How long does it take for a comic book character to get a toy? How about 33 years? In 1986, Hasbro’s Transformers toys were truly sunstorm-hot, and aside from the “Transformers” series Marvel Comics was publishing in the US, Marvel UK was publishing its own line of “Transformers” comic books with its own continuity. It was a grimmer, edgier story and out of that emerged the violent, powerful Impactor. The leader of the Autobot strike team the Wreckers (later to become a prominent part of Transformers comics lore), the harpoon-handed Impactor (created by Simon Furman and Jeff Anderson) boasted the Marvel UK “Transformers” title’s more angular design and was an original creation. Though he would not stay alive long, Impactor had an, uh, impact on readers—he would be resurrected in IDW’s “Transformers” continuity.
Decades later, virtually every character in the Transformers Generation (G1) line has been released by Hasbro in new molds with the latest toy technology through its various lines. Impactor has not had a dedicated toy representation (save for a bad 2014 repaint of Fall of Cybertron Onslaught and a shoehorned subscription-only 2016 retool of Combiner Wars Rook) until now.
The Transformers: War for Cybetron Trilogy–Siege Deluxe-Class Autobot Impactor is the first real original mold for the character—he’s now available from local toy stores. Impactor is built based on his cleaner, sleeker IDW version, meaning he’s not as bulky as his original self, keeps his colors but is still very intimidating. Molded mostly in purple and flat yellow (yes, primarily Decepticon colors so that’s a Cybertron curveball right there) with a little gray thrown in, Impactor stands exactly six inches tall, with some impressive articulation including a transformation-required ankle pivot but no ball joints in the wrists. That’s because Impactor is an interesting mix of modern toy tech and some old-fashioned toy tricks. You can look at this as homages, such as how the fists turn in, allowing you to peg in the razor-bladed pistol to replicate the G1’s harpoon hand. There’s that unmistakably flat shoulder-mounted cannon.
The head has a mean-looking mug in a Spartan-style helmet. This broader head is more akin to the original Marvel UK version. There is a more flamboyant, more IDW-accurate, head that came with the Decepticon-branded Impactor in the limited-edition (much more expensive and hard-to-find) Siege Fan Vote Battle 3-Pack Impactor Vs. Mirage set. The colors allow the tiny Autobot sigil (located over the left chest plate) to create contrast. The figure can be posed in some pretty dynamic poses with its one-handed look and scowling face. It gives off a vibe that’s perfectly suited for the character.
The transformation is quite simple and intuitive without being overly simplistic. We already know that the WFC: Siege toys have Cybertron-based alt modes. So, it’s no surprise Impactor transforms into a somewhat futuristic looking tank—the gray rifle he comes with becomes the tank’s cannon. The design allows the turret to rotate and the cannon to move up and down—it is close enough as the original alt mode is a drill tank (Hasbro, would it have been that hard to include a drill, though?). The paint job boasts the line’s expected “battle-damage” apps. The tank treads, however, are only for show and the actual plastic wheels hardly roll at all. It is unforgivable, especially since Impactor is a deluxe, that he has completely and obviously hollow lower legs.
Impactor can be found–if you look really hartd–in the hobby shops and this is a good time to do so because Netflix’s “Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy–Siege,” the newest animated Autobot-Decepticon beatdown just premiered July 30.
For all that, this is a bold departure for a line that’s stuck to characters also with previous toys. It’s a new mold (we will probably see it repainted as Warpath soon)! It also fills a long-time and particularly tricky collecting vacuum—I mean, when would we otherwise get him, especially with the upcoming WFC: Earthrise line apparently focusing on the Earth-style alt modes. So, savor Impactor, a cult classic that’s a Cybertron dream come true.