Cliffbee.com: FAB Smokescreen Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Smokescreen
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Pontiac Solstice Sports Car

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Smokescreen for this review



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 14.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A blue and red Pontiac with a cutesy shape, Smokescreen is red on top and blue on the sides, front and back, very similar to G1 Smokescreen, although lacking the white pinstripes. Despite the lack of white, this colour scheme is quite true to the original concept, down to black-on-white number 38s on either door. He has metallic blue windows, silver headlights and grey grille details with yellow sports lights. While the vehicle here isn't that close to the original, being a repaint of FAB Jazz, the colours really sell this as G1 Smokescreen rather than a movie character. While the repaint is a little unimaginative, it's much better than many of the randomly recoloured movie characters, and very well executed.

   The sculpt here is good, with vents on the front fenders, well formed side mirrors, doorhandles, a boot handle at the back and a gap underneath the spoiler. As with the other car FABs the robot feet are visible at the back - which is consistently annoying. Otherwise this is a pretty good car mode. There aren't many blemishes - just the feet and a rather obvious hatch in the hood for his head - although this time there's a stamped red Autobot logo with silver outline, making the hatch far less distracting than it was on Jazz. On the whole I'm very happy with the car, despite the slightly cute proportions. There's no really play value, although you can flip up the head if you have fingernails, which is an amusing effect. Curiously, while the rear wheels roll as you'd expect, the front wheels are actually fixed and only his tyres roll, which looks odd when he's rolling along. He doesn't too well anyway.

   A good car mode with a few flaws, but nothing that ruins it. The repaint is very good and the Autobot symbol on his hatch really makes a difference. And it's no longer primer grey. The feet at the back are a regular shortcoming in this line, as are the slightly skewed proportions. The play value could be better, but at least we have the flip top head to keep us amused.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the rear to form his legs, split the boots. as the groin folds down the head will flip out and the grille pushes out slightly. Pull out the front wheels to form his shoulders and swing the doors down to form his arms. Fold the roof down to form a backplate, unclip the missile from within his right boot and plug it into his left hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 9.5cm

   Grey adds to the blue and red mix, although much of this robot is blue. The top of his chest is red while the groin, thighs and face are grey. Smokescreen's eyevisor is yellow while his shoulders are black. The shoulders are tyres while he wears the front of a Pontiac on his chest. The chest harks to G1, even if the other features here are fairly obviously movie Jazz. Aside from the chest and head, the paint job is very simple with only a red Autobot logo on his torso - although I do appreciate its inclusion. He does look a little kiddie, but the colour map is more complex than Jazz, so again Smokescreen is an improvement.

   The arms here are simple blue affairs, and while they're not great, they do well compared to the arms on the regular Movie Jazz toy. They're shoved inside the doors rather awkwardly and the right hand is a very diminutive claw while the left hand is a missile launcher - sadly they didn't even bother moulding digits on it. The transparent yellow missile is rather out of place, colourwise - pure colourless would have been better, if they wanted to avoid the blue of Jazz's missile. His face is pretty well sculpted, other than the fact there's a panel behind it. The face is Not Smokescreen, but that's to be expected really.

   The play value is unimpressive for a toy which has been simplified to this extent. The shoulders swing up to about 75, and that's it for the arm articulation. His head is fixed while the waist can drag around to the right and snaps back to the left when you let go - even though he wields only a missile. I really fail to understand why the designer of the FABs prefers this gimmick to actual articulation on toys which lack weapons that make it worthwhile. His hips are ball jointed but the knees are hinged and only swing back about 45, while the feet are fixed. He does have big footprints but there's not that much movement in the legs. To be honest his poseability is awful - even for a FAB. The missile launcher gimmick works, but it's not that exciting and not enough to make up for the bad poseability here - especially with the limited arm poseability (not) supporting it.

   The colours manage to be Smokescreen despite a dearth of white, but the yellow missile is a poor choice. Smokescreen's colour are better than those of Jazz, despite this being a relatively meaningless repaint. The poseability is awful and it actually hurts the gimmick. This is his weaker mode, although it is an improvement on Jazz's robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A pretty weak mould in robot mode, and a limited vehicle mode, but at least this time the colour scheme actually works in the toy's favour. The vehicle mode is good by FAB standards and the paint job is well put together, and while the robot mode is weak, the colours do help somewhat. It's still not a mould I'd recommend, but this _is_ the better version despite not being a movie character. If you want Jazz, the deluxe is a better mould anyway, so I'd recommend this one over FAB Jazz. Having said that, it's not a compelling mould, so unless you're a fan of FABs (or Smokescreen, I guess), he's easy enough to skip - 5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.