I’m English, and as such I crave disappointment. That’s why I buy Kinder Surprise. Horrible chocolate; nasty little toy: a double-whammy of disillusionment! Sometimes I eat the toy out of sheer despair. I call them the Eggs Of Numbing Inevitability.
– Bill Bailey, Bewilderness (2001)
I happen to think Kinder chocolate’s OK (but if you do get more of it for your money by buying the straight up Kinder bars) but I was pretty much with Bill on the toys. I can still remember the disappointment of opening these eggs as a child, hoping to get whatever cute figure had been advertised on TV and instead always always (it felt) getting a crappy, plastic yellow motorbike that didn’t roll or stand up unaided.
So at first I wasn’t terribly inspired when I heard last year that Kinder were doing a special promotion putting Transformers in their blue eggs (and Barbie in their pink eggs). Note how I said “blue eggs” and “pink eggs” there, NOT “boys eggs” and “girls eggs”? Speaking as a girl who straight up refused to play with dolls even when I was very young, the whole concept of gendered toys is pretty frustrating. I know there’s been some controversy about this Kinder promotion, but in fairness – and pleasingly – it doesn’t actually say anywhere that the toys are for a particular gender. If you think they are, you’re just buying into the whole “blue is just for boys, pink is just for girls thing” which is pretty much nonsense – right Prime Arcee?
Transformers are for everyone, and especially for me. But even so, I was NOT going to go down the slippery slope of trying to collect all of these toys. Absolutely not….
…But you know how these
crack-bots Transformers get you. One broken resolution, a few swaps and too many calories later, here they all are:
There’s 8 in total: Soundwave, Megatron, Starscream, Bulkhead, Optimus Prime, Arcee, Ratchet and Bumblebee, all very much based on their Prime incarnations.
Like most traditional Kinder toys, the Bots are packed in the eggs in pieces and need assembly. They build around a central cog, with arms, legs, head and torso slotting in to the edges. The heavier set characters carry this off pretty well but the cog is extremely visible on Arcee, Starscream and Soundwave and it does look kind of weird.
They’re not exactly sturdy either, and again the three skinniest Bots mentioned above suffer the most. They all do stand up unaided but these three are on the wobbly side. My Starscream also seems to have one particularly loose ball-joint that makes his arm randomly fall off, which would probably be more annoying if it weren’t so damn appropriate!
So we’re not dealing with the highest quality end of the Transformer toy spectrum here but even so, there’s still something I find quite pleasing about these figures. Ratchet and Megatron seem the best of the bunch, but all of them are easily identifiable as the character they’re meant to be – even if, in Bulkhead’s case, it’s a weird midget version of that character.
They don’t transform, of course. But the cog mechanic does allow for some Frankenbot style tinkering and mis-assembly if that’s what floats your boat.
This particular Kinder promotion has now ended (now they’re doing The Avengers and Disney Fairies apparently) although I’ve still seen a few last Transformer eggs on sale in a few places. They’re also popping up on Ebay quite a bit.
I mock these little Bots quite a lot, but for all that, they’re welcome to their space on the shelf. For less than a quid each – and with a chocolatey snack thrown in too – I guess they’re really not so bad.
As with all blind-boxed stuff, though, the real joy is in the initial ‘getting’ experience. What was nice with this promotion was that all the blue eggs were guaranteed to be Transformers (except in the trio packs, only one in three chance there – steer clear), it was just a question of who. So yeah, I ended up with a few too many Bumblebees and Bulkheads (not sure if these were officially the more common ones?) but at least there was no risk of motorcycles here (except Arcee, of course – a welcome motorcycle for a change!). The last Bot I needed to complete the set was Optimus Prime and nobody I knew had him to swap. So I have to confess when I picked up a random blue egg on my way home after a bad day at work, opening it to reveal that telltale red cog brought an insanely wide grin to my face. My inner six year old was finally cleansed of all those motorcycle-shaped disappointments. Sometimes it really is the little things.