Monday, August 18, 2014

Transformers Feature - Duocon Flywheels

For all of the nostalgia inherent in discussing Transformers toys from the original line of the 1980s, there are certain criticisms that come up fairly frequently, especially when these old toys are compared to their modern counterparts. One of the most common of these criticisms is a lack of articulation. An inability to pose the robot mode into multiple stances is seen as a serious failing these days, and it is not uncommon to hear certain toys referred to as "bricks." Even in the 1980s, some toys were guilty of this flaw more than others. The Duocons, represented here by Flywheels, are perhaps the worst offenders.

That weapon could go on either vehicle,
I just thought it worked best on the jet.
The basic gimmick of the Duocons, introduced in 1987, is that they are robots who split into two distinct vehicles, neither of which is a separate robot on its own. Later fiction would try to explain the concept as Shockwave's failed early experiments to create robots with more than one vehicle form, but it's worth noting that the Triple Changers existed before the Duocons in terms of actual toys.

The Duocons are transformed by fitting the air vehicle on top of the ground vehicle by lining up slots and tabs, pressing the two together should then cause the toy to pop up into its combined robot mode. The result is a robot without discernible feet (not unlike the "Minibots" of a couple of years previously) and arms that cannot even be raised to point the included weapon forward. Flywheels actually fares slightly better here than fellow Duocon Battletrap. You can raise Flywheels' arms slightly to the sides. Battletrap's arms have no mobility whatsoever.

While it's never been proven, it's probable that the names of Battletrap and Flywheels were actually swapped at some point during the production process. Flywheels actually has no wheels on either of its vehicle components, and the tank is a far more "battle"-ready vehicle than Battletrap's camper-truck ground component (while I might say the same about Flywheel's jet versus Battletrap's helicopter, that's far less of a slam dunk, as the Apache has been used by the military for many, many years). It would hardly be the first time such a swap has been shown to have happened with two generally-similar Transformers toys.

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