TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)
It wasn’t entirely uncommon for characters to debut in toy-based-media tie-ins before actually getting their toys. A good number of major G.I. Joe characters showed up in the comics and the cartoons first, as did Shockwave from the Transformers. However, it usually means that the toy isn’t far behind. Not so much the case with the Decepticon three-man camera team, Reflector. Despite early appearances in the cartoon, the set didn’t get a US release until 1986, and only as a mail-in offer at that. Further confusing matters was that the three unique bots featured on the toy didn’t so much match-up with the three identical bots from the show. Now, Hasbro’s further muddying the water, and selling a single-packed Reflector (now dubbed “Refraktor”), and leaving it up to fans to decide how many they want…or at least they were until they confirmed that three-pack at SDCC. See, it keeps getting confusing.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Refraktor is the last new figure in the Series 3 Deluxe Class line-up for Siege. There’s a fourth figure in the assortment, but it’s just a re-pack of the Series 1 Hound figure. Refraktor is just a single figure, based on the singular animated design, which was in turn based on Viewfinder, the central component to Reflector. The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 functioning points of articulation. The sculpt is kind of rudimentary and basic, which, to be fair, is pretty accurate to the animation model. It’s well suited to the army-building purposes the show suggests, and the more rudimentary nature of the sculpt allows for more of a focus on the articulation and how it’s implemented. Refraktor’s one of the most posable figures in the line, especially when it comes to the arms and shoulders. It definitely makes for a very playable figure. The solo Refraktor’s alt-mode is an “artillery hovercraft”…and that’s really all I can say about it. It’s not particularly inventive or all that exciting. It’s just kind of a brick with a blaster on the end. It’s clearly not supposed to be the main alt-mode. What is the main alt-mode? Well, if you’ve got three Refraktors on hand, you can follow the original toy’s lead and combine the three into a full-scale camera mode, with a tripod and everything. It’s quite convincing, and even without actual instructions, it’s a pretty easy conversion. More so than any of the other hidden alt-modes we’ve seen in Siege, this one feels like the one the figure was actually designed for, with the second being something that could be achieved in order to give the solo figure something to do without the other two. Each Refraktor is packed with a blaster and a shield, which combine with the same pieces from the other two to form the tripod and lens of the camera, respectively. Additionally, the circle on the front of the torso can be removed to denote whether the Refraktor shown is Viewfinder or one of the other two.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Refraktor was certainly not initially on my list of Siege figures I was intending to get. He’s just outside the realm of Transformers I knew off-hand, and the whole “you have to buy three of them” thing seemed like a bit much to me. But I was already grabbing Brunt and Red Alert (as well as quite a few other Hasbro items that hit at the same time) and I had the opportunity to get three right off the bat, so I decided to go for it. As a single figure, he’s kind of pointless. With three in play, he makes a lot more sense and is a far more satisfying offering. It’s not really surprising that Hasbro’s already got a three-pack release on the books.