Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Friday, 18 July 2014

ROTF Lockdown

Just yesterday I posted about acquiring the 2010 Revenge of the Fallen Lockdown from a friend, and here's a quick post dedicated to this outstanding figure. Released in the Western world first as a TF Animated character, the bounty hunter received multiple decos in that line including "Blazing Lockdown", "Stealth Lockdown" and an Activators release plus repaint called "Bandit Lockdown". This excellent original creation found his way into the ROTF toy line as a quite extraordinary deluxe as well, one that is starting to demand interesting money. An appearance as a Bot Shots character aside, his biggest role is now in the 2014 summer blockbuster Transformers 4: Age of Extinction as the main villain. It is the Age of Lockdown. In the spirit of Lockdown, if you have the Age of Extinction soundtrack, stick on "Your Creators Want You Back" and (hopefully) enjoy this short non-article.

ROTF Lockdown beautifully recreates the feel and character of the Animated Lockdown, complete with spiky Mad Max style muscle car, the same colour scheme, spiked wheels, red windows, asymmetrical robot mode with spiked chin, hook arm and what appears to be Ratchet's EMP device on his arm, doubling up as his engine. I understand this toy enjoys some accessory compatibility with the ROTF Ratchet, which frankly, is brilliant. He does have rubber hook and hands, but they soon stop being a source of irritation and it's nice to be able to pose a Lockdown toy without inward-facing-wrist syndrome.

While Lockdown enjoys the same kind of posability synonymous with this era of Transformers - and still quite a wonder to old fart persistent G1 buyers like me - the neck articulation has to be the best ever seen on a Transformers toy. As well as extending, it can rotate in just about any way you could want, so getting a menacing pose out of him is easy, and quite addictive. Other nice features include the "Mech Alive" rotating innards in his thighs and the piston-like cylinder addition on his right arm attached to movement of the hook hand. 

Takara Tomy Animated Lockdown with Hasbro ROTF Lockdown

The strangest part about him is those knees. He can either have them fully extended to stand freakishly thin and tall (believable - see first picture on page) or they can be bent backwards to give him a more compact, straight-leg appearance. Odd at first, no longer an issue by day 2. Another plus is that the owner can choose how to display various parts of him like the windows on his arms, either rotate or leave as is. The left shoulder/bumper piece can be folded down over his shoulder or left behind his shoulder, allowing one to rotate the window panel on the left arm. The wheels on his waist can either be folded back or left pointing outwards from his thighs. 

I don't think I prefer his vehicle mode to the Animated Lockdown, although I believe it to be a massively strong deluxe mode car. It's actually bigger than the Animated deluxe as a car. His robot mode is more posable and has fewer quirks than the Animated one, but again I'd hesitate to say "better", because Animated Lockdown is the founder of the iconic look and has a celebrated silhouette all his own.

There is actually a seemingly very rare Japanese release of ROTF Lockdown, RD-26 NEST Lockdown, but the toy appears identical just sporting some Takara and Japanese stickers on the packaging. This mould was re-tooled into Axor and then TFCC Circuit. The Lockdown release stands head and shoulders above them.

Annoying things about the mould include limbs (left arm!) that pop off ball joints easily - something that afflicts a number of the Animated toys I've bought recently - and the relative simplicity of the appearance and moulding on the engine/arm attachment compared to Animated Lockdown. The transformation is also not as enjoyable as Animated Lockdown's, losing the simple and repeatable sequence in favour of the unfold/align and click model where it can get frustrating and result in a complete unfolding before re-attempting the vehicle mode transformation. No rotating waist either, but it definitely gets easier with a little practice and is not even close to being worthy of a label like "complex". Neither should it be, it's a deluxe.

The ROTF model for Lockdown is undeniably (and understandably) the basis of his comic book character, and he appears in IDW's Drift mini series, Spotlight Trailcutter and More Than meets The Eye as well, having the honour of being drawn by Alex Milne (Drift / MTMTE) and written by James Roberts (MTMTE / Spotlight Trailcutter). The fact that he stars alongside Drift, one of my favourites, in the mini series I adore as well as one of the very best issues of MTMTE (#17) just buries this toy further into my heart.

Anyone who wants to recreate a history of Drift or Remain In Light MTMTE diorama will need a ROTF Lockdown in their collection. The desire for this figure may well rise another few notches too thanks to Age Of Extinction Lockdown being such a massive and integral part of the new film's direction and - in my opinion - appeal. We've gone from the Lance Henriksen-voiced Animated Lockdown who was very cool and a solo act, to the IDW Lockdown who seems to command a band of mediocre Decepticons under Tyrest, finishing up with a massively villainous and cold AOE Lockdown badass. While most will hold on to his Animated persona as the real Lockdown, and resign themselves to his AOE persona being the most widely known outside the fandom, as far as a toy is concerned the ROTF Lockdown might be the pick of all his incarnations. In robot mode anyway. Until we get a Hasui-inspired Human Alliance AOE Lamborghini Aventador Lockdown with gunface!

All the best

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