Cliffbee.com: Smokescreen Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Smokescreen
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Diversionary Tactician
Alternate Mode: Datsun 280ZX



CAR MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 11cm Width: 4.5cm

   Smokescreen is a red, blue and white Datsun 280ZX, with some body work to soup him up. The top of the car - ie the bonnet and roof - is red, the bottom is blue and there's white pinstripes dividing these two colours. He's also got white along the bottom around the sides and on the bottom of the front bumper. The red is a darkish red, the blue a mid blue (think deep sky blue). He's number 38, as evidenced by black writing on white stickers on the doors and bonnet.

   The Targa top moulded into the roof on both Prowl and Bluestreak is gone - Smokescreen's roof is smooth. There are two other mould changes compared with his Datsun cousins. Firstly, the front bumper is now a giant airdam, so he sits a lot lower at the front than the other two. There's a spoiler moulded underneath the back window, completing the bodykit. I'm not certain if he's meant to be a rally car or a track racer, but he's clearly a racing vehicle.

   This is a pretty realistic Datsun, even if the colours are somewhat unusual. He has transparent front and rear windows. The side windows are absent, they've been wound down, I guess. His rear bumper is black and the front blue (being part of the bodykit). He has rubber tyres and the hubcaps are chrome silver.

   As with most Diaclone based Transformers, Smokescreen has die cast metal parts - his front section and the rear of the car are die cast, making him quite heavy, but also giving him a more solid feel. This paint is fairly sturdy, mine has no paint damage at all. Incidentally, they've matched the blue plastic, blue and red metal paints and red plastic paint up very well - at a glance you wouldn't know he's partially die cast metal.

   The front headlights have silver stickers inside them, the airdam is covered in a sticker, which has air intakes on it. There are no number plates on Smokescreen, unlike his cousins, but then, being a racer, I don't think he needs them. The taillights are orange and red, and even have the white reverse lights in the right spot. Smokescreen's rubsign is on his roof. You're meant to apply an Autobot sticker on the hood, in the middle of the 38, but it looks pretty stupid that way. Mine's actually missing the 38 but has the Autobot sticker -it was like that when I got him - but if I got him now I'd probably have defied the instructions and put the Autobot sticker on the airdam, leaving the factory applied 38 in piece.

   His wheels roll, but he doesn't have axles so he wont roll freely very far. As with nearly all Diaclone Autobots, he's got a spot in his cabin where you can fit a Diaclone driver. The inside of the cabin is pretty much just robot kibble, but it doesn't hurt his overall look.

   The only major flaw in this mode is fragility. The roof has a habit of snapping off - and if it does this mode is ruined. Otherwise, it's a pretty good Datsun.

   All in all, this is a nice car mode. The little things, like the taillights and the moulding are done well - he has doorhandles and other cool details. He's unmistakably a 280ZX, yet he's clearly different from both Bluestreak and Prowl. Sure, it's the same basic mould as the other two, but this Datsun has a very different feel to it.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull out the rear section, flip it down and pull the two halves apart to form the feet. Lift the groin locking plate up, rotate the waist 180° and lock the groin again. Unclip the fists from the shoulders, swing the arms up from inside the front of the car, fold the front down to form the chest - the head should reveal, if it doesn't, fold the roof down onto his back and the head will fold up. Open the doors to form wings. Position the arms, give him his shoulder missile launchers and his rifle.

   You'll notice that Smokescreen's launchers are white, while his chest is red and his head is blue. If you like, you can play musical launchers - I've given Smokescreen Bluestreak's red launchers, given Bluestreak Prowl's silver launchers, and given Prowl Smokescreen's white launchers.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 9.5cm

   While the blue is probably slightly more dominant in car mode, red now dominates his robot mode, since his shins and chest are red. His upper arms, fists, wings and the sides of his feet are blue, and his waist and thighs white. His launchers are white, if you add them, and the missiles chrome silver. His groin, forearms and toes are black, his head his blue with a silver face and gold antennae. The chest is the hood of the Datsun, with the 38 and/or Autobot logo smack in the middle. His feet are the rear section of the car, the taillights are on his toes and the rear window has become the shins. The doors are now wings, as mentioned - they stick out to the sides from behind the shoulders, but are far enough back that they’re not in the way of the arm poseability at all.

   The combination of red, blue white and black works pretty well in robot mode. The head's colouring is pretty good (show accurate, too), and his facial sculpt is quit detailed. The are lots of Datsun bits, yet no kibble, making this a sweet looking robot. The wings are emblazoned with "38", he has the front wheels mounted on the back of his shoulders.

   Smokescreen's poseability is limited to his arms, which are very poseable for G1 - his wrists rotate, his elbows are hinged and there are two swivels in each shoulders giving them full motion. Adding to the play value is the missile launchers, which shoot chrome silver missiles maybe 6 inches. Okay, it's not great, but it's a feature. His gun, which is chrome silver, fits in one hand, but the barrel can rest on the other, simulating a two-handed grip.

   There's a lot of sticker detail on the black parts in this mode - the groin and the black inside his shins (behind the windows). He also has stickers on his shoulders with silver and gold chevrons on them. All of these stickers are subtle enough that you don't really notice them, but they give him mechanical detail, enhancing the overall look of Smokescreen.

   This is a great robot mode, thanks to an aesthetically pleasing mould and great colours. He has good poseability for a Diaclone, I can't really flaw it. The shape of his head - actually his neck - isn't totally show accurate, but that's because Sunbow used artistic license to give him a different look in robot mode to Prowl and Bluestreak, so I won't hold it against him.

VARIATIONS

   Released in 1985 originally, then reissued by Takara in 2002. This reissue has rivets instead of screws on his shoulders (underneath the chevron stickers).

   This character was recently revisited in Binaltech.

OVERALL

   A great mould for the time, although by the time he came out, Smokescreen was the third use of the mould. But with a unique colour scheme and addition of a bodykit Smokescreen is different enough that G1 fans will appreciate him on his own. Recommended for G1 fans, even if you have both Prowl and Bluestreak - 8.5/10

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