The Chainmasters are a set of four repainted Minicars which were given away to pre-registrants at the first Australian Transformers convention - Sabretron 2004, which was held on 6 November in Ashfield, Sydney. All four are hand repaints of the Fun4All Minicar keychains, taken from Takara stock, and roughly ten of each were done. For the sake of colours consistency, the black chase figures were removed from the pool of toys used. Thanks to Goktimus Prime and Griffin for funding and organising the project, to Devil Catbus, Excelon Zero and Raph for taking the time to paint the toys and to... me... for distributing toys to those who couldn't receive toys on the day.
Since these are repaints of established moulds, I'm not going to write full reviews, instead I'll mainly focus on the differences between these toys and the originals, with links to the original toy reviews for more detailed reviews of the moulds. Keep in mind that I'm commenting on the specimens you see in the photographs - some specimens are better or worse than others. I know the Breaker and Muckraker samples aren't the best of the batch, while Spectre was simply plucked out randomly and I'm using the second Minesweeper to be completed.
Unfortunately we were only able to give away Muckraker and Breaker on the day. Spectre _was_ actually ready, but were delivered from the modeller late. Minesweeper was painted, but the job wasn't of a standard we were happy with, and Devil Catbus kindly fixed the toys up. For those who received toys afterwards, we appreciate your patience.
Jhiaxus and Lynx Traveller conspired to produce tech specs for the toys, which can be found here.
Recolour of: Cliffjumper
Breaker was done in a dark blue with white windows, a red face and silver eyes. Perhaps the trickiest part of repainting a toy like Cliffjumper is finding a colour scheme that hasn't been done. While Cliffjumper was done in blue in The Netherlands and Mexico, it was a much lighter blue with black windows. The blue used works quite well, and works well with the white. Breaker's Autobot symbols - on his chest and rear panel - are unpainted and the chrome was not painted. The blue is more or less a substitution for Cliffjumper's red. The colours chosen are taken from the Australian flag, incidentally.
Breaker is, in theory, my favourite of the set. The paint job is generally pretty good. The windows were painted in place, rather than the toy being taken apart allowing the fringed to be painted, and this is noticeable as small white overflows on the windowframes and a black edge on the rear window, where the spoiler made painting impractical. I'm happy to report that the toys transforms with no hassles - most of the transforming joints on Cliffjumper are black on both surfaces, the ankles are really the only painted joints.
A good concept that comes off well for the most part, save for some minor window paint issues. Being one of the toys available on the day, Breaker is one of the more common of this set.
Recolour of: Windcharger
Minesweeper is a yellow and red repaint of Windcharger, with yellow in place of Windy's red and a brick red in place of the grey on his chestpiece (the grey of his boots has been left grey). For some reason the original painter painted over the Autobot symbols on his hood - and in the case of my sample, simply removed the sticker. The symbol on his chest is still present, and his mouth is silver with a blue eyestrip. The yellow paint is glossier than the paints on the other three toys, and because it has been applied over a previous paint job, is a little uneven in places. Having said that, Devil Catbus has done a good job of fixing the mess that was Minesweeper's original paint job. The yellow and red, combined with his black windows, were chosen in tribute to the Aboriginal flag.
The red of the torso is an attractive shade which is brighter than the red of Windcharger (both versions), so it's a real shame the original job was done so poorly, because this colour scheme has potential. The arms have to clip onto pegs in the transformation, so while Breaker avoids transformation trouble, Minesweeper's not so lucky since those pegs are visible on his robot mode hips. On the two completed so far I've managed to scrape out the original yellow from inside the fists, enabling a smoother transformation, although it's still not perfect.
Despite the rescue effort, Minesweeper has the worst paint application of the set. It's still quite a nice colour scheme, however. Being the last toy ready (as I write this only three are completed), Minesweeper is the toy which has been distributed least - which is probably a good thing.
Recolour of: Brawn
A brown and beige Brawn repaint, Muckraker's colour are essentially the inverse of Outback's with a silver face and blue eyestrip. The beige is slightly duller than Outback's and the brown a little darker, but it's more or less the same colour set. Which of course makes sense for a four wheel drive, and fits in with the stockman stereotype. The stickers on her torso are all unpainted, one is an Autobot symbol, and there's also one on her bonnet.
Muckraker is the best of the set in terms of quality. The paint is consistent and the joints all work well even though most are painted (both surfaces in the case of her hips). The chromed arms have been left as silver and there is no spillage - the toys were obviously disassembled for painting. Conceptwise I find Muckraker both the least interesting and most logical, but the quality of the paintjob makes up for my relative lack of interest.
One of the two toys ready on the day, so Muckraker is relatively common. The flagship of the bunch due to her obvious Australian links and high quality paintjob.
Recolour of: Bumblebee
A green Bumblebee repaint with yellow windows, Spectre sports the colours traditionally associated with Australia. Our official colours are yellow and blue, but green and gold are synonymous with Australian sport. His face is yellow with a silver eyestrip. The paint job is quite well done, although the coating is fairly thin, but you only really notice if you hold his feet up to a light source. Again this is a mould that's seen a lot of repaints, but the shade of green used and the yellow windows really make this toy different.
It's a very attractive colour scheme, and Spectre has become my favourite repaint of this set, even if Muckraker's paint job is executed better. As on Breaker, the windows have been painted in place, but mine has far less spillage on the windowframes.
The majority of the Spectre toys were sent out after the event, since he was ready but not in our possession on the day. As stated, this is my favourite of the set and was worth the wait