Cliffbee.com: Springer Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Springer
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Aerial Defence
Alternate Mode: Futuristic Helicopter / Futuristic Car (perfect for protecting the skies!)



CHOPPER MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 10cm Width: 17.5cm

   Springer's a grey and green chopper with a yellow nose. The green is twotone, there's both lime and grass greens on this toy, and he has a sky blue cockpit and black rotors. It's actually quite a nice colour scheme, the two greens and yellow go well together, and the grey keeps it from being too bright. He has some silver chrome, at the base of the rotors and on a silver jet-like piece just behind the rotor attachment position. It's a small angular chopper, the cockpit looks like it's designed for one, the tail is slender and rectangular. He has a small tailfin and a moulded rotor on the very end of the tail, as well as small tail stabilisers.

   As I said it's a good colour scheme without being bright, the tail and much of the fuselage is grey. the cockpit is like and there's two small grass green rockets (which are more for the car mode) at the back of the engine section. On the sides of the chopper are small protruding blocks, which look like they're meant to be small winglike stabilisers. He has a rubsign indent on top of the cockpit.

   The play value in this mode is standard really - the rotor spins fairly freely (my cat loves trying to "catch" it) and there are concealed wheels underneath allowing him to roll - these are the wheels for the car mode, but Springer's designed so his wheels work in this mode as well. It is possible to attach his gun to one of the stabilisers (they're actually the robot arms), but this is very lopsided. I suppose if you grabbed a spare from a parts dealer, you could give him matching guns.

   The only real weakness of this mode is it's reliance on the rotor piece. It detaches to form his robot sword, and obviously if it's missing your Springer will have a pretty lame chopper mode. Mine has his rotors, though, so I'm quite happy with him as a chopper.

TRANSFORMATION TO CAR MODE

   Remove the rotor assembly, attach the gun into the same hole. Slide the engine section backwards. Slide the fender-like side sections forward one notch - they become car fenders. Fold the wings underneath, revealing the front wheels. Split the back section of the tail, slide the halves forward.

CAR MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 12.5m Width: 6.5cm

   Being similar to the helicopter mode, Springer's car mode is largely grey, with a yellow hood, a lime green cabin, sky blue window and grass green rockets at the back. He looks like a rocket car, incidentally - he's got visible front tyres (rubber, chrome hubcaps) and a single man cockpit. The rear wheels are plastic and are concealed underneath the rear fenders.

   This mode is largely a rearrangement of the chopper parts, with a chrome gun in place of the blades, so the overall look is very similar to the helicopter. This mode rarely featured in the cartoon and movie, since he usually just flew. While it's not bad car mode by any stretch, it's somewhat redundant with the more prominent chopper mode being a nicer mode. His play value in this mode is limited to rolling him along on his wheels, which about all you'd expect anyway.

   In the car mode's favour is the fact that losing the gun isn't the end of things. So if you have a rotor-less Springer, the car mode is still meaningful.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Slide the rear section out to form the robot legs, slide the rocketpack forward. Fold out the robot arms and position them as desired, slide the fenders forward a notch to form his shoulders. Stand him up, fold down the car's hood to form his chest, revealing his head. Fold the blades up and together to form his sword, give him gun and sword.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 6cm

   While grey is still the most dominant plastic colour, it contributes far less in Springer's robot mode than his other two modes. His chest is yellow, his head grass green (the face is a minty green paint), his upper arms, groin and thighs are all lime green, and significantly, there's a lot of silver stickers on this robot mode, hiding a lot of grey.

   This is probably Springer's weakest mode, mainly due to his arms. They sit on the front of the giant shoulderpads formed from his fenders, meaning his shoulder joints are further forward than they should be. His head is also very small compared to his big, blocky chest. It's easy to see where they got the name from - he is chunky and strong looking, and while his legs don't look like springs, I could believe he has a lot of strength in them.

   Despite looking a little gimpy, his arms have all of Springer's poseability. The shoulders swing up and down and out to the sides (as if he were opening a book). His elbows are also hinged. Most of these joints are needed for his transformation between his three modes, but it's clearly they wanted him to have robot poseability.

   Aside from the arm and head proportion problems, Springer is quite show accurate, although he lacks the crest of his animated version. His face has moulded eyes, nose and a mouth, which is nice - had they not bothered his head would have looked really bad.

   While the proportion problems drag it down, this mode isn't awful. It's resemblance to the character so prominent in the movie makes it cool, anyway.

VARIATIONS

   Originally released in 1986, Springer first came with a metal chestplate (the yellow section), and later switched to a plastic chestplate. He was released again in 1991 as a classic, which had a plastic chest but was otherwise identical to the second version - the only difference is the copyright stamp.

OVERALL

   Springer is easily the most prominent of the Autobot Triple Changers, and most G1 fans will want him simply because he's in TF:TM. As a toy he's not as cool as Astrotrain or Blitzwing, but he's not the worst Triple Changer either. His robot mode has some problems and his two vehicle modes are very similar, but he has a great colour scheme and both vehicle modes look cool. Even if you've somehow managed to never see TF:TM but collect G1 Transformers, I'd still recommend Springer - 6/10

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