Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) -
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) -
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 53 (Season 2 #37), September 12th 1985 / Episode 97 (Season 4 #2), November 10th 1987
First Toy Appearance - 2007
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - Hasbro
Toyline - Botcon
I always had a thing for the Cybertron Vector Prime mould, and was annoyed that I could not fit him in anywhere with my 'classicsverse' collection. Yes I know he has been retconned to be included as some multiversal being who was around for G1, but I don't like that kind of thing. Then I saw the glorious repaint that was Botcon Alpha Trion and my wee legs turned to jelly. I resolutely decided that I could not afford the secondary market prices for this figure but in a moment of weakness I got him anyway, because I am a weak-willed idiot. I guess I really have a thing for bearded transformers. Anyway Alpha Trion featured in three seasons of the cartoon, albeit fleetingly. So was this 'guest star' worth the money?
Appearance (Robot Mode) 9/10
Gah, this figure is positively beautiful. The sculpting is so ornate and actually suits what is supposed to be such an ancient transformer perfectly. It almost looks like it would be made of ceramic instead of metal. The level of detail is staggering and luckily there are a lot of paint apps (but not enough) to do the mould justice. The colour scheme is just superb and mimicks the cartoon character's pallette perfectly. This is a voyager figure but stands a full head taller than Optimus Prime, and has considerable bulk on his side. This figure is gorgeous with the 'sails' acting like a transparent cape. Things do fall apart from the side and behind somewhat, because there happens to be an enormous nosecone sitting there. But this is balanced for me by the great headsculpt, which is intricately detailed and well-painted. I guess a criticism would be that he looks a bit stern but then this is supposed to be the 'shattered glass' version of the character.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 8/10
Alpha Trion's alt mode was never seen, but I think this magnificent craft is as good a fit as any. The colour scheme really pops as it does with the robot mode. The transparent sails complement everything else well, although the right sail does not fold out as smoothly as the left, quite a bit of effort is required to get the bottom sail into the correct position. I have the Vector Prime figure and I can confirm that this a fault with the mould in general and not restricted to Alpha Trion. I do not display the minicon but this is supposed to fill the depression behind the cockpit, which I actually kind of like anyway. The landing gear is a bit bulky (being made up of the legs) and marrs an otherwise streamlined craft.
This is pretty simple fare with the nose section snapping back to reveal the head, which is then spun around. Unfortunately the nose does not tab into the back but just sits there. The arms are revealed by moving and sliding the armour plating out of the way, and freeing the forearms from the tabs which hold them in place. The Legs are created by unfolding the landing gear and folding the feet into position, and the wings are moved down to create a rudimentary cape.
This is, for me, where the mould shows its age. Let's start with the head where there is a swivel but no more than that. There is also no waist articulation. The shoulders have both lateral and longitudal movement, the hips have similar but unfortunately the thighs cannot move forward much because they clash with the torso. The real issue is there is no bicep or thigh swivel, which really kills what a figure can do in my opinion. There are elbow and knee joints, both of which have swivel underneath them so at least you can tilt Alpha's sword, which redeems this mould somewhat. Because of the large back kibble, the figure also has a tendency to fall backwards. Unfortunately the ankles which could help with this issue are designed to flatten out which only makes this issue worse.
I treat this figure with kid gloves but I do have the other mould of this and the plastic is great, and the mould feels solid in all respects. Look out for the lower arm guards, which can become loose with time, and simply fall back into their closed position. The only other way I could forsee of damaging this figure would be to over-extend the soft plastic sails, which may become brittle over time. I guess someone might snap the arm expecting there to be a bicep swivel, particularly as the arms are moulded in such a way that makes them look jointed there.
This mould really is one of my favourites, even if it is let down by relatively poor articulation when compared to more recent Hasbro and 3rd-party moulds. If you can't stretch to Alpha Trion, you should pick up Vector Prime at least, just to enjoy the sumptuous detail and impressive stature of this figure. But the colour scheme of Alpha works so well with the mould, giving him a slightly ethereal aspect when compared to the 'younger' guys such as Optimus Prime, who are much more simplistic and lack much of the ornate detail this guy has. I compare it to old craftsmanship, where every surface was detailed in comparison with the relatively bland stylings of today. Fitting then that Alpha Trion should the look (and pricetag) of an antique Transformer.