Lockdown was the first Transformers : Animated toy I bought. It was more out of curiosity than anything else. I liked Cartoon Networkís energetic designs and was curious to see if it was possible to see such visual shorthand translated into three dimensional form. A decade or so previously, I had been impressed by the physical realisations of the Powerpuff Girls, but they didnít have to transform into a vehicle.
A huge, thumping great muscle car (er, relatively speaking), Lockdownís alt mode is fantastic. Part Batmobile, part leather jacket, it has a nice blocky swoosh to its shape. Itís not big on colour, but the black is nicely complimented by that deep red translucent plastic used on the windows and headlights. The daubs of neon green on the bonnet are a nice touch too and even the hated grey plastics donít look too bad. Putting silver paint on the front bumper was a poor choice though, itís so low to the ground and rubs up against other parts during transformation that it quickly gets scratched and chipped. The vehicle rolls around nicely enough and is a cracking looking thing. Itís interesting to note how little this mode was changed for the ROTF homage figure, so much so that the Animated toy ends up looking more realistic than that later figure, as its cartoony proportions in vehicle mode seem more tempered and coherent. Weird that.
Thereís not much in the way of complexity transforming Lockdown to robot mode. The arms are carefully arranged at the rear of the vehicle and can be a little annoying to get back into position going back to the vehicle mode, but work as theyíre supposed to. Itís the legs that I have the problem with. They split away from the sides of the vehicle, fold and then the whole lower section rotates around to match up with the front of the robot. Now, the joints used at the legs are a new engineering development for the Animated line. The hip joints are a mix of ball joints encased in a section that allows the thigh of the robot to twist in the necessary direction to get the leg all worked out. Whereas on previous toys, this kind of swivel joint was fully encased, here a section is exposed. The point of this being that because the turns you have to rotate the sides of the vehicle through to form the legs occur at a point where there is very little clearance, so the legs are designed with a sort of failsafe whereby if you end up popping the leg off the socket , it can simply be reattached. This happened on my example but I have discovered that unlike with the balljoints whereby if things pop off, you pop it back on and its all fine, this half encased swivel joint is never quite the same again after reattaching, and now poor Lockdownís leg falls off every time you have to tuck up the front of the vehicle to form the thigh. Itís very annoying and I canít understand why, even if slotted correctly back onto the joint it keeps dropping off now every time you touch it. Itís a right pain the backside. Whether itís some weakness in the structure of the plastics where the round section of the joint connects to the housing in the leg, Iím not sure, but given some of the quality control issues that plagued other figures in the range, one does wonder.
Despite leg problems, Lockdownís robot mode is excellent, in terms of design, if not without a few niggly problems. The tallest deluxe figure, Lockdown towers over the Decepticons that heís allied with and comes up to neck height on the Leader Class Megatron figure, which rather puts to shame some of the Voyager scaled figures some of whom arenít much bigger than a Deluxe. The robot mode has an interesting shape. Itís this thin, triangular shaped thing with a long neck, gnagly arms and massive legs. It sounds awful but it works. So long as you donít do much with him. Because of his design and the engineering required, Lockdownís leg articulation is pretty much non-exsistant. He can move his legs at the hip, allowing him to goose-step, but he doesnít really have any knees. The fold of the car parts by the bonnet do give him a joint there, but it looks silly if you use this to try and pose him as it looks like his legs are all broken. The arms have the full range of motion youíd expect in a modern Transformer toy, but the hands are, unfortunately a bit of a fub. They swing out of the inside of those housings in the wrists, but irritatingly they do not Ďlockí into position and just flop about on an axle angled inwards at his hips. They also carry over the rubbish Beast Wars design flaw of having fixed open hands that look awkward whenever you move his arms. Itís a shame he doesnít come with another weapon accessory to cover his other arm, as once covered up by that hook/ gun weapon, things are much improved.
A flawed figure, Lockdown isnít quite as good as he should be. A little more time spent refining some small areas would have massively improved the figure. I can live without the articulation in the legs, but just would have loved some improved joints at the hips and wrists. With those minor improvements, Lockdown would have been a top figure, as it is, the minor problems he does have overshadow all the good work done realising the guy in 3D.
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