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Edge, Shield, Bullet

Series: Perfect Effect
Allegiance: Decepticon
Year: 2011

Prelude: Let’s get the legal stuff out of the way first. This set here was created by the third-party provider Perfect Effect and is in no way associated with Hasbro or Takara-Tomy. It’s clearly a homage to the G1 Transformer Reflector, but not being an official Transformers product, it can’t be called that.

Robot Mode: Okay, first let’s talk about the one major flaw of this figure set: it’s too small. The individual robots are about the size of Legends-class figures, no more than that. An increase in size by at least 50 percent would have vastly improved things for me.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the three robots making up the Scouting Force. They are modeled after Reflector’s TV appearance, not the toy, so all three robots basically look alike. The only differences are the colored stripes on their forearms and legs (green, blue and red, referencing the dominant colors of their respective G1 predecessors), plus Edge having the camera lens on his chest. All three robots share excellent posability, having fully posable arms and legs, as well as ball-jointed heads and swiveling feet. Detailing is also quite excellent given their size.

The Scouting Force members carry an impressive amount of weaponry. Each member has a knife he can put into a sheet on the back of his hip, the rest is individualized. Edge, the team leader (green stripes) carries two black rifles, plus blast shields on his forearms. He also has shoulder pads made from the viewfinder of the camera. Shield (red stripes) carries a sniper-type rifle with an elongated barrel and scope, plus a huge shield (hence the name) of the type riot squads carry. He also has missile launchers on his shoulders. Finally Bullet carries the two halves of the camera zoom lens on his shoulders and a huge tri-barreled weapon, strongly reminiscent of a mini-gun. None of them are lacking in firepower, that’s for sure.

The big mini-gun and the camera zoom lens can also be combined to form a huge bazooka-type weapon, which can either be carried by one of the three robots or combined once again with Shield’s riot shield into a stationary cannon of sorts.

So all in all one has to admit that, despite their small size, the Scouting Force robots are incredibly detailed, offer lots of different variations in terms of armament (all weapons can be swapped to your heart’s content) and are simply fun. If only they’d been a good deal bigger...

Alternate Mode: Just like in days of yore, the three robots combine to make a camera (whether or not it makes sense for three robots to combine into a single, immobile device is a discussion for another time and place). First off, let me say that I was very impressed that the entire arsenal of extra parts for the robot are smoothly integrated into the camera mode. The three rifles fit inside the zoom lens, the missile launchers become the flash, the big shield becomes the camera’s bottom, and the huge mini-gun turns into a tripod for it. Very nicely done, everything’s packed up tight, so the danger of losing extra parts is minimal.

The final product does look like a camera, but only overall and only with the add-on parts zoom lens and flash. Without it, it’s just a big, somewhat irregular square that doesn’t look like a camera. G1 Reflector managed to look more or less like a camera even without the add-on parts, so advantage to the classic product here. If you don’t look too much into detail, though, the Perfect Effect camera looks pretty spiffy, too. There is no functionality here, of course, as neither the viewfinder now the actual camera lens are transparent or anything, but the combined effect of everything is still nice. No one will mistake it for the real deal, but you can easily tell what it’s supposed to be, so no real complaints.

Remarks: I was always a fan of Reflector and having gotten the original G1 figure some time back thanks to my loving wife, I was pretty psyched to see an updated version of them being done, even if it was by a third-party company. When it finally got here, I was bit dismayed at the rather miniscule size of the package. My disappointment didn’t last long, though, as size is pretty much the only thing one can complain about here. The three individual robots are great, the add-on parts all work and are fully integrated into the camera mode, and everything fits together quite well. If the set had been 50 to 100 percent larger, it’d have gotten a straight A from me. As things stand it’s still a great set, but you need to decide whether you want to dish out the rather hefty price tag for three Legends-sized figures. I did and I don’t regret it.

Rating: B+

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