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

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Open And Play Big Cannon


The second figure release from Open And Play came pretty much out of nowhere. Big Cannon - a Masterpiece-scaled Galvatron - is a very different proposition to Big Spring. For a start, it is clearly a larger and re-tooled version of Transformers Titans Return voyager class Galvatron. This beefs the figure up to Leader class (and a little bit more), removes the Headmaster and mask gimmicks as well as the third spaceship mode and adds a few refinements to make the overall design a bit more appealing to collectors, or at least that is the thinking behind it.





Now, Titans Return Galvatron gets a lot of stick, rightfully so considering how totally half-arsed the head and mask design ended up being. Most either got a 3rd party helmet add on or just plain don't use the flip-up mask so that their Galvatron can actually look from side to side! It was a damn shame because on the whole, it could have been one of the best Galvatrons to date. It had waist articulation, great ankle tilts and a fair amount of movement elsewhere too. I liked it, and adored the lighter lilac TakaraTomy Transformers Legends version.



Setting them side by side, you can start to see the aesthetic differences between Big Cannon and TR Galvatron (who by the way is sporting a Toyhax helmet). Things like the red squares on the belly, the helmet, the face sculpt, the shoulder pads and the scope and the positioning of the cannon. There are lots of things that Big Cannon does better, like hiding the (articulated) hands inside the wrist with a flap that covers the cavity and the aforementioned hands having a pointy finger and pinned remaining fingers. The scope on his back pegs in and just looks better, works better and is better. It doesn't need to support a spaceship mode, after all. Bicep and wrist swivels mean the cannon is more easily pointed and posed to good effect on Big Cannon. 



Big Cannon is obviously not as chunky, heavy and screen accurate as FansToys Sovereign. He's not supposed to be, and only the size of him makes me think he's a Masterpiece Galvatron wannabe. It's a different option for collectors, cheap and highly accessible, plus he doesn't exactly look shabby next to similarly themed 3rd party figures. He's been berated for stealing so very much from Titans Return Galvatron's engineering, and it's hard to defend that. Wei Jiang escape similar criticism because things such as M-01 Commander are so effortlessly premium and include engineering that almost creates something new in and of itself, but we must remember that Open And Play didn't try to do the same. Sure they increased Galvatron's size and added refinements, but the aim was not a premium figure, it was a large affordable figure that actually had a pretty good figure as its base.



I've also heard him called hollow and light, he's actually not either of those things to any serious degree. Sure there are cavities where his calves partially store the feet and totally store the cannon stand, as well as where his wrists hold the fists and where his head sleeps in the chest, but they all have flaps to cover them. You rotate this figure in your hands and there are no visible hollow spots. Weight is ok, typical of a Leader class Generations figure. The flaps on the back of his legs are not as nebulous as the TR Galvatron ones, in fact they are very secure and closing them gives you the satisfaction as the distinct *whunk* when closing the doors on a Volkswagen Golf.

Posability allows for some fun stances and dynamism, but he doesn't have a very high angle of bend for his knee or his ankle tilt, so the really extreme and wide stances are not possible with feet flush against a surface. The swivels in the wrist and bicep, a well as a double jointed elbow, mean that his arms are more articulated than his legs. There's great movement in the had and waist, so you should have no issue coming up with a satisfying pose for what I believe is the prefect deskbot Galvatron. He has good weight distribution and balance, meaning that the kneeling and running poses came pretty naturally to him.



The headsculpt may not be to everyone's liking, certainly my first impression was not favourable. Like the figure as a whole, it's grown on me and I find myself just picking this toy up to transform and pose when it's close at hand. I certainly cannot say that for my TR/LG Galvatron or even my Sovereign (although I seem to be one of few who enjoy Sovereign's transformation). I do wish when they were revising the looks of this figure that they had found a way to eliminate the unsightly hinges either side of his belly where the belly flap opens.


Overall in robot mode, Big Cannon is quite posable but not massively, he's solid and extremely clean looking from all angles. He has great-looking robot mode proportions, although some have commented that his hands do look a touch small in comparison. I do not subscribe to the criticism that he feels cheap or hollow, but rather that he's more Generations Leader class (modern era) than Masterpiece. Having said that, the above picture probably shows you that he's a little too much on the big side to display with the big boys of Titans Return. I should also mention that he has some bloody loud ratchets in knees, at the waist and at the shoulders!





Transformation contains one main surprise, and it wasn't a pleasant one. Apart from the flaps that conceal most of his limbs more effectively now, the one other addition of note here is the button release on the back of his knees. You must push an extremely resistant square button inwards in order to be able to fold down the lower leg. It seems much easier on the right leg compared to the left, but this seems a completely pointless addition to me, much as it is on MMC Oberon and Turben. I'm totally not a fan of this transformation mechanism in modern 3P figures. At least make it easy to press!

The standard - and seemingly official - transformation for the cannon mode seen above is not too bad overall, but I dislike the long thin connection between the tank treads and the folded up robot arms. In a way it completely breaks the immersion of the alt mode. Unlike TR Galvatron, it seems you have to attach the cannon mount as well as the barrel in this mode. At least this has the effect of extending the mode as a whole. The longer shark-fin is also a benefit, visually, compared to TR Galvatron.




The good news is, Big Cannon can be displayed with a number of alternate configurations for this mode. He can take on the more traditional cannon layout with the barrel plugging directly into the robot neck, and even a more TR-style layout with the barrel mounted underneath. The toy allows for these variations. You can have him angled upwards or straight as an arrow. That's a great feature, intended or not! I can transform this thing back and forth all day, it's very simple and quite satisfying (if you can nail the button release for the knees, which to be fair does seem to finally be loosening up), while never being clever or revolutionary. I certainly do not miss the spaceship third mode of the Titans Return figure, that's for sure.

I genuinely like this toy, and find myself becoming more appreciative of it as a toy to play with as time goes by. He's not a Masterpiece Galvatron in the strictest definition, but he's big enough for such a display. Perfect, if you can get over the lack of complexity and accuracy, or anything resembling a premium finish of the sort you get on FansToys Sovereign. We've definitely got a case of the swirly grey plastic in spots. I think he's a noticeably better figure than Titans Return Galvatron, a toy I already liked and desperately wanted to be better. Big Cannon probably could have used a slightly better looking alt mode (those connectors on his arms especially) and a wider range of movement in his feet, but neither of those things will obstruct enjoyment of this guy. If you're on board with the looks from what you have seen in this gallery, I'd say take the plunge! 



All the best
Maz






4 comments:

  1. I do think everyone is assuming this is meant to be an MP galvatron, especially following their springer and judged on that level it fails miserably.
    But, if you look at it as an mp sized figure thats filling a different niche its probably not a bad effort, tho I do find it skirts too close to being an OS KO.
    Thanks as always Maz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, viewed as MP Galvatron, this could only ever be seen as qualifying through size alone. Its features and concept seem to place it far more in the leader class generations toy category for me. It's a pick up ad play piece more than display IMO.

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete
  2. Looks like a good opposite for PotP Rodimus. How do those scale next to each other?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid I don't own PotP Rodimus, so I wouldn't be able to tell you.

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete