"Transformers BotBots" Hal A. Peno Toy Review

in 2019, Action Figure Review, BotBots, Comic-Con Exclusive, Fantastic Fuelers

Transformers: BotBots

General Information:
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Price Point: $34.99
Retailer: San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Exclusive
Accessories: Optimus Prime mask (for Coffeemus Prime)

Official images above and text in italics mirrored from Collider.com
Transformers: BotBots Con Crew 10-Pack – Comic-Con-Themed Pack
(Ages 5 and Up/ Approx. Retail Price: $34.99/ Available: 07/18/2019)
Imagine if BOTBOTS took over the halls of Comic-Con! BOTBOTS are mischievous, funny and super silly little TRANSFORMERS robots who came to life after a glowing mist of Energon fell down from the sky and turned everyday objects at Comic-Con to life! This fun convention pack includes ten exciting Comic-Con themed figures known as the CON CREW, a team of Comic-Con experts who are ready to take on the Con!

Within the CON CREW are 3 specialty teams: the celebrity-obsessed MEET N’ GREETS, experts in photo ops and autographs, the energizing FANTASTIC FUELERS, experts in powering through the Con, and the LINE LEAGUE, experts in surviving the many long Comic-Con lines. 3 of the 10 included TRANSFORMERS BOTBOTS figures are also all dressed up in cool cosplay! Ordinary objects like a marker, a to-go coffee cup and a hand-held game become a kaiju, OPTIMUS PRIME, and a super hero! What sort of mischief will these little bots get into at Comic-Con?

The Line League characters are CAPTAIN CARTRIDGE the superhero handheld game, VIGITENTE the tent and CON-PACKTOR the backpack. Fantastic Fuelers include COFEEMUS PRIME the coffee cup dressed as Optimus Prime, CAB O’NATE the energy drink, HAL A. PENO the spicy chips, and SUMTHIN’ FISHY the fish taco. The Meet N’ Greets characters are SCRIBZILLA the marker, BOTARAZZI the camera, and INKY INKERSON the graphic novel. Available exclusively at San Diego Comic-Con International.

The Con Crew comes in a really beautifully made box. The box is thin and rectangular but choc full of details. The front has a big BotBots logo with the "Con Crew" logo under it. The background is the same blue found on the mass release products, but on top are several pieces of artwork that look like screen captures of Instagram posts. The user names are refer to other BotBots including "nr_geez" and "leader_of_the_jam_packed". The photos are really cute and silly including Vigitente having a "Snapchat" style filter over her face making her into a bunny rabbit! Oddly, the sides of the box feature individual artwork of BotBots not in this boxed set but instead they all appear to be from Series 1 and 2.

The back of the box shows off the Con Crew attending a convention, mostly centered around a cosplay contest (and of course getting into all sorts of shenanigans). Flip open the box and the top flap has "panel descriptions" for several of the team members but the layout looks like a convention schedule down to having times assigned to them! The lower part has the BotBots themselves inside a plastic tray set against a cardboard background that looks like an artist's table including a graphic novel with a page ripped out, an inkwell with a pen next to it and even a chair! I absolutely love this packaging. It really does help make this set extra special and it is a fun meta reference to San Diego Comic-Con itself.

One of Hasbro's San Diego Comic-Con 2019 exclusives was a boxed set of BotBots. This set, known as the "Con Crew" introduced three new Tribes: the Line League, the Fantastic Fuelers and the Meet N' Greets. This boxed set had 10 figures, a mixture of new sculpts and redecos. The figures included in the set were:

Hal A. Peno is a bag of chips (aka crisps) making him one of the more unique BotBots even in a line with tons of other food items. This is a new sculpt debuting in this boxed set.

Chips Mode
While many BotBots have cylindrical or boxy shapes. the challenge with creating Hal A. Peno is creating something that typically does not have one defined shape. Anyone who has ever held a bag of chips knows that the contents and the air inside move around so the shape shifts as you hold it. In an effort to replicate that shape, Hal A. Peno is thick in the middle and then thins out towards the top and bottom where there are ridged edges. I could easily see Hasbro using this sculpt several more times as different kinds of chips.

This figure is cast in red plastic, appropriate for a bag of spicy chips. Yellow deco is used to paint a circle in the middle with a flame pattern and the outline of a jalapeno pepper (get it? Hal A. Peno? Eh? Eh?). A black and yellow line comes down at an angle behind the pepper. The edges are painted black. Overall I love this mode. It is so unique even by BotBots standards.

Transformation to Robot Mode

  1. Swing the panels with the jalapeno design on them out to the sides and back.
  2. Swing the lower part of the alt-mode down to form the robot arms.
  3. Pull the arms out to the sides and rotate them down.

Robot Mode:
Hal A. Peno's robot mode is wide mostly due to the shape of the alt-mode. He has a wide head with the top edge of the alt-mode forming "hair" on top of the head. His arms are kind of small but his torso and legs are both really wide.

The deco from the alt-mode carries over here so the flames now form flame details on his torso. His face has some blonde hair (which is weird since the "hair" on top of his head is black). His face looks like he just ate something really hot and he's recovering from it.

There are two points of articulation on this figure: the arms. The legs swing forward and back too but that's mostly for the transformation.

Final Thoughts:
The food based BotBots tend to get my affection right away since they are so weird and unusual. Hal A. Peno is no exception. I love the unique design in alt-mode and the silly looking robot mode. This is one of the best 'bots in the set.