Well this is it. After over a year of waiting, Hasbro has released the Crowdfunded, Haslab exclusive Unicron. It’s been a long and arduous wait, filled with ups and downs. Let’s dive in to see if it was all worth it:
Let’s roll the clock back a bit – 2019, Hasbro announces the first ever Transformers Based Haslab project. For this, they wanted to go big. Something that’s beyond even Titan class. Something memorable. Something that would stand out amongst any collection of any size. Well that pretty much leaves only one Transformer character out there. The infamous planet eater himself: Unicron. Obviously this would go above and beyond any normal release in terms of cost, so those who were willing to back the project had to commit to a sizeable price tag. The project was funded however, and so production began. Now, over a year later, with the big guy in hand we can finally take a look at what is all included:
To say the box is big is a bit of an under statement. It’s huge. Measuring 24″ cubed, and coming in at 18 pounds, this dwarfs even Titans Return Fortress Maximus in size and weight! Hasbro released an update video showing the testing they went through to ensure the toy’s safety inside so a lot of preparation was put into the packaging.
He comes in planet mode, with everything tucked away and the orbit wings separated. The instructions also have you pop him on the big ol’ stand he comes with right away too. Because literally everything can be done on the stand. Full transformation without having to take him off once.
Inside the box, Unicron comes with, admittedly minimal add-ons. Compared with the project that preceded the Chaos Bringer, Jabba’s Sail Barge, which came with a very impressive art book, an exclusive vintage collection figure with it’s own special packaging, Unicron’s instruction book, while thick, is pretty bare bones, and the “add-ons” include alternative face, small stand for the detachable head, a small, micro machines sized Shuttle, and microscopic Galvatron and Rodimus Prime figures who are smaller than a fingernail.
The project isn’t without it’s stumbles for sure. Again, compared to the the Jabba’s Sail Barge project, Unicron backers only received about 5 status videos through the waiting period. Sail Barge backers received nearly monthly updates. Further adding a little salt to the perceived wounds, there was a rather large back-lash over the sudden change in the coloring of Unicron’s Planet Eating Maw. Initially the images showed a fully orange/yellow maw:
The final product, however, was a mix of grey and orange/yellow.
Now, this is definitely not the end of the world, however, it’s a major change. It’s also incredibly noticeable. On a retail toy, say, Earth Rise Prime, where they changed the eyes from G1 Yellow to regular Light blue, this is pretty common and most people don’t say a word. But Unicron wasn’t a retail release. He was a major purchase for many people. People Hasbro relied on backing the project in good faith. Yes, of course “final products may vary” is always the case with toy production but I feel like this wasn’t handled the best and some people were left with very negative feelings over it. For me, I chalk it up to a financial decision made along the way and while I would absolutely prefer a fully orange maw, I can live with the grey.
On the positive side, you get small panels that are used to cover all of the visible screw holes on the arms and pincers. It’s a neat touch and really makes a difference once you get them in place.
The toy is so impressively large that it’s really hard to capture his impressive presence in photographs. While standard height measurements really only have him an inch or two taller than say Fortress Maximus, there’s just a massive bulky presence here that is absolutely stunning. Some argue that the planet mode breaking up into panels on his legs and back look ugly and out of place, but truth be told, they don’t get in the way and hold in place extremely well. He’s a big globe that transforms into a robot. There may be other solutions to the planet parts, but this one seems to work really well in terms of engineering.
With such a massive figure, extra care was taken in the joints. The arms and legs all feature very strong ratcheting joints that hold Unicron up, should you take him off the stand. However, in an attempt to keep him as stable and secure as possible, he can be left on the included stand during both transformations. He supports his own weight in robot mode perfectly well, but for extra action-strong posing, I’d recommend keeping him on the stand.
This isn’t an item you can just go out and buy so giving a “bottom line” on this one feels a bit moot. However, I will say this: during the waiting period, I frequently questioned my purchase. My enthusiasm fell to a smoking ember, rarely if ever stoked during the year-plus production wait. Even when news of his arrival from the factory and imminent shipping to the backers started to surface, still my enthusiasm was marred by the fact that the shipping was sporadic, with some people getting theirs in days while others waiting nearly a month or more for a shipping notice. I understand that these delays can be blamed on the current state of the world’s economy, however it left a sour taste in my mouth.
Then Unicron arrived. I can honestly say, I am very happy I decided to keep him. I had considered selling him off for a moment, but it would have been a terrible mistake. The Transformers franchise has been a major factor in my life. This is a center piece of my collection and an item I’m very proud to own. He’s not perfect, but he’s damn close. He’ll be fun to play around with. As a War for Cybertron toy, he features a multitude of pegs for blast effects, his hands are strong enough to hold smaller figures with ease. He can fully transform wthout removing a single piece. Head, Orbit Wings, it can all stay on. A massive improvement over the old Armada Unicron. He is unique. He is one of a kind. He is Unicron.