Sunday, 8 May 2016

Boulder

Boulder is the heroic leader of the good Rock Lords, their Optimus Prime, as it were. His track record isn’t quite as good as Optimus Prime (having to run to the Gobots for help the moment things got bad) but he’s still relatively iconic for the line.

This is odd, as he’s one of the least Rock Lord-looking Rock Lords made in terms of design.

Generally (until the really odd spherical Shock Rocks) the Rock Lords tended to look like walking lumps of rock. Rocky heads and arms folded out to create a walking rock man (or lady!). Boulder meanwhile looks like a man in a rock costume. His head has no rocky protrusions whatsoever (which might be unique for the line) and his face, arms and legs are all a fleshy skin-tone colour.

His helmet reminds me more of an American Footballer’s helmet than a battle-helm, but I’m sure people will be queuing up to tell me I’m wrong. His primary colour is a mottled blueish hue which is broken up in humanoid mode by the flesh-tone and red of his hat.

Like most Rock Lords he has a good range of motion (due to his transformation) with knees (slightly useless as the legs only move backwards), feet, neck and arms. The arms are actually pretty fantastic, as they move more than they need to due to a shoulder pivot, though the strange construction of them (they pull out on a pale blue cylinder) leaves them a bit drooping.

Another interesting thing (‘interesting’!) about Rock Lords is the painted screws. Tonka clearly took great care with this line, taking extra steps that they clearly didn’t need to. All Rock Lords have screws with tops that are painted to match the plastic, to help them blend in more.

Boulder’s packaging claims that his weapon is a ‘Power Sword’. Which, well… it’s not, is it? It’s only really a sword if the person describing it has never seen a sword, and thinks a sword should be slung underarm with a short stubby barrel that has no piecing capabilities.

So yeah. It’s a gun. Why lie about something like that? Oddly enough he gets a sword in the cartoon, so I had wondered whether another Rock Lord weapon had been swapped late in the design process. Rock Lord weapons don’t have standardised pegs though: the only Rock Lord with swords are Solitaire and Crackpot, and neither of those has a sideways tab that would allow Boulder to hold it.

As a weapon it looks great though, and helps to break up his deco with a splash of colour. There are two variants of this gun, in red and black. I’ve seen claims that the red weapon was US and the black Europe, but I live in Europe and all my Boulders have red guns, so who knows!

Boulder’s transformation has a lot of interesting things going on. The feet fold in and legs fold back, while the arms slot into the side (into a hole that rather charmingly has a semicircle also cut out for the hinge). Meanwhile his head is covered by the massive hood on his back. Again, this is something that departs quite a lot from other Rock Lords, whose heads tend to fold down or push in. The entire point of the giant hood on his back is to cover up his non-rocky head and so does feel a bit cheating, but on the other side it can be used to store items in!
His rock mode is nicely round and smooth, thanks in part to the ‘hood’ that forms a big chunk of it. Like many of the Rock Lords he has a nice mottle design, though some variants of Boulder (oh yes, we’ll be talking about the interesting mild variants at some point!) have a lot more white in them, leading to a much more striking rock. He’s supposed to be tungsten, which while mottled in real life is grey rather than blue.

Overall, Boulder is a bit of an oddity. He’s an interesting figure that is both iconic to Rock Lords, and yet in no way representative of the line.

4 comments:

  1. Boulder's helmet reminds me of a fighter pilot or combat helicopter pilot helmet. The silver paint app evokes the glare visor that slides down over the pilot's eyes. The inscribed detail running down the middle of the silver patch enforces the idea. It looks like the track that the tension knob that holds the visor in place rides in. The ear areas look like the built-in sound mufflers on a helicopter pilot's helmet. It even looks like there's a chin strap sculpted on his face! I say military pilot helmet.

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  2. That's a good catch and yeah, does seem more likely than a football helmet, which was my best guess!

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  3. Weirdly they painted the head differently on the Japanese release as Battlerock, but then in the Japanese anime series Revenge of Cronos they ended up making Battlerocks colored like Boulder!

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  4. Ever notice his colors in the GoBots movie were close to his prototype toy seen in the 1986 Tonka catalog? http://en.wikialpha.org/mediawiki/images/4/41/Boulder-alt.png

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