Monday, December 15, 2014

Hasbro Transformers Voyager Class Springer 2013

Transformers has been on toy shelves for 30 years. Let that sink in... for 30 years, Transformers have been valid and popular toy options. Naturally, some years have been better than others, and come concepts have been rather, well, lacking, but the constant reinvention of the line has been key in making sure that children of many generations all enjoy the characters. While lines like Masters of the Universe and Cabbage Patch Kids struggle to exist, Transformers and GI Joe keep trucking on.

Triple changers were introduced pretty early on in the Transformers line in 1985, but some of their executions were a bit lacking. For example, here is the original Springer with a totally different car and helicopter mode. No similarity there at all! Of course, toy engineering has come a long way since 1985, especially with computer-aided design, so this Springer shares similarities but is a quantum leap in improvements. I do want to say that I received Springer as a surprise Christmas gift last year after my wife teamed up with my good friend Ahmad. It is easily one of my most cherished figures because of that, so I might have a wee bit of bias here. Or a lot. Yeah, a lot. Luckily, this is pretty universally lauded as a fantastic figure, so I should blend right in.

As I've mentioned before, Transformers are often designed in one mode first, and then made to work with its alternate mode. This leads to one mode suffering at the expense of another. Maybe the car mode is fantastic, but there are a lot of left-over pieces in robot mode, or the robot is top-notch and the vehicle takes some creative thinking to recognize. Springer? Springer is obviously what he is meant to be in all three modes. I can't begin to state how rare that is.
The green and yellow are great colors for this figure, calling back to the original and making him stand out on the shelf. It's used in a very creative way, helping to differentiate each of the different modes as well and helping them look unique, something the original toy absolutely failed at doing.
Articulation for the robot mode is top notch. If there is a joint you want to move, odds are good that you can move it. If there is a way you want to pose him, odds are good that he'll hold that pose and still be able to stand on his own. Transformers tend to be pretty stable thanks to how broad they tend to be, but Springer is both more slender and more stable. I really don't know how Hasbro did it. (Scroll down for the helicopter mode)
But of course, this is a triple changer, so we can't spend all our time just talking about the robot mode! There are still two more modes to go. Next up is the helicopter mode. Transforming to this mode is very intuitive and easy to do. There aren't any tricks or catches to watch out for. It's straight-forward and leads to a good-looking helicopter.
Of course, if you know what you're looking for, there are some call-back to robot mode. The legs are just pushed together with a panel over the wheels, and the arms on the side can be recognized if you choose to, but really that's just going out of your way to make yourself unhappy. In a clever bit of design, Springer's sword doubles as the helicopter blades (they stand straight out but for the purposes of the pictures I left them lowered so that it would fit in the image better). If transformed properly, the blades spin easily, adding a bit of a non-intrusive action feature. Additionally, his gun can be stashed underneath, acting as a missile launcher for the helicopter and allowing for all of his accessories to be kept with the figure, which is always appreciated! (Scroll down again for car mode!)
The final form is the car mode, and once again it does not disappoint. Thanks to the arms being able to move up and down the body, it creates a pretty convincing front-end that differentiates from the helicopter a lot more than you might expect for such a simple trick. The legs also tuck up against the body, resulting in a mode that is absolutely distinct and has almost no left-over touches of a helicopter in it.
One unfortunate aspect of Springer, and probably the only drawback to the entire figure, is that the hood of the car does not entirely sit flush. It was intended to, but a production error resulted in it working far less than perfectly. Fortunately, Springer has a futuristic design, so it can be passed off as a design eccentricity, but it is very unfortunate, and something that is fixed with his mold-mate, Sandstorm.
Other than that one flaw, Springer looks fantastic as a car. I love the armored plating running along the side underneath the clear windows, as well as the detailed wheels and rear. If you flip him over and look underneath, you can see that he's solid through and through, lending a nice, hefty weight and keeping it from feeling cheap. In this form, Springer's sword can be stashed underneath, with his fun mounted on top. Additionally, that gun can raise, lower, and swing around as a turret, which is just a really nice additional touch.
Springer is just an amazing example of what the Transformers line can accomplish when the engineering team is burning on all cylinders. Each mode is distinct, the colors are engaging, and a difficult concept is executed practically flawlessly. If there were one Transformer designed that I would choose to show others as to why this line is so amazing, it would be Springer. There are others that are more complicated and others that are more accurate to media representation, but there aren't any others that capture the sheer fun of a Transformer the way Springer does. I can not recommend this figure enough.


Post a Comment



Fine Vintage Reviews. Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner Converted into Blogger Template by Bloganol dot com