Cliffbee.com: Hydradread Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Hydradread
Series: "European" G1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Scientific Adviser
Alternate Mode: Sports Car



CAR MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 10cm Width: 5cm

   A cobalt blue sports car with black tyres, chrome painted hubcaps and a large transparent yellow wraparound cockpit. Hydradread as a grey stripe down the back of the cockpit, green pinstripes and the word "SLIK" in green on his tyres. There's a bellow at the back (made of soft plastic) hiding underneath the bumper and stickered lights at the front and back. There's a yellow hood ornament style sticker which sports a G2 Decepticon logo. The colour scheme is quite bright despite the dark blue, thanks to the prominent yellow. Hydradread actually precedes G2 but the colours would be at home amongst that line.

   Other than the grey stripe which shoots water, this is a fairly believable sports car - Hydradread wouldn't be out of place on a race track. I suspect he's based on an actual racing car, although I can't pin the model down. The car itself is rounded and curvy with twin exhausts on the back and few seams.

   Hydradread is a member of the Decepticon team known as Stormtroopers (a name that always reminds me of Star Wars), and the main gimmick is a water-squirting mechanism. There's a small nozzle on the front of the silver stripe, which shoots water stored in the yellow bellow at the back when the bellow is compressed. It's not a terribly impressive gimmick although it works reasonably well. There's a secondary gimmick based on the painted hood. If Hydradread is himself shot with warm water on the painted bonnet - presumably by an Aquaspeeder (the Autobot version of the Stormtroopers), his bonnet will turn yellow. The changing paint is unimpressive, and doesn't justify the slightly different colours of the hood and back of the car for me.

   Hydradread is a fairly mediocre car, and while there's potential for a nice car here, the concessions made to accommodate the gimmick hold him back. He would have looked a lot better with colourless plastic on the cockpit, although the yellow is common to the line.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Slide the water mechanism out the back and set aside. Fold out the legs from underneath (they hinge at the front bumper) and flip out the feet. Lift the arms out from underneath the car, open the doors to form shoulderpads and rotate the cockpit 180. Fold the back of the car down to form his back, which will reveal the head and bring the arms into place, taking care to flip out the shoulderplate as you clip him together. Attach the gun in either hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 9.5cm

   Again largely cobalt blue, Hydradread has dark green arms and transparent red legs (which end up being a rusty colour since the transparent yellow windshield is behind them). The rear tyres sit on the outsides of his thighs, and his head is also black with a low detail gold face and yellow eyes. Hydradread has a very effective lightpipe. The colour scheme is a little disjointed although thankfully we don't have as much transparent yellow here, or he have looked pretty bad. While Hydradread doesn't have a great colour scheme it's not awful either.

   The chest is the front of the car, the wide shoulderpads are his doors while the arms and legs are undercar pieces. The arms hang off the shoulderpads rather than attaching to the body itself, and this looks a little strange. I guess that's the price Hydradread pays for having an inventive transformation. The bodyshape is a little awkward overall, and this isn't helped by the tyres bloating his thighs, smallish boots and tiny feet.

   The gun is one of the better ones amongst this group of toys in that it's a single, believable gun. It's quite big as handguns go but isn't the gigantic piece of kibble of some of the others. Hydradread can lift his arms up to about 85 to take aim. The nozzle will invariably point down thanks to the limited arm poseability and it's own curved shape. The colour change gimmick isn't all that impressive here either.

   Hydradread has an innovative transformation but he really pays the price here. The robot mode is an odd shape and other than the strong lightpipe, doesn't have any highlights to compensate. I don't hate this robot mode, but his flaws are quite marked.

VARIATIONS

   None as such. Along with the rest of the Stormtroopers, Hydradread was sold only in Europe and Australasia, and the mould has never been released in North America - which is a shame since the Stormtroopers are generally stronger than the Aquaspeeders (which were recoloured, renamed and sold in the USA).

OVERALL

   Hydradread is an interesting toy, if a flawed one. He's not the best of the set by any means, but he's far from the worst. Unless the water gimmick particularly appeals or you want to collect the set, I wouldn't recommend hunting him down, although if you come across him cheaply the interesting transformation is worthwhile. Considering the relative scarcity, he's not worth importing if you're in North America - 5.5/10

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