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Warcry's Review: Sea Spray

Name: Sea Spray

Many Decepticons believe that while the Autobots may rule the land, the sea is safe. Those Decepticons have never met Sea Spray. Crankstart thinks he's safe hidden on a remote African shore, but he's about to get the worst shock of his life. Sea Spray will come screaming out of the surf, turning the beach into a blasted wasteland with nowhere to hide.

So, uh...Sea Spray is a blinkered, destructive jerk with no regard for the environment, I guess. It's a good thing Movie Beachcomber is a heavily-armed soldier obsessed with killing Deadlift or they wouldn't be able to be buddies in the Movieverse. In spite of the extremely violent bio and the fact that it places him firmly in the Movie universe, Hasbro says that that he's supposed to be a re-imagined version of the original Seaspray and not a new guy. A Classics Seaspray is a good thing in my books, so I've decided to take them at their word and not think too hard about it.

Hilariously, that actually means that the 1985 Minibots are the first subgroup from the original series to have all of its' members released at mass retail with new molds, narrowly beating out the Coneheads by a month or two. I never, ever would have expected that.

The original Seaspray seems to be remembered mainly for the gurgly, 'underwater' voice he had in the cartoon. That's not what I remember him for, though. Seaspray stuck in my head for two different reasons. When I was about ten I got my hands on the Find Your Fate Transformers books, which gave a lot of love to the various Minibots and featured Seaspray prominently in the very first book. The second reason why I remembered Seaspray was that I owned the chromed G2 version of the original toy, which was always one of my favourite Minibots. does the new Sea Spray stack up?

Robot Mode: For the TF 2010 line, Hasbro has started packaging a lot more of their figures in robot mode. All of the Voyagers appear to come that way, and Sea Spray is no exception. Before you even get him out of the box, two things are evident. Firstly, Sea Spray is very squat. He has a big chest, broad shoulders and bulky arms and legs, so he looks huge even though he's only marginally taller than your average Deluxe-class toy. Paradoxically this makes him seem bigger and more powerful than taller, slimmer Voyagers like Classics Jetfire or ROTF Bludgeon.

The other thing you'll notice is that Seaspray doesn't have many of the typical Movieverse design cues. Most Movie toys are designed to look like extremely complicated machines with exposed gears, small panels and millions of moving parts. Sea Spray is nothing like that. He's very blocky, with a simple, clean design that fits in much better alongside Generations toys than Movieverse ones. Pretty much the only thing he owes to the Movie aesthetic are his legs, which sweep backwards like a bird's leg the same way as Movie Starscream's legs do.

Sea Spray's colours are very, very close to the G1 layout, although the new toy uses darker shades than the original. His chest, upper arms and toes are white, while his lower legs, bracers and backpack are dark blue. He has numerous smaller parts cast in gold, including his hands, parts of his shoulders, his ankles, his groin, the two propellers mounted above his shoulders and part of his face. His head and guns are black, and his thighs are grey. Silver painted details can be found on most of his body, most prominently on his chest (which is adorned with an Autobrand) and his knees, as well as spelling out his name on his left breast and bracers. Sea Spray's parts layout is pretty similar to the original as well. His chest is the hovercraft's bridge, his legs and arms are made up of parts of it's deck and air cushion and his propellers end up behind his shoulders. The only significant change is his head, which has been changed from a generic robot head into a 'diver helmet' that emphasizes Sea Spray's aquatic function. The end result is a toy that is very familiar, but far more complicated than its tiny G1 namesake.

Sea Spray comes equipped with two missile launchers. Chunky and black, the launchers can be held in Sea Spray's hands or attached to hardpoints under his forearms. They don't look very good in either position though. They fire funny-shaped projectiles that I'm guessing are supposed to be spears or harpoons, but like far too many missiles these days they're molded in a translucent blue plastic that makes it hard to actually see any details. On their own both the missiles and the launchers look OK, but they're badly mismatched. The launchers look silly with small blue sticks projecting from each end, and the missiles would have looked a lot better if they'd been paired with a longer, more slender launcher. Now, this isn't really Hasbro's fault. As someone who used to be a kid (yes, yes, I know...) I know that kids love missile launchers almost as much as parents hate them and I certainly don't begrudge their inclusion on any toy. In fact, I'd like to see more of them...except for toy safety laws seriously hampering what can be done with them. If the missiles had been much shorter (so that nothing stuck out the back of the launcher) and their arrowheads came up flush with the launcher's front end, they'd look a lot better. As it is, it is they're probably going to end up in my "Unwanted Accessories" box in short order. If you do like the look of them, though, you should be warned that they have a hair trigger and tend to go airborne at the slightest bump. They're fairly powerful and travel farther than most of the missiles I've got, but (in case any of you are as odd as me and really want to try this) they don't make very good underwater weapons -- they float to a stop very quickly and if anyone was close enough to be shot with them, Sea Spray would be better off to just pistol-whip them into submission.

Despite his blocky design, Sea Spray features a lot of useful articulation. His shoulders, elbows and hips are all triple-jointed, allowing a great range of movement. His knees, wrists and neck all feature a single point of articulation each and his ankles are double-jointed. Because of his transformation he has almost zero alt-mode kibble to speak of. The only things that would really qualify are the engines on his shoulders, and those are articulated (they can either swing up onto his shoulders for increased GEEWUN, or point downward along his back) and are a functional part of his robot mode since they would allow him to move quickly underwater. Sea Spray is more than a little top-heavy, and has a tendency to keel over (nautical pun ahoy!) and fall on his face. However, he features tiny little flippers that pop out of his feet, presumably for when he's 'swimming'. With these deployed his balance is much better and he stands safely even in poses that would be precarious on more balanced-looking toys. He's a lot of fun to play with and looks great no matter how you pose him.

Alternate Mode: Sea Spray transforms in much the same way as the original but with a few added twists. It's not much of a surprise then, when you get him into hovercraft mode and find yourself with something that's very similar to the original but with a few added twists. The original Seaspray was a hovercraft with a white bridge, yellow propellers and a blue air cushion, and you can say pretty much the same thing for this one (albeit with the yellow becoming more of a gold shade). The vehicles themselves are very different, though. Where the original transformed into a cartoonish (and probably utterly fictional) hovercraft of questionable proportions, this one is a realistic military hovercraft like the kind that were used to deliver tanks and such to shore in the climactic battle at the end of Revenge of the Fallen.

Although Sea Spray looks the part, he's not even remotely buoyant and any children who try to play with him in the bathtub will be very disappointed when they take him in the tub and he sinks like a rock. Hardly a surprise, but it would be nice one day to get a Transformer watercraft who can actually float.

Sea Spray has a few neat play features in vehicle mode. His engines can sweep around a full 360 degrees for steering and the fans inside them can spin. His missile launchers also mount on the sides of his vehicle mode, although honestly I don't see spear guns being all that useful unless he finds himself fighting either a whale or another hovercraft. But his main feature is his ability to carry around other, smaller Autobots on his cargo deck. Although his box advertises that he can carry around most Scout-class figures, that turns out to be a bit of an exaggeration. While you can technically fit a Scout in there, most of them end up with two wheels hanging off the edge of the deck. He's much better-suited to working with Legends-class toys. It's a small flaw and an easy one to overlook, though, when you consider that 90% of the Transformers released in the last few years didn't have any vehicle-mode features at all other than 'looks like a car/truck/airplane".

When I was a kid, if I wanted a Transformer that doubled as a playset for smaller toys I needed to convince my parents to shell out for Scorponok or Metroplex. Sea Spray is a lot smaller than the citybots, but he's got the same level of interactivity and I think today's kids would have a lot of fun with him. I know I do.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: Sea Spray moves smoothly from a nice, chunky robot to a highly-realistic hovercraft with no kibble in either mode. He's got virtually the perfect Voyager transformation, both in complexity and in function. 10/10

Durability: Because he's big and blocky, there aren't any major weak spots that you need to worry about. The hair-trigger launchers and slender, easily-lost missiles, however, mean that it might be hard to keep Sea Spray 100% complete for long. 9/10

Fun: We've seen hovercraft Transformers before, but never rendered in such loving detail. Not only is he great when you pair him with smaller toys, but Sea Spray also has a very nice robot mode and is a lot of fun on his own. 8/10

Aesthetics: Sea Spray looks great in both modes if you judge him on his own merits. If you want a toy that matches up with the G1 version, though, you might be annoyed at the liberties taken with the colour scheme and head design. If so, you might want to hold out for the obligatory cartoon-accurate version that Takara always seems to make. 8/10

Articulation: Sea Spray doesn't look like the sort of robot who would feature a lot of articulation, but a closer inspection reveals one of the more posable figures we've seen at this price point in the last few years. 9/10

Price: Voyagers are expensive...but Sea Spray is more than worth it. 8/10

Overall: I've always loved the original Seaspray, in spite of all his simplistic, poorly-proportioned Minibot silliness. The new Sea Spray is a complex, modern, well-designed Transformer who manages to successfully call back to the original. You can't go wrong by adding him to your collection. 8.5/10
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