Alternate Mode: Dune Buggy
DUNE BUGGY MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 10cm Width: 6.5cm
A mustard yellow beach buggy style with a transparent red crane arm, silver headlight assembly, black seats, transparent red windshield, some bronze bits and a blue engine-block on the back. He has black tyres and silver hubcaps, with a very dubious transparent red spare tyre. For the most part this is a pretty well thought out colour scheme, except for the forced transparent red parts.
To be fair, the transparent red windshield works well. But the crane arm is a stretch and I'm not sure what's with the red tyre. The crane arm itself is a pretty odd concept for a beach buggy, and in transparent red it's just lame. I should mention that the hook is overshadowed by the barrel/handle, so this ends up looking a lot like a cannon (and if you turn it over, it becomes one). The cannon is a nice enough idea, but the crane is silly and I could do without the red. It's very much a case of "give him bits that can be an Energon weapon", rather than giving him good weaponry. I prefer to leave off the arm, although I leave the red spare tyre on his back since leaves a gap if it's absent. He also comes with a red Energon chip which covers his engine block, but again I prefer leaving it out.
Once you get past the red Energon rubbish, this is actually a very decent buggy. He has black seats, which are the back of the robot thighs, and between them on his... backside... are moulded gearstick and handbrake! On the left side of the engine block is a raised and painted Autobot symbol, the right side has a bronze post onto which the arm attaches. In front of the engine is a bronze rollbar.
The crane arm can swing around, and its post is on a hinge so it can lift up and down. His tyres are ridged and while they roll on soft surfaces, they tend to just slide along a hard surface. He has an Autobot spark crystal in the middle of the engine block which you can cover up with the Energon chip if you like.
This is a pretty good buggy mode despite the annoying transparent red parts. The spare tyre and cannon are both nice ideas, but really would have been better in black. Still, the colour scheme is good aside from the red, and there's enough detail for this mode to be a good one.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Flip over the front to form the robot legs, twist them 180° at the waist. Swing out the arms from underneath the vehicle. Remove the spare tyre, you can either clip it onto one shoulder, split it and place the halves on either shoulder or just set it aside. Turn the head around, fold down the rollbar to become the groin and attach the shoulder cannon if you feel inclined. Stand him up and straighten his feet up so he's not leaning backwards.
Height: 10.5cm Width: 8cm (no weapons)
A yellow and black robot with grey shoulders and bronze forearms, Strongarm has a grey head with a silver face, red eyebrows and blue eyes. At first glance, the red eyebrow looks like the eyes, but the blue eyes are tucked away under there, and match the blue chest, which was previously the engine block. Strongarm has black thighs and transparent red feet (the windshield halves).
The spark crystal located in the middle of Strongarm's chest is a nice centrepiece, and looks good nestled in the cobalt blue block of his chest. This is not the only allegiance symbol on the toy, since the big red Autobot logo is now on his left shoulder, so attaching the Energon chip won't hide his allegiance. Still, the Energon chip hides the blue chest, which isn't a good thing. As mentioned, the big arm can be a shoulder cannon in this mode, or he can hold it as a giant club in either fist. If you attach the spare tyre halves, it's a giant (and probably impractical) battleaxe.
The poseability is okay, but not fantastic. His head rotates, the shoulders swivel, his arms can swing out to the sides and his elbows are hinged. The waist can swivel, but both the groinplate and the armour skirting formed from the buggy doors prevent it from doing more than jiggling. The hips are ball joints, which can move everywhere except backwards, where the seats get in the way, and of course hips don't move that anyway. The knees are hinged, but the location of the hinges is about 1/3 of the way down the calves, so bending the knees too much results in very odd looking legs. His feet can fold up and down.
This is a decent robot mode, overall. The colours work and the lower legs being the car bonnet is a nice touch. The weaponry is unspectacular, again the red doesn't quite work, but at least now you can do away with it all without there being any gaps left behind.
There is a blue repaint, with the horribly unimaginative name "Energon Strongarm" (I actually like to think of this version as Dark Strongarm). This mould was repainted for BotCon 2005 as Fallback. The mould was repaint twice in the movie line as Strongarm and Crosshairs.
A good idea that's dragged down by the tacked on Energon weapon bits. Strongarm is worth getting, even if you set aside his weaponry. The buggy mode is the better of the two modes, the robot mode's poseability is a little too limited for me, but it looks good. There are better Energon basics, but for the price of a basic, Strongarm's worthwhile - 7/10