Alternate Mode: Fire Engine
FIRE ENGINE MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 17cm Width: 6.5cm
A bright red modern fire truck with a charcoal front bumper, some charcoal mid panels and while stripes on the side. Inferno has colourless plastic front windows while the side ones are painted black and the strobes on his roof are transparent pink. The front grille area and some hose details on the sides are painted silver while the headlights are painted white and orange. His tyres are black while the wheels are painted a chrome-under-red, which is also present on the rear end of either side, providing an interesting aspect. There's large chrome silver water cannon on top with a blue jetstream (it looks suspiciously like a missile!) and a Cybertron (Autobot) logo on the front just above the left headlight. It's a simple yet detailed colour scheme which matches his G1 incarnation nicely and works well for a fire engine.
While there are distinct design cues taken from his G1 toy, Inferno has some notable differences, many of which are for the better. There's no visible ladder here - which is common on modern fire trucks - and the gaps present on the sides (arms) of the original have been filled in, despite a similar transformation. The colourless windows and six tyres with red hubcaps are also similarities. The overall shape is much squarer. This is a very satisfying fire engine mode, even without a visible ladder. The water cannon on top firmly anchors Inferno's alt mode.
There's not a whole lot of play value here since the emphasis is on a good vehicle mode, but there's still some stuff you can do. The wheels all roll and do so on ridged tyres so he'll rumble as he rolls. The cannon can lift up to around 30° and it can also turn through 360°, although not while lifted. Turning it will reveal the gaps on top between the arms and feet, but this isn't a deal breaker by any stretch. The water stream is a missile - pressing the black trigger on top will cause the missile to fire maybe 2 feet. There are no electronic gimmicks here, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned - there's no awkward electronics block dominating the engineering, so Inferno is dedicated to being a good Transformer.
Aside from the limitation on rotating the cannon I have no real complaints with this mode. The colours work - Inferno is a fairly bright red, but he matches the G1 toy nicely. The fire engine is detailed with elements such as windshield wipers and seats inside. It's well painted and has chrome elements. The play value is about what you'd expect of a simple vehicle mode like this, making this a satisfying and strong if straightforward alt mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
This is essentially an update of the original's, with some tweaks such as a lot of panels attached to the arm to fill in gaps.
Unclip the chrome-under-red side panels and fold forward. Unclip the charcoal side panels and do the same. Fold away the front wheels, unclip the underside and fold down to form his legs. Fold the front bumper down to form the groin, split and rotate the boots, fold down the feet. Unclip the sides of the cabin, lift them up, split and swing forward as shoulderpads. Swing the arms down into position, fold away the visible side windows (underneath the shoulderpads) and bring the shoulderpads down. Rotate the arms into position, rotate the chrome panels on the outsides of his arms and the water cannon on the right forearm. Pull back the black panel behind the torso, the head should spring out into position - fold the panel up as a backplate and you're done.
Height: 18cm Width: 15cm
A red robot with a black head, black feet, elbows and fists, a charcoal groin and charcoal thighs. The front of the truck is his torso, complete with the Autobot logo, the seats and the headlight assembly. His face is painted silver while his eyes are blue with an excellent lightpipe. His crest is also silver while his antenna are painted a dullish gold. There are silver chrome panels on the outside of his forearms and shoulderpads. Again this is a good colour scheme - the use of both black and charcoal is a nice touch. The colours again line up well to the original, even if that toy lacks charcoal. There's not much white here, but the stripes on the sides of his torso are analogous to the wings of the original - something this toy doesn't need anyway since Inferno now has shoulderpads.
Inferno has a good bodyshape and while there is some kibble, it's used well. The shoulderpads are visually unobtrusive and they can also clear room for arm poseability. The chrome is _not_ part of the vehicle mode - for the most part, and so the chrome panels on his arms, while they might seem like fire truck elements, are robot mode elements. The water cannon is obviously a carry over, but this integrated weapon isn't really kibble. I especially like the backplate getting itself right out of the way, it's clever and is designed purely to avoid a gap at that spot.
Inferno's poseability is very good here. His head sits on a ball joint and his wrists rotate while his waist is fixed. His shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and _ankles_ are move in two planes of motion, despite the neck being the only ball joint used here. The range of poses available is impressive and the double jointed ankles coupled with the transformation hinges in his feet make Inferno quite stable. There are holes in his fists and while at a glance they might seem token, Inferno can hold his missile as a club quite easily. The missile can also be fired from the cannon sitting underneath his right forearm. This launcher cannot detach, which makes it impossible to lose (well, unless you break the toy), but sits in a position where it can be unobtrusive when it needs to be.
If there's a negative here it's the lack of a waist - Inferno's torso is a box with a groinplate underneath, and no waist to speak of. Mind you, both the G1 toy and cartoon incarnation were the same, so it's true to character even if it does look a little strange. While various Optimus Prime toys down the years have employed different tricks to give the truck cab a waist, that's never been Inferno's style. It should also be said that the head and face match the character nicely.
A great robot mode with good colours, a strong paint job and excellent play value, Inferno isn't burdened by gimmicks. His poseability is impressive for a toy that turns into a boxy vehicle, yet he has surprisingly little kibble thanks to some clever panel tricks. This mode is just as good as the vehicle mode.
The Hasbro version features a deeper, duller, red. Spark, Hot Spot and Grapple are retools of Inferno.
A very good toy which is an excellent tribute to the original that remains true to character while updating the original in vehicle mode accuracy and robot mode poseability. Inferno's play value is good without getting in the way of making him a good Transformer and his colour scheme and paint job are well done. For fans of the Classics/Universe toys, and G1 fans in general, this is a toy I'd recommend - 9.5/10