Cliffbee.com: Race Car Patrol Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Race Car Patrol
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Reconnaissance
Components: Freewheeler, Roadhandler, Swindler and Tailspin



Freewheeler

CAR MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A small lemon yellow Countache with black windows and black plastic tyres. His moulding looks real enough, with twin pop-up headlights, air intakes on the sides and such. He's too high for a Countache, though. They're very low to the ground cars, he looks more like a hatchback, unlike Sideswipe, who is much closer to the actual shape of a Countache. The proportion problem doesn't ruin this mode, but it's quite noticeable, and it really hurts the robot mode. He also has two random lumps on the front of his hood which make him look less Countache-like.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the rear section over, flip the hood up, stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A red & lemon yellow robot with white painted details. His torso, head and thighs are red, lower legs and arms are yellow. He has a white face and white painted panels on his chest. His front tyres are on his shoulders, and the arms extend above the shoulders - basically the front fenders are on top of the arms. This is a feature of a lot of Micromasters, and while it's not a great one, it doesn't really hurt Freewheeler. His arms are moulded onto the insides of the doors, and even have fingers.

   What does hurt him is the legs. Remember the badly proportioned car mode? Combine that with badly position knee joints and you get really bad legs. The knee joints - the transformation joints - are about a third of the way down the back of the shins (the rivet runs through the wheels). So the lower legs sit in front of the thighs and are really bulky. It looks like he's wearing enormous boots that come up to mid thigh. There's almost no gap between them and his groin.

   It even affects his poseability. You can bend the knees, but it just doesn't work with such huge lower legs. Granted, he doesn’t look much worse that when standing at attention, but it reveals just how far down his shins the kneejoint actually is. He can also lift his arms, but of course, the shins have to be moved out of the way first..

OVERALL

   As you can probably guess, I don't like this toy much. The car mode is okay, but the robot mode is terrible. What really annoys me is that it was avoidable - proper knee joints would have gone a long way, even if they kept the car mode proportions. Luckily for the set, Freewheeler's very much a black sheep. He doesn’t ruin the set, but I wouldn't recommend him on his own. If you get the set together, he's just baggage - 3/10

Roadhandler

CAR MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A red Camaro with black windows and plastic black tyres. Roadhandler's moulding is quite distinct - there's no doubt he's a Camaro. As far as I can tell (and Camaros are very rare here), this is a pretty good Camaro for the size. He has the twin-sunroof thing happening. I suppose this does provide a weakness of sorts - more black paint that can chip or wear away - although on mine at least none of the black paint is worn. He also has transformation hinges on his hood, although they're fairly inconspicuous. He rolls quite well considering he doesn't have any axles.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the rear out to form the feet, fold the front up and stand him up. Very much Micromaster.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A yellow, red and blue robot. His arms and lower legs are red, his thighs, chest and head yellow and his groin and face are painted blue. There's also a fair amount of black on his lower legs - the rear windscreen. There's also a screw head visible in the centre of his chest. While it doesn't look great, it doesn't really hurt the overall look.

   He has large spikes or antennae on top of his head, they really give him a leadership look. His arms are moulded onto the insides of the car mode doors - he also has moulded fingers. The facial detail is quite good, although a little hard to see since it's delicate and covered in blue paint.

   Aside from the screw, Roadhandler's only other drawback is the big boot syndrome that afflicts a lot of Micromasters. However he was drawn this way in the comic, so this mode is very comic accurate anyway.

   Poseability is standard - the arms swivel at the shoulders, his knees bend and the hips move together allowing him to sit down. The colours look cool, and the spikes on his head, which resemble a crown, give him a powerful look. This is a good robot mode.

OVERALL

   Probably the best known Micromaster to comic fans, Roadhandler is my favourite in this set - and not just for his comic appearances. He has some problems, but they're more Micromaster design flaws than problems with this specific toy. He makes up for the shortcomings of Freewheeler and makes the set worth buying. 8/10

Swindler

CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A grey De Lorean with black windows and plastic black tyres. Add a "Mr Fusion" and Marty McFly and you could travel back to the wild west! Yes, that's right, he's the car model made famous by "Back To The Future". And he's the same colour. Anyway, the level of detail on his car mode is a little lacking, but he's clearly a De Lorean. He does have a moulded license plate on the front, as well a logo on his grill (just a rectangle at this level of detail, but it's there).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold his rear back to form his feet and fold the centre of the good down to form his chest, stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Still primarily grey, Swindler now has blue on his head, groin and thighs. Oh and he has a light orange face. Like Freewheeler, there's car fenders stretching above his shoulder joints, but it works better on Swindler. The car hood on his chest works well on his chest, too, not sticking out badly like on some Micromasters. Like the rest of this set, his hands are moulded onto the insides of the doors.

   Poseability is standard, identical to Roadhandler. He looks cute sitting down, actually. The colour scheme works pretty well, the orange on his face makes it easier to see the detailing in the mould, which is good.

OVERALL

   A good Micromaster. While he's not spectacular, I can't really fault Swindler, except when he hits 88Mph and vanishes into 1955... 7.5/10

Tailspin

CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A blue Le Mans racer with painted grey windows on an enclosed canopy. Tailspin's car mode stands out in that it's the only one that's purely a race car. He has black plastic wheels like his teammates, and has a spoiler at the rear which has no gap underneath it, rather a solid plastic. It's interesting that this is the only member of the set to use the grey paint, when black would have worked also. The grey paint is very close to the grey plastic used on both tailspin and Swindler.

   Tailspin's too low to the ground to roll very well at all - he tends to scrape his sides along the ground instead. Not a major thing, but it ruins the only possible play value in this mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the rear back to form the feet, fold the front up and stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   Tailspin has a grey torso, grey head and grey thighs, with blue arms and lower legs. He also has some car mode kibble in the form of the front of the car visible above his head. There's red paint on his face, chest and groin, which works quite well with the plastic colours. He has a screw in the middle of his chest, but the hole's deep enough that all you see is a black circle.

   On either side of his head are missile racks - three missiles arranged vertically on each side. Obviously, they don't fire. The reason for the missile racks is to support the joint for the car front. This joint is too high on his back, which is why the kibble is so visible, but any further down his back it would have been on his front windscreen, which would have made the car mode look really bad. So while the kibble's not terrific, it's the lesser of two evils. I suppose it's something of a feature - it doesn't cause stability problems or anything, but he does have stuff sitting there when it otherwise wouldn't be.

   The upside is that he has the best arms of this set, in that the panels on the outside of the car are quite thin, allowing the arms to be dominant, whereas on the other three they sort of hide inside the panels.

   Poseability is standard, although if you sit him down his thighs and groin get sort of lost behind the car mode spoiler on his knees, so I'd recommend against that.

OVERALL

   The car mode is okay, without being anything special. The robot mode has good and bad points. He's not as good as Swindler or Roadhandler, but he's better than Freewheeler. The robot mode problems are really unavoidable ones, and the choices made in the design of this toy were for the better - 6.5/10
VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

THE PATROL OVERALL

   Aside from a really stupid name (with the exception of Tailspin, they're all production model cars, not race cars), this is a good set. Freewheeler's a bit of a write-off, but the others are all good toys. Comic fans will want this set for the prominence of Roadhandler, but even for others, this is one of the better Micromaster Patrols. While the set's still worth getting, the overall mark is dragged down by Freewheeler - 7/10

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