Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Tactical Officer (Hyper Mode) from Junkion Blacksmith (2010)

While it would certainly be a stretch to suggest that all transformable robots not made by either Hasbro or Takara try to take advantage of the popularity of the Transformers franchise, specifically, there are numerous examples of such toys that unmistakably attempt to either homage or replicate (some might say "steal") Transformers-specific characters and concepts. The "Tactical Officer" from Junkion Blacksmith is a toy that actually manages to homage two Transformers-specific concepts simultaneously.

The most obvious homage this little figure (barely over 2 inches tall) demonstrates is to Soundwave, the iconic Decepticon tape player. Of course, with these dark colors, my particular specimen (the "Hyper Mode" variant) is more properly an homage to Soundblaster, the rebuilt version of Soundwave created for the Japanese Headmasters series.

Although tiny, this little figure still turns into a reasonable rendition of Soundwave/Soundblaster's tape deck mode, although the speakers on the sides are indeed a variation from the original.

The other Transformers-specific homage the Tactical Officer demonstrates is to the Headmasters themselves, as he transforms a strong resemblance to Soundwave/Soundblaster's head (if a bit flat for my tastes). This head is compatible with 1980s era Headmasters figures... at least, for the most part. The Tactical Officer seems to be a bit too wide to fit into the compartment made to fit the authentic Nebulan partner to Chromedome (Stylor) in vehicle mode. Still, if one wants to imagine Soundblaster taking over Chromedome's robot body, this figure lets you do that quite admirably.

Like the Headrobots Cobra, which came out at about the same time, but from a different company, the Tactical Officer is compatible with the stats meters built into the 1980s' era Headmasters, and yields character-specific stats. While I hesitate the call these readings a "match" for the ratings of Soundwave, they're more or less in the right range (Soundwave's relevant ratings, in case you're wondering, are Speed - 2, Strength - 8, and Intelligence - 9. Judging from an online scan of Soundblaster's original Japanese Tech Specs, it looks to me like Soundblaster's Intelligence was raised to 10, but even if that's the case, remember that this would be a straight redeco of a figure originally intended to homage Soundwave). I always appreciate this level of attention to detail.

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