Monday, 30 August 2010

Superlink Roadbuster Wild

Roadbuster is a prime example of why I was all set to completely ignore Energon/Superlink as a toyline. He empitomises the clumsy, clunky design sensibilities not only held over from Armada, but developed to a whole new level of blockiness - as if Fisher Price were suddenly working on TransFormers. The original Roadbuster had all the complexity of a Mini-Con, and a bright red, white and blue paintjob to match. And, as it turns out, Roadbuster W was about the last Energon/Superlink toy I picked up... purely because of it's G1 Hound-inspired paint job.

Vehicle Mode:
Let's face it, this is one out-of-proportion, squashed-up, blocky 4-Wheel Drive vehicle. Overall, despite the wacky almost Choro-Q/Penny Racer appearance, it's not a bad looking vehicle from most angles - it has relatively few visible seams... but then, that just means it's not very complicated, doesn't it? That, or it's a shellformer, that's going to have massive vehicle panels hanging off its robot mode.

Or both.

And what is the massive array of things stuck on the roof? It looks like some kind of radar dish, a row of lights, a missile launcher, a machine gun and... the robot's head thinly disguised by having the helmet flopped down over its eyes. Really, Takara Tomy? Back in 2004, this was the best you could do? And then, viewed from behind, the robot's arms are quite plainly visible... with his fists hanging down below the rear bumper.

In the original release, there were sound effects housed in the roof-mounted rig, but these have been stripped for the repaint. The turret also feels ridiculously loose, like there's meant to be some kind of ratchet effect that came out along with all the electronics. Interestingly, the missile is launched by pushing back on the launcher, rather than by the traditional method of using a button.

The paintwork is actually rather plain - there's white running around and between the wheel arches, silver/gold for some of the front-facing lights, a touch of  blue at the front, and the Hound-inspired white star on the bonnet... oh, and the windscreen, middle part of the rear bumper and the rearmost side windows are painted silver... but the overall effect is a bit weak and childish.
DSC01832.JPG DSC01833.JPG DSC01834.JPG DSC01835.JPG DSC01836.JPG DSC01837.JPG

Robot Mode:
Oh, deary, deary me... While the Energon/Superlink Decepticons became sleek, angular and dangerous-looking, far too many of the Autobots were blocky throwbacks. Honestly, there's nothing about Roadbuster as a mold that couldn't have been done just as well on a Deluxe, Scout or Mini-Con.

The lower legs are made up of the entire front of the car - virtually no transformation necessary, just the headlights and bullbars flipping away from the front of the car to form very strange feet. He has probably the biggest shins of any TransFormer ever, and a good chunk of them is the hollow cab of the vehicle mode. Part of me is surprised and disappointed that the doors don't open but, considering the overall complexity of the model, I really shouldn't be.

The W-suffixed repaint comes complete with an Energon weapon - the gun/tyre combo that turns into an alleged axe, molded in translucent, almost neon orange plastic - and, in many ways, this addition is one of the only reasons I bothered picking up this iteration of the mold. The arms are certainly poseable enough to make use of the axe, and it's about the right size for him, proportionally.
DSC01838.JPG DSC01839.JPG DSC01840.JPG DSC01841.JPG DSC01842.JPG DSC01843.JPG DSC01844.JPG DSC01845.JPG DSC01846.JPG DSC01848.JPG DSC01849.JPG

Transformation is insultingly simple - as mentioned, it's on the same level as a simple Deluxe or Scout, or a reasonably complicated Mini-Con. The fact that the Robot mode is just as blocky as the vehicle mode is disappointing and inconsistent with much of the Energon/Superlink line though, to be fair, the better models tended to be Decepticons. The worst part about Roadbuster is the head, with its helmet that flips up to reveal the eyes and nose, when everything below that is perfectly visible in vehicle mode.

Poseablility in general is OK, but certainly nothing special. With such huge lower legs and such stubby thighs, there's very little visible difference between standing up straight and adopting a kind of squatting position

DSC01850.JPG DSC01851.JPG
Like any other Energon/Superlink Autobot, Roadbuster has two methods of Powerlinx-ing with other, similarly-sized Autobots - 'Superpants Mode' and 'Shoulders Mode'. Neither are particularly effective, but Superpants mode at least gives him access to better-looking, longer legs with proper feet. Some folks actually use this as the defaul transformation of his legs, and I can easily see why. His combined mode 'fists' are visible in either form, but are just flippable panels, set too far back in the forearm to really look like fists, and certainly too far back to be of any use.

Roadbuster was never one of the better Energon/Superlink molds, but the paintjob's homage to Generation 1 Hound is quite compelling. I probably would have liked this toy a lot more had the electronics been kept for this iteration, but the addition of an Energon weapon (which would otherwise have had to be nicked from one of the Scouts) is pretty neat.

No comments:

Post a Comment