Thanks to Pulse for donating Sure Shock & Backblast for this review
Name: Sure Shock
Alternate Mode: ATV
Height: 3cm Length: 5cm Width: 4.5cm
A four wheeled ride on vehicle which essentially resembles a motorbike with four wheels, Sure Shock is largely blue with some white here and there. There are red flames on his fenders and a red saddle and some aqua on the footrests. There's a red Autobot logo rather crudely stamped on the front - over a moulded MiniCon symbol which gets in the way now. While the vehicle mode is unusual, it's the best amongst those taken from Energon Perceptor. There are four dark grey plastic wheels, all ridged and able to roll fairly well. I love how the handlebars feature brake levers.
There are two powerlinx ports underneath the aqua struts on either side, just behind the front wheels. Being so far to the sides of the vehicle, they make attaching Sure Shock to a large Transformer a dubious and rather asymmetrical prospect. This is the only real gripe I have with the vehicle mode mind you - otherwise it's a really nifty little ATV.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unclip the struts and fold out to the sides, pull the front wheels down and out to the sides to form legs, clip the legs into place and flip down the tyres to form feet. Fold back the saddle area (including arms) ad flip up the head.
Height: 6.5cm Width: 6.5cm
A blue and white with a red head, read upper arms, aqua forearms and yellow eyes, Sure Shock uses the grey front tyres as his feet. The face the face resembles that of Armada Sure Shock). The colours are more vibrant than on the Energon toy of the same name, although the red and aqua arms are somewhat garish
Sure Shock's body shape is awful. The central spine of the ATV is the narrow central spine of a robot with wide shoulders and hips. We're not talking an hourglass figure here - we're talking a sideways "H" shape. The groin sits very low while the tyres as feet look a little strange. The arms are okay, although the shoulders are so wide and the joints so low that they can't save this robot mode.
As mentioned, he is a repaint of the Energon toy of the same name, but comes without the other components of Perceptor. Perceptor isn't mentioned on the packaging, but is covered in the instruction booklet.
While Sure Shock has the best vehicle mode of this trio, the robot mode is awful. The lazy use of Sure Shock's arms for Perceptor's arms limits the design of this toy and while one mode gets away with it, the other takes the fall. There's no real poseability either - swinging arms is all we get and in a modern context that's pretty bad. The colours are a slight improvement overall compared to the Energon version, but without Grindor and High Wire in the same pack, the sacrifices made for combination are in vain this time - 4/10
Alternate Mode: Rocket
Height: 8.5cm Length: 3cm Width: 3cm
A copper rocket with four separate grey thrusters on the bottom and lot of purple robot mode junk attaching the thrusters to the cylindrical top half, Backblast also has a grey powerlinx port in the centre of the thrusters, on which he actually stands. There's something wildly unrealistic about a brown and purple rocket - Skyblast was done in white so they had to try something different here. I suppose silver or even black & white would have been more conventional - but at least Backblast is notably different, I guess. And the copper colour is a nice shade in itself. He has five small pegs used to attach him to Payload either for transport or for the Requiem Blaster mode, as well as his own powerlinx peg.
As honourable as it is that they've tried to create a rocket Transformer at this scale, the purple really breaks up the rocket. It's not as prominent as the red on Skyblast so while he's not as realistic, the overall illusion is better. The numerous pegs and ports are still distracting, but again aren't quite as obvious on this non-white toy. To be fair, he needs his pegs for combining, which was the gimmick of the Space Team, but Backblast himself would have been better, and better as a rocket Transformer, if he didn't have to try do so much for such a small toy.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
The thrusters swing up to one side to become the legs, collapsing into two legs with front and back cylinders. The nose rotates and folds down to become one arm, while the grey powerlinx shaft becomes the other. The head flips out from next to the blue shaft. This is a clever and novel transformation, with lots of asymmetry.
Height: 5.5cm Width: 4cm
A copper robot with a grey right arm, cubic grey head with a purple face and yellow, grey feet, purple thighs and groin and a pointy left hand. The right hand is a powerlinx socket, which is a departure from most Minicons. This is easily the better of the two modes, since the robot kibble now has a reason for being there. He's gone from being a rocket with lots of robot bits to being a robot with a rocket tip arm and thrusters for feet, and the later works far better. The colours are far more unified than those of Skyblast, which is enough to justify the dubious combination of copper and purple for me.
The shoulders both swivel and the arms lift out to the sides, the hips are restricted ball joints. The poseability isn't great, but considering how much is asked of Backblast, I'm not going to hold the poseability against him too much.
This is a very unorthodox repaint of an unorthodox mould, but Backblast's colours are more unified than Skyblast's, and he gains a Decepticon symbol on his chest, so I actually really like the repaint in this mode.
As mentioned, he is a repaint of Armada's Skyblast, but comes without the other components of the combined blaster - which isn't mentioned on the packaging, but is covered in the instruction booklet. For some reason that blaster has had a name change this time - to the Umbral Blaster.
The weakest mould from the space team, but this is an interesting repaint which manages to get around some of the problems Skyblast had, ironically by using very unlikely colours. On the whole I do think he's a worthwhile repaint, but that assumes you can deal with the odd choice of colours - 5.5/10
A weird but strangely appealing (to me, at least) repaint of a rather innovative MiniCon in Backblast and a repaint of Sure Shock which improves on the original colours, save for the arms. Both moulds have their problems but the alt modes are both unusual, which makes this set a little more appealing. I'd actually recommend this pair if you missed the originals, since both moulds are distinct and frankly a rocket Transformer is just so innovative that it's cool - even in copper and purple. As repaints I'm not this set worthwhile if you're not completing this series - 5/10