Cliffbee.com: Road Rocket Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Road Rocket
Series: Generation 2
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Street Defense
Alternate Mode: Motorbike



MOTORCYCLE MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 12cm Width: 2.5cm

   A slim red motorbike with a blue saddle, black tyres and silver painted wheels complete with three spokes each and brake discs, Road Rocket has a colourless transparent windshield and headlight, black exhaust pipe and drive mechanism detail on the left side and black handlebars with brake levers. Rounding out the colour scheme is the tag "T950" on either side of the body, which I imagine is the model of bike (I know nothing of these things). It's a decent colour scheme which is quite realistic (making it above average for G2), the red colour and prominent model number give Road Rocket a racing bike feel.

   This is a pretty detailed bike for its size. The drive mechanism, engine detail, brake levers and brake discs are all impressive - Road Rocket is the first Transformer with brake discs that I can recall, and I don't believe we saw them again until Binaltech eight years later. The tyres have tread and the discs don't spin when the wheels turn which is impressive. There's a wire sticking out just behind the front wheel and a colourless buzzsaw next to the rear wheel - both on the left side - and these are the only aspects that are unrealistic. Both directly relate to the Laser Rod gimmick, though, and neither are obtrusive.

   To activate the laser gimmick, you press a very well concealed button on the handlebar. It's not hard to activate but it's quite well hidden. It'll cause an LED to light up the buzzsaw, and the shape of the buzzsaw allows for sufficient refraction to make the whole thing light up red. Adding to the impressive Laser Rod gimmick are the spinning wheels and the kickstand which allows Road Rocket to stand easily. The front wheel cannot turn from side to side but this is a bike that would lean heavily into corners anyway. I'm quite happy with the play value here - the laser gimmick is quite effective and Road Rocket is pretty good compared to most Transformers bikes (the fact that the wheels aren't detachable and easily lost is an advantage itself).

   While I slightly prefer the look of his counterpart Road Pig, this is a very well executed bike mode with very little getting in the way of the bike itself. Road Rocket is probably the best pure Motorbike even done in the Transformers line, in fact. The realism and attention to detail is somewhat atypical of G2, while the laser gimmick is effective and unobtrusive.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the LED section and allow it to hang by the wire. Pull down on the front wheel to loosen the front, then twist the wheel base through 90 (front wheel to the right, rear to the left). Flip up the torso, fold down the right arm and lift up the left forearm (which conceals the head), and bring the left arm to the side. Rotate his waist, extend and split the legs and flip up the feet. Attach the laser block either onto the outside of the right forearm or into the hole in either hand (the outside attachment is far more elegant). Fold down the waistplate and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 11cm

   Again mainly red, although his groin, thighs, waist, shoulders and head are black. The mouthplate and shins are blue and the eyes are colourless with an effective lightpipe. The silver wheels sit on the outside of the shoulders, adding some silver to this robot mode. This is a good colour scheme and works better now that we have slightly more black. The layout is clever and the asymmetry of the robot mode isn't part of the colour scheme.

   There's a heavy bike theme here, thanks to a clever transformation we don't have too much bike getting in the way. The wheels are both out of the way on the shoulders, with both brake discs on the back (which is nice since they were on opposing sides of the bike). The saddle is now his shins and the snug backpack is the handlebar-windshield section of the bike. I have two main gripes about the bodyshape, however. My first complaint is the hollow left forearm, and while this is understandable since the head stows in there, it wouldn't have been too much to turn the block around with the hole at the back. Road Rocket's other shortcoming is _really_ short thighs, although this doesn't really bug me much - it's better than the low knees on Road Pig.

   Road Rocket is quite poseable, as Laser Rods tend to be. Having said that much of his articulation is wasted for various reasons. The left shoulder, elbows, knees and hips are ball jointed while the head, waist and right shoulder turn. The arms are limited by the wire on the right and kickstand on the left while his small feet and top-heavy nature (with the wheels on either side) limit leg posing. Road Rocket does have heelspurs, but they don't move, so they're of some help but don't solve everything. Natural, relaxed poses work well but dynamic poses are pretty limited, sadly.

   The button on his handlebar is now on his back and still functional. The Laser Rod gimmick is equally effective here and the buzzsaw mounted on his forearm makes a great melee weapon. He doesn't really need a handheld weapon, and while the buzzsaw can clip into the holes in his fists, it doesn't really work. The buzzsaw itself can detach if you want it to, although there's no real point to this. Happily it's hard to detach by accident.

   The colours and layout are quite good here and the weapon and LED gimmick work very well. Road Rocket is probably the least poseable of the Laser Rods, despite his jointing. For this reason I'm not as keen on his robot mode as I am on most of the other Laser Rods, but it's by no means a bad robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. The mould was reused in RiD as Sideways and in Robotmasters for Road Rocket, who represents a different character.

OVERALL

   With a great bike mode that's quite realistic and some really nice details, Road Rocket is one of the best Transformers bikes ever (if not the best). The LED gimmick works very well in both modes and the robot mode works visually, but Road Rocket's robot mode is quite restricted by it's own shape. He's probably my least favourite of the seven Laser Rods thanks to the relatively immobile robot mode, but Road Rocket is still a good toy in his own right, and is certainly more purposeful than many G2 toys - 7/10

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