Friday, 17 June 2016

Rock Shot

Rock Shot is one of the Shock Rocks, a range of Rock Lords that were slightly larger and more expensive than the regular range due to the gimmicks involved. Despite being more obscure and rarer than the normal Rock Lords, Rock Shot seems to have become a poster child for the Rock Lord line in recent years. He pops up a lot as a depiction of a typical Rock Lord on various sites, and you'd be forgiven for thinking he was Boulder and Magmar's best friend. Why is this? Is he really that amazing?

Design-wise, you can easily see the appeal. Rock Shot is very striking with his yellow/black swirled plastic and the big black rock in his stomach. No other Rock Lord duel-wields rocks like this, making him the ultimate Rock Lord! Added to this is his chunkiness and size (taller than most other Rock Lords) and you have a figure that sticks in the memory. The rock in his stomach keeps you wondering "how on Earth does he work?" long after you've walked on by.

Of course, "how on Earth does he work" is probably a question shared by many Rock Shot owners!
His head is equally crazy, a sort of long-snouted crocodile-like visage that's surrounded by his rocky shoulders, giving him a hunched look. You'll also notice a button on each shoulder pad. These are the key to his gimmicks! And gimmicks he has a-plenty!

Rock Shot's primary function is to throw a rock. He has two gimmicks to aid this. The rock in his stomach is attached to a ratcheting winch by a piece of string. You can pull the rock out and then use the button on his right shoulder to instantly retract it. It works well and the rock always retracts tightly against his body - no floppy rock for him!

The second gimmick is less successful. You place the rock on his scoop-like arm and press the other shoulder button, thus throwing the rock. The rock's attached by a string so doesn't go far, but this isn't the deal breaker. The throwing arm itself feels very loose - in fact if you own a Rock Shot, you might assume it is broken given how loose it is and how it doesn't seem the mechanism works. I actually took mine apart to try to fix it before realising it was actually working perfectly!

The arm has to pull out as far as it can go, and then you ratchet it backwards which feels like it is going to break! Once the arm is in position though, you can place the rock to throw it! This is a challenge in its own right. The throwing arm and the rock both have a corresponding groove and tab to place it on, but this has little to no effect on fixing it in place, and you'll most likely spend a great deal of time balancing it. Yes, once the rock is in place the throwing arm works and it's fun, but it's a lot of fuss for something that could have been achieved a lot more easily.

Due to his gimmick, Rock Shot has one normal hand clenched in a fist, and one that is shaped like a scoop for holding the rock. The asymmetricality is nice, but the difference in size and style between the two is quite noticeable.
Rock Shot's transformation is quite underwhelming. His legs fold back and his arms move to his side, but that's about it. You can fold in and rotate his scoop-hand to be more flush against his body, but it doesn't particularly feel like it locks in no matter which way round you have it. His head folds down, but much like Brimstone, it's still clearly a head.

The gigantic black rock on top of him does at least distract from the face, but there's no getting away from the fact that Rock Shot's rock mode is pretty weak, maybe one of the weakest of the line. You can easily see his head, his hands and arms, and his legs. If it wasn't for the black rock, it would be extra rubbish, but I do like the stacked effect.

Despite all the problems, I really like Rock Shot. His gimmick does work once you figure it out, and the black rock in his stomach is a fun design choice. Yes, they sacrificed his transformation for the gimmick (which I imagine ate up most of the budget leaving him to be quite basic) but he looks good enough with his big rock. I wouldn't want every Rock Lord to be like this, but once is enough for novelty value.

2 comments:

  1. I encountered all three Shock Rocks at a retro toy store a while back and found them severely underwhelming. The gimmicks do nothing to offset the otherwise poor design, in my eyes.

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    1. I think Rock Shot looks great (in 'robot' mode) but his gimmick doesn't really work, Stone Hook looks average and his gimmick is average, Rock Roller looks terrible (or amazingly goofy) but his gimmick actually works amazingly well. I was converted the instant I owned one!

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