TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION
Cliffjumper's review: Boss
When Transformers stopped in America, it actually (briefly) went from strength to strength in Europe, with 1990-1992 seeing the line supplemented by reissues of older figures (notably select Autobot cars as Classic Heroes, some of the Dinobots and the first couple of batches of combiners), recolours of Japanese exclusives (the three smaller Brainmasters - Blacker, Braver and Laster - were recoloured and released without the Road Caesar parts as the Motorvators Gripper, Lightspeed and Flame respectively, while two-thirds of over-rated Jafanboy totem Liokaiser were recoloured as the Autobot Rescue Force), and even brand new figures.
This meant that the European "G1" line blended pretty much straight into Generation 2. One of the ranges of new figures were the Turbomasters, released in 1992 (best known outside the US through Thunderclash, who was recoloured as Optimus Prime for Machine Wars, and for their belated appearance in the abortive War Within - The Age of Wrath comic series). The leader of the smaller Turbomasters was Boss. The figure was also issued in Japan for the 1992 Operation Combination line, renamed Mach Road and issued in a double-pack with the Destron Flare Jet (issued in Europe as Snare).
Boss has an interesting car mode… It seems to be very much modelled on the Batmobile from Tim Burton's films, which is nice. It makes for a markedly different vehicle, and it's a good-looking divergence. I really like the lines of this, and the colour scheme. As with most later Transformers toys, it's a bit plasticky and cheap - rubber tyres would have made it even better. The colour scheme's pretty good as well, even the pink windows working nicely.
However, it's a shame that the missile launcher couldn't be made so the body was light blue, and the muzzle dark blue, rather than vice-versa - this undoes the decent fist that's been made of hiding it on the car mode. All of the Turbomasters incorporated their missile launchers into their alt modes, but none of them needed them quite as vitally as Boss - if you get him without a missile launcher, the car mode looks dreadful what with a chunk of the front half just not being there.
Like the other small Turbomasters, there's been an effort to put a couple of twists into the transformation sequence (compare this to the Japanese-originated Motorvators released around the same time…), which is nice.
The robot mode looks rather impressive, with a sharp head design (including an early version of the transparent back, allowing sunlight to filter through the eyes) and good proportions. Articulation isn't superb, limited to the arms, knees and waist, but Boss looks very impressive. He's also very sturdy. The figure displays nicely, and is equal to most others from this era.
Overall, both modes are good, and Boss is a good addition to any collection. The best of the Turbomasters, and Boss is probably the best figure from the European "Generation 1.5" line. He's also fairly easy to find in Europe, and a complete one can be found for somewhere between £5 and £10. In America, he might be a bit harder to come across - best bet is to find a European seller on ebay who ships worldwide, and just fork out the extra for shipping. He's worth it.
Transformation: 3 - respectable for something of this sort of size and age, and fun, but hardly challenging.
Durability: 9 - very few actual wear spots, the biggest problem being not losing the vital missile launcher.
Fun: 8 - he turns into the Batmobile, looks a bit like Optimus Prime's tearaway brother in robot mode, and has an actual working missile launcher which is about the size of his torso. if you can squeeze any more fun onto such a small figure, you should probably start pitching for work in the industry.
Price: 8 - the amount you're likely to pay isn't a lot, especially compared to what else you're likely to get in the same bracket.
8 - not a solid classic, but certainly worth investing in.