Thanks to Pulse for donating Checkpoint & Sunstorm for this review
Alternate Mode: Police Car
POLICE CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 3cm
A dark smoky and cobat blue police car, Checkpoint has red windows and a red stroberack on top. While the smoky plastic works well with the cobalt blue, the red reminds me of tacky, bright, nail polish - which is not a good thing. The gold headlights and the white "SWAT A2" on his left fender add some more tackiness, so overall this is a pretty gaudy repaint of Armada's Prowl (normal for this mould, sadly). There's an Autobot logo stamped on his hood, which looks decent despite the gap down the middle, and while the rest of the painted details are questionable, this one is a good idea. The wheels are all black plastic, with the rear wheels almost twice the size of the front ones. Combine that with his rear spoiler, this is what a cop would drag race in. For those drag meets attended by the SWAT team, no doubt.
The transparent plastic works better here than on the original, since it's quite dark. The mould itself works fairly well, but the painted details really hold this police car back His powerlinx port is behind the cockpit on top. He has a black front bumper, which is rounded.
TRANSFORMATION TO WEAPON MODE
Basically you unfold him, with one rear tyre becoming the barrel of the gun, and one arm becoming the handle. It's asymmetrical and difficult to describe, so I'm not going to try.
Checkpoint's weapon mode only works as an attachment. He can be handheld by some bigger toys but can also attach. By himself he looks like a gun someone put down. It's an okay mode, I suppose, but I wouldn't have cared had the left it out of this toy. In fact, since it puts some design limitations on the robot mode, I'd have preferred they did leave it out.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold out the halves of the front bumper and fold over the front half to form the legs. Stand him up lift the arms out from his sides. Done. It's a pretty simple transformation - more engineering has gone into the gun mode.
Height: 6.5cm Width: 3cm
Still largely smoky transparent plastic, Checkpoint has black thighs, blue arms and a blue head. The head is itself moulded onto a large blue block sitting on top of the shoulders, formed from the rear section, complete with rear wheels on either side. While the block itself doesn't look that bad, his face is almost flat and does look bad. The fact that it's white on a white background doesn't help, but at least he has a red eyeslit. Sadly they didn't bother painting his gas mask mouth this time around.
The only real poseability Checkpoint has is ball joints in his arms. His hip and knee hinges allow some posing but he's hard to stand in any position but upright. There's no gap between his legs, combine this with the arms right at the sides and the simple face, he almost reminds me of a very early Go-bot.
None that I'm aware of, but as mentioned, Checkpoint is a repaint of Armada's Prowl.
A bad mould that always seems to be made worse by inappropriate use of transparent plastic. This time around, Checkpoint's plastic is dark enough for the transparent plastic to not look like crap. So instead, the paint mask is crap. There's a symmetry there that I would have gladly done without. The weapon mode is okay, but doesn't really make sense anymore and the robot mode was never a good one. If they'd taken the paint job seriously, this could have been a distinct improvement over the earlier version of the mould. Instead, it's the cheesiest - 3/10
Alternate Mode: Jet Plane
JET PLANE MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 6.5cm Width: 4.5cm
A dark transparent purple plane with extensive lemon yellow paint on top. Sunstorm's name is taken straight from Hasbro's stable of well-worn generics, but it's still better than Energon's Wreckage, of whom Sunstorm is a repaint. The modified fuselage is quite wide, his wings have jet intakes on the front edg. The end result is more of a space cruiser than a jet plane. Sunstorm has a wheel underneath and while he'll stand without it, he'll dip forward a little if it's retracted. The lemon yellow on mine isn't applied that well, but he still looks a lot better than the transparent yellow eyesore that is Wreckage.
The modified sculpt is a quite cool here - and he's notably different to Armada's Runway. The yellow and purple contrast sharply, giving Sunstorm an aposematic look - and the Decepticon logo on his port side tailfin really fits.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Stow the wheel, flip out the legs, stand him up, unfold the arms. Fold the tail section down to form the chestplate and lift out his head.
Height: 6cm Width: 4.5cm
A grey robot with dark transparent purple wings and a dark burgundy chest - which is the back of the jet, but you don't really see the difference at a glance in jet mode. His head has a red eyeslit while the elbows are also red. The colours work really well despite their simplicity. The twin tailfins form his chest while the wings form his upper arms.
There's not a lot of poseability - he's a very static MiniCon. The elbows hinge and there's some wiggle in the legs, but not enough to take advantage of the tail (which would make a great third, stabilising, leg).
A decent mould with some good retooling. The yellow paint is sloppy, at least on mine, but he still looks a _lot_ better than Energon's Wreckage and has a better name despite how generic it is. I'd very much recommend Sunstorm over the Energon figure. The retooled plane mode is good and the robot mode attractive despite its static nature - 6.5/10
Checkpoint combines a bad mould with a terrible paint mask, and is going straight into storage after this review. Sunstorm is actually pretty decent, however. Sure he's not the best MiniCon ever, but the retooling is enough for me to appreciate him. Certainly his colours are better than the dubious transparent yellow of Wreckage, and his name suggests he'll stay in the air to boot. If you like the retooling, grab this duo and forget about Checkpoint. Overall, this set is okay, purely because Sunstorm has merit - 4.5/10