The year 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the Transformers franchise. To celebrate this incredible milestone, Seibertron.com will look back at a quarter-century of great Transformers toys, bringing back into the limelight some brilliant figures that have fallen through the cracks over the years. Once a week, a fan (be it a member of the staff or a user on the site) will have the opportunity to write about one of their favourite "hidden gems" of the Transformers Universe, and have their review posted on the site's front page.
We hope this feature will be a great success, and that many of you will be encouraged to look back at the last 25 years of Transformers and perhaps take a worthwhile second-look at some real unsung classics of the Transformers universe.
___________________________________________________________________Buried Treasure - Frostbite (Universe series - 2005)
By Duke of Luns
In the early part of 2003, the Transformers Universe Line was born. The intent of this line was to give collectors and kids a second chance to buy molds of previously released figures, occasionally paying homage to a past character in Transformer lore. Unfortunately, the Transformers Universe line was plagued by a dearth of uninteresting repaints in hideous or gaudy colors that sometimes hampered an otherwise great figure, and the line met its demise in late 2005. Because of the lines early end, several interesting figures and redecos were left on the manufacturing room floor. Many of these figures would either not see release for several years, if at all, but fortunately for us Frostbite
was not among them.
Before I begin my review, I think a little back-story is in order. Firstly, Frostbite
is a Decepticon repaint of Transmetal II Jawbreaker
, a Maximal. Jawbreaker was one of the final molds from the Beast Wars line, and since he never appeared in the show or any comic (barring the Beat Wars Sourcebook) as of yet, he‘s often forgotten. Frostbite was part of the final general retail release Universe figures alongside Longhorn
and Night Slash Cheetor
, and he‘s now showing up in a review about forgotten Transformers. It’s probably just a coincidence, but you never know. Anyway, speaking of back-story, Frostbite
actually doesn’t have any, other than he’s an agent of Unicron. Considering just how cool the figure looks it’s a shame, because after all Transformers are living, functioning aliens from outer space, and it’s nice to put a personality to a face. But since this is a review of a toy and not a character, I suppose it really is a moot point. So in that respect, let’s start by examining Frostbite
MOC shall we?Frostbite
comes in normal Universe packaging, with original character at on the front of the bubble insert. In short, pretty lame packaging. However, it would be in err to judge a book by its cover, since what’s inside is more than meets the eye….
Upon opening the package, we are presented with a Transmetal II hyena….with white, purple, black and light blue fur. I guess that he’d be some kind of artic hyena, if one existed. Not exactly realistic or even “disguisable”, but considering some of the color schemes that adorned other figures in the line, it’s pretty pleasing to the eye. Anyway, the color scheme is completely original and isn’t really meant to homage any past characters, but if you squint real hard you might catch a passing resemblance to G1 Carnivac
Molding and detail wise, it’s everything you would expect from a Transmetal II, and that’s a good thing. Almost every part on the figure is unique, with few if any “mirrored” pieces. Robotic and fleshy parts flow in and out each other very well, and this figure demonstrates very well just how much the Beast Wars line had changed up to that point. I particularly love the robotic right eye.
Moving on, I think now would be a good time to “point” out just how evil and dangerous Frostbite
looks. From his toothy buck toothed mouth right to the bladed tip of his tail, this guy just screams “Beware of Dog“. Also of note the spinning saw blade located on his back. It functions perfectly in this mode, and doesn’t scrape against the back of the head or anything. Hard to believe this guy was redecod from a Maximal huh? Oh yeah, and no need to worry scratching or cutting yourself, since this is a children’s toy most of the bladed areas are molded in soft plastic and all have rounded tips, and this factor only enhances how cool his beast mode is. After all, do you really want to have a first aid kit on hand every time you play with him?
Articulation is pretty decent for a Beast Wars era figure. He has some slight head articulation with full 360 degree movement, and can even tilt up, down, and side to side slightly. His front legs can’t move side to side, the but can rotate a full 360 degrees, though they will hit the hind legs in the process. These legs also articulated at the knee, and slightly at the foot as well. The hind quarters fare both better and worse than the front. They have some slight side outward movement due to being on a ball joint, but I personally don’t think they look right when jutted out. Also due to molding issues the legs can’t rotate a full 360 degrees like the front legs can, but this doesn’t affect posing much. The legs are also articulated at the knee and at the back of the calf to simulate the “backwards knees” that most four legged animals possess. Like the front legs, his feet have some minor articulation. Finally, his tail has some slight up and down movement. Not much to write home about, but more than some earlier Beast Wars figures.
Unfortunately, this great and original beast mode is marred by a couple of technical difficulties. First of all, his head is not very well hidden, and can easily be seen underneath of him in this form. The second problem is that the front quarter of the figure doesn’t hold together very tightly. The front legs have a habit of becoming un-pegged, and the connection behind the saw blade area isn’t very secure either. However, these are very minor issues, and do little to spoil the awesomeness of his beast mode.
But hey, despite how awesome Frostbite
’s beast mode is, this is a Transformers review, so now would be a good time to settle into the metal.
After a relatively simple transformation we now have a very cool, very posable robot. Articulation wise, he has fifteen points, sixteen if you move the back piece backwards a tad, giving him waist rotation. His head can rotate a full 360 degrees, and his arms are ball jointed. His right forarm is on a hinge at the elbow, and can rotate a full 360 degrees here as well. The left arm has a ball joint on the forearm. His arm kibble/beast front legs still rotate in this mode was well, but I don’t count them on his articulation tally. The legs are ball jointed, with hinges on the knees, calves , and feet. Stability wise, I’ve found no problem with my figure. The ball joints have held pretty tightly over the years, and his feet are large enough to accommodate him in almost any position. He also has pretty even weight distribution, so he’s not heavy anywhere.
Sculpt wise, Frostbite
is one vicious looking Decepticon. His head sculpt is pretty standard Transformers fare, though I find it interesting that his cyborg looking eye is on the left side, whereas his beast mode cyborg eye is on the right. Maybe he has different vision depending on what mode he’s in? You’ll also notice that like his beast mode, the robot mode is not symmetrical, and there is a mish-mash of organic and cybernetic parts going on everywhere. Also, Frostbite looks good from practically any position, with the only kibble being on his arms, but this doesn’t detract from the figure in the least, and enhances his look slightly.
certainly looks ready willing to rip any opposing Autobots to shreds! Obviously to do this he would require a weapon, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed, Frostbite not only has one built in, but very capable handheld weapon as well.
Let’s examine his right arm first. Like several Beast Wars era figures, his beast mode head has become one of his hands. Since the head is on a joint, it can be positioned to look very natural, in nearly any position. Behind his head we come to the main gimmick of the figure, namely his spinning saw blade. Often times whenever an action figure has any kind of spinning action figure, it almost always inhibits the posabilty or look that said figure could have if that feature wasn’t present. Frostbite
actually bucks this trend, because not only does the saw blade look good in almost any position, it doesn’t affect posability or functionality in the least! The only trade off is that the forearm is a tad bulky, but it’s light enough that it doesn’t weigh the arm down, and the exposed lever and un-detailed areas doesn’t look too ghastly.
Now then. let’s talk about Frostbite
’s only accessory. What was once his tail has now become a very deadly and sharp looking sword, excellently molded and painted. It’s molded in soft plastic, so there won’t be any poked fingers, and is light enough to be held high over his head should you wish to pose him that way. The sword is also very….big. Gee, with a weapon that size, ya think he might be compensating for something? Juvenile jokes aside, Frostbite
is actually a head or so shorter than most deluxe sized Transformers, but that doesn’t make him any less deadly in this reviewer’s opinion.
So in closing, Frostbite
is one excellent looking and often overlooked Transformer, and was certainly a great figure that came at end the original ill-fated Universe line, despite not paying direct homage to any particular past character. Hopefully when the Universe 2.0 line returns after the Movie we’ll see some more interesting original characters that can make their own legacy.Links:
Visit the Frostbite gallery by clicking here
Visit the Transmetal II Jawbreaker gallery by clicking here
...Or find your own buried treasures by visiting all the toy galleries here
* If you would like to write a review for our "Buried Treasures" feature, please send a private message to Skowl
on the Seibertron.com forums!Previous Buried Treasure Reviews:Cannonball by SkowlSnapdragon by JeepCybertron Downshift by Chuckdawg1999