Cliffbee.com: Hardspark Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Hardspark
Series: Japanese Generation 1
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Flame Assault
Alternate Mode: Tank



TANK MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 4cm

   A metallic silver tank with very dark brown treads and a grey barrel, the treads are black at first glance. Hardspark has the same black and yellow striped stickers on the sides that Guzzle has, complete with Autobot logos on them. While comparing to Guzzle, this is a much more interesting tank mode, thanks to the sheen of the silver plastic.

   The moulded detail is actually quite good for a small G1 toy, there's an array of panels and hatches and such on top of this tank, and the treads are clearly moulded. Unlike the other Sparkabots, Wildspark doesn't have a rubsign indent - suggesting this was the last of the three moulds to be designed. There aren't any plastic wheels underneath the treads.

   There's more play value in this vehicle than the other Sparkabot vehicles, too - the turret rotates 360 and the barrel can lift up about 40, which is more than most G1 tanks can do. The whole point of the Sparkabots is the sparking mechanism. There's a rubber tyre underneath Hardspark, which sticks out further than his treads, and if you roll him along with some downward force flames will shoot out of a small hole at the back of the tank - maybe five centimetres. You generally have to push a few times to get it working, since the friction that makes it work is reliant on heavy resistance and it won't work if there's not enough friction. There's a flint (the same as lighter flint) inside, which will eventually wear down, which provides the sparks. More likely to actually wear down is a white gear that transfers the tyre's motion to a flint wheel. A lot of second hand Sparkabots have worn mechanisms. I bought my Hardspark MIB (yes, he actually came boxed), so the mechanism still works.

   The whole point of this mode is the sparking mechanism, and while it's kinda cool, it is rather prone to wearing out. It's a decent tank mould for the size, and the colours are cool, so this is a tank mode I like.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Extend the rear to form the legs, stand him up and position the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9cm Width: 4cm

   A dark brown robot with an orange-yellow chest and a blue face, Hardspark looks about fifty times better than Guzzle in robot mode. The grey barrel sticks up from behind his head. The darker chest paint and brown plastic work well together. The blue paint on his face is the same as on Guzzle, but the changes made improve the look of this robot immensely.

   There are no stickers visible in this mode. The chestpiece, which includes the head and shoulder kibble, has four screws visible. The holes are quite deep, and with the dark plastic, you don't really notice the holes on his shoulder kibble, nor the ones on his shins, although you can see the holes on his waist. There's also a big screw at the top of the thighs, this one is partially concealed by his groin, so again with the colours, it's essentially invisible. There's no gap between the legs at all, the legs and feet are a solid piece. The thighs are about 1/3 the length of the shins, there's a big black rubber on his shins, but again the dark colours help it blend in reasonably well. The arms are moulded onto the insides of the treads, and swing at the shoulders.

   The swinging shoulders are the only play value in this robot mode, but the colour scheme works really well, so this is actually a pretty good robot mode - for a Sparkabot.

VARIATIONS

   The same mould was released in Anglophone markets as Guzzle, but there aren't any variations of Hardspark that I know of.

OVERALL

   This is probably the best Sparkabot mould, although that's not saying much. The tank mode is great for the size, the robot mode is decent, and the colours in both modes work. He's easily better than Guzzle, thanks to the colours. I recommend him, and while I wouldn't bother tracking him down, if you get the chance, get him in place of Guzzle - 4.5/10

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