Friday, August 12, 2011

Transformers Dark of the Moon: Drag Strip

Presenting Drag Strip a Human Alliance Decepticon from the Transformers Dark of the Moon toy-line. Yes, that's a Decepticon.

I don't normally collect Decepticons. Shockwave and Laserbeak were exceptions because I liked what they looked like. DOTM Drag Strip is another exception. "Why?" Well we'll discuss that later.

If you were a fan of the Transformers cartoon, then you might remember Drag Strip as one of the Decepticon Stunticons - he was the yellow weirdly six wheeled (yes, count them, six)  F1 race-car that became the left arm of the Mighty - and very mentally unstable -  Menasor.

Unfortunately, DOTM Drag Strip does not appear in the movie, nor in the DOTM video-game (At least not in the X-Box 360). DOTM Drag Strip  stands alone - without his fellow Stunticons,  and he does not have six wheels, just four. DOTM Drag Strip does however come with a Human Alliance driver named Master Disaster (So he won't be lonely) - hopefully not named after Master Disaster from waaay waaay back when Mel Gibson was considered a fun actor to watch.

DOTM Drag Strip's blister card reads "Decepticon Drag Strip recognized the potential of an alliance with the Humans right away. With an expert driver like Master Disaster at the wheel, Decepticon Drag Strip is free to concentrate on executing his elaborate plans for the Doom of the Autobots."

What's to like about DOTM Drag Strip?

For something so small and tiny, you have to appreciate the articulation that went behind creating Master Disaster. Master Disaster stands a little over 5.6 cm high but he can do splits thanks to the ball joints in his hips. He can also bend his knees; has ball joints in his arms; do the demon from Exorcist with his head - sadly his helmet doesn't come off - and his tiny, tiny hands can rotate in their sockets allowing Master Disaster to easily grip items. Inserting him into DOTM Drag Strip's driver's seat is easy and his ability to grip the steering wheel is a nice touch.

Another nice touch that I like - which others might not appreciate - is that Master Disaster is semi-translucent. This semi-translucence is particularly obvious around the arms and legs. It looks like he's fading OR! Master Disaster is a Hologram - which is sooo in line with what both Autobots and Decepticons have been using so as to not look weird in the past three films. DOTM Drag Strip also has a pair of clip-on blades and you can just imagine how deadly combining the speed of an F1 race car with a sharp object would be.

In robot mode, unfortunately, DOTM Drag Strip no longer needs Master Disaster. So thinking of Master Disaster as nothing more than a hologram does appeal to me. 

If you have this particular figure, you might immediately note that his feet do not have that much rear support so he usually keels over everytime he gets nudged a bit. He's most stable with his legs spread. 

Happily DOTM Drag Strip's articulation is quite excellent for such a small figure - though you may have some positioning issues thanks to the F1 wings on his arms. 

I particularly also love the positionable wings on his back. You can bring them together to give DOTM Drag Strip a more solid look or keep it open to make him look like a mantis - particularly when you attach the wrist blades. DOTM Drag Strip can mount his blades on the F1 Wings in robot mode. You can see how he probably likes to fight. My personal theory is that DOTM Drag Strip fights like he drives - fast with a lot of reverse slashing. But with the rear wings open and with the shape of DOTM Drag Strip's head he actually reminds me of Praying Mantis.

But the real story behind why I like DOTM Drag Strip is his third form. DOTM Drag Strip transforms into a hand-held shield - well it better be a shield.
I have to admit that I was baffled by why a shield would have a hole in the very middle. But then having watched all three films, you get the impression that - aside from the occasional back-stabs - all of the fighting moves of Decepticons and Autobots were bashes and slashes - a hole in the shield would be negligible. 

But the nicest part about the DOTM Drag Strip shield form is that it is  very reminiscent of the Transformers Armada Skyboom Shield.  

To the uninitiated, the Transformers Armada Skyboom shield is one of three mythical weapons formed by mini-cons. While the full extent of the defensive power of the Armada Skyboom Shield has never been tested, it is  the only known defense against the Star Saber and the Requiem Blaster.

The Armada Skyboom shield was formed from three mini-cons who were members of the Race Mini-Con Team (Or Road Assault Mini-con Team whenever the Armada Skyboom shield was possessed by the Decepticons - ownership affects their personality). The three mini-cons are: Mirage (Yellow F1); Downshift (The French LeMans racing car); and Dirt-Boss (The gray van)

What's not to like about DOTM Drag Strip?

There are a few problems with DOTM Drag Strip. The first and biggest one in my opinion is that DOTM Drag Strip is far too small to be an F1 race car. He looks more like an F3 - hell he looks like an amateur soap box - than an F1.

Another problem is that big gaping hole that DOTM Drag Strip has that appears in the cockpit and in shield mode. I'm not really sure why it's needed. The hole is unnecessary even from a cosmetic point of view and should - and could - have been remedied by Hasbro. In car mode it honestly looks like Master Disaster's personal toilet.

 The last problem that I have with DOTM Drag Strip is the rickety design that he has in robot mode. There is a hole in his chest that is filled only by his steering wheel. Getting that in there usually results in the steering wheel popping off and the plastic locks don't always work so while posing him half the time you're re-assembling his chest. Add to that the fact that he doesn't have back-leg support so he keeps falling over.

DOTM Drag Strip is available locally - though he is kinda hard to find - for PhP 699.75 (Around US$ 16.66). I picked up this particular figure in Toy Kingdom at the Podium in Ortigas.

DOTM Drag Strip is available on Amazon as part of a Transformers Human Alliance (Wave 3) set of four that includes the Autobots Whirl, Tailpipe and Half Track for US$ 44.99 plus shipping.

For the full review and gallery, click HERE

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