Review: Transformers United Axalon

If TakaraTomy is good at one thing, it’s coming up with some very off-the-wall ideas for Transformers releases. While the first example that comes to my head is Takara’s escalating foray into madness known as Transformers Cloud, today we’ll be looking at a bit of a tamer craziness, yet no less odd. Sharkticon came out as a non-show character in the Energon toyline, and was mostly forgettable. For Botcon 2010 the mold resurfaced as Sky-Byte and a trio of G1-homage Sharkticons, both fairly logical and fitting decos for the mold. The only problem is that none of these toys ever made it to Japan, so Takara opted to give Japanese fans a chance at the mold in the Transformers United (Generations) line. Since the obvious homage ideas for the mold were taken, Takara’s designers got a little bit… creative. This is UN-28 Axalon.

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Vehicle Mode

For those unaware, the Axalon was the name of the space ship that crash-landed on prehistoric Earth, carrying with it the Maximals led by Optimus Primal. The ship was used as the Maximal base before it was destroyed at the beginning of the show’s third season. Needless to say, it was not a Transformer itself, and it certainly didn’t look so much like a shark. Ironically, Energon Sharkticon’s altmode was itself partially based on the Decepticon starship Nemesis, and now it’s released as an Autobot starship. Full circle, ish? Regardless of how much sense it makes, Axalon is either a shark-shaped giant Autobot warship or, depending on how you interpret the toy, a shark-shaped submarine/space thing that happens to be the altmode of some dude named Axalon. It’s confusing, but pretty. The multiple shades of grey on the main hull give him a very nice military-looking appearance, which is aided by the rotating gun turrets and elevated bridge on the top. The rear of the ship has a lot of red that will be better-suited to his robot mode, and is kind of clearly a chest with two folded arms, but it’s not too noticeable. It’s all still a bit goofy-looking, but if you imagine it as a big warship, it kind of works. Except the Axalon was a science vessel…

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Transformation

This is an Energon mold, so you can’t expect anything too fancy here. The transformation is as simple as folding the legs down, folding the giant hull down, and moving the arms up into place. It’s simple, but satisfying.

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Robot Mode

Yeah, if this guy is supposed to be a warship, his robot mode must be enormous. Like, Metroplex-size. Since this toy was not intended to capture the look of a miles-tall robot, the effect is kind of lost here. Putting the ridiculousness of the toy’s concept aside for a moment and focusing on the toy itself, it looks pretty darn nice. The three shades of grey are accented perfectly by the lovely maroon and silver. It doesn’t really say “giant military war robot,” but the overall sculpt and layout of colors does give him a bit of a traditional naval uniform look… at least in my mind. Either way, I’d say this is the prettiest use of the mold. That lightpiping, too.

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Articulation isn’t particularly impressive, but it is good: balljointed head, universal swivel shoulders, bicep swivel, single-joint elbows, limited waist rotation, balljointed hips, thigh swivels, single-joint knees, and a near-useless forward and backward ankle joint.  The Energon line was when the Unicron Trilogy rediscovered articulation, so at the time this was fairly impressive, and it still holds up well today. Another major theme of Energon was that all Decepticon molds had a “Hyper Mode” gimmick in which you could fold out hidden weapons. For this mold, the hull backpack splits on each side to reveal some big cannons that can launch missiles with considerable force. It works in either mode, but deploying them in robot mode can look a bit unwieldy.

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Overall

According to the toy’s bio, this toy hails from a universe where Unicron got a new body in the form of the Ark (?), and Optimus Primal had to fight him (?). When all hope seemed lost, the Axalon suddenly revealed it was a Transformer and presumably went to fight Unicron in a big robot-spaceship fight. My personal explanation for this figure is that he is Axalon, Admiral of the Autobot space fleet who commanded a warship that looks like his altmode. Axalon was killed in the war, but he later had a Maximal science research vessel named after him, and the rest is history. Essentially, this toy is very odd and very interesting and lends itself well to fanon explanations. As a toy, though, it’s pretty cool. Being a Japan-only release, he may run you anywhere from $20-$30, and if you really like the look of the toy and haven’t owned any previous version of the mold, I’d say pick him up. If colors are of little consequence to you and you just want the mold, the original Sharkticon release might be a more affordable option.

Where to Buy

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