Cliffbee.com: Super Wildride Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Wildride
Series: Car Robots (Robots in Disguise)
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Localised Combat
Alternate Mode: Mercedes ML320



VEHICLE MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 5cm

   A white Mercedes ML320 (a wannabe 4x4 for the suburbs) with transparent windows, chrome trim where appropriate, chrome gold hubcaps and red, green and blue paint swirls. While Wildride was a typical suburban ML320, Super Wildride is clearly a racing vehicle, with the number 24 on the doors in black, along with "WILD" above the numerals and on the hoot, which also sports the word "CYBERTRON". The faction name is repeated at the top of the windshield, the space usually reserved for the driver's name (or a sponsor). Super Wildride has black doorhandles, window seals and black rubber tyres. The colours are a lot brighter and more striking than the regular version of this character, and while the original is far more realistic (this is a vehicle designed for the suburbs, not the rally track) I prefer this colour scheme, and really like the fact that almost the entire vehicle is painted with a glossy paint - including the white "base". In fact the only part where the white base plastic actually shows through is the spare tyre on the back, which is a milky white. The Anglophone version (simply called X-Brawn, without the "Super" at the front) has an Autobot logo at the top of the roof, which looks really bad since it's squished in amongst coloured swirls on a section that isn't flat.

   With doorhandles, door seams, a moulded sunroof, moulded petrol caps, head and taillights and a front grille, this is a very detailed mould for a deluxe. The vehicle is actually slightly longer than a real ML320, proportionally speaking, and comes without the soccer mum. The only other real blemish is the grey frame around the spare tyre, which is stylised since it has to serve as Super Wildride's feet. I suppose the "Transformers" brand tyres aren't quite realistic, but those I can deal with, aside from the cheap rubber Takara used. The paint on the car itself isn't chipping at all, but the rubber tyres will crack over time. Much has been made of re-moulded headlights on X-Brawn, and since the transparent plastic used on Super Wildride is slightly smoky, there's quite a contrast between the headlights and brilliant white bumper - I'm glad I got the Japanese version rather than X-Brawn with his rounded and repainted headlights. Since this was an attempt to get around copyright issues, I'm hesitant to hold it against the toy, although if you can get yourself a Super Wildride, the headlights are more realistic (and look better).

   I wouldn't really expect too much play value of such a realistic deluxe, yet this is a car mode with some play value. The wheels roll, the front doors open to reveal robot kibble, including the robot head on the right side - which is actually visible through the front windshield if you look! The hood lifts up to reveal a chrome gold engine block, which is somewhat stylised, but still has the desired effect. The concept of a gold engine is of course rather ridiculous, but for a powered up version it's a nice touch.

   Unlike his brother Super Mach Alert, Super Wildride can't wield his weapons in this mode. The chrome runners underneath his doors are actually the clubs/missiles for his robot mode, and can be removed from storage, although there's nowhere for him to wield them.

   A great vehicle mode, and since this thing is so damn common in the suburbs (especially St Ives in Sydney), I'm able to make a fairly informed comparison with the real thing. There are some minor issues, including the stylised rear and slightly elongated shape, but nothing that really bothers me. The colours are dreadfully unrealistic, but then they're meant to be, and look good in their own right anyway. The horribly placed Autobot logo on the RiD version is a real turn off for me, far more some than the modified headlights, which as I've mentioned was a forced change.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the runners and the silver bulbar from the front. Open the doors, extend the rear to form his legs, swing the rear wheels onto his shins and fold out the feet, split the boots. Swing out the right arm from behind his chest, pivot the chest into position. The front of the car unfolds into a giant left arm, with the left fist swinging out from the dashboard, via the front right wheelbay! Rotate the roof of the car so that the windshield is pointing at the floor.

   You have several choices with the weapons. The two missiles can clip into his back, to form wings. You can also load them into the launcher that is his right fist, and attach the other to the right wrist. They can be held as a club in his left fist, which can also hold the bullbar as a sort of blade. The bullbar can remain attached as in car mode, if you prefer.

   This is one of the most asymmetrical transformations we've ever seen in a Transformer, especially considering that the alternate mode is symmetrical.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 8cm

   The exact dimension can vary according to arm poses and whether or not the wings are attached. I've given minimums.

   The grey which was only visible on the spare tyre in vehicle mode is now a lot more prevalent, on his feet, left first, right upper arm, wings/missiles, groin and kneejoints. The thighs, inner shins, right forearm and head a milky white while the outer shins and left forearm are enamel white, with the red, green and blue bits along for the ride. The silver is just as prevalent, on his right upper arm, left forearm, groin and his shins and feet, There is a fair bit of black detailing and a lot of minty green on his chest, left upper arm and kneecaps. His eyes are chrome gold - which is identical to Wildride's actually. The eyes almost look like there's a lightpipe, but this is the chrome playing tricks. Super Wildride sports a silver face including a silver mouthplate, and a silver scope above his right eye. It's a very busy colour scheme but the white, grey and greens are all neutral enough that it works. Of course, the colours are still meant to represent a powered up version of Wildride, which helps sell this very busy colour scheme.

   Lanky and very poseable, Super Wildride has long legs, big boots, a small torso and a _huge_ left forearm. When I say huge, it's the entire front of the car, and is reminiscent of a giant boxing glove. You can imagine the punch this guy must pack! The right hand side door sits on his left shoulder while the right door hangs off the elbow, and while both affect the poseability a little, neither get in the way too much. While the left arm is clearly kibble, it's kibble that's deliberately meant to be a defining feature of the robot mode. The right fist is tiny in proportion, and since there's a hole in the front (for the missile launcher), it's not as well defined as I'd like. The missile launcher will shoot the missile a foot or so, although the projectiles are heavy (screws join the grey and chrome parts) to fire more than a metre.

   Aside from the launcher, most of the play value is in his articulation. The shoulders are ball joints along with the right elbow and left wrist. The left elbow has both a hinge and and a swivel, while the thumb is hinged so that X-Brawn's hand can clutch the silver bullbar. His neck and hips are ball jointed while the knees are double hinged and the ankles also have hinges. The two main impediments to posing are the door hanging off his left shoulder - a minor issue - and the left-heavy nature of the toy, what with that giant arm. The latter isn't so much an impediment as an issue that must be addressed when you pose him - he _will_ stand, you just have to get the weight distribution working. The jointing in the legs is adequate, so you shouldn't have too much trouble tweaking the pose you want to make it stable.

   The sculpting on his head and chest is quite impressive, and on the inside of the giant forearm there's a moulded Autobot symbol, coated in gold chrome. The moulding on his arms and thighs is equally impressive yet easy to miss, what with the complex paint mask on the face and chest and the arm that dominates everything anyway.

   While the left arm may not appeal to everyone, the colour scheme is very cleverly put together and there's a _lot_ of play value - which will put many larger toys to shame. The versatile weaponry is impressive - even moreso when you consider it's all done with parts visible in vehicle mode. While it's not the most attractive of the Car Robots moulds, this is certainly one of the cleverest in terms of engineering, and the colours make Super Wildride more interesting as a robot than the original Wildride.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of Wildride, as mentioned. While I have the Car Robots version, this toy was also sold as X-Brawn with the modified headlights and Autobot symbol on the hood. "Autobot Ratchet" of the TFU line is a (bad) repaint of Wildride.

   There was a limited release of the Super Car Brothers in Japan in 2000 as convention exclusives, with colourless clear vehicular shells. I split the pack with two friends and have Super Speedbreaker. Clear Wildride retains the rally markings over clear plastic - the effect is really quite nice but at 1500 pieces the price of the set might be prohibitive (if you can find it!).

OVERALL

   The attention to detail on the vehicle mode is amazing for a deluxe and the engineering in his transformation and robot mode play value is just as impressive. The colours may be unrealistic and bright, but they really work and it's clear a lot of thought went into making them work. The liberal use of chrome is a nice touch, which is testimony to the care put into this toy. I'd recommend Super Wildride over Wildride, and over either version of X-Brawn, but this is an excellent mould that's worth tracking down regardless - 9/10

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