Blackjack's Review: Sandstorm
Universe Classics 2.0 Beachcomber
So, the inevitable repaints appear, although this time it's much sooner. Unlike the mainly Movieverse toys of the 2010 Transformers line, Sandstorm is a repaint of a Classics toy, namely Beachcomber. I'm guessing that this toy is supposed to represent the G1 character Sandstorm, who is a triple-changer Wrecker that transforms into a helicopter and a dune buggy. Obviously a Legends class toy couldn't pull it off at it scale, so this Sandstorm only represents the dune buggy bit of his G1 counterpart, since Machine Wars (some ten years ago) had already done the helicopter bit with a repaint of Rotorstorm.
Basically, it's another attempt to try and homage another G1 character with a half-assed repaint. But I never had the Beachcomber mould, and the Sandstorm deco looked as good as any, so I picked it up. Plus, I like the Wreckers, so....
The name Sandstorm is first used in G1 for the Autobot Triple Changer. In Japan, it is reused as the repaint of Brawl in the Battle Gaea team during the Operation: Combination subline of G1. It is next re-used during the Beast Wars era for a Predacon as a BotCon exclusive repaint of Scorponok, who is in reality Primus' agent, Scorpius.
Sandstorm transforms into a dune buggy with a machinegun on top of his spare wheel. The main colour here is a sandy orchre brown, with orange as the secondary colour, and black for the hood, chairs, wheels and machinegun. Silver paint is used to colour the headlights. All in all, it's a decent representation of a dune buggy, although the original Sandstorm toy had more orange and black in his dune buggy mode, and almost no brown — the sandy orchre was used more in his helicopter alternate mode. I would've preferred more orange, even though sandy brown actually works better as a camouflage colours. But who needs logic when it's supposed to be a homage?
There are little chairs in the cab, and there are even rails around it. There's a bit of space behind the chairs which doesn't look too good, but I could assume it's a place to plonk your baggage on or something. Above the rail and the seats there is the aformentioned machinegun, whose barrel rests on a spare wheel. On Beachcomber, a pacifist, this machinegun looks inappropriate but on a Wrecker like Sandstorm it works fine.
Sandstorm's buggy mode looks angular and modern, almost like a cart than a desert buggy. Indeed, this isn't something you would see driving along in the desert or in a military base... but then Sandstorm's original alternate mode is hardly high on the realism factor.
All in all, a solid alternate mode, although it's exactly not the perfect update on Sandstorm's original dune buggy alternate mode, especially in the swapped colour pallette. I would have preferred more black in the hood and more orange. It's a long shot from looking like the model that G1 Sandstorm. No exterior engine, after all. It's a good toy, but it's hardly an update of G1 Sandstorm.
One of the weaknesses of repaints is the fact that the repaint would look too much like the original toy. Like here, Sandstorm looks too much Beachcomber, especially in the head parts. With a repaint, there's no way to get the distinctive parts of the character. Like with Beachcomber, there's no way to get that piece of distinctive kibble behind Sandstorm's head that came from the helicopter's tail rotors. Of course, that doesn't stop Hasbro from trying.
Sandstorm has more orange now, this time on his chest, and his upper legs are black. The machinery detail on his chest is painted silver, and above the silver bit is an Autobot insignia, both detailing which are lifted from his original toy. His face is black, and his lower face is white, and he has a sparkly silver visor. The area surrounding his head is cast in brown plastic in a weak attempt to emulate the kibble behind his head, but it's a weak attempt.
The frontal part of the vehicle forms his legs, while the underside of his vehicle is his chest. The sides of the vehicle become his hands. Instead of the lame 'flip head up', the head is on a rail with the spine and crotch, so you can push Sandstorm's lower body into place and the head slides out into place. Sadly this means that it robs Sandstorm of any head articulation, but then very few Legends class toys have head articulation.
The machinegun assemble, wheel and all, could be detached and be repositioned to point upwards. Doesn't mean much, but it works somewhat as a replacement for his rotor blades. Although not really very distinctive, it does make more sense to have the machinegun point upwards rather than downwards.
Sandstorm's positioning of his wheels — two distinctively jutting out above his shoulders and two on his lower legs — is just like that on his G1 toy, appropriately enough. And the paintjob on him have all tried to be faithful to his G1 toy. However, there are some places where paintjob could've been applied to seal the deal. Sandstorm's hands are cast in the same brown plastic like everything else, when they should've been black. And the visor, pretty as the silver plastic is, shouldn't be done like that. Sandstorm has two separate eyes, dammit! Plus, the lack of the distinctive kibble behind his head... it's a decent attempt, and the Beachcomber mold is great, but it's no Classics Sandstorm.
Marks out of ten for the following
6/10 The machinegun could easily snap off during rough handling, since it's made out of softer plastic. Other than that, though, he's durable.
6/10 An intuitive transformation design that's fun to do and yet works well. It's fun to do, at least, and not fiddly.
2/10 Hell, Legends Class toys are raising their price tags. I don't think that it's exactly worth the increase.
7/10 Sandstorm looks pretty nice, to be honest. He doesn't look passable as the G1 guy unless you squint really hard, but paintjob-wise, he is pretty nice.
: 5/10 He's got a gun, so you pretend that he's firing at things. Other than that, though, fiddling around with him is fun enough.
5/10 He's got shoulder, knee and thigh joints. Nothing else. Not really great, but I suppose it's the standard for Legends class toys.
5/10 Sandstorm is a passable repaint, but if you already have Beachcomber, don't get him. He is
a good toy, just the wrong toy to repaint into Sandstorm. There are many more better toys that you could spend your money on. If you are looking to complete a Wrecker collection, though, keep hoping.