Cliffbee.com: Vroom Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Vroom
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Saboteur
Alternate Mode: Rocket Car



ROCKET CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 9.5cm Width: 5cm

   A flat red car with black plastic tyres, a black nose and a large black circular cockpit. The rear wheels are on fenders which stick out to the sides, that are fairly easy to pick as his arms. There's a very large light grey gun mounted on top of the cockpit, which is the shell's handgun. The colour scheme works well enough, since it's kept very simple - there's nothing here to clash.

   While the cockpit is pretty easy to pick as a tyre for the larger bike mode (the sidecar, to be precise), I don't mind so much, as long as you've got the large gun (the small one can't attach here - although it can clip into the side of the large gun). There's no reason why a Cybertronian rocket car needs a distinctly Earthen cockpit, and with the big gun there it's more of a mount than a true cockpit. The gun can rotate right around, while the wheels roll giving this car about as much play value as you could ask for.

   While this rocket car is really not much more than a way to give the inner robot an alt mode that won't get in the way of the sidecar, I still like it. It's more believable than a lot of other Pretender vehicle modes, and has a simple charm about it.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the large gun and give it to the shell. Set aside the tyre on top, extend and split the front to form his legs, flip up the black nose as feet. Flip the back of the car down to reveal the head, attach the wheel as a shield on the outside of his left arm (you can stow it on the back of the shell if you prefer), give him his small grey handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 8.5cm Width: 5cm

   Now largely red, Vroom has light grey thighs, a light grey face and some light grey on the top of his chest, along with an Autobot logo sticker. His feet are black along with the shield and rear tyres on his shoulders. There are some stickers breaking the red up a little, but this robot mode has a good colour scheme anyway - red and grey tend to combine well.

   This is a surprisingly good robot mode for a Pretender. The face is well sculpted, the body shape is good and there's no kibble (the latter makes sense since so much adds on for the sidecar). His torso has some simple robotic detailing and the head is well sculpted. The fists are slightly disappointing, with no moulded digits, although I suspect that's because they'd be awfully visible in car mode.

   The play value is minimal - the arms swing and the hips can swing out to the sides maybe 45 (although I'm not sure why they need to, I wont complain). With a little leg spreading, Vroom can actually mount the large cannon on his shield, with the right leg offsetting the weight of the large gun.

   One of the best robot modes amongst the 1989 Pretenders, and while the competition is often pretty abysmal (especially some of the Pretender Monsters), this is still a good robot mode in it's own right. There aren't really any obvious alt mode aspects, but then his vehicle mode is Cybertronian anyway. The colours work, the head is well sculpted, the proportions are good - making this a good robot mode despite its simplicity.

SHELL BIKE MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 14cm Width: 10cm, 15 with sidecar

   While Vroom himself is all about red, the main body of this motorcycle is black, the luggage compartments on either side of the saddle are white, the front wheel struts light grey while his plastic tyres are black. The front cover area is red, with a moulded headlight but no windshield. Again the colours have stuck the same forumla, and while they work ok here, they're somewhat uninteresting.

   The tyres don't quite sit right - the rear tyre is too far forward, and the bike is wider than it probably should be, but otherwise this bike mode is okay. Considering that it transforms into a Pretender shell I'm quite happy with how it turned out. There's a small post on top of the saddle where the small handgun can mount, surprisingly there's nowhere for the gun's large handgun to mount on this bike.

   While the weaponry is a little limited, the wheels roll and the gun on top can rotate right around. While this doesn't represent much play value, it's more than the more famous Thunderwing has.

   The other option you have is the addition of a sidecar. The front of the sidecar is an add-on piece, while the folded up robot clips underneath this and sticks out the back, while the large gun mounts on top of the sidecar piece and the sidecar wheel (the shield) clip on the outside. The sidecar itself clips onto the right side of the sidecar piece. The end result is a pretty good sidecar that compliments the bike well, and makes the bike mode a lot cooer (not least because it hides the out of place rear wheel). The sidecar wheel doesn't roll too well since it's clipped on, but I can live with that.

   Factoring in the sidecar, this is the best combined alt mode amongst the compound Pretenders. It's more or less realistic, credible and instantly recognisable. While some of the others are a little poor at times (especially the larger rolling coffins!), take nothing away from this bike - it's better than some Transformer bike modes that don't need to find a robot inside. The sidecar is dependant on four different pieces being present (and Vroom parts are hard to find), but all the bike needs is a detachable rear wheel.

SHELL'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the sidecar and take it apart, remove the small handgun. Swing the luggage compartments back to form boots, Split the rear wheel struts and swing them out and up over the saddle (you can leave the wheel in place if you like). Detach the arms from the front struts, fold down. Split the red front panel and push out to the sides, stand him up. The front lifts open to stow the inner robot, the sidecar piece clips onto the front struts as a sort of hood, the sidecar wheel can clip onto the mount now on his skidplate (or the arm of the inner robot, if it's out), while this shell can hold both handguns in its hands.

SHELL ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 9.5cm

   Again there's not a lot of red - the front plate is white, left unpainted on the helmet, torso and thighs while the sternum is painted yellow, the groin and central stripe of the helmet painted hold and the face is a Caucasian skin colour with brown eyes. The arms are light grey, the boots black and the shoulderpads and hood are red. The colours are a little bit more interesting now which is nice - and since the bike mode is probably the more interesting of this shell's mode this is a good thing.

   While it's not a dull robot mode, there are plenty of humanoid Autobot Pretender shells so it's not as memorable as the bike is The colours work well enough and the proportions are ok, with a narrow gap between the boots. There is some kibble, the shoulderpads work quite well but the hood is pretty obviously a stowed accessory. He's a bit blocky but I can deal with that considering he forms a rather good vehicle and has to have a central cavity for the inner robot.

   The face might be broadly the same as many other Pretender shells', but it's detailed enough to keep me happy - there are even painted eyebrows. The chest is done reasonably well, with some moulded lines and a rounded armour shape. The arms and legs are fairly robotic, save for well shaped humanoid hands.

   Poseability is probably the weakest point here, which is understandable really. The arms can swing from about 15 down to 70 up and that's all we get. The poseability is worse than that of most Pretender shells, since this shell has other things it has to do.

   A fairly good compliment for the inner robot itself, and while there are certainly limitations here, most are direct results of the good bike mode, which I can deal with. This robot mode is essentially a sideshow to the main event, but it does what it has to do.

VARIATIONS

   None I'm aware of. Unlike the two other Mega Pretenders, Vroom was not retooled for release in Japan.

OVERALL

   While Vroom is a pretty obscure toy, he's also a rewarding toy. The rocket car has a charm about it while the robot mode itself is good for what it is. The Pretender shell's motorbike mode is the real star, and the inner robot forms a great add-on sidecar. The colours are simple but work well, especially on the inner robot. Vroom's main weakness is that there are a total of seven pieces, making completing Vroom (an uncommon toy) on the secondary market quite tricky, although his prices are comparable to the other Mega Pretenders. Despite his relative obscurity, in my opinion Vroom is a slightly better toy than the far better know Thunderwing - 7.5/10

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