Cliffbee.com: Speed Team Toy Review

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Individual Review






Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me the Speed Team for this review



Name: Backtrack
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Sports Car

CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A yellow repaint and retooling of the MiniCon of the same name from Armada with purple painted windows. While I think a yellow sports car looks better than the all green of the original, this toy has red headlights for some silly reason. The yellow hides the sculpted details such as taillights, a front grill and a MiniCon symbol behind the rear window. His rear wheels are slightly larger than the front ones, and all four have silver painted hubcaps.

   There are three main resculpted parts here, none of which are painted. There's a protruding engine block on the hood, which should have been painted silver - the same silver he's lost from the headlights. There's a widow's peak-like notch on the top edge of the windshield, and leaving this one unpainted makes perfect sense. The last one - and the one that really needs paint the most - is a sports light track added to the roof. Even red paint would have been better than nothing here.

   While I appreciate the move away from the billiards felt green used in Armada, the resculpting really needs paint and the red headlights don't work. It's not so much a regression as a pointless retooling. The only real action feature of Backtrack in car mode is the fact that he rolls along. There are still some great aspects to the mould - there's no obvious robot mode kibble on the underside of the car and the sculpted detailing is impressive, but the paint job really holds this car mode back.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull out the front, then pull the feet out and flip them up. Carefully pull out the sides and then slide them back. Carefully spin the waist 180, fold down the back of the car to form the chest and fold the arms down. Pose. Care has to be taken in a few steps, as mentioned, or things (arms, legs) will pop off. Having said that, they pop back on pretty easily, so it's not a huge thing. A complex transformation for such a small toy. In fact, it's very similar to G1 Mirage's.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Backtrack is again mainly yellow while the not car bits are grey - as on the Armada version. So, he's a yellow robot with grey thighs and for some reason his eyes are green. He has a Spychanger-esque chest in that the rear of the car sits on his chest, but it doesn't really protrude much. He has fists moulded into his arms, although they're on the insides to not spoil the sides of the car mode. The only notable resculpt here is the (now split) engineblock on his knees.

   His hips & shoulders are ball joints, and he has swivel joints on his ankles, elbows (though they only move about 30 before his forearms pop off), waist and shoulders. That's not a typo. There are two joints per shoulder, ball joints in the arms and swivels on the sides of the torso. Very posable for a toy this size. Heck, he's very posable for any TF that turns into a realistic car.

   Aesthetically a good looking mode, with good poseability. The only real drawback is the tendency for things to pop off - especially the forearms. This robot mode isn't really anything more than a repaint, and I wouldn't say it's any better or worse than Armada Backtrack.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of.

OVERALL

   The yellow should represent an improvement over the green that smothered the original, and while it's still a good mould the paint job really frustrates me here. Red headlights and unpainted sculpted details hold him back. Still, the mould is worthwhile - Backtrack is poseable and detailed - 7/10
Name: Oval
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Sports Car

CAR MODE
Height: 1cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A mid blue retooling of the curvy orange Armada toy (again of the same name), Oval has dark blue painted windows and yellow headlights (yay! not red!). The two blues work quite well and provide a great contrast to the orange version - although I wouldn't say this colour scheme is any better or worse, but I am glad that it's so different. The wheels are a different mould to Backtrack's - and Spiral's in fact. It's nice to see Hasbro bothered to give them all different wheels.

   Oval has quite a few retooled areas, which really charge this car up. The divot on the hood has been replaced by a dome, the doors have lines added. the double vents on the engine at rear are replaced by single, larger vent, which is now unpainted. The rear window and rear side windows have been replaced by sunshades.

   Oval's a pretty decent little track racing car. He rolls along nicely and has good detail, such as taillights, tailpipes and air intakes on the doors. He has lost the sports lights on the front, and a front grille is no longer painted. This guy's car mode puts a lot of larger car Transformers to shame.

   A more thoughtful retooling than Backtrack, and a nice base colour to boot. The detailing is good and the only minor flaw I can see is there's a small notch on the boot (trunk) to allow you to flip up the head.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   If Backtrack is the MiniCon answer to Mirage, then Oval is Overdrive. Pull out the rear, fold down the front, click it into place, swing back the roof, swing up the head and swivel down the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   Predominantly mid blue with a red eyestrip and grey on his waist, groin and thighs. He has a powerlinx connector on his left ankle. Oval is somewhat lanky and is barely resculpted here - the loss of the sports lights on the chest are about the only change. The blue and grey combine well, probably better than the orange and grey of the original, which looked good already.

   Oval has ball joints on his hips, swivel joints on shoulders and hinges on his elbows with 30 movement before popping off. The least poseable of the set due to the lack of ball joints in his shoulders, but probably the best looking in robot mode. Mind you, being the least poseable in this set is hardly a bad thing. Six meaningful points of articulation is six more than most G1 toys.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of.

OVERALL

   A good little toy, Oval remains my favourite in this set, thanks mainly to the aesthetics of both modes. He has no flaws worth worrying about, and with these colours, I'll give him 9/10
Name: Spiral
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Sports Car

CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   A red sports car, Spiral is no longer a Mercedes Benz like his blue Armada counterpart, thanks to the mould changes. He sports silver windows and headlights, but the grille is unpainted this time while the tyres are black and hubcaps silver. His elbow hinges break the side windows up. The gaps almost look like the doorframe gap in windows, but not quite. Still, this is a fairly minor thing.

   Due to his rather innovative transform, Spiral has some trouble staying together in car mode, and it's fairly easy to move things out of place. This isn't something the retooling would be able to fix easily, and it hasn't really tried to. The grille has changed from horizontal to vertical bars, the bodykit on the sides is beefier, the rear window has been replaced by some aerodynamic panelling and the rear spoiler is taller and painted yellow. if they can add yellow paint to the spoiler here, why couldn't Backtrack have gained some paint?

   Like the others in this set, Spiral has very good detail in car mode - including door seams, sports lights & taillights. When he's properly in car mode, he has about 1mm of clearance above the ground... er... table, but still rolls freely. Like the others in this set, he's got no obvious robot mode kibble on his underside. He has a MiniCon symbol under there, that's only visible in this mode, too. The repaint is decent - and again the colour is markedly different while the retool beefs him up, but I don't understand why the Benz grille was changed.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull out the front, fold the doors under the hood, pull out and flip up the feet. Split and fold down the halves of the roof, twist the waist 180. Fold down the spoiler to form the chest. Pose.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 3cm

   The bulkiest, most posable yet most flawed robot mode in the set. Spiral is largely red with silver on the arms and some yellow on his chest. He has a thin blue eyeslit and grey thighs. The colours all work reasonably well, aside from the red face with blue eyes which noticeably clash.

   The arms are little more than the two halves of the cabin's roof, with the windows on the front of them. there are fists moulded to the insides, but the arms still look like giant fins. The car mode doors form stabilising heel spurs, which are huge in proportion. While it looks a little kibbly, it makes this guy incredibly stable in terms of posing. Just don't try fold his elbows more than 30 or they'll pop off.

   There are two resculpted elements visible here - the first is the grille on his toes, which doesn't make a difference here. The second is the taller spoiler, and Spiral really didn't need a bigger chest. It doesn't really look any worse than on the Armada toy, but it does highlight the yellow paint on his chest.

   Like Backtrack, he's got the Spychanger-esque chest, which is wider and sticks out a little more than his companion. As mentioned, he's the chunkiest of the lot, mainly due to the heelspurs and chest, but also the fin-arms. He's the most poseable of the lot, with ball joints on his shoulders & hips, hinges on his ankles, knees and elbows with swivels on his shoulders and waist.

   Despite the poseability, this mode is hampered somewhat buy the fin-arms. They just look odd. While it's not awful, this mode has significant flaws. The blue eyeslit should really have been white or yellow, but not blue.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of.

OVERALL

   The most poseable of the lot, but Spiral also has problems the other two have managed to avoid. The fin-arms, car stability and MiniCon symbol only visible under car mode all drag him down. The resculpted grille ruins the best thing he had going for him - an obvious real-life vehicle mode and the blue eyeslit looks bad, so this toy _is_ a regression, I'm afraid - 4/10
TEAM OVERALL

   On the whole this set is about on par with the originals, but not really worth picking up if you do have the originals. Backtrack is a good idea done sloppily, Oval is really good and Spiral is a regression, so as repaints/retools they're just not compelling. Still, the moulds are detailed and poseable so if you prefer this trio and don't have the Armada take on the set, then by all means pick up the Speed Team - 7.5/10, 6.5 as a repaint set.

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