Transformers Payload
Transformers Payload
Transformers Payload
Transformers Payload

Designed for the 2007 Transformers game from Activision Payload eventually came out in action figure form during the All Spark Power segment of the line. The Payload drones were probably the most irritating of the types featured in the game, barrelling into the player character unstoppably and inexplicably only being susceptible to attack when they paused. There were both Autobot (white, faceplate head) and Decepticon (blue, lens head) versions in the game. I'm not sure I can remember any actually transforming, mind.

The toy was only produced in a Decepticon version. IDW would later pretend that Payload was a proper character but thankfully no-one really believed them - not even their own writer Simon Furman, who portrayed Payload as a drone type in the British comic.


Payload's vehicle mode is a fairly compact, solid armoured truck of the kind used by banks and the like. The colour scheme is pleasingly low-key, and this is a rare example of Transformers bringing us a practical utility vehicle.

Detailing like the frosted, transparent windows, fictional company logo and the sculpted doors on the back add to the practical feel. Sadly, the back of the truck isn't the solid box it's meant to be, being obviously made up of panels and hinges. Also the contrast between the painted silver and moulded grey of the last centimetre of the bars down the side is painful. Payload's grille also has a habit of falling off - it can be pushed back on fairly easily, but that's hardly the point.


In theory, Payload has a great transformation. There are some fabulous touches - the way the box collapses into two neat panels on the robot's shoulders, the excellent compacting legs, the concealed arms - great stuff. However, bits just fly off Payload. Both the grille and the chest piece can come loose (more on why they're exposed in a minute) and bafflingly the head/shoulders segment comes off very easily, often just under the awesome power of gravity. Payload also has from most angles an exceptionally neat robot mode. Aside from the panels on the shoulders, subtle wheels on the arms and a couple of panels on the outside of the legs, most of the robot mode parts are completely hidden with minimal kibble. Not to everyone's taste, I know, but here it's a result of some excellent engineering.

But it's completely ruined by an incredibly poorly thought-out action gimmick. Protruding out of Payload's back is a massive black post. Pushing this into his body causes the chest to move out and a spring-loaded claw to extend out in front of Payload. And it can't be removed. It completely ruins a smooth, compact robot mode, and messes with the figure's balance. To top it all off, both the chest piece and the grille tend to fall off when you actually use the thing. It's a real shame, a decent figure turned into an irritation though a useless and unnecessary 'special feature'.


So, Payload would be an excellent figure. The basic design is sound and he has a neat compactness in both modes, good design, superbly worked transformation - all scuppered by a stupid gimmick that also contributes to the figure's fragility (of the three bits that fall off, two are down to the claw). As such, what could have been an excellent if idiosyncratic figure is rendered frustrating.