Cliffbee.com: Cybertron Downshift Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Downshift
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: 1970s Hot Rod



HOT ROD MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 14cm Width: 6cm

   A mid green 1970s hot rod with a black hood and black roof, complete with moulded plastic patterning, indicating this is one of those plastic roofs common during this era. The windows are transparent orange while the grille, hubcaps, front bumper, taillights and protuding engineblock are all silver. The headlights are transparent orange while there's a nice big Autobot logo stamped on the front of the hood. This is a pretty good colour scheme that fits the car, and it doesn't look at all like Energon Downshift, which is a good thing since that toy's name was controversial.

   This is a very realistic car mode, to the point where it wouldn't be out of place in G1 (well, aside from the lack of die cast metal). It's actually a mix of elements from various US cars of the era, but to a novice like me Downshift might as well be a mini Alternator. There are quite a few finer moulded details such as indicators, side mirrors, doorhandles, grille details and tailpipes.

   Unlike most Cybertron toys, Downshift's guns are actually add-on pieces - he comes with twin green and black missile launchers, along with two grey missiles. They clip into the sides of the car and attach nice and firmly, and will fire the missiles quite a distance. The triggers are easy to access - the first time I attached the launchers I wasn't really paying attention to where the triggers where and had to hunt down one of the missiles. As a bonus, there are hardpoints on the launchers allowing you to attach Minicons if you feel so inclined.

   There's a silver circuit-like spot on the rear window which lifts up to reveal the key slot - which is a great aspect of this toy. Not only does the key slot conceal when you're not using the gimmick but the slot firmly holds the key and you can mount the key without setting off the gimmick. The key itself (code: dm8r) is blue and pushing it in firmly will cause the grille to pop out as a claw. While there are better Planet Key gimmicks, this is a decent one that doesn't get in the way of Downshift as a Transformer, and hides very well in this car mode.

   A great car mode that's the most realistic we've seen in the main toyline for years. Not since Armada has a vehicle mode reminded me so much of G1 in a good way. The detailing is good, the key gimmick is handled very well while the missile launchers add some great play value without getting in the way of the car itself.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Open to doors to the sides (well, the green parts), pull the rear fenders apart to unlock the rear, swing down to form the legs, clip the waist together and straighten the legs. Lift up the shin panels, fold out the feet and heelspurs, close the panels again. Fold down the roof to form the back, the head should pop out of the the gap left when the engineblock folds up. Rotate the shoulders, fold out the arms, flip out the fists. Lastly give Downshift his missile launchers - either as handheld weapons or shoulderpad mounted cannons.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13.5cm

   A fairly even mix of green and black now, Downshift has grey fists, thighs and a grey waist while his face is silver with gold eyes and transparent orange antennae. His face is still that of G1 Wheeljack, but this doesn't bother has as much as it did on Energon Downshift, partly because the shape has changed somewhat and partly because the colour scheme is no longer than of the G1 engineer. I can't really blame this toy for the borrowed face anyway - it's been carried over from another toy. The colour scheme is pretty good, there's still quite a bit of silver here (especially the grille on the front of his chest). The Autobot logo is now central on his chest, by the way.

   Again there's a strong G1 feel here. The front of the car forms his chest, similar to that of Jazz. The doors form shoulderpads while the engineblock sits behind his head (more Jazz like elements!). The shouldercannons actually remind me of Wheeljack, and I have to say they clip onto the shoulderpads really well. The hardpoints are distinctly not G1, of course.

   Considering how realistic the car mode is, this a pretty poseable robot. The feet and heelspurs can move forward, the knees have both hinges and rotators while the hips are ball jointed. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows are hinged. The head wiggles side to side a little, although since it's linked to a spring for transformation, a proper turning neck isn't possible. Other than rotating elbows and a rotating waist (which would have made the torso unstable), I can't fault the poseability. As it is, I'm impressed with the poseability - there are many less poseable, less realistic Transformers.

   The launchers are just as useful here - and look good whether on his shoulderpads or in his fists. When you combine this with the excellent leg articulation, Downshift is a fun toy, and cool action poses are easy. The Planet Key gimmick still works here, with the Planet Key plugging into the same slot (now on his back), and while the slot has moved through 90, the claw will still deploy. The claw isn't as impressive now, since it looks a little odd on his chest, but it's a bonus really - the missile launchers are more than enough for a poseable deluxe.

   An excellent robot mode that makes me wish all Cybertron toys were this good. Downshift has modern poseability on a G1 style layout, with great weaponry. The key gimmick still works and while there are a couple of aspects of articulation which could have been better, the few restrictions don't hold this guy back. The Wheeljack style head even works, since he's an evolution of Energon Downshift and no longer wears a colour scheme that screams Wheeljack.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Movie Big Daddy is a repaint of Downshift.

OVERALL

   By now you can probably tell that I really like this toy. Downshift is in my opinion the best Cybertron toy to date - just shading Swindle. The car is quite realistic, the robot mode makes good use of car elements and has good poseability. The play value is good in both modes, both of which look good - and the missile launchers really add something to this toy. Whether you're a fan of the G1 toys or the newer toys doesn't really matter here - Downshift spans the divide very well - 10/10

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