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Phil's review of Beast Wars Retrax


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#1 Philister

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:34 PM


For more pics, click on the image above

Alternate Mode: Retrax? beast mode is a big pill bug (lat. Armadillidiidae) of impressive size, seeing as he?s ?only? a Deluxe-class figure. The bug consists of seven segments, the center five each sporting a pair of short black legs. The front segment is a nicely sculpted head with yellow mandibles, while the tail segment has a single stinger. Articulation is present in this mode, but not really all that noticeable. All ten legs can move up and down, while the mandibles can snap shut and the stinger moves up and down as well.

Like a real pill bug Retrax can roll himself into a ball by way of a spring-powered mechanism. And while the legs sticking out the side and the mandibles up front do not lend themselves to actual rolling, the whole thing still looks nicely ball-shaped. In both variants the bug mode is nicely detailed and offers no visible robot parts (unless you?re looking at it from the bottom). So bottom line, a pretty decent beast mode.

Robot Mode: Given that the beast mode has been built around the gimmick of it being able to roll up into a ball automatically, it shouldn?t be surprising that the robot mode suffers for it. It?s basically the bug mode stood up on one side with robot legs and a head folding out. The arms are integrated into the length of the bug body, the fists sitting inside the head and tail segment. The roll-up gimmick from the beast mode translates into a sort of power-hug here, as Retrax can wrap his massive arms (or rather his tiny little thin arms along with the huge bug parts attached to them) around an opponent. The arms can be separated from the bug segments, but as the springs are attached to them, it still leaves them stuck in one of two positions, only now the bug segments are flopping around loosely on the back.

And... yeah, that?s pretty much it. Retrax is a gimmick with legs, nothing more than that. His legs are nicely articulated, but given that about 90 percent of his mass is in his upper body, that doesn?t really avail him much in the way of posing ability. The detailing of the robot mode is a good deal less spectacular than the beast mode and he doesn?t have any weapons apart from the power-hug gimmick. So bottom line: leave Retrax in beast mode.

Remarks: Beast Wars contained lots and lots of great toys, both those that appeared in the TV series and those that didn?t. Retrax didn?t, and he?s not a great toy, either. Retrax is a very good example of what happens when a gimmick takes over a figure. He?s got a great beast mode and the whole rolling-up-into-a-ball thing is nice, but it pretty much ruins the robot mode, which - to me- is almost always the main selling point of every Transformers toy.

Retrax? only in-media appearances are some background scenes in the IDW Beast Wars comics. The mold itself was recycled for the Beast Wars II character Power Hug, who did appear in the accompanying TV series, but it doesn?t improve the toy any. So the bottom line: only for Beast Wars completists and those who don?t mind a toy that they should never, ever transform into robot mode.

Rating: D+

#2 Esser-Z

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:49 PM

I need to get me one of these.

#3 DINOBOT SLUDGE

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:29 PM

Haven't opened Powerhug yet, but he was cheap so I'll give him a whirl. It is pretty rare that I hate a Beast Wars toy, but he has potential.
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#4 Fear or Courage

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:37 PM

Man. I remember back in the day (i.e. the Beast Era), someone who had a website of repaints did a custom of him as a reborn, organic Unicron. The funny thing is, if memory serves, he didn't remold it at all, just redid it in Unicron colors. It was eerie how well it worked.

#5 DINOBOT SLUDGE

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:22 PM

I remember that as well, and he is quite the natural fit.
What is singature?

#6 Naas

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:53 AM

The "ball" mode is just oddly Unicron-like.

#7 Caked-Up

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:15 PM

My little brother had this guy and he was junk. I would have been interested in the Blue Ball Wrecking crew though.
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#8 Fear or Courage

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:07 PM

QUOTE(GALVATRON I @ Feb 22 2012, 06:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I remember that as well, and he is quite the natural fit.


Do you have any memory of what the site was called? I kind of want to see if I can wayback-machine it.

#9 Fishbug

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:58 PM

Found it.

Just had to backtrack from searching for the Optimus Minor repaint as Scuzzlebutt I know he did.

#10 Fear or Courage

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:13 AM

Oh man. It's the 90's all over again.

Nostalgia told me those pictures were bigger though.

#11 Fishbug

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:36 AM

Well you can "view image" 'em to be a little larger.

#12 DINOBOT SLUDGE

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:28 PM

Yep that's the one.
What is singature?



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