Numbat's Review: Justittoys WST Blaster
Blaster [Communications Liaison] (World’s Smallest Transformers – Justitoys 2010)Alligiance:
“When the music is rockin, I’m rollin.”Finds all Earth music interesting, but it's rock'n'roll - good, hard and loud - that really sparks his circuits. In the forefront of any situation he's involved in. As AM/FM stereo cassette player, he can perform as deck plus receive radio signals of all frequencies with power outputs as low as 1/1,000,000 watt. Acts as Autobot communications center... can transmit up to 4,000 miles. Carries electro-scrambler gun that disrupts electrical devices.
[Bio lifted from US G1 release. Tech specs presented as bars, with no numbers given.]
Takara produced a small series of tiny versions of G1 figures – World’s Smallest Transformers (WST) – which ended after a short run in 2005. This line gave people the opportunity to pick up their favourite G1 figures at affordable prices, in miniature, while exciting other collectors just because they were perfect tiny representations of G1 toys. Of course, they were blind-packed, meaning there was no guarantee you’d get the one you were after, and the line included chase figures, which no doubt boosted sales while frustrating others. I, for one, was very disappointed when the official WST line ended in 2005, as it ticked both boxes for me – my love of wee Transformers and the opportunity to collect G1 figures at an affordable price was irresistible to me!
However, good news was soon to come – after the official Takara WST line ended, Justitoys announced they would be producing an unlicensed line of WST figures, starting with the G1 Dinobots! Furthermore, they promised higher production standards than Takara, with diecast parts and chrome! The ensuing WST Dinobot figures were released between 2006 and 2008, with Snarl
all seeing miniature releases, slightly scaled up to put them in cartoon scale with other WST figures. The quality control was decent, and improved throughout the run, although Swoop did commonly require modifications straight out of the box to allow him to transform or hold his missile launchers, and my Grimlock’s leg has since sheared off at the hip during transformation. Still, overall the standard was good, and the bar set high.
After completing the WST Dinobot set, Justitoys hinted at further WST figures, but it was not until 2010 that they were finally released as a double whammy of WST Blaster and WST Shockwave!
Both figures excited me as companion pieces to WST Soundwave
, but I was unable to pick them up until recently due to employment uncertainty back in 2010.
How do they measure up? Sadly, my high expectations have been failed with dramatic style. It;s hard to believe that WST Blaster and WST Shockwave are made by the same company that brought us the WST Dinobots. They are seriously poor, and have put me off buying anything made by Justitoys ever again (after all, if they can’t pull off simple designs like Blaster and Shockwave, what hope have they of delivering on the forthcoming WST Astrotrain?!?! The risk of buying Astrotrain is phenomenal, and at $30.95 [twice the price of any other Justitoys WST figure] would surely be equivalent to throwing money into the wind from the top of a Munro!).
There is at least one positive – Justitoys have given up on stickers. As ever, Reprolabels have come to the rescue and produced a set for Blaster matching the G1 toy (which also includes a Decepticon logo for Shockwave). I have only applied enough stickers to make him G1 cartoon accurate, which is my aim with the WST figures, but you can go all out and bling him up as much as his ‘80s toy.
Anyway, read on and avoid my misfortune!Alternate Mode:
WST Blaster’s alternate mode is a tiny replica of the boombox his original G1 toy transforms into. Measuring just 1” (2.5cm) tall and 1 ¾” (4.5cm) long, he’s a little larger than WST Soundwave. He’s highly detailed, with four buttons moulded, the speakers (picked out in dark grey) and even has the separate handle. Also, Blaster's head is hidden in this mode - which is an improvement on WST Soundwave, who's face stares forever upwards in Walkman mode.
WST Blaster is a mix of red and light grey, with a black handle grip and some parts picked out in dark grey. The cassette door is yellow, and, peering through the small transparent half you can see a yellow cassette (Steeljaw) inside. The door can be opened to reveal the Steeljaw cassette – but the door always pops off when trying this, and Steeljaw will disintegrate instantly – as you’ll learn as you read on...
There’s not a lot more to say about the alternate mode – it’s a fairly static mode! However, you will notice that the plastic is extremely flimsy and brittle. The handle warps as soon as you try to transform the figure – there is no avoiding this no matter how gentle you are. As advertised, WST Blaster does
include diecast metal parts – well, part!
– in his back. Sadly, the paint chips easily – mine came with this scratched. At least he has
diecast parts as advertised though – his series brother WST Shockwave lacks this, despite the fact it is marketed as a feature.
Anyway, in this mode WST Blaster makes a fine companion to WST Soundwave, although is a little more rickety (he doesn’t hold together as well as you might like and there are gaps of daylight at his arms), and, frankly, is not the mode you’d like to display these two figures in!
So, how about the robot mode? Well, this is where it all falls apart – quite literally.Robot Mode:
WST Blaster’s transformation matches the G1 design, as you would expect. Unfortunately, the extremely poor quality plastic and some very tight joints make the transformation an extremely nerve-wracking and delicate process! In fact, I am uncertain if I have snapped a small piece of the handle off during my initial transformation, as the plastic is so thin and connected ridiculously tightly by the sliding grip piece that I think the end did
snap, but is stuck inside the black grip! Regardless, it has warped with the first transformation (and won’t fold into Blaster’s leg...), and will not last long... And watch out for those tiny brittle plastic shoulder pins holding the arms on – those are likely to go sometime too!
Standing 2” (5cm) tall, Blaster is exactly the same height as WST Soundwave – which is fantastic! He’s equally well detailed in robot mode, and is cursed with the disproportionately small head of his G1 toy – but given he’s an exact miniature representation of that large figure, it’s hardly surprising. The head is nicely painted (silver for his cap/visor and face and blue for his eyes), while his tiny hands are black. His elbows are cast in red plastic – deviating from the original figure which had black elbows.
WST Blaster comes complete with a miniature replica of his electro-scrambler gun, which has to be clipped to his arm (his fists are too small to hold it). With nowhere to store the gun in boombox mode, there’s a risk you could lose this tiny piece of plastic.
Blaster has five meaningful points of useless articulation. While some of the joints are insanely tight (those involved in the transformation), those joints important for posing the figure are utterly loose, leaving WST Blaster a boneless frog to display! It takes all my effort just to get him on the shelf standing – albeit lopsided. I’d love to get him standing straight at least, but realise this is more than can be realistically hoped for... No chance of any more dynamic posing (or, say, pointing his gun...). You’re lucky if he stands upright looking like a rickety old man...
Takara’s WST Soundwave came with a teeny-weeny WST Ravage, and Justitoys are not to be outdone through omission of a cassette-bot of their own with their WST Blaster – WST Steeljaw! Ravage and Steeljaw are the logical choices for such a small Transformer as they can be reproduced with a transformation on a single plane – the WST cassettes are simply too thin to allow a 3D transformation required by the other cassette-bots. So, as with WST Ravage, WST Steeljaw has pieces of plastic which fold out to give a head and two legs. Justitoys have gone one further than Takara though, and included a tail! Which would all be fantastic if the thing actually held together at all... As soon as you get Steeljaw out of Blaster’s chest (which pops the cassette door off every single time...) he promptly crumbles – every part is so loose he disintegrates, and you’ll be frantically chasing miniscule parts as they bounce into the dark recesses of your room, of lodge themselves in the pile of your carpet becoming completely invisible. The one consolation is that Steeljaw’s plastic is bright yellow, so the parts easier to find than duller colours would be. I have been unable to get the parts to stay together all at once to give me a look at what WST Steeljaw should look like in robot mode. While WST Ravage is delicate, he at least can hold together and be displayed, although is best kept in Soundwave’s chest until a special occasion as Clay suggests in his review. WST Steeljaw on the otherhand should be removed under absolutely no circumstances – his only value is to complete the figure, or be visible through Blaster’s transparent cassette door. He’s not a functional Transformer. Justitoys quality control / poor production values fail their customers again...
As with his series brother, WST Shockwave, WST Blaster is a complete disaster dogged by low production values and poor quality control on the part of Justitoys. While Justitoys original WST Dinobots were undoubtedly fantastic pieces, they seem to have thrown all of that quality away with these two remarkably expensive yet totally shoddy WST figures.
I’d strongly urge anyone considering purchasing WST Blaster not to waste their money. You’ll only regret it.Marks out of ten for the following:Transformation Design:
4 – WST Blaster’s transformation identical to the G1 design, which is more complicated than Soundwave, but leaves you with a robot which is less well proportioned and more poorly articulated. WST Steeljaw is simple, as he had to be on this scale, and would be a nice addition if he didn’t crumble as soon as he’s exposed to air.Durability:
1 – Blaster will either break or warp in the first transformation, and will not last long – the plastic is just too poor in quality. The diecast metal back chips very easily (mine came chipped), and his useful joints are too loose to use, while his transformation ones are too tight to be safely used. And Steeljaw – well, he doesn’t hold together at all, and his parts are so small they can be lost in the pile of your carpet. WST Blaster is very shoddily built.Fun:
1 – WST Blaster could be great fun – especially if his novelty tiny Steeljaw worked. Instead he’s terribly frustrating, he won’t stand, his cassette door won’t open without popping off, and Steeljaw disintegrates as soon as he’s out of the deck. Transforming the figure is also a nerve-wracking experience due to the flimsy and brittle plastic and combination of tight and loose joints.Aesthetics:
8 – WST Blaster looks very much like his G1 original (excepting his elbows are a different colour), and is incredibly detailed for such a small figure. Steeljaw would look pretty poor if you could transform him into robot mode, but would be a lovely novelty on display opposite WST Soundwave and WST Ravage. Blaster doesn’t have the same cool factor as Soundwave, and is poorly proportioned compared to his most awesome Decepticon counterpart, but you can’t fault the designers – they put a lot of effort into making this tiny Blaster. It’s such a shame that the production values and absent quality control failed them.Articulation:
4 – WST Blaster is not particularly well articulated when compared to other more poseable WST figures such as Soundwave, Megatron
or Optimus Prime
. That said, he’s not as bad as WST Bumblebee
. Steeljaw would have zero articulation realistically, but he’s a tiny cassette-bot. Sadly, the level of articulation becomes a moot point when you realise all the useable joints are rendered unusable as they’re ridiculously loose... You’re lucky to get Blaster standing freely, let alone straight – he’ll never strike a dynamic pose even within his theoretical articulation limits. And Steeljaw, well, he’ll crumble before you ever get a chance to try
to pose him...Value/Price:
1 – Priced at $12.95 ($3 less than a WST Dinobot which is larger and better made) this figure is a total rip-off. The quality is shocking – barely worth $1.Overall:
1 – WST Blaster is a complete and utter disappointment – made all the worse by the fact you can see the designers put a lot of effort into the mould and were very ambitious with WST Steeljaw. Sadly, Justitoys production values and absent quality control have reduced this promising mould to one of the most shoddy Transformers I have ever set eyes on (equalled only by WST Shockwave). I have avoided other cheaper unlicensed WST figures because of the low quality, but many of these are actually superior to the quality that Justitoys are selling as upmarket high quality figures. I’d strongly recommend that you avoid WST Blaster, and Shockwave. I can’t risk dropping any more money on Justitoys after two consecutive and complete disappointments.