Deluxe-class Autobot Roadbuster
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
As the Earth slowly adjusts to the reality of extraterrestrial shape-changing living robots existing among humans, tensions begin to mount as prominent intelligence operatives and businessmen across the globe are dying in mysterious ways with no apparent pattern. Working side-by-side with humans, the Autobots learn a deep secret from the past, pertaining to the 1969 landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon, a secret which could change the course of the Cybertronian civil war forever. The Decepticons- led by a self-exiled Megatron- are already aware of the secret, and are waiting for their opportunity to use it to strike back against humanity and destroy Optimus Prime and his Autobots once and for all. Now, with the return of the brilliant scientist and original leader of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime, the fate of two worlds will hang in the balance as the two races scramble for survival.
"ROADBUSTER might be a little rough around the edges, but he’s got it where it counts. For as long as any of them can remember, he and his partners have specialized in traveling the galaxy, kicking DECEPTICON tailpipe and taking names. To them, Earth is just another battleground."
--from the box
(Chevrolet Impala, NASCAR version)
While Roadbuster is seen in vehicle mode several times in the movie, it is not as a clean Earthly vehicle, but rather the more Cybertronian-like “Stealth Force” mode with weapons and some robot parts peeking out from under the car’s shell. However, this toy preserves the clean NASCAR vehicle look rather than recreating the Stealth Force mode. (The larger and more-detailed Human Alliance Roadbuster instead has him set-up for Stealth Force, but does not allow him to switch to the clean NASCAR mode.)
Ironically, the vehicle modes for the Deluxe-class versions of the other two Wreakers- Autobots Topspin and Leadfoot- are their Stealth Force modes. So Deluxe-class Roadbuster here is the only one of the three without Stealth Force mode shown in vehicle mode.
While the left side window is open like on real NASCAR racecars, only robot parts are visible inside.
(Once you get used to how it transforms, you can cheat having Stealth Force mode a little by leaving the missile launchers exposed on the rear bumper. But that’s not in the instructions, just what I’ve seen others do.)
(Voiced by Ron Bottitta)
Surprisingly, there is no PVC anywhere in or on this toy, including his MechTech weapon.
Articulation is standard, with ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips. However, there is no wrist or waist movement.
His head features blue light piping as sunshades… err, a “visor”, and it is very bright and clear!
Mech Tech is the primary gimmick that spans all 2011 “…Dark of the Moon” transformable figures. Special pop-out weapons appear from various areas inside and/or around the toy’s body in both modes. Scout-, Deluxe-, and Voyager-class figures have detachable weapons, while Leader-class figures have built-in weapons.
Roadbuster has a blaster with a spring loaded lever that transforms it into an extendable chainsaw! However, he cannot hold anything in his open hands, and so the blaster (or any other MechTech accessory) pegs into holes on the sides of his forearms.
There is also one hole in the top of his Vehicle Mode which can hold MechTech accessories.
Since the roof is not obscured in robot mode, you can also store the weapon on his back if you wish. Likewise, in vehicle mode the weapon can be placed on either the roof or the sides below the windows.
This is my first experience with another key feature of MechTech- the holes that accessories can plug into are self-concealing. When an accessory is not in place, a small internal peg rises up automatically via spring to cover the hole!
All three MechTech ports on Roadbuster are concealable.
. . .
As an added bonus unrelated to MechTech, just below each wrist is one extra bar clip. These allow you to fasten any clip-on weapon from the immediately-previous toyline- Transfortmers Universe (specifically 2011 releases only)- onto the underneath of Roadbuster’s forearms for crossover play!
Like Deluxe-class Decepticon Crankcase, I got this set on an impulse buy because I was afraid they would sell-out before I saw “….Dark of the Moon”. When I saw its orange Walmart-exclusive repaint, I knew I had to make a decision quickly: risk the tendrils of spoilers, or risk not getting it at all if I ended up liking what I saw on the screen. Green, gray, and white seemed to work well, and he had over-the-shoulder missile launchers, so I decided to pick it up.
Whether the toy faithfully recreates a NASCAR Chevy Impala I cannot say since I am not a car or NASCAR enthusiast in any way. (I am, however, swayed by the rather adorable Smart ForTwo, but until Hasbro decides to make a Transformer of it, there isn’t much point in me bringing that up again…) Am I disappointed that Vehicle Mode isn’t more like Stealth Force, like his fellow Deluxe-class Wreakers were? Kinda. But I didn’t see much point in having Stealth Force recreated on any Deluxe-class sets, and would rather that have been a feature on either a remold or Human Alliance-line sets.
Regardless, it’s a rather glamorous car with a selection of the same brand names on it as seen in the movie: the #88 car is driven by legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earhart, Jr. and his tiny signature is located in white above both side windows, AMP Energy Drinks, the US National Guard, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo. (And for those of you who would protest at authentic brands being placed on a children’s toy, I would gently remind you of the influx of real brands placed on Transformers: Generation One toys in the 1980s…) Regardless of which brands are featured, I feel that the car would have looked quite barren and insincere without something from the movie being present. (Indeed, it is suspected that Deluxe-class Leadfoot with be a Target-exclusive toy for just that reason, since no other store would dare to sell a product with a competitor’s logo on it!)
When I reached my second speed bump while transforming him, I immediately went, “Uh-oh”. While the instructions are well laid-out with the new model photography method they have developed starting with DotM, some of the angles they shot the toy at didn’t provide enough information about what pieces move. (I’ll allow time for some refinement before I start complaining about this new instructional method, since I think it’s a really good idea to use computer-highlighted photos of the toy rather than the traditional 2D black-and-white drawings. Ask me again in late 2012 how I think they’re doing…)
Regardless, there are some really tight tolerances on this toy, especially in unfolding the ‘engine block’ from the hood of the car, and unpacking the missile launchers from the back. The little windows located behind his shoulders have joints, but the instructions don’t talk about it. So while I was experimenting with them, one of them popped off easier than it went back on. (Are they supposed to move, or stay un-moved?) And also the engine block/waist doesn’t peg very securely into the roof/back, so when posing it has a tendency to flip out suddenly.
While the kibble hanging off of his back to down behind his legs is irksome (surely a third accordion transformation joint could have been put in there?), I worry more about the forearm panels, which are in near-constant conflict with the wheels and kibble around his shoulders.
The lack of paint application in Robot Mode is pretty noticeable on his legs, where only a little green was added to the front of his knees and that’s it. Aside from that and his mouth, nothing else in Robot Mode is painted except for all the car kibble around it! A bit of silver, white, more green, and brass would have been appreciated. (His forearms are equally neglected, but the green plastic and forearm kibble help hide that fact a little.)
The MechTech blaster is simple but pretty sweet with its scissor-like fold-out action for the silver-painted chainsaw blade. Am I upset that he can’t hold it in a hand? Ehh… kinda, but I can live with it. (I want to warn you, though, that the gears inside the blaster have a tendency to get mixed-up mid-transformation, so watch for that especially when you’re quickly flicking it back-and-forth.)
I’m not quite prepared to call this guy a shell-former just because a lot of the car’s shell remains unchanged. If the transformation had been less complex, then I would have considered labeling it that. [I’m not sure how, but this toy reminds me a little bit of “Transformers: Robots in Disguise” (2001) Deluxe-class Autobot Prowl, even though I’ve never played with that one before.] If you can’t stand kibble or blatant advertising, then this may not be the way to go. The transformation is tricky in a few spots, and the paint apps are lacking a bit in robot mode, but I’d say that Deluxe-class Autobot Roadbuster does the job just fine.
|Posted 21 January, 2012 - 16:19 by EVA_Unit_4A|