quadratic Equations to a three year-old. Who's watching the In the Night Garden. At 2 AM.  

I've always been a fan of toys that inspire imagination and creativity so for me, this is like karaoke play, where the only way to play with it is THE WAY YOU"RE TOLD. I find that sad, as it seems to stifle imagination and an exploration of the toy. It's not like you can really play with it mid-transform like you could with, say, Lego or Microman toys. I just don't get the gimmick.

* Yeah, we're an edumacated bunch at That Figures.

Of course, there's no reason you can't play with it in either mode, free of any transforming shenanigans. But why would you? Why not just buy a cool robot or jet toy instead?

The problem is that the transformation gimmick also limits the toy's design. Terradive isn't a particularly good-looking jet toy, nor is it a good-looking robot. It's something stuck between both that  fails to be either.

Here's the thing - I hate being negative. I dislike snide or snarky comments. But I really don't get this toy at all. The Transformers have their fans and I quite liked that cartoon with Eric Idle in it. But I just find it staggering that this line took-over from Microman because it was ''more popular.'' To quote St Bill, ''Boy is my thumb not on the pulse of America!''

Anyway, enough on the transforming part of it all. What about the robot itself?

It's actually not bad, once you get over the ramshackle, junkyard-built appearance. The limbs are use ball-joints to good effect and offer a wide range of motion. There's also a jointed head and the wrists rotate within the cuffs, plus the feet fold-out and can be altered to help stabilise the pose, which is a nice touch, too. It's just too bad it looks like a car- or in this case - plane-wreck.

Terradive comes with a trident that can be held in his hand in robot mode or affixed to the base of the toy in jet mode. There's also a full-colour catalogue and the aforementioned instruction sheet.

Final Thoughts
Clearly people like the Transformers. That much is obvious, given their immense store presence and the fact that they've appeared in countless TV shows, spin-off products, multiple toy lines and more. I just don't get the appeal though: whilst the transforming process is smartly-designed and the toy is of a high quality, that doesn't disguise the fact that this is basically a Rubic's Cube with wings. 

I also don't get why you'd compromise between having a good vehicle toy or a good robot and choose something that was an OK vehicle and an OK robot. I'd rather have a good example of one or the other.

If you're into puzzles and manipulation and all this stuff, I'm sure this toy would be a lot of fun. But I've always favoured toys that spark the imagination and allow for creativity and fun, none of which I'm seeing here and I question just how long the transforming gimmick can get away with hiding the fact that the Transformers really aren't very good playthings.

As I simply don't ''get'' these toys, it would be unfair to award any kind of Review Scores. Just know that the production, articulation and actual transforming-design are all nicely done, even if I do find the actual toy uninspiring.

Image Gallery


  1. Am not too thrilled with this one Iok but i do like his coloring and in his robot mode he does have a Microman feel in a off way.

  2. There's not anything really wrong with him, except he's a Transformer. That's why I avoided a Score, as it wasn't fair to criticise it for what it was just because I didn't like it.

    But I'm not buying any more... :)

  3. I think your best bet if you were going to get another transformers is some of the Generations and Reveal the Shield ones some of those are what i call "throwbacks" because they are very much like the classic ones.

  4. I chose Terradive because he was a jet. As a child I never liked toy cars and even as an adult, I'm not a petrol-head. Given a lot of the Autobots are cars in their disguised mode, you can probably see why they don't do anything for me!


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