GEARS (COGWHEEL) (2014)
Growing up one of my favorite Transformers was Gears. The 1984 Gears figure is one of only three Transformer toys I held onto from my childhood and I had many. I’ve previously reviewed the original Gears figure here.
When the Classics/Generations line of Transformers starting coming out in the mid-2000s an updated Gears was one of the figures I was most looking forward to. Bumblebee started out as a humble mini-con just like Gears back in the 80s after all, and his Classics figure was a huge improvement. Classics Bumblebee was bigger, more detailed, more articulated, and had a much more accurate cartoon likeness than the original 80s toy. I waited and waited for Gears to get the “Classics” treatment but Hasbro never bothered to update him.
In the last few years the trend of third party companies producing in-demand Transformers figures has taken off. Last year third party manufacturer iGear released the updated, albeit unlicensed, Gears I’d been waiting for. I didn’t even care that he was missing an Autobot logo or that he cost a fortune. What mattered is that he was bigger, more detailed, more articulated, and had a fantastic cartoon likeness. iGear absolutely nailed it. I loved their version of Gears whom they dubbed Cogz. Check out my review of Cogz here.
I was content with Cogz. As far as I was concerned he was the last Gears figure that I would ever need to purchase. But, It was only a couple of months later when third party manufacturer Make Toys unveiled their upcoming take on Gears named Cogwheel, that I started to see some of Cogz’s shortcomings. I still love Cogz but even in my initial glowing assessment of that figure I noted that the colors were a bit dull and the articulation was somewhat hindered by his bulk. Based on the prototype images of Cogwheel that I saw online he appeared to have everything Cogz had plus a more vibrant color scheme, increased articulation, and a more dynamic sculpt. It looked like a fantastic toy but I don’t think I would’ve shelled out the cash for Cogwheel had it not been for Trash Talk.
Back in the 80s the original Gears figure was repainted red and white and released as a new character named Swerve. I didn’t own Swerve as a kid and I don’t think he ever appeared in the cartoons so I had no attachment to him. But in recent years IDW has given Swerve a starring role in their comics and he has become a fast favorite of mine. I wanted a Swerve figure so bad after reading IDWs books that I was willing to settle for anything. I bought a crappy red and white repaint of Kup that Hasbro put out and named Swerve hoping that would suffice. It didn’t. The repainted Kup didn’t look anything like Swerve and I hated it. I wanted a Swerve that looked how he looked in the comics. Luckily, at the same time iGear released Cogz they released a red and white repaint with a variant head named Veer, their version of Swerve. Veer was great but he didn’t meet my expectations to the same degree that Cogz did.
When Make Toys began taking pre-orders for Cogwheel a short while ago he was only available as a 2-pack with their version of Swerve whom they had named Trash Talk. It was really the Trash Talk figure that drew me in to purchasing the pair. When they arrived in the mail the other day I wasn’t sure which figure to review first. It likely would have been Trash Talk but in the time since I pre-ordered this duo Hasbro put out a nice little version of Swerve of their own which I reviewed only about a month ago. For the sake of diversity I decided to save Trash Talk for later and review Cogwheel first.
When I pulled these figures out of the box I gotta say I was quite surprised at the size of them. It can be tough to gage how big something is from just a picture on the internet; I’ve been burned before. I assumed that Cogwheel and Trash Talk would be the same size as Cogz and Veer but they’re not. They’re about half the size which is fair I suppose because they were about half the price. I do wish Cogwheel was bigger but he’s still bigger than the original toy and he’s to scale with several other Transformers I have. You can’t get to hung up on scale when collecting Transformers anyway, you’d go nuts (why is the guy that turns into a planet smaller than the guy that turns into a city!).
Make Toys has done a fantastic job on this figure. I don’t think I’d go so far as to say Cogwheel is superior to Cogz but I can tell you that Trash Talk is superior to Veer (but we’ll talk about that later). Cogwheel has a leg up on Cogz in a few areas. The bright colors are near identical to the crisp red and blue of the ‘84 Gears and they look great. I’m really not sure why iGear opted for muted pastel colors on their figure.
Cogwheel also has better articulation. His arms and legs are much more free to move into various positions. He’s got ball-jointed shoulders, hips, legs, and ankles as well as several standard joints. However his wrist joints are floppy so the weight of his large gun tends to make his hand dangle limply. It appears as though the wrists are supposed to snap into place but they don’t. Also, his added ankle articulation has cost him some stability. Cogz has big thick feet which insure he never topples over. Cogwheel is much tougher to pose in a stable position.
The other aspect of Cogwheel that I really like is the sculpt. The design of the chest, the placement of the wheels on his shoulders, and the overall sleeker design make for a very nice looking figure.
Besides the large handheld cannon, Cogwheel also came with an alternate head. Cogz had a spinning head so you could choose to display him with either his cartoon accurate humanoid face or his G1 toy accurate visor and mouth plate face. Cogwheel gives you the same options only he comes with a little replacement head you have to swap out. To change the head you have to pull the whole front chest and arms off. That comes off easy enough but I had a hell of a time trying to pop the head off of it’s peg. I’m glad to have the 2 face options but iGear did it better; Cogwheel’s extra head is really small and could be easily lost.
Lastly I guess I should mention his vehicle mode. He transforms into a cool little futuristic truck. I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen Gear’s cybertron mode before but I imagine it would look something like this. I appreciate that Make Toys went through the trouble to give Cogwheel and Trash Talk slight differences to differentiate them from each other when in vehicle mode. This is a great toy but I fear it wont be my last Gears figure. I just found out that Hasbro is releasing a repainted version of their 2014 Swerve as Gears in the near future. Ho-hum. 9 out of 10.