Cliffbee.com: Zap/Windbreaker Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Zap (Non US)/Windbreaker (US)
Series: "European" Generation 1/Generation 2
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Advance Intelligence Scout
Alternate Mode: Camaro

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Zap for this review



CAMARO MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 8cm Width: 4.5cm

   A fluorescent orange 1980s Camaro with some blue stripes on the hood and sides, a blue sunshade on the rear window, a chrome silver protruding engineblock and black plastic tyres. Zap (who came first) has transparent pink windows while Windbreaker has smoky transparent windows. I'll refer to to Zap in this review since I have Zap in front of me, it's a shorter name, and a far better one (but I'll cover the differences later). I'm not sold on the idea of a fluorescent sports car of any description, much less one with transparent pink windows, so at best this colour scheme is awful. The smoky windows are slightly better, although the toy still looks like a distress flare.

   The level of detail here is fairly low, but Zap is still identifiable as a Camaro, which is pretty good for a toy of this size and era. The distinctive headlights are stickers within recesses, the engineblock has pistons in the sides and there are doorhandles & seams - enough to get by without being fantastic. The rear tyres are larger than the front wheels, all all four roll, representing the play value here.

   A small, simple, car with reasonable detailing but awful colours. This mould would have worked in a better colour system, but in these colours Zap's colour scheme quite frankly makes his car mode waste of time.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Flip out the rear to form boots and unlock the sides. Pull out the sides, which splits the from and forms arms. His engineblock will fall out - and it becomes the gun, while the head simply flips up from within his chest. Lift up the forearms and give Zap his gun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9cm Width: 6.5cm

   The orange is still around (unfortunately) but this time there's a _lot_ of blue to help out. The torso, thighs and forearms are blue plastic while the shins are the (painted) blue sunshade from car mode. The chest plate is black while Zap's head is painted silver with pink eyes and a good lightpipe (or smoky with a weak lightpipe). The orange is relegated to the upper arms and boots and while it's still garish, the blue and black made this mode quite tolerable.

   The arms sit a long way out to the sides, thanks to the fact they're on black struts, but otherwise the body shape is okay here. The silver head works fairly well, as long as it's not scratched. The chrome gun is a good idea but I'm not sure that Zap needs any more bright colouring. For some reason the black chestplate folds down - I suspect to facilitate the head transforming (although he would have gotten away with anyway) - at any rate the fact that they've used an extra piece of plastic on this simple is good.

   The play value is pretty straightforward - his forearms lift up 90 and the arms can lift out to the sides about 40. It's not much but for the time it's acceptable. The chrome gun can wear, and Goktimus's has some black areas where it has worn, but I appreciate the fact that the Axelorator line received chrome, which was rare after the first few years of G1.

   A decent robot mode despite the orange. Zap is nothing special, but he's not the disaster he was in car mode. Sure, this robot mode is simple and still carries that ridiculous orange, but the lightpipe is nice and the pink is less prominent.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, Zap was released outside the USA in the death throes of G1, with transparent pink plastic - and a pink G2 stamp on the windshield. When the G2 line was launched a few months later in the USA, the pink became a smoky plastic with a yellow stamp and the toy was renamed Windbreaker. Here in Australia, we actually received both versions. As cheesy as the name Zap is, the unsavoury connotations of the name Windbreaker (and the fact that the term is only used to describe an item of clothing in the USA) mean I prefer the Non-US name for this toy.

OVERALL

   A forgetable toy, although Zap has his strengths. The car mode is ruined by the awful orange plastic, the robot mode is tempered by extensive use of blue, and while it's not great it's okay. The Camaro was a good idea, and had Zap been produced in better colours - which would have atypical for his era - I would have liked this toy. Unless you really like Camaros, you can skip this toy - neither version really works well - 4/10

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