Cliffbee.com: Device Label Blaster Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Broadcast (as Blaster was known in Japan)
Series: Device Label
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Toshiba Laptop/USB Hub

Thanks to Tober for loaning me Blaster for this review.



LAPTOP MODE
Height: 3.5cm (closed) 9.5cm (open) Depth: 7.5cm Width: 12cm

   A black block with a gunmetal upper on the lid (featuring "TOSHIBA" in silver lettering), from the sides and black there are some red and yellow painted details visible. Opening the lid reveals a red screen with a slightly-lighter-red Autobot logo in the centre. The keyboard is black while the edges of the keyboard are painted silver. There's a smaller "TOSHIBA" on the front left (as we look at it) corner. It's a fairly realistic colour scheme, and while it's not really vibrant, laptops usually aren't (early iBooks aside).

   This is a rather scaled down laptop but there are still a few finer details such as the sculpted keys, speakers and trackpad. There are no sculpted ports or anything on any side, which is mildly disappointing since the sides could have accommodated them, even if the front couldn't have. It's the first laptop Transformer (I guess Mainframe was the first Computer), and a decent effort considering it's a functional USB hub.

   The opening lid represents all of Blaster's play value here, but that's about all we could ask for, really. It has 5 ratcheting positions (6 if you include closed). And it's enough considering he works as a USB hub. There's a mini-USB socket on the left side, near the front (for uplink) and four standard USB sockets on the front, for attaching devices. Blaster doesn't have any power connection, so powered USB devices like mouses and (some) scanners are out, but simple or self powered devices are fine. Incidentally, the hub function works in both modes.

   A fairly simple scaled down laptop that looks enough like a laptop to work, and even carries a brand name to give it that little bit of realism. Obviously he's out of scale with humans and other Transformers - but then so was G1 Blaster. The USB hub works, which makes this mode impressive.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Close the lid if you haven't done so already. Pull the front (USB sockets) forward and split, rotate to form boots, stand him up. Flip out the feet. Lift out the sides to form his arms, fold down the forearms. Pivot the hand covers back under his forearms. Open the cassette door on his chest, slide forward the head, flip up and slide back into position. Close the door.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15.5cm Width: 13.5cm

   A mixture of red, cadmium yellow, grey and black, Blaster's colours and visual elements are based on those of the original toy. His arms and groin are red while his chest a the yellow tape door with a clear plastic window. The thighs are grey wile his hands, hips and boots are black. His head is red with silver brow, a silver face and transparent light yellow eyes (and a very handy lightpipe). There's a red & silver Autobot logo on his chest. There's some black kibble on the outsides of his arms, and generally more black than we normally see on Blaster (it's usually only a minor detail), as a result of black being so prominent on his alt mode. There's also relatively little grey here.

   His bodyshape is wide and his arms somewhat kibbly, but it's impressive that this red & yellow robot transforms into a laptop with an opening lid. The USB ports are clearly visible on the front of his boots with the uplink port also visible, on top of his left knee. His fists have holes for weapons, although Blaster doesn't come with a weapon. The face is pretty much that of Blaster, with red horns instead of the usual silver.

   The chest opens, and can fit a Microcassette (only in this mode, since his head stows in this cavity in laptop mode). The USB hub works, as mentioned, although the layout here makes that function a little messy. His head, shoulders, elbows and fists are ball jointed while there's also a set of hinges in his elbows. Blaster's hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees are double hinged with rotators in his thighs to supplement. There are no ball joints in the legs since there's a wire inside each leg allowing the USB hub to function. Poseability is pretty good in the end - and great considering he's wired up.

   A good robot mode despite some kibble, and considering the functionality available here, it's quite remarkable. Despite the kibble and visible USB ports, this remains a very good representation of the character with good poseability. I like the fact that Blaster can fit a Microcassette into his chest.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   The first laptop altmode Transformer also serves as a working USB hub - making Blaster both memorable and practical. The laptop mode works well and the robot mode is poseable with a strong tribute. The working USB hub made his fairly pricey for the size - especially considering many fans will never use the USB feature here. Still, it adds to the coolness of this Transformer knowing it has that extra feature. He doesn't quite fit into the regular Transformers lines (such as Classics/Universe), but makes for a great stand-allone Transformer concept - 8.5/10

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