Cliffbee.com: Energon Downshift Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Downshift
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Sports Car



CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 14cm Width: 7.5cm

   A white sports car with red and green details, transparent red windows and headlights, charcoal spoiler and tyres and olive green rear sunshade, mufflers and hubcaps. It's actually a tad too light for olive green, heading towards pea soup green, and has a sheen to it. The right rear hubcap has an Autobot spark crystal in the centre, that rotates with the wheel. It's a good colour scheme, and aside from the olive green, it's a very obvious rip-off of Wheeljack. I'm stopping short of calling it a tribute, since it also looks a lot like G1 Downshift.

   The front of the car reminds me of a 1980s Ford Mustang, while the rear section is more like the Lancia Stratos - Wheeljack's alt mode. There's not really much Celica here, incidentally. The doors swing up like those on a Stratos, although you have to open the roof out a little in order to lift out the doors. Inside the cockpit is nothing more that olive green robot bits, but I'm impressed they added this functionality. Downshift rolls along quite well, considering he lacks axles.

   He comes with two energon weapons, a red missile launcher and a red shotgun. There are holes just behind the front wheels and just above the rear wheels, giving him a total of four mounting points. If attached at the front and pointing backwards, the weaponry becomes exhaust pipes (the missile even has filtration holes), which is okay but they look much better pointing forward. I'm usually not a fan of the energon weapons, but Downshift's look good mounted on his sides and the colour fits his colour scheme very well. The weapons do not combine, but the missile will fire about half a metre, thanks to a spring inside the launcher.

   While I'd have preferred this toy being named Wheeljack or losing the green, it's kinda cool how this vehicle mode manages to be a double homage. It's a fairly good car mode in it's own right, although the moulded detail isn't quite as good as it could be. Unusually, the weapons really fit in, unlike the majority of forced-on energon weaponry.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There are elements of both Wheeljack and G1 Downshift here, although it's closer to Wheeljack's transformation. The legs transform similar to Tracks, and borrow heavily from BT Sideswipe's legs.

   Lift the roof out and swing down onto the hood, split the two halves of the front. Turn the vehicle over and most of the robot mode is there, flip up the shins, swing out the feet and swing the shin panels back down. Fold out the feet and heelspurs, unclip the arms and pull them out to the sides. Swing the panel above his head down onto his back, position the arms and fold down the mufflers.

   You have three weapons options. The first is to place an energon weapon in each hand and the second is to mount them on the holes now on the sides of his shoulders (very Wheeljack, no?). The third option is to detach the charcoal spoiler and clip each red weapon into the it's outer supports - now mounts for the weapons, and use the central support as a handle. I'm really impressed with this feature - the spoiler works so well as a spoiler, you'd never guess it's part of his weapons system. I don't think we've seen weaponry that assembles this well since Rhinox.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 9.5cm

   Downshift is now mainly white and olive green, but still looks like G1 Wheeljack. The chest, upper arms, forearm shields and outer shins are white while the shoulder joints, lower arms, groin, thighs and feet are olive green. His inner shins are charcoal, along with the tyres on his upper arms and outer shins. There's a false roof on his chest, with red and green details and silver "window" - which for me settles the question of which G1 character this is meant to represent in favour of the Lancia. His head is charcoal with a silver mouthplate, red eyes and antennae and a pretty effective lightpipe. The face screams Wheeljack, by the way. It's a fairly good colour scheme, although with far less red and green, and maybe a little too much olive green.

   There are lot of similarities to Wheeljack, but while the G1 toy's robot mode is about 90% car pieces, the tyres and mufflers are it for Downshift. The false roof on his chest makes it seem like a lot more, and the more I look at the chest the more I like it. Just above the roof part of the chest is a small moulded Autobot symbol, with the raised parts painted red. This symbol looks really good and gives this robot mode even more of a G1 feel.

   For me the most impressive aspect of this toy is the play value in robot mode. It's a clear G1 tribute, with a good car mode, but still manages to have a fun robot mode. The mufflers becoming little cannons on his shoulders is a really nifty idea, and as mentioned you have several options for the energon weapons. And then there's the poseability.

   Downshift's neck is a restricted ball joint that allows him to look to either side about 30 and up about 20. His shoulders are ball joints mounted on hinges, while his elbows are also hinged. The hips hinge out to the sides and the knees swivel, while there are hinges in the thighs that allow him to (effectively) have bent knees. His feet and heelspurs are big enough that he's stable in a wide variety of poses. The leg articulation isn't as good as it could be, since they also become combined-mode arms, but I like the fact that he's difficult to overbalance.

   Versatile weaponry, good colours and decent poseability make this a a fun robot mode. The Wheeljack tribute is unmistakable, although the legs are quite different - especially the feet.

POWERLINXING

   His arms get in the way somewhat, so he's limited. The legs do make for good arms, although the jointing is a little strange. Hit and miss, really, since you have to find a combination where his arms aren't in the way.

VARIATIONS

   The Japanese toy (called Wheeljack!) has silver plastic instead of the olive green while the green paint is closer to G1 Wheeljack's green. I have this Japanese version.

OVERALL

   A tribute to two G1 characters at once, yet this toy still has enough going for it in it's own right that I like it. I appreciate the strong semblance to Wheeljack, but really wish the toy was called that, or given a different face. The name doesn't fit the tribute, but Downshift is a good toy in his own right. His energon weapons are an asset rather than a poor add-on, and both his legs and arms combined modes are good, making him one of the better Powerlinxing Energon toys - 7/10

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