October 9th, 2007


(no subject)

Shortpacked!: Aliens vs Predator vs Terminator vs Ecks vs Sever vs Unicron vs Death Star

The Transformers movie score by Steve Jablonsky was released today! ... in exactly one Borders in all of Columbus, I learned, after a day of searching. When I listen to "Arrival To Earth," I get all tingly. Say what you will about the movie, its score is majestic.

Unicron vs the Death Star has been debated so much that the Alt.Toys.Transformers FAQ asked nicely that you never ever bring it up again. It was such a regular topic that it really couldn't be taken seriously anymore. It became a punchline.

Which meant, naturally, that when the Star Wars Transformers Death Star was announced, I knew I could not pass it up. This is the Death Star in its purest form -- transformed into a giant Darth Vader robot, fighting Unicron. To me, these two toys represent the Internet. (Well, okay, maybe a Furry should be thrown in, or something...)

The new mythos that has been built up around Unicron since those arguments saturated Usenet has made the debate a lot more convoluted. For example, no matter how many times the Death Star blows up Unicron with its super awesome planet-blowing-up lasers from far away, Unicron can and will always shunt his essence into a divergent timeline and try again. The fight, like the Internet argument itself, would be eternal.

I know some of you are thinking, "But Mr. Shortpacked! Cartoonist Guy, aren't the Star Wars Transformers horrible toy abortions?" And to you I'd say, "Hey! The Millennium Falcon was sweet! And, uh... okay, the others were pretty meh." And I would also say that this toy has none of the flaws of the rest of the line. It's a solid toy that doesn't pop apart. It's sturdy, will stand, and while it has kibble, it all packs away fairly nicely.

Its only real flaw is one that is shared by several Transformers -- namely, this toy is the definition of "shellformer." To transform Darth Vader into the Death Star, you roll him into a ball and then spend half an hour trying to unfold the layers of planet surface compressed all over his body until it becomes a perfect sphere. This is no small task. You will invariably end up with everything aligned perfectly except for one panel which you can't put into place because, again, the altmode is a perfect sphere. Everything's perfectly overlapping.

SWTF Death Star comes with a number of accessories, including a light saber, a gun (which fits between his (its?) ankles during transformation and becomes the main planet-busting weaponry), three Stormtrooper minifigures, a Darth Vader minifigure, and three tiny TIE fighter "MINI-CON"s. (That's right. Check the instructions. The TIE fighters are called Mini-Cons, despite the lack of Powerlinx ports.) It also comes with a cloth cape for robot mode. It drapes nicely over the hemisphere on his back.

He's got loads of electronic lights and sounds, as well. In robot mode, a button on his chest causes his chest to glow green and spurt a number of Darth Vader sound clips. A button on his right arm causes his light saber to glow with light saber sound effects. In planet mode, you can open up the circular top hatch, press down his robot head, and launch the main planetary weapon, accompanied by sounds. (It's strange to hear the Darth Vader breathing effects come from the Death Star.)

It's a pretty sweet toy.

I've photographed it next to Steve-o's Energon Unicron and my Cybertron Primus for a sense of scale. He's roughly the same size as the others in planet mode (discounting Unicron's rings), but he's a much smaller robot. Sadly, a grapefruit was not available.