Cliffbee.com: Twincast Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Twincast
Series: Japanese Generation 1
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Communications
Alternate Mode: Boombox

Thanks to Griffin for loaning me Twincast, making this review possible (I have since acquired Twincast).



BOOMBOX MODE
Height: 11cm Depth: 5cm Width: 18cm

   A blue and white boombox with a yellow cassette door, Twincast is actually a "Ghetto Blaster", although I'm not sure that term is really used much, since portable stereo styles have changed and the English vernacular is more politically correct. The central section is blue whilst the speaker sections and the buttons are white, as is the handle at the top. He has red speaker grilles while the tweeters above the main speakers are black along with the grip in the middle of his handle. There are stickers below the speaker grilles representing woofers, and below the button rack (which is below the door) is a rubsign, in its own indent. The colours work well visually even if as a repaint of Blaster, they're not totally realistic (the red grilles and transparent red tape window in particular). The colours do work well aesthetically, mind you.

   I think I've largely covered the look of this unit, so now I'll cover the details. There's a transparent red window on the door, and there are four buttons on the rack below this. The one on the right is marked "play" and will stay down if pushed. The two central buttons are a single piece, labelled "stop", and release the play button. The left button is labelled "eject", and will release the door, revealing a cavity which can hold two cassettes - although he originally came with none (and the reissue only with one, Flipsides).

   There's a power switch moulded above the left speaker, a earphone jack behind the right speaker - it actually says "8ohm OUTPUT EARPHONE" (with an ohm symbol and all!). Just to the left of the tape door is a moulded tuning dial. While he might not be sold with two tapes unlike his counterpart Soundblaster, he has three extra buttons so the play value here is pretty good.

   A very nice looking boombox, Twincast really does look like an 80s ghetto blaster, and I prefer this look to the Microcassette recorder of Soundwave/Soundblaster, even if his Destron equivalent is slightly more detailed. The handle really sells this mode, and the speaker grilles add to the effect. If you have some cassettes you'll probably enjoy this mode a lot more, but either way it's good.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Slide the grip on the handle to the right to detach the handle-halves, swing down the speakers to the side and then down underneath to form the legs. Stow the handle-halves on the outsides of his legs, fold down the tweeters to form his feet. Slide the legs together so that the grey thighs and shins are flush with each other, flip up his head and rotate to reveal his face. Pull his arms out from his torso, extend the forearms and the fists, give him his handgun. While it's not really an unusual transformation, I've always been impressed with the way the handle disappears during transformation, rather than ending up hanging around on his back.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 23cm Width: 11.5cm

   The first thing you'll notice about Twincast is that he's on a different scale to the other cartoon-era Transformers. The second thing you'll notice about this repaint is that only half of Blaster's black pieces are now red - some remain black. The size of this mould has always bothered me, so despite the clever transformation I've always preferred the Soundwave mould to this one as a robot (and overall).

   Moving along, Twincast is now mainly blue from the groin up with white legs. His chestplate is the yellow door, which is slightly offset to his left, while his face is silver with yellow eyes and blue antennae. His elbows and the grilles on his shins are red while the feet and elbows remain black. The colours work really well here, and do a good job of conveying the sense that this is the same character as before, thanks to to continuity of his facial colours and the yellow door.

   As you'd expect from someone who transforms into a brick, Twincast has a very blocky robot mode. They've done a good job of giving him a defined shape, thanks to narrow elbows, sloped hips and a rounded forehead. By today's standards this is a very simple robot mode for the size, and was even fairly simple for 1985. There are stickers on his ankles (the sockets from where his feet fold out from) featuring red circles, which have always looked like sonic emitters of some kind to me. His red gun is big, even in proportion to him. It's a long rifle with a lot of moulded detail, which I suppose makes sense considering how long it is.

   There's not really a lot of play value here. The head rotates as part of the transformation and the shoulders rotate, which is not part of the transformation. The buttons still works, so you can open his chest and pop two cassettes inside. The only meaningful movement in the legs is hips that swing out, and this is really of limited value. The chest door is fun, but I'd really appreciate if this blocky toy could move around a little.

   Good colours and a well laid out robot mode, but he's blocky and unposeable, which really stands out at this scale. It's obvious to me that the boombox mode takes precedence, simply because this robot mode doesn't scale well. There are positives here, but Soundwave's robot mode is a lot better, both in terms of play value and scale.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, this is a repaint of Blaster representing the same character. The cassette door is deeper than that of Blaster, allowing Twincast to hold two cassettes rather than one - a really nice change. The original version came with Steeljaw while the recent E-Hobby reissue comes with Flipsides, an entirely new character cassette.

OVERALL

   A toy that's clearly built around his alternate mode, Twincast has a great ghetto blaster mode and a robot mode that makes some compromises. The extra capacity is nice and in the case of the reissue the bundled cassette really brings something. I'm not entirely convinced myself because I've never been keen on the mould itself, but as repaints go Twincast is a pretty good one - 6/10

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