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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Sir Auros' review of: Windcharger

Name: Windcharger
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Wimp
Sub-Group: NA

I'm usually the first person to shoot down people who rant on endlessly about Hasbro, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to do some complaining in this review. Windcharger is a great Alternator, and I'd have to say he's one of the best, if not the best if it weren't for one serious (in my opinion) problem. Since Honda is a collection of pussies, Hasbro had to remove the drive shaft of the car that also happened to become a pretty sweet rifle barrel in robot mode, "to keep it from looking like a weapon." I paraphrased slightly from the email response from Hasbro that confirmed that the gun seen in the prototypes of the toy wasn't going to be complete in the final version, but they didn't mention that it was due to safety concerns and they haven't had issues in the past making weapons that look like weapons for the figures. The blame is mainly on Honda I guess, but I'd rather have seen Hasbro scrap the design and go with a Miata (looks a helluva lot like the S2000s anyway) since they know Mazda will allow for kickass weaponry. It's just a shame that Windcharger lacks this very essential element (made even more essential by its absence, but I'll explain that more later), because the figure nails everything the Alternators should be and eliminates some of the problems that have popped up in some of the other figures.

Vehicle Mode:
Honestly, between the announcement that the figure was being emasculated and this vehicle mode, I wasn't planning on buying it. However, since we didn't have it reviewed yet and I have a weak spot for anything new and Alternators in general (so far buying three that I've said before that I wouldn't buy), I did pick the figure up at Target the other night. I'm still not impressed by the vehicle mode and between the two red convertibles we have out now, I'd rather have Sideswipe displayed in vehicle mode. It is neat that you can have the top up or down, but the "up" version seems to have some trouble connecting. The hood of the car also doesn't seem to sit flush and is similar to Smokescreen in that respect. The hood also seems like it's a cheaper quality plastic and mine looks like it's been scuffed a little or something. The rest of the car is pretty good with great detailing on the interior and wheels that move in unison. If you're a fan of this car, then the mode is pretty good except for the seemingly inferior plastic quality.

Robot Mode:
This is where the figure is pretty sweet and manages to remove some of my major (but still actually minor) complaints about some of the other Alternators. Unlike the other red convertible in the line, Windcharger can stand normally without having to spread his legs far due to having part of a car's grill attached to his heels. The figure also manages to not turn the car's hood into some sort of funky cape like Sideswipe/Dead End or Grimlock. There's also a lot of articulation in the figure and the arms can actually rotate side to side at the elbows. The head, unlike Tracks' and Meister's, can move and look in just about any direction. Finally, the transformation is quick and painless (once you realize that the directions for the feet are the worst instructions ever and figure out how to transform that part yourself, cursing Hasbro's instructions artist the whole time), and can be easily completed in under a minute.

The problem, that I so subtly alluded to earlier, is that the figure has two shields and no weapons. Yes, the convertible's up mode serves as a shield and what used to be an awesome rifle is also now a shield. However, the second "shield" clearly has the notches where the gun barrel was supposed to connect and looks completely absurd. The convertible's top looks silly too, but at least we used to have an awesome rifle to compensate for that. Hasbro really would have been better off just leaving out the former gun entirely or else trying to slip one past Honda and making a new, shorter barrel. I mean, who cares if they would've pissed off Honda? I don't want a lousy ricer Transformer as the next Honda vehicle anyway...

Transformation: 10 - Really, it's the best out of all the Alternators so far and is much easier than the awful directions let on.
Durability: 8 - Scuffs on the hood already, the windshield/hood mechanism also became disturbingly loose during a transformation, and the plastic really feels inferior.
Fun: 8 - It'd be pretty good if he had a weapon...
Price: 9 - No gun!?
Summary: 7 - This one may actually be worth waiting for the Binaltech version to come out (expected March 2005) to see if it'll be neutered too. At least there are apparently people selling reproduction parts from leaked prototypes to give people a shot at having the completed figure. I say more power to 'em.

 
 
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