Inaction Master's Review: Botcon Streetstar/Streetwise
BotCon 2010 Exclusive
“You have to know where you are before you know what to do.”
Nothing escapes his notice… And now it is even more difficult for the Decepticons to notice him! Having been exposed to Forestonite, Streetstar has gained the ability to phase through solid objects at will. Though not a Generation 2 Tranformer by design, he now feels more at home among the other G2 Autobots due to his new abilities. Stationed at Autobot City, he, and the other Forestonite enhanced Autobots from the Prime era, fight alongside Spark and the rest of his next generation comrades!
Now here’s a bit of an odd bird to tackle. Historically, this figure’s character can trace his beginnings back to G1 as one of the members of the second Autobot Scramble City-style combiner teams, the Protectobots. Streetwise, as he was then called, was a ‘Bot that went with seldom characterization, outside of a few spoken lines by Peter Cullen. That having been said, his character bio has described him as being an incredibly alert and adaptive officer, capable of quickly thinking on his feet as he throws himself into protecting innocent human lives and all that rot. Kind of like if Prowl’s personality was actually patterned off a police officer related to the vehicle form they both share, which explains the reasoning as to why this figure was re-purposed from the CHUG Prowl mold. Though why is a G1 character sold as a part of a convention exclusive boxed set called “Generation 2: Redux”?
It may not come as a surprise to some, but during the hay-day of Generation 2’s rebranding and re-selling of G1 molds, Streetwise and his teammates had been slated to be re-released as part of the line alongside fellow combiner groups the Aerialbots and the Combaticons. Sadly though he never saw store shelves, canceled along with a redecoed Stunticon team with only a few production models left to wallow in storage or at the mercy of collectors on the secondary market. So in this case the Autobot Interceptor was considered to be enough of a draw to be included among the G2 cast even if his original toy was never released as such.
Lastly is the matter of his new moniker; at first news of StreetWISE’s release for BotCon 2010 went off as planned, but the day after the cop-bot’s name had been changed to StreetSTAR due to trademark conflicts. While a rather arbitrary, last-minute edit, there is actually some precedent for it as a re-use of the original G1 Streetwise toy, sold as part of the Guard City team in Japan, also made use of the name. Needless to say, Streetstar’s had to travel something of a bumpy road to get to where he is among the G2 exclusive ‘Bots. But is he little more than a pretender (not literally of course) of another more popular personality or does he stand alone as a lawman by his own name?
As stated before, Streetstar is a redeco of the Universe Classics 2.0 deluxe class Prowl figure, and as such shares a vehicle mode with him in the form of a Nissan 350Z done up like a police car and colored to match the unreleased Generation 2 Streetwise toy. To drive forward the G2-ness of it, he’s also got a big G2 Autobot insignia emblazoned on the top right of his windshield, complete with the word “AUTOBOT” next to it, just in case he forgets. It could happen. He’s also got two more symbols; custom shields on either side of his doors with the same insignia in the middle – it certainly is a nice added detail that tries to provide some distinction between him and the prickly strategist he’s stolen a mold from.
Overall the figure is made mainly of nice black plastic save the hood and side doors of the car – these bits appear to be translucent blue plastic for the windows with a matte-black finish painted over top them. You can really only tell when viewing it from the right angles and with the proper lighting. Atop the hood is a siren painted in red and blue halves with silver accents on their flat surfaces. The last few paint applications include silver on the front grill, wheel axles and exhaust pipes towards the rear, yellow accents on the front grill, solid matte blue for the back windows and blazing red for the brake lights. Also on the rear above the windows is another decal, the numbers 95-4. (1995 for the year the original figure was to be released, 4 being his team ID number). Curiously, unlike the many other redecos of this vehicle, Streetstar doesn’t appear to have the translucent headlights of the original Prowl. Something to note for the record, though I assume this means he’s been in an awfully high number of near head-on collisions with passing vehicles while on a night drive. Just saying, that’s not going to look good on a performance review.
After transformation Streetstar’s robot mode is formed. Not to repeat myself, but yeah, he’s basically a black Prowl, with red accents akin to Bluestreak/Silverstreak. But it is evocative of the concept for the original G2 toy even if the two figure molds look nothing alike. Outside of that, there’s really nothing that distinguishes him from his forebear in terms of design.
His articulation is rather good; you get a fairly full range of movement in about all of his joints. The shoulders don’t really lock into place anywhere, they just kind of hang out off to the sides so they tend to wander a bit when you try to handle them. He does have a waist swivel and his legs are on ball-joints and capable of bending pretty well. His feet have got a heel bit that you’re going to want to flip out from the whole thing to make him stand properly – I feel it helps balance him a bit because of a lot of his back kibble makes him kind of heavy which makes posing a bit hairy at times. Still, have them pulled out all the way flat and he stands just fine.
His head is on a swivel joint, and his door-wings are also posable themselves. Like the shoulders, the card hood that makes his backside doesn’t really lock into place anywhere and just chills out in the rear. Pulling back on it you can find two cannon barrels you can flip out and place them on what would be his shoulders on either side of his head. It is a neat little feature, even if it more than makes him out to be something of a Bluestreak clone. He has with him a single gun with its barrel being on a hinge so it can be stored away on the underside of his car form, attaching to a little clip via the barrel.
All of the paint apps mentioned before from the vehicle mode are present in robot mode. Items of note would be that his arms and legs are entirely red plastic while the forearms are black. His feet have red paint applied to the front side while the rest is unpainted black plastic. His hips noticeably have some paint that references the siren on his car hood, with red and blue accents like lights and silver paint grill down the center mass. His head is a black plastic mold with a silver face painted on and blue translucent plastic in the back for a light-piping effect. It doesn’t quite work out so well as it only really seems to pop at just the right angle and the dark coloration just ends up muting it anyway.
The transformation is pretty simple once you get the hang of it – it’s pretty much the modern engineered version of the typical car robot; rear end folds out to become the legs, front end becomes chest and doors off to the sides. It could be a QC issue with mine, but I have noticed that the door wings have a tendency to pop off during the process back and forth between modes, but they can be pretty easy to put back in place. Outside of that, it’s pretty decent.
For a deluxe sized figure and an exclusive one at that, Streetstar feels pretty good. The plastic tolerances feel a bit soft around some of the joints like the shoulders, but I don’t feel like he’s gonna up and explode if he ends up taking a face plant on the floor. The windows on the car doors and hood I’ve noticed are pretty susceptible to scratches, but that’s a minor thing. The bumper pieces that form the knee caps seem kind of loose – something to watch out for.
I’ve never personally owned a Universe Prowl or any of the other redecos of this particular mold, (personally I’d like to get a hold of the Henkei version of Smokescreen) and I gotta say being able to fiddle around with one has made me see why it was so well received to warrant so many re-releases. The few quibbles here and there aside, Streetstar poses really well in robot mode and rolls along looking really sharp in police car form, a real lawman’s kind of ‘bot. His accessories are very few, but they work well with him – personally I like to leave the shoulder missile-pods folded up in his back, but it’s still a nice play feature.
This one feels like a mixed bag; while it’s certainly got nothing to do with Streetwise on a design level, the color choice does hark back to the unreleased toy part of the G2 line which fits with the set of other figures overall. That having been said, there could only be a few likely to know of that connection, so it’s kind of a toss-up. Though in general there’s nothing terribly off-putting about the figure itself and the paint deco does what it needs to.
While not having a full range of motion he’s got decent movement of joints with nothing terribly crucial missing. I would have liked for there to have been maybe something more done with the head to give it some more clearance, but I recognize that it does what it has to for the sake of the transformation scheme. All in all, you can get Streetstar in many a dynamic pose as he is.
This is a bit of a variable – as Streetstar was part of the Generation 2: Redux exclusive box set he’s not likely to be sold individually without the rest of his case mates. A quick look over through eBay shows that many of the other convention exclusives sold separately are generally rated low at prices around $40 to $65 loose. On his own, I’d rate Streetstar to be just around about that asking price, though I’m sure many are willing to charge through the nose for him and really I don’t feel it’s necessary to go to that length to have him.
On the whole Streetstar is just kind of average – what callbacks there are to his aborted G2 self are sadly overshadowed by the fact that his presence is one that has been already filled out by a popular G1 character, and also his shared company among such figures like Clench and Spark or fan-favorite Skybyte seemingly leaves him kind of the runt of the litter. That having been said I feel he does succeed as an actual toy as what is there that may be copying off another guy, you can’t say that it doesn’t work out rather well. If you should run across one on some mean street all by himself, and he isn’t being sold at a criminally high price that will break your wallet, by all means pick him up.