Chopper
Defender

Very clever and elusive. Converts into a helicopter. Flies low over the Earth, protected by stealth system making him invisible to radar or other sensory equipment.

Like Tanker and Wheels, Chopper originated from Japanese company Mark. They licensed the designs to Takatoku's Special Armored Batallion Dorvack series, and produced cheap plastic versions of the expensive figures. When Takatoku went bankrupt and the majority of their assets went to Bandai, it would seem the Mark versions didn't through some legal loophole. And so, shortly before the Takatoku-designed figures were leased by Hasbro for Transformers, Select picked up their cheaper cousins for Convertors. Chopper was based on the Ovelon Gazzette design (which Hasbro borrowed to make the Transformers Deluxe Vehicle Whirl). Two versions were issued - the first reused the Dorvack colour scheme; the second replaced the blue parts with black.


Convertors ChopperChopper's helicopter mode is something of a mess... The loose design is obviously inspired by the Huey Cobra, but it doesn't translate well. There are massive gaps between the central fuselage and the sidepods, and it doesn't seem to be a deliberate choice, otherwise they'd have done something to hide the massive silver hips. The arms as overlong engine pods don't convince either, and once more don't go anything like flush to the body. Unusually for a line that generally kept things simple, Chopper has a surprising amount of accessories. I'm missing several - there should be two of the guns mounted just before the tail, and a chain gun under the cockpit. In addition to this, the blades pop off fairly easily, and finding one with both is tricky - from four or five Choppers I've owned in various states, that's the only one I've been able to rustle up... He also has a pair of claw-like hands - these don't have anywhere to go in helicopter mode, thus ensuring they're often lost to the mists of time.

Convertors ChopperThe transformation is simple, following the usual cockpit-becomes-chest, legs-come-out-of-fuselage pattern - it might well be the first, but it's still pretty dull. Sadly, like most Convertors it works loose very easily - the poorly-designed hips are a major problem, totally failing to support the upper body (the pose to the left was achieved by taking the figure apart and putting tape around the connections - even then he requires patience and careful balancing). The looseness isn't helped by the lack of any sort of clip to connect the front and back of the torso. It's a gangly, weird-looking thing. The Takatoku version is an odd robot anyway, but the spindly limbs and the odd shoulders and hips really accentuate it. I do like the head design, though. There is a little articulation thanks to the hinged ankles, it's just a shame the joints aren't up to using it. The guns can be placed either on the outside of the wrists (if you have both hands), or slotted into the holes (if you're short of a hand and a gun).

I've always had a soft spot for Whirl, and think the colour scheme on Chopper is an improvement. However, the toy's cheapie status can't be avoided - Mark's figures were designed not to last long, basically being sanctioned knockoffs. Chopper is fragile and heavily susceptible to wear, even by Convertors standards. Add onto that the difficulty of finding one with enough accessories to make either mode look passable, and you have a toy that's sadly not worth the hassle.