When I think of TRON, two things immediately come to mind: Frisbee battles and lightcycles, so it’s really no surprise to see Spin Master tackling both types of toy as part of their TRON: Legacy line.
Sam Flynn’s Deluxe Lightcycle is made to work with the core 4” action figures and has a built in action feature that makes it come alive with lights and sounds extracted right from the movie.
The vehicle is molded mostly in black hard plastic, with a few of the glow-lines on the chassis painted in light gray. The wheel rims and engine window are made from light translucent blue plastic that illuminates whenever the action feature button is pressed. The wheels are a quite unusual, reminiscent of the way ball bearings are designed with only the black rubber contact surface rotating around a fixed core. The handles and footrests are attached to the inner rims and made from a softer type of plastic.
The lightcycle design is, simply put, gorgeous. It retains some of the basic traits from the original TRON lightcycles designed by Syd Mead and updates the look to appeal to modern sensibilities. One of the key limitations back in 1982, was the inability to produce moving images of the actors riding the vehicles because the technology just wasn’t there, hence the simple shapes and enclosed driver space of the original vehicle design.
Nowadays those limitations are gone and this new lightcycle sports an open rider seat, which in the toy is occupied by the included dummy figure.
The rider (let’s call him Sam) is well sculpted and made from fairly soft rubber with articulation only at the shoulders and neck. The material he’s made of is pliable enough to slide him in and out of the vehicle without much trouble, with hands and feet firmly set on the footrests and handles. The paint applications to the figure are minimal, and in fact lack much of the painted detail found in the basic individual figures, although it does one thing right by having the fingers painted in a pale flesh tone.
Even though the figure looks nice enough to leave in place, the instruction manual shows you can switch the head with that of the regular Sam Flynn figure and have it replace the dummy rider, although the other way around works almost equally well.
The action features in the vehicle will work with either figure in place, but you may actually want to switch the riders because the light-up feature on the regular core figure really enhances the look of the lightcycle.
The Deluxe lightcycle has a three position switch underneath with E for Demo Mode, 0 for Off and 1 for On, with the factory default being Demo Mode. On Demo, if you push the right side button on the toy you get a short lights and sound demo in one of three different random patterns, ranging from a start and stop sound, pulsing lights or full throttle.
Off is self explanatory, but in the “On” mode you get a little more interactivity. The rider seat houses a secondary switch that activates the “Motion Sensor”, meaning, without the figure in place, you press the side button and the vehicle does nothing at all.
When you slide the driver figure in place, the cycle produces an engine start sound and lights up for a few seconds. Still not very exciting, Right? But then, if you take the vehicle and start rolling it over a fairly flat surface, the engine sounds rev up and the lights start flashing in a full-on lightcyle race pattern, which is actually a lot of fun. Oh, and rolling the front wheel of the bike causes the engine turbine to turn, as seen through the translucent engine window.
As I mentioned, these features work with either the dummy or the core figures in place, but if you use the core figure, you’ll notice that there is a disk right above where the figure’s own action feature button would be. This disk can be lifted just enough to slide the rider in place, thus activating the lights on the figure at the same time the seat switch activates the lightcycle sounds.
Another feature, albeit a simpler one, is that the lightcycle has three opening air brakes just behind the drivers seat. The panels are opened by hand and doing so reveals no paint operations underneath them, which is something of a missed opportunity to spruce up the toy.
In the end I am very satisfied with this vehicle. The figures may not appeal to everybody, but the vehicles are actually quite nice, with Sam Flynn’s Deluxe Lightcycle being the best of Series 1. The thing looks good enough to be displayed and the built-in action features make it a really fun toy to mess around with.
A note on the packaging: Even though the box size is similar to that of the larger Lightrunner vehicle, half of the space is used up for the gimmicky stereoscopic visor that shows an image of the toy while listing it’s action features. The actual vehicle is not a lot bigger than the Kevin Flynn Lightcycle, which in turn may lead you to believe you are not getting your money’s worth with this vehicle, but let me assure you that the electronics in this thing really compensate for that.