Wednesday 24 January 2018

REVIEW: Unique Toys R-01 Peru Kill

Lets be frank - some third party toys have rather bizarre names, don’t they? I mean, Unique Toys own efforts can be a bit ropey from time to time, with contributions like Allen and Sworder landing with all the elegance and charm of a handgliding rhinoceros, and that’s to say nothing of me still scratching my head over stuff like Gahz’ranka. Not that the competition have it sown up; let’s not forget that whole FansToys Willys debacle after all. Still, I was genuinely mystified by this submission in particular, until a friend reminded me that the character in question makes a notable kill in Peru as part of the movie from which he hails - hence Peru Kill. I’m not sure if I like it better now or not.

I say “reminded me” as if intimate knowledge of every plot point from the Michael Bay films is but a gentle prod away from absolute clarity in my brain. In truth, my personal feeling is that the films are very much a law of diminishing returns (after having quite enjoyed the first effort in 2007), and so I have to admit that the finer elements of some of the later releases do escape me. More power to you if you enjoy them though, and for my own part I did catch at least a fair portion of Age of Extinction on the telly not so long ago and have to admit that in amidst all of the nonsense (such as the stuff about “Romeo & Juliet laws” - WTF?), I did actually enjoy much about the portrayal of Lockdown. Aside from being a pretty cool and certainly unique take on a Transformer character, he also managed to snatch at least most of the genuinely quotable lines from the film (“You see my face, your life is done”).

So I was pretty intrigued by this figure when it was first announced, not least because it was seemed impossible to figure out the mechanics behind it from photos alone. In the time since first posting pictures of it online, I’ve even had people ask me if it does indeed actually transform! Well, yes it does, and as it turns out that ends up being one of the figures strongest elements, as we will uncover.

First up though, let’s have a look at the rather stunning vehicle mode. As much as it might be difficult to imagine that robot form hiding away neatly, the reality is you have to marvel at the clean and tidy end result here - it looks absolutely incredible.

Even closer inspection doesn’t betray how neatly packed everything is, with realistic proportions and some lovely finer details to boot. It’s feels very impressive overall, and even scales relatively way well with the likes of Masterpiece MPM-3 Bumblebee to boot.

With Masterpiece MPM-3 Bumblebee

If I had one (very minor) complaint, I would maybe say that the vehicle mode lacks a bit of colour. Granted there isn’t much that Unique Toys could do to stray from the character’s predetermined colour scheme (itself realistic to the model of Lamborghini), but I do think that he could use one or two more highlights to stand out a little more somehow. The lights and other bits and bobs that provide some opportunity for this still feel a little dull, meaning that the overall mode doesn’t pop as much as it might. Still, it’s a small nitpick on what is otherwise an exceptional car form, no doubt.

I suspect though that it’s once you start to transform this guy that you’ll become really impressed. Much has been lauded about this element of the figure online, and I can absolutely see why. Considering the obvious lack of visual commonality in either mode, the process to move between them is surprisingly fluid and fun, even repeatable. There are several “gosh, that’s clever”-type moments that really stand out, such as the way the legs unfurl so simply, and the manner in which the torso flips to come together. The result is really rather impressive, leaving us with a robot form that is so exceptionally kibble-free than again, it’s hard to believe that this guy can even transform! Perhaps the biggest trick it plays is that there is more of the car mode evident on display than at first appears, but it’s rather subtly camouflaged amidst all the Baydem.

But what of the robot mode itself? Well, it has to be said that it’s pretty remarkable, really. Looks-wise it’s just about bob-on to the on-screen character, appearing suitably humanoid and devoid of car kibble whilst at the same time quite weird and alien-esque. The proportions are good, it’s impressively clean, and he really looks great from every angle.

There’s also a lot more visual interest to speak of in this mode. Not only is he covered in detail, but there’re some welcome highlights of colour that help to make him a little more engaging to the eye. He’s still a dark figure overall, but the hints of orange, blue and green are all appreciated. I’m also a big fan of that headsculpt, regardless of how you may feel about the look of the character himself, as again I think they’ve done a cracking job at recreating it here.

But if the regular face is not your bag, he also features a second face in order to depict the visor-of-sorts that the character sports for some of the film, and I have to say it looks really great. A simple pop-on-pop-off mechanism allows for easy face swaps, which is a good thing as I plan to make the most of both of them.

Of course he technically has a third head... of sorts. The character is notorious for the ability to transform his entire noggin into a large cannon, the reveal of which was a significant moment in much of the marketing for the film. Unique Toys have of course recreated that element here, though in this case it’s a separate piece that slots over the existing head and pegs into place securely. If indeed the idea of a massive gunface Transformer is your particular jam, then this fella is definitely not going to disappoint. If you think it looks massively silly then you can of course leave the thing to one side and never speak of it again. For my money, it’s one of the coolest elements to come out of the film on which this character is based, and this toy does a great job at recreating it.

The gun accessory can also be stored on his back or indeed held in hand for a more traditional look. Overall it works well in whatever configuration and adds quite a bit of interest to this figure overall. Very nicely done.

As for other accessories, Peru Kill can sport a small blade-like weapon, which pegs into his folded over hand to give the impression that it has popped out of his wrist. It’s a neat inclusion and again, is another strong nod to the film on which this figure is based.

And finally, he also comes packaged with a scale-accurate canine companion, one of many that were represented on-screen. I’ll be honest and say that I could take-or-leave this particular accessory (I’d file it in the relatively sizeable dossier of stuff from the Bay films that I find a bit unnecessary), but no doubt it is a fun and certainly nicely-realised creation. The legs are surprisingly poseable, and altogether it adds a bit of interest I suppose.

As for the main ‘bot himself, I find him more than capable of looking daringly dynamic, though that’s in spite of some rather hampered articulation. The lack of waist swivel hurts this figure a fair bit in my opinion, and that’s to say nothing of the slightly odd knees, the weird neck or the fact that the head can only turn so much before being impeded by the shoulder blades. Still, he can pull off enough decent poses to keep you going, and no doubt he looks suitably menacing in even just a simple walking pose.

I’d also say he stacks up pretty well versus the official MPM figures we’ve had thus far. For a car mode that’s comparable in size to Bumblebee, it’s nothing short of incredible that he ends up just a little smaller than Optimus in his robot form. Style-wise he seems to fit pretty seamlessly too, I think, although if anything I have to credit him for being less fiddly and overall better quality than the official releases in my experience, so that’s saying something! He does have similarly strange hands, though!

With Masterpiece MPM-4 Optimus Prime

With Masterpiece MPM-3 Bumblebee

So, Peru Kill. Bizarre name, questionable film, but a surprisingly awesome figure. Evidently that's a popular opinion too, as I saw this chap pop up in quite a number of "best of" lists around the end of last year, even taking the top spot on one or two of them. Whilst I don't think he's quite worthy of such an accolade, there's no doubt that he's an absolutely smashing figure overall, and definitely worth a lot of praise. If anything, he's worth getting your hands on just to have a go at that transformation!

What's HOT?
Great vehicle mode, stunning robot mode, and a surprisingly intuitive and enjoyable transformation between the both. He also comes with some really fun accessories and does a great job at bringing the on-screen character to life.

What's NOT?
As lovely as it is, the car mode feels a little bit dull in terms of colour. The robot mode is badly missing a waist swivel, and the knees are a bit awkward too.

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  1. Whilst I greatly admire what they've done with the engineering and design he's a bayformer, and as I vary between apathy and revulsion at them I've no place for it in my collection.

    1. Fair enough, dude - definitely not for everyone! :)

  2. Hello Sixo!
    Just a heads up, he does have a waist swivel. It’s hidden under the crotch flap, so it is limited in practical use, but you can get some movement out of it. Love your reviews and pictures btw!

    1. Hi Ryan - thanks very much for that! And yep, you're right about the slight swivel that is there, but I discounted it as it involves unplugging the hip pieces etc. and even then doesn't really give you anything. I suppose it's something! :D

  3. This robot is really cool, but I really don't like it, it is better to use it to make a car.