Alternate Mode: Mole Tank
Thanks to Pulse for donating Menasor & Heavy Load for this review
MOLE TANK MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 27cm Width: 12.5cm
A turquoise mole tank vehicle, Menasor is an odd shaped vehicle which is sort of a cross between a catamaran and a tank, with two black treads per side. The struts at the back above the treads are beige while there's some transparent aqua here and there, along with some aqua paint applications and some gold plastic in places. The sculpt is pretty complex with diverse detailing, which I appreciate. There are different drills on the front tread sections - a transparent aqua on on the left and a thinner, gold, one on the right. There are silver dashes of paint at the base of the drills, representing spill marking the vehicle, which is a nice touch. Overall the colours are fairly unusual although dark enough that they're not garish.
As unusual as the concept of this toy is, I quite like the idea of this vehicle mode. While it's not realistic, it fits into the realm of functional but unusual mining & excavation vehicles. The skeletal frame of the vehicle coupled with the externally visible mechanics provide an edge to this vehicle mode for me. It helps that Menasor isn't based around a gimmick - although there are a couple thrown in here.
Menasor has a total of six hardpoints here, which is more than most Cybertron and Energon figures. There are two on each rear strut and one on top of each front tread section. What's more, the hardpoint on the right side is live - something rare outside of Armada. The gimmick attached to this is intended for the robot mode, so I'll come back to the gimmicks later. The hardpoints provide significant play value, although there's not that much here really. The key gimmick is available - but I'll cover that properly in robot mode. Menasor rolls on four small wheels - one under each tread. There's a rubberised wheel underneath the front left tread and if you him along with some downwards force on this tread the blue drill bit will rotate.
The tank mode holds together fairly well once you get it right, although Hasbro's own pictures and the instructions seem to suggest that they struggled with this. The treads actually clip together quite firmly, creating a solid vehicle. The trick is working out exactly how it fits together.
An unusual vehicle mode, which essentially succeeds in what the designer was going for. The colours are weird, the detailing good and the idea is fairly well executed, however if you don't appreciate the concept, you probably wont like this alternate mode much. The play value is okay but the engineering of this toy is pretty simple, overall. I personally "get" what the designer was going for, but I could easily understand others disliking this vehicle mode - it's not much of a disguise and does look pretty strange.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
A very simple transformation, which belongs on a deluxe or basic sized toy - the simple transformation is the biggest failing of this Transformer, for me.
Unclip the treads, swing the rear tread assemblies back and clip together the attachment points, forming the robot's groin. Stand him up, rotate the boots and pose the feet. Swing the front treads down to form arms. Unclip the panels above his head and swing back. Flip out the guns on his chest and optionally remove Heavy Load from within his chest.
Hasbro has defined quite a few intermediate modes as "attack" modes and the like, but they're basically nothing more than fan modes made official by a marketing guy. I'm not going to cover them here, but if you have the toy, you can explore. The jointing is good enough for a wide variety of fan modes.
Height: 22cm Width: 14cm
A turquoise robot with beige boots and a beige face, Menasor has transparent aqua eyes with a working lightpipe, along with some transparent aqua on his forearms, in place of hands. There are a few painted details around to keep things interesting, but he's essentially turquoise. The shoulders, knees and groin are black, which fades into the background. The colours are as unusual as in his vehicle mode, again they're not garish.
There are a few features of this robot mode which stand out, and while the wings behind his head are fairly standard, the tread-like boots are a little unusual and the forearms are very unusual. The long forearms are the drill sections of the vehicle - the left one ends in the transparent aqua drill bit while the right one ends the thinner gold drill bit. So Menasor has no hands. The other unusual element is a twin-barrelled cold cannon which protrudes from his chest. You can swing it down, which looks better for most poses.
The top of the chest features a small transparent aqua window. There's a small stamped Decepticon logo on the window, which is actually functional. The chest itself folds down to reveal a cabin for Heavy Load, who fits inside in robot mode. The shape of the torso is actually the same as that of Heavy Load's robot mode - the profiles are too similar for it to be coincidence. The end result is a sort of exosuit feel here - with Menasor being the exosuit for Heavy Load.
The left forearm contains Menasor's electronic gimmick. Plugging the purple Planet Key (code: us4r) into the slot on the outside of the forearm will cause him to emit a drilling sound - well I assume it's a drilling sound. It's somewhat indistinct and not really worth sourcing two AAA batteries for. There's a black gear just below the elbow, turning it causes the aqua drill to spin - and while this is pretty straightforward, it impresses me more than the sound gimmick. The right forearm contains a gimmick activated by that live hardpoint. Plugging Heavy Load (or another MiniCon) in and sliding forward will cause the long gold drill bit to extend, rotating as it moves forward. Two transparent aqua claws will release from either side, and they're well sculpted. Once the mechanism is released part of the way, the claws will stay out (until you slide right back, and pull them back into place) and you can slide the drill bit in and out by moving the slider. The really stupid part of this gimmick is that the claws pretty much surround the drill, rendering it all but useless since the claws will not stay retracted while the drill is in operation. It's a shame because the drill mechanism itself is quite well done.
Menasor's poseability is pretty good, which you'd hope of a toy this size with a simple transformation. His head turns, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows are hinged with rotators above _and_ below these hinges. His waist is fixed since the groin comes together during transformation, but the hips swing and lit out to the sides while his knees are hinged with rotators mid-thigh. Menasor's ankles are hinged and the feet are the rear treads, so they're big enough to anchor quite a few poses - the heelspurs are big enough to be very useful. Aside from the fact that he has no hands, I'm impressed with Menasor's poseability. Both drill bits look fairly imposing on his arms anyway, and the claw does provide something of a grasp.
An interesting robot mode, and while there are some shortcomings here - the confused gimmicks on his right arm and the poor sound emanating from the left - there are some good points here also. The poseability works and he is still visually impressive thanks to some nifty features like the exosuit aspect. It's not a great robot mode, but Menasor has his good points.
Name: Heavy Load
Alternate Mode: Dump Truck
Height: 2cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm
A gold, turquoise and black dumb truck with a shovel on the front, Heavy Load doesn't know whether to scoop up the rubble or remove it. The front of the black shovel is painted gold while the windows of the cabin are the same gold plastic as the front of the truck. The rear section is turquoise with a black, unpainted, tray.
There's not a lot of play value - the shovel swing up but the arms are short, so it's more a pivot that a lifting action. The tray can't move, other than to split apart for transformation. His powerlinx port is underneath, pretty much right in the centre.
This truck is more realistic that Menasor's alt mode, which isn't hard, really. Again it feels like a specialised mining vehicle. It's okay but not especially focused.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Split the tray and swing out to the sides them down to form arms. Swing down the back of the truck's base to form legs and reveal the torso. Flip out the head. In theory the tray stays where it is and ends up on his back, but it doesn't attach very firmly and will tend to pop off during transformation as you seek leverage. So you may find yourself having to reattach it at the end - which isn't too difficult.
Height: 4.5cm, Width: 3.5cm
Heavy Load's torso and upper arms are gold while the forearms are the black halves of the ray and his legs are turquoise. His head is green with a red face, and I can't for the life of me work out why the designer used a different colour plastic just for this piece. It doesn't bother me, but it does seem unnecessary. There are some gold paint applications on the shins, but the torso and arms are unpainted. The colours are - very loosely - those of Menasor upside down, and he blends into Menasor's colours well.
The robot is short and stocky with long forearms and the designer has done a decent job of managing to sculpt fists underneath the tray. The shoulders and elbows are ball joints while his hips swing. The knees and head are fixed, but the arm poseability is impressive.
A fairly simple robot mode, but the arms are quite well done. Credit must be given for the designer bothering with the extra plastic colour in his head - even if it was unnecessary. Heavy Load makes for a decent pilot for the mecha that is Menasor, which makes this robot mode successful enough.
None that I'm aware of.
A weird toy with weird colours, but Menasor still has his good points. The mining vehicle concept works for me, although the transformation is too simple for a toy this size. He would have worked a lot better as a deluxe, even if that might have meant the loss of Heavy Load - who is a decent but forgettable MiniCon. The gimmicks don't bring that much although the poseability is nice. Personally, I get what the designer was aiming for with the vehicle mode, so I do appreciate Menasor, but I can still see that he's a flawed toy. While I don't think the concept was enough for a toy this size, if you like the idea and can stomach the price, he's worth getting. If the idea doesn't click with you, Menasor will probably be quite a disappointment - 6/10