Cliffbee.com: 2013 Sunstorm Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Sunstorm
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: F-15 Fighter



PLANE MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 13cm

   A metallic amber F-15 fighter in the spirit of the G1 Seekers, Sunstorm is a retcon of a background character seen in the G1 cartoon (More Than Meets The Eye, Part 1), who rose to prominence as an e-Hobby exclusive. While the G1 mould e-Hobby toy is bright orange, the amber of this jet is much closer to the cartoon representation. The colour map is very similar to that of Thundercracker in jet mode. He sports silver air intakes along with red & white stripes on the tailfins and wings. He has a transparent yellow canopy, which sports amber ribs. There are backwards facing purple Decepticon logos stamped on either wing. The metallic sheen here is quite understated, and so this jet works well & isn't too garish - for an amber one, anyway.

   For the size this is a pretty realistic F-15, with a seat inside the cockpit, subtle but complex plane seams moulded on top of the jet and _underneath_ the wings, detailed engine cowlings and canopy ribs. The weapons underneath the wings aren't true F-15 weapons however they're quite faithful to the G1 seeker weaponry.

   The guns underneath his wings are actually missile launchers, the missiles fire about half a metre, and aren't susceptible to popping out the moment you touch the triggers, which I appreciate. The launchers detach for his transformation, but I'm happy to report that the wings and tailfins do not - fuselage-only G1 Seekers are far too common, but this guy won't be ruined by a missing tailfin. There are four pseudo-tyres underneath - moulded lumps rather than wheels, and while Sunstorm sits flat on the table, rolling would have been nice.

   It's a good mould with a good paintmask, and the most iconic of the three seekers from BotCon 2013. It's actually more cartoon accurate than the e-Hobby version of the character, too. The mould has been beaten to death, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a well put together vehicle mode. The mould improves on G1 in many ways - the fixed wings are a nice improvement and the vehicle holds together well. I've read about mould degradation problems, but at least on my Sunstorm this isn't an issue.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Fold up the tailwings and rotate the tailfins forward to form heelspurs. Fold down the feet and stow away the front wheels. Stand him up, swivel the wings up. Fold out the chestplate, rotate the canopy and pivot down to form the centre of his chest, rotate the nose and fold back to reveal his head. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Sunstorm his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional null rays or as handheld missile launchers.

   I really like this transformation. Without trying to get too fancy, it takes the original seeker layout and improves on it. He gains proper thighs and manages to keep the wings and tailfins permanently attached, integrates the fists and both configurations are true to the original.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   This robot mode features more white, and it's mostly accurate to the cartoon albeit with more black. His chest, upper arms & boots are amber while his feet, head, forearms and arm cannons are black and his thighs are white. The Sunstorm cartoon actually has white hands and arm cannons. This inaccuracy is a result of the original mould design & limitations of producing all three in this set with the same paintmask. Nonetheless it's clearly the same character and the different are only noticeably if you're comparing. The overall effect is similar to his e-Hobby version; although that toy lacks black (aside from the face). His air intakes are silver along with the face that also sports red eyes. There are no visible Decepticon logos here (they're hidden behind the arms). Rounding out the typical seeker features, the wings sit behind his arms and the tailfins on the outsides of his ankles.

   Sunstorm's moment in the cartoon was brief, but they've done a good job capturing that background guy here. This is very much a seeker; and while the amber chest differs from most other seekers, it works for him and also matches the e-Hobby version (colour difference aside of course). Sunstorm has quite a bit of articulation; the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. His wings have to swing back accommodate the moving arms. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. The feet are a little too static, the heelspurs are decent but not great, so we don't get too many stable leg poses. On the whole the poseability is good but not fantastic.

   As with most Classics figures, Sunstorm lacks any true gimmicks - instead the toy focuses on being a good Transformer. The poseability, solid build, hand weapon option and thighs are enough for me. We do of course get firing missiles - and they are an improvement over the neutered ones back in G1, although I wouldn't really call that a gimmick as such.

   A solid robot mode without any significant flaws. The poseability is good even if the legs are a little limited. The black on this robot mode doesn't quite belong on Sunstorm but he still looks good and is less garish than the e-Hobby version of the character. Truth be told the black works well enough here; it's just not what we've come to associate with the character.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Sunstorm was only released at BotCon 2013, so was most likely produced in a single production run. I'm not going to mention all the toys that share the mould, but I will mention Bitstream & Hotlink whom he comes packaged with.

OVERALL

   Sunstorm is the most prominent of the BotCon 2013 trio thanks to the e-Hobby toy (and various subsequent appearances down the years); despite neither Hotlink or having any more prominence in the cartoon. I guess this makes him the most anticipated of the trio too; certain;y most fans would have expected to see him ahead of Acid Storm in the retail line. It's actually shame then that Sunstorm's Classicsverse debut is so limited. All that aside this is a good repaint with an amazingly tasteful metallic amber plastic colour. It does end up looking a little milky (and therefore cheap-ish) but is more faithful to the cartoon than the G1 mould Sunstorm toy. Hotlink probably edges Sunstorm in this set (purely because of that slightly milky looking plastic), but Sunstorm is still a very good repaint. The mould itself is excellent although chances are if you're reading this review you already have several Classicsverse seekers anyway. If you have the means & inclination, I'd recommend picking this toy up - 9.5/10

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