Cliffbee.com: Animated Sunstorm Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Sunstorm
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Jet Plane

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Sunstorm for this review



PLANE MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 22cm Width: 17.5cm

   A bright orange stylised fighter jet with a transparent red canopy and red painted details here and there, Sunstorm is a fairly gaudy repaint of Animated Starscream. he has a red nosecone and black engines at the back, along with red at the read edges of his wings. The thrusters at the back along with some wing details and the front of his engines are painted white. There are purple Decepticon logos on either wing, facing backwards (and out to the sides slightly). While I'm glad that Hasbro have finally made an orange Sunstorm instead of the yellow ones previously, since it lines up to Takara's original e-Hobby Sunstorm, but the red here is too much, taking a bright colour scheme which works on a certain level and overdoing it. The jarring transition between the white front ends of the engines and the red back ends makes this colour scheme look sloppy, as well. Despite the problems with this colour scheme, I still prefer it over the more subdued colours of Starscream, simply because that toy's colour scheme is so ambivalent. Mind you, Starscream works better, aesthetically.

   As with many Animated toys, this is a very stylised vehicle with fairly low detail. The sculpt itself is complex enough, with subtle seams and the like, but the layout of his paint job feels very simple. The wings and tailfins are swept forward while his rear stabilisers are small. The nosecone is short and the fuselage very wide. It looks like he's based on a real fighter, but the proportions are very much cartoonish. I'm not really a fan of this style, but I can't really fault this jet within the cartoonish feel of this line - aside from the stunted nose, which looks so awkward because of the way it collapses telescopically during transformation.

   Unlike most seeker toys down the years, there are no weapons underwing. Instead there are two missile launchers underneath, sporting red missiles. These can sit on either side of the orange front wheel or fold back and stick out the back - in theory they're stowed, but they're far too visible. Either way, I find these launchers to be awkwardly placed and not really a positive. While pointing forward, they get in the way of Sunstorm standing on his undercarriage - although it's better than on Starscream. The other aspect of play value here is the wheels - all can fold away, although I find the rear wheel struts tend to pop off when you try to fold them back out, which is annoying. He can roll on the wheels, although not well.

   A gaudy jet mode which doesn't really offer a lot. There's not a lot of play value here for a voyager, with limited missile launchers and fold out wheels. The missiles can fire, but you'll have to lift him off the table to fire them - and they sit in a bad position anyway. The lack of underwing weapons, lack of any other sort of gimmick and fairly low detail all (literally) pale in comparison to colour scheme, which is overcomplicated by the decision to use red. Hasbro just don't seem to be able to make bright colours work on Transformers any more. The stylised look of Animated is almost lost amongst the colours.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold away the wheels, unclip the thrusters, swing the arms out from underneath, swing the thrusters forward to become legs while folding down the front to form his chest and reveal the head. The nose automatically retracts and the canopy clips into his waist forming the torso. There are panels on his back which unclip from one another and open, to reduce visible kibble from the front. You're meant to unclip and swing them out of the way, in reality they'll just fall off when you try, and you'll have to reattach them. Position the arms, unkink his legs, fold out the heelspurs and feet and you're done.

   The transformation is very simple for a voyager - especially one lacking electronics. The auto-transforming of his nose is a nice idea but the limb movement is ridiculously basic for a toy at this pricepoint. The transformation itself is fairly unimaginative, made inelegant - even awkward - by those loose panels.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 17.5cm

   A bright orange robot with red on his wings, white feet and white forearms. Sunstorm has much less red now, and the robot colours work better than those of his jet mode as a result. Yes, he's still exceedingly bright, but the oranges is now dominant so he's bright but not gaudy. The missile launchers on his forearms are red along with the transparent missiles they launch, while the canopy on his chest is also transparent red. His head is black with a white face and transparent orange red and mouth - both have a lightpipe. The wings rise behind his shoulders, again with outwards pointing purple Decepticon logos. While the plane mode's colours fail, the robot mode's colour scheme is actually very good.

   I really dislike some of the stylised elements here. His face is in a sort of smile and while the lightpiped mouth is an interesting effect, the Jay Leno chin is something I can do without. The lower torso and legs are very skinny while Sunstorm has wide shoulders and long arms. I find the long, wideset arms don't mesh with the slender legs - particularly since his thighs are tiny. The launchers on his forearms extend past the end of his hands proper (although not past his fingers), and the missiles protrude well past the fingers, adding length to his arms - something Sunstorm doesn't need. The wings look nice, but the wide cape serves to further accentuate the imbalance between his arms and the rest of the robot.

   There aren't really any gimmicks here, although the missiles fire. If anything they're set off too easily - the buttons on the back of the launchers only need the slightest touch to set off, and I find that just handling this robot fires the missiles. There are white buttons integrated into the front and back of his forearms and the instructions suggest they're involved in firing the missiles, but they don't do this - I suspect they're part of an abandoned gimmick.

   The highlight here is poseability, although there are some annoying shortcomings in his articulation. The head sits on a slightly restricted ball joint. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows bend with rotators in the upper arms. His wrists are fixed although his thumbs and opposing fingers are on hinges - sadly it's easier to pop the digits off than it is to pose them. The waist is fixed while his hips swing and lift out to the sides. His knees are hinged with rotators, but the rotators are mid-thigh and on an angle, while the knee hinges sit below his prominent kneecaps - so posing the knees doesn't always look so good. The feet and heelspurs fond and the ankles are restricted ball joints. Sunstorm's forearms pop off quite easily - easier than on Starscream or Skywarp.

   A fairly poor robot mode, thanks to some sloppy articulation and mismatched stylised elements, but this is Sunstorm's better mode since the colours work - Hasbro have finally managed to capture the colour scheme that worked for Takara's e-Hobby toy (on half a toy, anyway). The poseability is his best feature here despite some flaws - most of the flaws would have easy enough to avoid. The missile launchers and poseability are the only play value here, which is again less than you'd expect at this size class.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although he is a repaint of Starscream, as mentioned. Animated Skywarp also shares this mould.

OVERALL

   A disappointing voyager with an odd shape, sparse play value and a colour scheme that only works in robot mode. The jet mode's style works well enough although the robot is oddly shaped. The colours are messed on in vehicle mode by the addition of too much red - but at least Hasbro have given us an orange Sunstorm finally. The play value is bare for a voyager lacking electronics, and this is aesthetically the weakest version of this mould. Unless you really dig the Sunstorm concept, I'd recommend against this toy - 3//10

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