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Viewfinder, Spectro & Spyglass

Series: War for Cybertron: Siege
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Deluxe Convention Exclusive
Year: 2019

Hasbro: Hey, fans! We’re putting out a new Reflector toy for Siege. And this time he’ll actually look like the guys you saw in the cartoon.

Fans: Yeah, slavish G1 adherence is totally our thing right now, we love it! Give it here!

Hasbro: Remember, though, you’ll have to buy three of him to assemble the camera.

Fans: What? How dare you force us to buy three identical toys in order to have the three identical dudes we saw in the cartoon? Why do you hate us?

Hasbro: Well, uh… we’ll also put out a special SDCC set, where the three dudes aren’t quite identical and closely resemble that G1 toy that most people never had. There now, isn’t that better?

Fans (at least this particular one here): Yes, yes it is!

Robot Modes: The Refraktor team consists of three identical robots that only differ in color and accessories. They have taken their individual names from the G1 Reflector Team. Spectro is the red and black one, Spyglass the one with the yellow chest and grey legs, and Viewfinder the one with the green chest and blue legs. Sadly the designers did not go the extra mile of giving them different heads, such as the G1 figures had, they are merely repaints of one another.

Each robot is very nicely detailed and fully articulated, too, so no complaints on that end at all. Their rather plain look makes them near-perfect generic Transformers, as there is little clue as to their alternate modes to be found (to be fair, they basically transform into either boards or cubes). All three robots carry a black rifle as their main weapon, which slightly resembles an old-style tommy gun. Additionally they all have a “telefocal shield”, actually a third of the big camera zoom lens. They also have multiple 5mm ports scattered over their bodies, so additional arms and accessories can be added as needed.

What differentiates the robots from each other, as well as from the retail version of Refraktor, are the additional accessories they come with. Viewfinder comes with shoulder pieces, Spyglass carries a “flash launcher”, and Spectro comes with a bigger shield called “Shutter Armor”. Viewfinder wears it best, I must admit, as the shoulder pieces were what differentiated his G1 incarnation the most from his teammates. The accessories for Spectro and Spyglass are basically interchangeable and don’t really matter much in robot mode, though Spyglass can use the Flash Launcher as an additional weapon, of course.

Overall I like these three guys and I do enjoy their G1 toy appearance over the cartoon-accurate retail version, I must admit. Either way, though, very nice robot modes.

Alternate Modes: Back in the days of G1, the three Reflector dudes simply folded down into squares in order to combine in camera mode. They had no separate alternate modes and no one minded, apart from the occasional fan discussion over how much sense it made for three individuals (if they actually were individuals) not to have individual transformations. Anyway, in Siege each figure does have an individual alternate mode. They transform into... something. Some kind of… space ship? Flying gun? Cybertronian surfboard? I am really not sure, to be honest.

I really don’t know what else to write here. The individual robots have individual alternate modes because they’re kind of required to have them, but those are clearly just there as a matter of principle. I’ve seen numerous fan modes done with them, but in their “true” form they are just... there. So let’s just move on.

Combined Mode: The “real” alternate mode of the Refraktor Team is, of course, that the three of them can combine into a camera. And not just any camera, but rather a 1980s style camera, complete with old-fashioned view finder (the shoulder pieces of, you guessed it, Viewfinder), old-school camera flash, and curved grip with shutter button. Those three parts, by the way, are what differentiates this combined mode from the one you’re getting when you combine three retail Refraktors together.

The three black blasters combine into a tripod for the camera and the three telefocal shields combine into a zoom lens. Each of the three figures came with a smaller lens for their torso, one of which becomes the base for the tripid, one the base of the zoom lens, and the third can be used as a button. The resulting camera looks pretty cool and strongly resembles the combined mode of the original G1 toy. It’s not a working camera, of course (that would be quite the engineering feat), but it’s just plain fun. Let’s not discuss the sense of three giant robots combining into a small camera, let us simply enjoy the nostalgia. Bottom line: very nice camera mode. No complaints at all.

Accessories: Apart from the various accessories for the camera, the Refraktor team also comes with a small Kremzeek figure. Not only do I love Kremzeek, he is also compatible with the Siege line’s blast effect system, which is a very nice touch. Additionally the team comes in a very nicely-styled collector box that kind of looks like an old-style camera bag. The box also takes special care to mention that Refraktor is an evil marauder, not a working camera. Just in case you got confused. Nicely done.

Remarks: Back in the days of G1 Refraktor was called Reflector and his main job was to fill out the ranks of the Decepticons (along with the various Seeker clones). It was never quite clear whether he was three separate individuals or one guy with three bodies. He has made a few scattered appearances since, but hasn’t really had much in the way of media presence, nor were there all that many toys made of him.

When a new Reflector toy was announced for Siege, reactions varied between elation and outrage, the latter being due to each Reflector (or Refraktor) being sold separately. So not only did one need to buy three identical figures, one also had to hope that the store next door actually HAD three of them on the shelves at the same time. As is often the case, it was a severe problem at first, but now left-over Refraktors are clogging quite a few shelves. Anyway, the SDCC exclusive in G1 toy colors was announced not much later and thus was my decision made.

I am not going to go into the whole cartoon look vs. toy look debate, for me it’s a case-by-case thing. In this case I didn’t much care for having three identical looking Reflectors, no matter how cartoon accurate, so I jumped on this SDCC convention exclusive as soon as I could. I do not regret it: Refraktor (either version of him) is certainly not for everyone, as he really doesn’t make sense, but if you are nostalgic for the G1 cartoon and/or the G1 toys, then this is a toy for you.

Rating: B+

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