Transformers (1988 – 1991)
I love this toy. It is a beautiful thing, big and chunky, from a time before time when toys were made of solid titanium and weighed as much as ten elephants. I’m not going to go into where he fits in to Transformers stories or mythology, just know that he’s a baddie.
Let’s start with his vehicle modes, shall we? Overlord is composed of both a futuristic tank and a large “Blackbird” style jet. There were a lot of those around in the eighties and nineties, for some reason. The jet is big; almost too big to play with. The cockpit opens for the benefit of the included pilot, and a small wheel can fold out from the underside to simulate a proper landing. That’s about it.
The tank is a fabulous lump of plastic, it’s only feature being that the gun can move upwards about three degrees. The treads are fake; it rolls along via tiny castors on the underside.
Still, they are both impressive behemoths of vehicles. You’d struggle to find a larger Transformer. These days, the toy companies wouldn’t dare make anything so big and chunky and useless. He can turn into a “base”, but the mode feels like something of an afterthought and looks very much like two halves of a tank connected to a jet. Connected with ramps.
Taking the two small humanoid figures supplied with the toy and twisting their legs in a way that would make a contortionist wince, they become “engines” and insert into ports on the jet and tank, unlocking THE ABILITY TO TRANSFORM. Why it was locked in the first place is something you’ll have to ask a Transformer fan… don’t ask me, because I don’t care.
Anyway, the jet and tank combine and unfold into Overlord’s impressive robot form. He lacks knees, and elbows, and any useful articulation, which was expected at the time. He does, however, have a neck of sorts, so he can turn to face any foe. Even the most stalwart warrior would be given pause when faced with those menacing red eyes and slightly-too-large head. He can’t throw a punch, but he can give you a slow headshake and tut slowly.
Also, the engines can plug into his chest, causing a small gun and missile rack to pop out of his abdomen. Perfect for blasting any enemies at crotch height.
A mighty warrior indeed. Perhaps too mighty, considering he towered over every other toy in the box. It’s like bringing Michael Jordan to The Lollipop Guild’s annual basketball match.
Awesomeness Rating: 4.5/5 – I’m biased, because I idolised this toy. It was big and expensive and we couldn’t afford it. But I got one in the end. So there.