You know, I don’t think I actually saw Transformers: The Movie until 1987. Maybe January, maybe February. Whenever the VHS came out. I had the little Ladybird story book and the UK ‘Collected Comics’, but I don’t think I got those until maybe December 1986. By which time, Target:2006 had concluded, with all it’s twists an turns unspoiled.
Cyclonus was so impressive in Target:2006. From that scene in #79 where he and Scourge just go on a murder spree (come on. anyone in that train was dead), to him absolutely demolishing Hound while he talks about something called ‘Unicron’ rebuilding him, to that leer on his face when Starscream tries to cozy up to Galvatron. At every point he just seemed to be so…above it all. Throughout Target:2006 he comes across as being near invulnerable. Winning’s just a matter of time.
So, I’ll confess a great deal of disappointment when he and Scourge just got relegated to the dumb henchmen that easily got beaten up when someone else had to look tough. Having someone who, in those early appearances, seemed to be on a totally different power level to those around him demoted to a Mer-Man/Beast-Man, Rocksteady/Bebop style butt of the joke always just rang wrong for me. Still, gotta big up Death’s Head somehow, yes?
Cyclonus, to my eye, is an absolute design classic. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got one of the most Decepticon of Decepticon colour schemes. Only Shockwave comes close to matching this guy’s style. I’m so glad that the UK comics used Floro Dery’s earlier character model for their depiction of the character. Not only does it match up to the ’86 figure better, but it also makes him fit the demonic archetype that Dery was aiming for.
I always wanted a toy of Cyclonus, but I never saw him in the shops and I don’t think any of my friends did either. Along with Springer, he was one of the main cast of the Movie that I didn’t see the figure of until I was well into my 30’s.
But man, when I did see him it was absolute love. Now, I’ve talked before about how your childhood memory of a figure can distort one’s perception. I remember yer G1 Grimlock as being nigh-on-perfect. Only when I saw him again, nearly 30 years later, did I recall how weird it was that his head sat that far back in robot mode. No such danger with Cyclonus. I was able to look at this with fresh, objective eyes and see it for what it was: perhaps the best G1 figure made.
Ok, that’s a hot take. But stick with me here. Even with his crazy tall head, this is one the best proportioned figures in G1. I’m of a mind that maybe only Soundwave and Hun-grrr can give him a run for his money in those stakes, and only Hun-grrr can beat him on articulation. But these are trifles. What really sells Cyclonus is what a well designed action figure he is. His silhouette is wonderfully imposing and instantly recogniseable. He’s a robust, solid figure in a toy line where such things were not a given. And that face sculpt/deco is perfection; a silver face within a purple helmet (don’t) with fierce, burning orange eyes. I can believe this guy was actually forged in the fire of a world eating monster. Even if his hands suck (my only real complaint about the figure).
Another thing that makes him such a favourite of mine is that alt mode. It looks as much like a ‘dagger of death’ as it does a jet. It’s sleek, malevolent, and otherworldly, and it absolutely sets my imagination on fire. When I was a kid, that was the absolute best thing a toy could do and is probably why I still have such a tremendous affection for this stuff some 35 years later.
It’s a wonderfully futuristic design, with just enough of its foot in the present to ground it. The gratuitous length on the nose of the jet, the swept forward wings, and those pronounced rockets suggest so much power in this jet. It looks fantastic from so many angles too. The only thing I can really mark it down on is Cyclonus face peeking out from the bottom.
As mentioned before the colour scheme is fantastic. Iconic Decepticon purple with silver highlights and violent dashes or reddish-orange. The orange illuminated cockpit does wonders to anthropomorphize this jet, making it look like it’s glaring at you with an angry leer. Pure magic.
So, Kingdom come! At long last we’re getting a Generations line that gives us full (well, sort of kind of) updates of the original BW cast, mixed with the cast of the ’86 movie (except for the ones coming out in the Studio Series ’86 line, or who’ve already been done in Siege and Earthrise) and Tracks, Huffer, and Inferno (oh, and re-releases of Wheeljack, Optimus Prime, and Arcee). No, you look like hastily cobbled together, ill-thought through, incoherent hodge podge that reeks of a last minute change of lanes! Personally, I don’t think having to use that many parenthesis to describe a toyline is a cause for concern.
Sure, it’s a little weird that we’re getting Ultra Magnus, Galvatron and Cyclonus in one line, and Scourge, Hot Rod, Kup, and Blurr in another but whatever. Kingdom and SS86 have taken funny shapes to accomodate multiple anniversaries and, while I guess I’d like things to be ‘tidier’, I think it’s great we’re getting more of your ‘traditional’ Generations figures.
I remember when the first leaked photos of Cyclonus surfaced, alongside early product model of ER Thrust. An eyeballed size comparison had me sure that Cyclonus was due to be a Leader class figure. And with him being more or less as tall as ER Doubledealer, I wasn’t reaching a ridiculous conclusion.
But no, our Kingdom Cyclonus is a Voyager. And a gorgeous one at that. Now I must admit, this isn’t quite the Cyclnous I wanted. Naturally I wanted something closer to the comic version, particularly the more toy accurate colour scheme and a less angular face. But ultimately I don’t care. This figure is simply too magnifcent to worry about such tawdry crap.
Now, this might seem like an off point to lead with, but can I encourage you to turn your Cyclonus round and inpsect his back? How many figures do you have who feel like an actual character from the back? It’s usually where all the crap and kibble gets thrown. It’s a testament to how well deisgned this guy is that he’s so lean and tidy from the back.
Ok, now that bit of mania is out of the way we can address the front.You’ll be pleased to know it’s evern better than the back. The headsculpt is perfect. And that’s from someone who’s not that keen on the version it’s based on. But they just do it so well! From those cold, demonic, light piped eyes, to the perfect contours of his ‘helmet’. With the two joints on the neck we wind up with a remarkably expressive head on this guy. It’s also wonderful that they’ve decided to include some light piped detail on the torso too. It pops beautifully from the lilac colourscheme. The arms, of course, have those beautiful wrist fins and shoulder wings. There’s afnatastic joint that I’m not familiar with at his arm that really allows for some excellent articulation while still looking part of the internal workings for a robot. It’s really the detail where this guy shines. I guess, if you really pushed me, I’d say his legs were a bit blocky, but so fucking what? Even the ankle tilt is really well done.
I don’t always talk about the transformation sequence with a figure becasue often there’s not much to say. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re lame, but most often they’re functional. It’s only when I get something like TR Topspin that I feel it’s worth writing about. And this is that. The fact that the entire long nosecone folds into that chest is just wodnerful. When I first changed him from ‘bot to jet I kept thinking ‘it can’t fold out more’ only to find out it did (like, until we got to the end). it’s beautifully intuitive in the ways it all tabs togetehr so elegantly.
Much like the ‘bot mode, the jet mode looks good from every angle. Ok, it doesn’t look crap from the bottom. There’s still lot’s of kibble, but none of it betrays the ‘bot mode (so you don’t get Cyclouns face peering down at you). It’s still an utterly beautiful ‘dagger of death’ design. It wasn’t broke, and it didn’t need fixing. One of my favourite things about this is how it repairs one of the few flaws of the G1 jet mode (ok, so it was a tiny bit broke), raising the canopy up to a reasonable level and doing so through some beautiful contours. I love that they’ve stuck with the orange illuminated cockpit. Ok, I still wish it had been done in a more toy accurate deco but that remains a trivial complaint that shouldn’t really be over indulged.
I can’t believe that it’s a pure fluke that the best two figures in the first wave of Kingdom have been the Voyagers. As I write this people are getting their Infernos and Dinobots, and from those early pictures I’m incredibly excited. On the SS86 front, I’m still waiting for Hot Rod and Scouge, but from everything I’ve seen they’re the highlights of that line. I am now so excited for Rhinox, Tigatron, and hopefully Wreck Gar and Swoop.
And Galvatron. I can’t have perfect versions of Cyclonus and Scourge without a perfect Galvatron, can I?