Cliffbee.com: Cybertron Smokescreen Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Smokescreen
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Sports Car

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Smokescreen for this review



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A rounded deep red sports car with transparent navy blue windows and silver hubcaps, Smokescreen has mid blue on his front fenders and doors along with white stripes above the blue. He's a repaint of Crosswise based on the G1 toy of the same name. The colours match those of the G1 toy fairly well, down to "38" in black lettering on either door. There's a stamped Autobot logo on his roof - oddly both Crosswise & G1 Smokescreen sport their allegiance on the hood. There's a silver grille on the front, silver head and taillights and a black spoiler. The red is a little dark but the tribute is quite obvious and he's notably different from Crosswise.

   The engineblock and spoiler are actually detachable, so if you prefer a flat back section you can have one - the black spoiler feels like a last minute addition since there's little black elsewhere here. The detachable section becomes a missile launcher in robot mode, and the transparent navy missile plugs in the back here, creating a sort of afterburner effect. I'm not quite so keen on this look, though I guess if you want to give Smokescreen a sense of motion it works well.

   Smokescreen comes with a blue Planet Key (code: d4v6) which plugs into the back of the car. When you push it right in two missilepods flip out from either side of the engineblock. The springs are really powerful and the missilepods hit the painted roof quite hard, which is a little worrying. They do look rather cool, however, with silver bronze missile tips each. I like how the add-on launcher piece allows clearance for his key gimmick to work. As with most later Cybertron moulds, Smokescreen can hold his key without the gimmick activating.

   A pretty good car mode overall, which is heavily based on the Bugatti Veyron (thanks to FortMax Reed for this info). The colours and painted details work, the gimmick is simple yet effective and the missile launcher assembly on the back adds another dimension. The repaint works fairly well, even if it's a relatively meaningless repaint - this is not quite different to a Datsun.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unfold everything, basically. Smokescreen is a classic shellformer, to an extent we haven't really seen since Side Burn. The front of the car becomes the chest while the arms, head and legs are all stowed underneath the shell, which ends up on his arms and back. The missile launcher becomes a handheld weapon, obviously.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 12.5cm

   A deep red robot with white thighs and upper arms, Smokescreen has mid blue on the outer edges of his chest and boots and the inner edges of his forearms. His face is silver with a transparent navy eyevisor but no lightpipe. There's a rather incongruous yellow crest on his head, along with some yellow on his black groin. His feet and weapon are also black. The colour scheme is again quite easy to pick as Smokescreen, but the colour match is fairly sloppy - there's too much red and not enough blue. The windows are on his arms, with the doors on the shoulders while the roof and windshield form a shield on his left forearm.

   While this robot mode really looks like something out of G1, the mould doesn't really look a lot like G1 Smokescreen. The transformation is something from 1999-2001, with a whole bunch of car panels. The front of the car as a chest, the doors on his shoulders, the face and front tyres on the outsides of his ankles are all reminiscent of G1 while the rear fenders hanging off his back and the shield on his arm are elements you'd expect of Car Robots. Most of the elements here work visually, with the exception of the fenders hanging off his back - although they don't really stand out. If you prefer, you can swing the fenders forward to act as hip-mounted cannons. I'm not quite sold on this look, although the tips have small bumps (for locking into car mode) that look something like gun tips.

   The key gimmick is available here, with the slot rather unfortunately located - if you tell Smokescreen to stick it, you'll be referring to his Planet Key. Anyway, the missilepods now deploy over his shoulders, and look good on either side of his head. Again they deploy forcefully thanks to the strong springs, at least they now hit unpainted plastic. The missile launcher works reasonably well as a handheld weapon - so long as the flame-shaped missile is inserted - it looks weird otherwise, since without the missile it's not much more than a spoiler on a stick.

   Smokescreen has pretty good poseability, with ball joints in his shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. The arm joints really need to be ball jointed to allow him to contort and fit everything back into the car - but I'm not complaining. The feet and heelspurs are hinged - both the feet and heelspurs can swing up and down, while the fenders hanging off the back act as stabilising legs, giving Crosswise a ridiculous range of stable dynamic poses. The head turns and hinges back and forth, although the latter is quite limited. Other than the fixed waist and wrists there's not really much more we could ask here.

   A good robot mode despite the shellformer panels hanging off him, and despite some messy colour choices. It still looks like Smokescreen - but it really does look like Smokescreen shoehorned onto a mould never designed for the character, rather than any sort of effort to give us an updated Smokescreen. This robot mode very poseable and the key gimmick works well even if the slot's location is dubious. I like the G1 feel here, ironically it's lessened by the slightly forced G1 character tribute (it works better on Crosswise). The missilepods on his shoulders enhance the G1 homage - and are one aspect which fits the tribute well - even if they're part of a distinctly Cybertron gimmick.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. He is a repaint of Crosswise, as mentioned. Movie Jolt is a repaint of Crosswise.

OVERALL

   A decent tribute even if it's a little forced in robot mode, Smokescreen uses a decent mould and a distinct colour set, so he manages to work fairly well despite his flaws. The mould is a typical shellformer in many ways, but works fairly well. As with most shellformers, he's very poseable, and the range of poses in robot mode is excellent. The main downside to his transformation is probably the main flaw shellformers suffer from - cramming everything back underneath all the panels properly can be tricky. The key gimmick works really well and the robot mode's play value is good. It'd recommend Crosswise or even Jolt over Smokescreen, but the mould is good enough that I'd recommend this repaint if it's your only option - 7.5/10

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