Cliffbee.com: Machine Wars Sandstorm Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Sandstorm
Series: Machine Wars
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Desert Reconnaissance
Alternate Mode: Apache Helicopter



HELICOPTER MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 22cm Width: 10cm (rotors are 23cm across)

   An army green chopper with darker green camouflage stripes and a black underside. While the colours don't match those of his G1 form, they look quite good and easily beat the colour scheme used on Rotorstorm (of whom Sandstorm is a retool). The rotors and cockpit windows are a transparent blue, which looks good on the windows and passable on the rotors. The engines on either side of his roof are gold. There are stickers on either side of the tail with USAF logos on them, while there's another above the cockpit with "MP" on it. The colour scheme is actually quite nice overall, and is probably the best amongst the larger MW toys.

   This is a fairly blocky chopper, with most of the toy more or less ready to turn into a robot, and while Sandstorm is squarer than an Apache should be, they have few curves so he gets away with it. There are some generic seams here and there, but the camouflage tends to dominate visually, and I'm fine with that on a dark chopper. The tail is wider that it should be (it even has two tailfins) since the arms are stowed inside.

   There's some play value here - the rotor spins and pressing a button just behind the rotor will deploy the engines to the sides as missile launchers, although unlike Rotorstorm, Sandstorm doesn't come with missiles. The firing mechanisms have been gutted, so you can't plug Turbomaster missiles in anyway. The runners tend to flop around, which isn't play value but they're loose enough that I feel I should mention it.

   A marked improvement on the first version despite the loss of the missile launchers, thanks to vastly superior colours. The USAF and MP stickers don't quite work together, but the visual impact is otherwise pretty good. The rotors are anchored better than those on Rotorstorm, although the engines and runners detach too readily and are easily lost.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the engines, which will become robot mode weapons. Split the tail, fold out onto the sides to reveal his arms, swing back the underside to form the legs. Fold down the canopy as a chestplate, swing the arms down, swing the rotors down on his back, fold away the tailtips, flip up the feet and fold the runners back. Attach the engines in either hand as guns.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17.5cm Width: 8cm (no cheating this time!)

   Now a mix of green, black and gold, with black forearms and boots. The gold is on his elbows, thighs, feet and head with the olive green is largely limited to his torso and shoulders. Sandstorm's face is green with blue lightpiped eyes (with an effective lightpipe, too). The chest is now mainly green with blue windows, and there's an Autobot symbol moulded into the top window, which wasn't so obvious before. Again we don't have a lot of the original Sandstorm here, but it's a nice colour scheme - if an atypical Transformers colour scheme.

   The head is quite detailed with a well shaped face. The lightpipe doesn't work as well as Rotorstorm's (which was ridiculously effective), but is still handy. The rest of the robot mode actually fairly non-descript but is well proportioned, if rather blocky. The colours contrast better than Rotorstorm's, so the bare robot mode isn't as obvious - which is a good thing. The sculpted detail on his limbs should have been a lot better, but the colours combined with Autobot logo stickers on his shoulders provide enough visually.

   The play value is ok without being any special. The shoulders lift out to the sides while the elbows bend while there's no useful leg motion - Sandstorm can stand at attention and aim his guns. The launcher provide the only action feature here.

   While the face is good and the colour scheme avoids the pitfall we saw in chopper mode, the sculpt is a little lagging. The colours work well and make this figure more interesting than its predecessor. Sandstorm is quite blocky which makes him _feel_ unposeable, even if he's no worse than other moulds from the Turbomaster era.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he's a retool of Rotorstorm as I've mentioned. Rotorstorm was not sold in the USA, incidentally.

OVERALL

   An improvement on Rotorstorm in many ways, making Sandstorm the toy this mould should have been from the beginning. Of course toy technology had moved along since this mould was produced, and for 1996 this mould was nothing special. He doesn't share much with his G1 version other than a chopper mode, but at the same time he doesn't look like he should have been named for another G1 helicopter. The colours are nice, and on colours alone I'd recommend him over Rotorstorm, despite the loss of functional missile launchers. If you like the design style from 1992, I'd recommend MW Sandstorm - 6.5/10

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