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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

Not everybody can be a tactical genius and a battle-ready warrior. You've also gotta have some chumps.

Hailstorm is famous on Cybertron for his unique weapon designs, and ridiculous amount of firepower. What is less well known is the fact that he's terribly clumsy - which is why he avoids fights at all costs, despite his heavy armament. Ironhide may be excited to fight him, but Hailstorm intends to fire his entire complement of missiles, and then escape under the cover of the explosions.

Hailstorm is loosely based on the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, a big clunky missile launcher. The major difference is the front end, which is less blocky on the toy than the real thing - there's a distinct driver's compartment on Hailstorm, rather than an armored passenger cube. The missile rack can rotate and elevate, and there are eight projectiles that fire via friction, rather than springs.

The vehicle is detailed nicely, with armor panels, fancy tank treads, sculpted doors and more. The vehicle is dark green with white camouflage, and the missiles are red. There are four small wheels under the treads, so the vehicle can roll around freely.

Converting Hailstorm is actually fairly complex for his size, and you're left with a weirdly shaped robot monster. Most TFs at least come close to human proportions, but Hailstorm's robot mode is short, squat and massively wide.

Hailstorm draws heavily on the movie style in his robot mode. There are a lot of nice elements that make him stand out. Look at his chest, which is sculpted to look like the front grill of the vehicle has been bent into shape around him (it actually ends up on his feet, so this is a cheat). The tank treads are present on his upper arms, but since they fold in half for bulk, none of the elements that were visible in vehicle mode remain in this mode. He's got an armored crotchplate, and big flat feet. His fingers are impressive mechanical claws, not just blocks with holes through them, and in keeping with his "moar dakka" personality, the missile launchers still poke up over his shoulders.

Part of the robot's weird proportions is weird placement of joints. The legs are fairly normal (though the thighs seem stunted), but the shoulders are way below his head, and the elbows are just about even with his knees. He moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, elbows, shoulders, neck and head. The fingers look like hinges, but they're just sculpted that way.

Hailstorm is based on a Generation 2 comic character called Mindset. This mold was repainted blue and released as a new character called Mindset. With his blue colorscheme and shoulder-mounted launcher, movie Mindset looks like an homage to an Armada character called... Hailstorm. It's a big mish-mash of crosswired references! The green version looks better than the blue, but the blue has grey missiles that look better than this one's red. Whichever version you prefer, this is a surprisingly decent figure. Hailstorm isn't terrific, but he's fun.

-- 03/08/11

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