Cliffbee.com: Splashdown Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Splashdown
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Naval Commander
Alternate Mode: Submarine



SUBMARINE MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 9cm Width: 5.5cm

   A grey submarine with a red underside and red cannon mounted on top. Splashdown has some silver detail on top but there's no window or anything of that sort, which is disappointing. Yes, red and grey work well together but there's no real detail here to anchor this vehicle so the co-ordinated colours are wasted.

   This is more of a folded up robot than anything else, sadly. The bow is shaped like that of a boat, rather than a submarine, but that's the only distinctively nautical aspect of this vehicle mode. The top slopes forward and the vehicle is roughly wedge shaped, with the robot arms fairly obvious on either side. The red undercarriage is his robot legs, which are also quite obvious if you look.

   There's little play value here - the gun rotates and that's it. I have my doubts about this thing being buoyant - although I suppose we can claim that Splashdown can submerge. There are no wheels underneath - which I can almost accept, but there aren't any feet either.

   Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this submarine mode is that the stern is actually formed by attaching a kibble plate. When you consider that other Transformers have two realistic alt modes without add on parts (e.g. Astrotrain), that such a poorly defined lump has a large add on piece is pathetic. Splashdown has one of the weakest alternate modes I've seen on a Transformer.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the stern plate and set aside (it attaches to the left arm of the shell as a kind of shield), unfold the legs from underneath, rotate the torso and then the head. Bring the arms down, flip up the feet and attach the gun (which was attached to the plate) in either hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11.5cm Width: 6cm

   Again red and grey, this time the torso and arms are grey while the legs and head are red, with a mid blue face. The silver detailing is now on his chest, which is the top of the submarine mode, and an Autobot logo is now visible on this piece (it's obscured by the gun in his other mode). The colour layout here is quite nice - even if it fails to convey the naval theme they were aiming for on this toy. There are some foil stickers on the arms and thighs, of the type that peel annoyingly.

   The facial detail is pretty good, with a distinct mouthplate, eyes and helmet over the top. It's not hard to sculpt a head properly when you cheat by covering it with a plate, I guess. The legs are long and slender, set in an "at ease" stance. The bodyshape is well defined and aside from the small groin formed by the bow of the boat, I have no complaints with it.

   The robot mode is fairly well articulated although this doesn't quite transfer into great poseability. The head and waist both rotate, as do the shoulders. The shoulders can swing back, the hips swing and the knees and ankles bend. The knees only go back about 30, and this _really_ limits the poseability. I don't see why the knees need to be so restricted, and this really inhibits what could be a fun robot mode. The front of the feet are a little narrower than I'd like - they don't anchor the few leg poses that are available well. The end result is a robot that can attain "relaxed" poses but not much in the way of action poses.

   While this clearly is Splashdown's better mode, that's not really an achievement in itself. The colours and shape _are_ nice, but the restricted play value doesn't make up for the non event that is his submarine mode.

The Pretender Shell

   An aquamarine figure with a pale humanoid face, black hair, grey arms and silver fists. There's a very distinct sharkhead on the chest, complete with orange eyes and silver teeth. The black belt forms the lower jaw, which is a nice touch. There's also a black helmet that sports the dorsal fin, proving that the designer put _some_ effort into Splashdown.

   The shell has a black shark-themed gun and a large harpoon-like sword, completing the sea warrior theme quite nicely. The kibble plate doesn't really work on his arm here, but it's possible to stow both the plate and red handgun inside the shell with the robot if you're clever about it.

   The helmet and belt lock the shell closed, which is both clever and mildly annoying since it slows play down a little. Still, on the whole this is one of the more creative - and successful - of the 1988 Pretender shells, particularly amongst the Autobots. The shell is easily Splashdown's strongest aspect.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   While the shell - which is the main gimmick of the toy - is creative and well executed, the inner robot is mediocre and the alternate mode is an ill-defined lump that needs a tack-on piece to be a lump. The robot mode itself looks okay without being anything special, which fails to impress me since when the transformation is so pointless. Unless you really dig the shark Pretender shell, I don't really recommend Splashdown - 3.5/10

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