Cliffbee.com: Topspin Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Topspin
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Land & Sea Assault
Alternate Mode: Rocket Sled



ROCKET SLED MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 10.5cm

   A blue and white Cybertronian rocket sled with chromed silver pontoons on the front, Topspin is unusual for the time, since he bears no resemblance to any real vehicle, but then he's a rocket sled, and they're not really the sort of vehicle you see every day. It's essentially a white lump with blue wrapped around it, including small blue wings on the outriggers on each side. There are sticker stickers on the wings, which may or may not sport the letters, "D.A.R." on them. It's a simple colour scheme, that works quite well.

   Aside from the smallish wings, there are also blasters on the front of the pontoons, on the outsides of what will become his fists. There are thrusters moulded onto the back of the toy, as well as various other minor details. The level of mould detail is pretty good, although slightly less so than the details on Twin Twist.

   The main gimmick of the Jumpstarters is the pull back motor. The idea is that when you release the toy, it'll roll forward and eventually auto-transforming, popping up into robot mode, standing upright. There's an adjustable switch on the back of Topspin's head (underneath the rear of the sled), that allows you to fine tune his balance, allowing him to flip properly.

   In reality the gimmick isn't so good. My Topspin has trouble staying in sled mode at times, although he still flips when pulled back, which is a plus - my Twin Twist doesn't flip properly. There's a little latch that keeps the sled together, and if it breaks he's stuck in robot mode. Assuming it works, it's not a bad idea, but it's not the most durable mechanism, and a neutered transformation is a high price to pay.

   The Cybertronian vehicle mode is in stark contrast to the Transformers of his era, although it comes off reasonably well. The moulded detail is better than a lot of toys of this era, but I still prefer realistic alt mode with less detail. The real point of this mode, the pull back gimmick, really fails to fire.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   In theory, pull him back, let him roll and he'll flip up. Failing that, you'll either have to coax the pull back mechanism by hand or stick something under the right side blue top panel to release the latch, releasing the legs, which allows the springs in his hips to do the rest.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 10cm

   The blue and white colour scheme is carried into the robot model, with a white torso and blue everywhere else. His face is painted silver, with an unpainted blue eye visor, and has a good level for the time, including a nose, lips and a somewhat pointy chin. There are silver stickers on his thighs and an Autobot sticker on the centre of the torso. Again it's a simple colour scheme that works quite well, although I wish his eyes hadn't been left unpainted.

   The legs are short and stocky, while his feet are huge, with enormous footprints. The size 40 feet are needed so that he can flip upright easily without overshooting and landing face first on the floor. Topspin is pretty much incapable of falling forward - you've pretty much got to send him flying to achieve that. His arms are also quite stocky, mainly so they match the legs. The relatively small wings on his shoulders fit in with the general stockiness of this mode. The proportions of the torso are pretty good but the giant boots - as well as the beam under his feet joining them together - hurt the look of the toy a fair bit.

   His shoulders rotate, he can rotate his arms 360, allowing him to aim his big chrome silver gun. That's really it for the play value here. The pull back mechanism is now on his back, so it's no use, unlike some pull back mechanisms.

   It's a decent looking robot mode without being anything special. There are some nice aspects, as well as some great details, but it's a very simple robot mode that doesn't really do a lot, and lacks the alt mode bits that most Transformers of the time incorporated into their robot modes.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, the wing stickers came with or without the letters, "D.A.R." on them. I'm told these letters stand for "Diaclone Attack Robo", a hang over from Topspin's Diaclone origins. Which may help explain the decision to remove them.

OVERALL

   While he's the better of the two Jumpstarters, Topspin never appeared in the cartoon, and is an easy to skip toy. The pull back gimmick is a weak one, but the colours are fairly good. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Topspin is his price - the Jumpstarters are cheap on the secondary market - with good reason, since I can only give him 3.5/10

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