Hasbro Transformers - Human Alliance BARRICADE
Take a joy ride with this cool Decepticon...
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For the past year, Hasbro has spent the majority of the time focusing on REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, the sequel to the popular TRANSFORMERS feature film - and they should. But after a year, it's finally time to take a break from that eye sore of a movie and spend some time with characters from what I consider to be the superior film in the franchise so far.
Here at last is an updated version of BARRICADE, the Decepticon that transforms into a Saleen S281 Police Car, voiced by Jess Harnell and the first figure in the Human Alliance SKU dedicated to the first film (Bumblebee is based on "Revenge") although the packaging remains affiliated to the 2nd film. Along for a little joy ride is the super spy FRENZY, who unfortunately does not have any real transforming qualities but does have a few tricks up his plastic sleeve.
Barricade & Frenzy should already be hitting your local retail outlets and will run you between $30-35 depending on where you shop. It never hurts to hang onto your receipts in case you do stumble upon a way to safe a few bucks.
PACKAGING: The un-collector-friendly packaging is the same as you've seen in the first three releases so MOC collectors will have a nice uniform collection. For those who like to take things out and put them back in, this isn't quite the toy to do that. The box has a large bubble for easy viewing of the toy inside but you’ll have to cut everything free to get it all apart. Then there's the large twist ties to "barricade" through.
The packaging itself is colorful and attractive, with good reference material from the film and of the toy itself. You'll also find a bio and some statistics on the character.
CAR MODE: Let's start with the car mode since that's what we're all starting with when we get the toy out of the packaging. The one great thing (and there are many) about Human Alliance are that the vehicle modes are amazing. Great looking, attractive vehicles in their own right... that's hours of entertainment right there on its own.
As mentioned before, Barricade is a Saleen S281 Police Car and sculpted to perfection. Paint, however, is a weaker spot, which is pretty obvious by now. And I don’t mean that the paint is poorly applied. It's actually quite clean and well done. There just isn't enough of it. Barricade is missing some color where headlights and rear reverse and brake lights would go. Exhaust pipes are completely skipped over and most obvious are details that are missing from the film. These same details are also missing from the Deluxe version of the toy so if you have that, you’ll know that the "Emergency Response 9-11" isn't anywhere on the toy. I imagine for legal reasons but I don't see why having that extra bit of authenticity is a bad thing.
Barricade's number is 643 and you can find it in various areas but he is missing the number on the side of the car. In the film it's located behind the doors. While that isn't going to ruin the toy by any means, it's always nice to get all the details you see in the film.
FRENZY: A major menace in the film is Frenzy and here he is as a mini action figure. Frenzy is articulated well enough that he can sit into the seat of the car and drive Barricade crazy. Or you can seat him in several locations on Barricade to man some weapons. The best feature, though, is that Frenzy can be folded up compactly and fit into Barricade's chest. There is a scene in the film where he is launched out of Barricade to attack Sam and Mikaela so that's a really neat feature.
Frenzy is about the same size as the other humans, which isn't entirely accurate but it's really not a major issue due to the scale. We can also forgive the likeness for the same reason although the color of his eyes leads to some confusion. Are these toys to be film accurate or are they to be the color that they should be? In the film, Frenzy's eyes are clearly blue – it's even on the packaging. But we all know that Decepticon eyes are red. This of course has been a snafu from the beginning and no show or toyline has ever been consistent. So why start now? Was Frenzy wrong to have blue eyes in the movie and the toy is just correcting that? Or should the toy just follow the path that the film did?
BARRICADE: In robot mode, Barricade is a force to be reckoned with. He stands just a tad shorter than Bumblebee but with his long arms and shoulders, they're about the same height. And if Bumblebee was always the figure that set the bar, Barricade definitely meets it or comes pretty close.
The transformation from car to robot is actually quite simplistic which isn't exactly a bad trait. It actually lends itself to being a more fun Transformer when you can turn it back into a car and vice versa without too much thought. The con for having a simplistic transformation, however, is that you end up with a robot mode that may not be 100% accurate in its details. It's not a perfect film-to-toy translation but it’s almost there. Some key things you may notice are:
- "Police" on arms are upside down. In the film, the doors face the other direction.
- Front hood of the car becomes chest, but not as gnarly and evil as in the film version. This could have easily been achieved with a simple articulation joint.
Like Bumblebee, Barricade has one hand missing due to an action gimmick or play feature that causes this handicap. Instead of a left hand, Barricade gets his tire of doom. It is released by pushing on his gas tank button and the tire can spin freely. It does look menacing, giving him a gladiator feel but a part of me would rather have all hands present and accounted for.
The sculpt on Barricade is stellar and because of the black and white color that he is, he looks better than most other Transformers out there today. Hasbro has a bad habit of not painting very much, opting for a more "mold the color in plastic" way of doing things. This causes the toys to look more like toys rather than metallic monsters. Thankfully for Barricade's color scheme, it's not as obvious or noticeable. He can still use some extra paint and touch up, but he looks fine out of the box. His head harbors most of the paint details in robot form and they did a great job in keeping the lines and edges clean.
Barricade is also articulated extremely well, featuring good head movement, shoulders, elbows, wrist, waist, hips, knees, and heels. You can pose Barricade in a number of different ways and he still looks impressive no matter what. There's even an added joint in his jaw to allow him to yell out at his foes.
There is one thing that is odd about Barricade and that is at his hips. There are stoppers preventing his legs to be where they need to be resulting in a more limited stance. I've read of some folks carving out this stopper on the hips and liking Barricade much more after that. It is a minor flaw that I can live with, but it shouldn't have been part of the design to begin with.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Despite the small issues I've had, Barricade has become my new favorite of the Human Alliance figures. He looks great in both car and robot mode, has an easy-to-learn transformation, and is highly poseable. What's not to love? Icing on the cake would have been adjustments to the robot mode I've listed above and also if it included accessories to probe Sam in car mode, just like in the film.
For fans of the first Trasnformers film, this is a great stand-alone piece or a perfect addition to the rest of your figures. If you see it on the shelf, pick it up.
For even more images of Barricade, CLICK HERE!
Review and Photos by David Yeh