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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kamen's review: Sunstorm with Ratchet

Name: Sunstorm vs Ratchet
Function: Ass-kissing Clone vs Autobot Medic
Subgroup: Transformers: Animated Target Exclusive Two-Pack

Yet another clone of Starscream has appeared on Earth to threaten the Autobots. Sunstorm is a cackling madman, determined to destroy everything in his path. He is also a living power battery, absorbing any energy directed at him, from sunlight to high-powered lasers. Only Autobot Ratchet has the scientific know-how to develop a device capable of defeating such a powerful new enemy.

Well, obviously someone has not done their homework, as Sunstorm, as portrayed in Transformers: Animated, is far from a cackling madman. This description is closer to his original comic portrayal.

In any event, Animated marks Sunstormís first canonical cartoon appearance, though he has not been official called such in the show. Rather he is referred to simply as a clone. Otherwise, he is known as the Sycophant, representing that side of Starscreamís personality. He still manages to be one of the more effective clones, despite his brown-nosing, though, capturing Prowl in his own stasis cuffs, and freeing the Liar clone from a similar predicament. The other abilities mentioned in his bio also have yet to appear in the animated medium.

Bonus Content

Galactic Powers & Abilities:
ĖHuge array of surgical and mechanical tools
ĖOnce considered most talented medic on Cybertron
ĖTrained at Protihex Medical Mechanics University

Before I get to the meat of this pack, I suppose I ought to give Ratchet his due. I donít own the solo Activators Ratchet, or the Deluxe version; in fact, I donít own any version of Ratchet ever, making this a bit of a historic occasion. Iíll pause for effect.

Like his opponent, Ratchet is packaged in robot mode. Heís red and white, with a bit of blue on his robot face and the windows on his chest. Nothing spectacular, but pretty clean. Because his transformation differs, heís not quite show-accurate. His shoulder panels are solid red rather than white with the life-pulse symbol, looking rather plain instead. He has a silver Autobot insignia on his tummy, as well. An odd place to be sure. Molding is pretty simple as well. The most interesting part is the face, which manages to successfully capture Ratchetís grumpy personality. Otherwise, thereís nothing really interesting. He does, however, have really good articulation. A pleasant surprise in such a small figure.

I have to admit that the transformation is pretty clever, but Iím not sure that the result is worth it. Although, he manages to look ambulance-like, a fairly decent interpretation of his animation model, he suffers from a lot of kibble troubles. In particular, the gear housings for his transformation gimmick stick out horribly from the sides of the vehicle. He still manages to roll pretty well, and the coloring is pretty good. On the front anyway. Like a lot of Animated figures his rear end goes bare.

Overall, I wouldnít recommend him by himself. Fortunately, heís not the reason anyone will buy this set.

Robot Mode:

Galactic Powers & Abilities:
ĖAbsorbs energy to use as powerful laser blasts
ĖCan generate blinding flashes of light
ĖFastest clone of Starscream

The Sycophant is a straight redeco of the original Starscream mold, which matches the cartoon canon nicely. Of the Voyager versions, I own neither the original nor Skywarp, but, as far as I know, there are no mold changes. Fortunately, the Sycophantís grin still manages to fit his personality, unlike poor Skywarp, who, as the Coward, leaks in the face of danger instead. There is otherwise some decent detailing. His legs chest and shoulders all have some nice armor detailing, and his arm lasers have some nice grooves. This mold his very buff, particularly around the arms. His biceps are huge! Like most Animated toys his vehicle mode kibble is kept to a minimum, with what is there (the planeís main wings and stabilizers) actually enhance his profile.

The colours. Although ďGo, Big OrangeĒ is a phrase volunteered a bit much in my neck of the woods, I do have to admit that the Sycophant looks pretty good. Orange, naturally, holds the largest use. Itís not excessively bright, though, so, although there arenít any other colours on most of the body, it doesnít overwhelm the figure. A creamy white and a dark bronze-ish red are about equal parts; white being used for body parts like his face and forearms, and red for highlights and kibble. Translucent red gives the Sycophant nice light piping in his face and mouth. A bit of black keeps the head from looking stupid, and a purple tampographed Decepticon symbol on either wing leaves no question of his loyalty.

For articulation, the legs are fine. Ratchets in hips and knees, a cut thigh, and, pleasantly, lots of movement for his feet, actually put him a bit above other figures. His arms, on the other hand, suffer from chicken wings. Huh? Put your hands on your hips and relax your arms and shoulders. See where your elbows are hanging? Thatís where his are, only he canít move them. He still has mobility in his shoulder, and a swiveling elbow. Heck, he even as finger articulation, so is being stuck in a perpetual strong man pose really that bad? No, I guess not, but it does make him look very awkward in some poses. Thatís not to say that heís un-posable. In fact, he has some very dynamic poses, it just takes some work to get him there.

The Sycophant comes with two translucent red missiles that fire from his arm weapons. Thatís fine, I think theyíre a little too long to look good, but, toy safety laws, eh? If you push his arm cannon forward, the sides of his arms pop open. Iím not sure that these are. The box claims that they are ďlasersĒ, but the only molding is a few vent-like lines on the under side. Perhaps theyíre Sunstormís solar panels?

Overall, a good showing. One thing to watch out for, though. A lot of the figures at my Target had very sloppy paint applications, even the one I got has some sloppiness here and there. Keep an eye out.

Alternate Mode:

Although still prominent, the orange is much less in control of this mode. A lot more red shows up on the engine casing, intakes, and nose cone. White, separating the white and red, becomes a lot more eye-catching as well. Otherwise, Iím a huge fan of this kind of plane. The swept forward wing design just makes the whole thing look sleek and dangerous. It helps that the undercarriage junk manages to stay pretty compact, despite some gaps between parts. There are some nice details here as well. A bit of plating detail, a maintenance hatch. Little things, but they really make the plane look good. He has swing-out landing gear, standard on nearly all plane modes, and his ďenginesĒ, cleverly disguised as the robot feet are on a ball-joint. Useless, unless you want him to pull a Crazy Ivan.

Pretty nice. The paint issues continue, but a solid mode.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: Annoying enough to be difficult. The springs randomly stuck in his shoulder assembly really donít help. Plus, his head keeps popping off mid way through. 4

Durability: There are a lot of gears and springs in this guy. Gear slippage, the bane of all auto-morphs, hasnít been a problem...yet. He does seem solid otherwise. 6

Fun: I donít have any attachment to the character (in any incarnation), but the mold is enjoyable. 7

Price: This pack retails at $25, which is slightly cheaper than buying the two molds separately, but not by a significant enough margin to make this a great deal. Additionally, itís a Target exclusive, so those without easy access to the store would have to pay even more. 3

Overall: Although, I really like Sunstormís colours, and the mold itself is pretty good. The many sloppy paint applications drag down his score. Plus, heís a store exclusive, so youíll have put down several more dollars for the privilege of owning him. For that, being Sunstorm is all he has going for him. If you really need this mold, but donít care about the character, I recommend grabbing Skywarp or the original instead. 4
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