Officially. One. Of. The. Best. Repaints. In the history of repaints. And that is all it is, there is no fancy new head sculpt or re-modeled bodily or vehicular features, the Transformers Collector's Club Barricade of 2014 is a straight-up repaint of Beast Hunters Prowl, itself a retool of Beast Hunters Smokescreen. The Collector's Club re-imagined the figure as Barricade and I have rarely seen a mould re-purposed with such success. I wrote on the TFSource Blog a few weeks back Why Repaints were bought by collectors, and Barricade is the finest example of how some paint and re-purposing can elevate a great figure to an exceptional figure.
Admittedly Collector's Club packaging doesn't appeal visually, but it harks back to the days of mailaway Generation 1 Transformers like Autobot cars and Decepticon jets, Omnibots etc so I can totally accept the presentation. No fancy box artwork could divert attention away from such a beautiful figure though. I've always been a sucker for Barricade, just look at what I've owned in the past...
I have also been on a mission to complete all moulding and colour variants of this rather gorgeous racecar mould that first debuted with the Beast Hunters Smokescreen, and not just in deluxe size. I have all the deluxes now, rounded out nicely by Barricade. Here he is out of packaging:
Barricade comes with Frenzy Micron, launcher and missile as well as a collector's file card and instructions, stuff you don't get if you get the earlier Chinese factory samples sold earlier than release. You can start to see how irresistible this vehicle mode is in Barricade colours, and how it seems as though it was always intended for this character. He sure wears it better than Prowl or Streetsmart do.
Now, prepare yourself.
Paint application is so important on Transformers, and the silver paint on Barricade's alloys has the same enormously positive effect on appearance as on the Transformers Go! Smokescreen compared to the Hasbro versions of Smokescreen. Solid black wheels on Barricade would have been such a cop out (ahem..). The contrast of white and black with silver wheels works as well as it ever has. Tampos are lifted straight off the Saleen Mustang Movie Barricade design right down to colour and font on "643", "Police" and "to punish and enslave..." which to this day I still feel is a lovely touch.
A wonderful feature of the figure is that as soon as transformation begins, purple bursts out of every section. His robot head, arms, thighs, feet, innards, shoulders...purple, black and silver take over. He pops in a way that none of the previous colours of this mould have done, and it's such a welcome change from grey or white or brighter white as seen on Smokescreen, Prowl and Streetsmart. Frenzy is a brilliant Micron both in robot mode and in saw mode, and I gather he was only previously used in Japan for the releases called "Sou" and "Gan" (Thank you TFU!). The Barricade mould fixes none of the issues you will have experienced on Smokescreen, Prowl or the upcoming Streetsmart. What I will say is this, though, after transforming five versions of this mould to vehicles and back again for the group photos coming up, I can now happily say I am able to transform this toy in the right order/sequence and have nothing fall off that shouldn't. When you apply the correct pressure and engage the right steps in the correct order, he is a very enjoyable, involved and complex deluxe. The colours and character just elevate it to the next level. Speaking of those group images...
See how much Barricade stands out among a sea of white, grey and highlights of blue? Only the Go! Smokescreen comes close to his level of visual perfection. I like the Go! Smokescreen because it reminds me so much of the McLaren F1 GTR in FINA colours:
|My own image from Gran Turismo 5 photo mode|
I've experienced just a few TFCC releases so far, Animated Cheetor, Animated Jackpot and now Barricade. I have TFPrime Wheeljack on the way and have now started to look very seriously at ROTF Circuit. Basically what the Club have done is take what now stand as 4 of my favourite Transformers deluxe moulds of all time - TFP Wheeljack, Animated Blurr, BH Smokescreen and ROTF Lockdown (sort of) - and created new characters out of them, characters that I may never have bothered to own in any other format had they not assumed the moulds of my favourite toys. Barricade I have always loved, but Chromedome should be perfection thanks to my MTMTE love and TFP Wheeljack adoration. Animated Cheetor took the best Animated mould of all and gave me a character I would never otherwise have owned due to my disinterest in Beast Wars figures. Circuit and Jackpot fall into the same category, although i admit I'll probably stick a Lockdown head on Circuit.
Barricade, though, needs no augmentation. He didn't even need a new head sculpt. This is Transformers perfection and an example of how a repaint should be done. With my buddy Paul Vromen now doing official art for TFCC releases, I tell you this corner of the collecting universe has suddenly got my undivided attention.
All the best