Transformers Blackout
Transformers Blackout
Transformers Blackout
Transformers Blackout

Transformers Blackout
Transformers Blackout
Transformers Blackout
Transformers Blackout

Blackout was of course the first live action Transformer we all saw properly unleashed. Indeed, the whole attack on the SOCCENT base was so impressive that Blackout was basically given the rest of the film off, appearing in the role call and then a handful of shots in Mission City until he was killed off by Lennox's special ops team and some F-22s. Someone looking just like him turned up in Revenge of the Fallen, but pretty much everyone agreed this was Grindor just because it makes things easier.

Blackout's figures came in Legends and Voyager sizes. The Legends was mediocre and pointless, as usual. The Voyager came with a miniature Scorponok, and has been reused for three other figures - Grindor (who looks nothing like the helicopter seen in the second film), Evac (with a new 'Autobot' head, modified hands and a life raft/gun in place of Scorponok) and Whirl (a recolour of the Evac retool that actually looks pretty good). Blackout was also issued in the Premium series, with more extensive paint applications. I'd have got that version, but the standard one was expensive enough - in the UK at least, Blackout (along with Ironhide) seems to be the priciest of the first movie Voyager figures to get hold of. Being dead for four years didn't stop the character getting a respectable Commander figure for Dark of the Moon, though.


The MH-53 Pave Low helicopter alt mode is rather good. One of the nice things about the Movie line is finally Transformers is getting some realistic military hardware, after years of multicoloured jets and tanks. The thing being all blue is justified by this background, while at the same time there's enough moulded detail, windows and other helicopter-y bits to stop it getting boring. It's a big beefy USAF helicopter, how can it be boring? Sadly, Blackout does suffer from some big join lines, especially just above the cockpit, and on the underside of the main fuselage (though this may be due to the second-hand nature of my version). A note, however, for the rotor blades, which are sturdy and easy to line up correctly.

Blackout does have some great features, however. Firstly there's a lever at the back of the tail which can be pushed in and out which makes the main rotors spin. This is really nicely done, and the lever is less intrusive than you'd think, a great gimmick. The other is just as much fun - one of the few compromises to realism is a small cage just under the tail that contains the miniature Scorponok; pressing another small button releases this cage and drops the little minion to the ground. Despite Scorponok himself being rather barren, it's a fun little extra. The Premium version generally sharpens up the scheme with a darker more fetching shade of blue; I'm not entirely sure if it's more accurate though. Blackout only really appears in extreme light conditions in the film, making it difficult to gauge exactly what shade of blue he's meant to be.


The transformation is relatively simple - at least, it is on mine. Blackout has (or had) what a very delicate Automorph device that automatically flips the head around when the legs are moved into place. This part went South on my example in the previous owners' hands, though the Premium still ahd it in working order - and a right pain in the arse it is too. That removed, the sequence is straightforward - as per usual for the line it's more difficult going the other way, especially if you want the helicopter to clip together solidly. Sadly, for a Voyager - and one based on one of the larger film characters - the figure is tiny. The robot mode involves compacting much of the torso down, and the result is Blackout's not much bigger than some of the Deluxes in this form. Blackout's colours are off by a country mile, but at least the results are pleasing to the eye, the blue and black working together nicely. The Premium is a lot sharper in robot form with its' extensive grey paint applications, something which easily outweighs misgivings about the helicopter mode.

Blackout is covered with detail too - I especially like the underside of the engine mounted behind the head. Articulation is decent - the big, thin 'feet' give the figure a good platform for poses, while the arms have a lot of movement, and the head can turn. The helicopter tail gets in the way a bit, though this can be removed entirely. Which brings us on to the figure's weaponry. The entire engine/main rotor/tail assembly can be removed and slung across the figure's arm as a giant melee weapon, but most people won't bother as its' awful. In the film, Blackout used his rear rotor as a weapon, and it's a shame the tail can't just pop off for the toy, it'd be simple enough to do. The end result sadly is that Blackout is basically unarmed. At least Scorponok can still be deployed in this mode, in a fashion that comes close enough to his launching in the film.


On his own terms Blackout is a decent figure - two good modes, an interesting robot mode design, a couple of really great features - while the inaccuracy in the colour scheme compared to the CGI model is at least easy on the eye. However, the size of the figure didn't justify the original Voyager price point, let alone the second hand cost of the toy. The Premium is a bit better looking, but also much more expensive.