"Quick action equals quick victory."
Windcharger was my second Transformers toy ever, back in the summer of 1984. Before I ever read a Transformers comic book or saw an episode of the Transformers cartoon, Windcharger accompanied Gears, my first Transformer, on many adventures against the unseen Decepticon forces and their mobile, hidden base. They were later joined by Jazz and found their first foes in Skywarp, Rumble, and Ravage.
Needless to say, I was rather happy to find out that one of my first Transformers and favorite characters would finally get an upgrade and in the Alternators line to boot. While some may feel this toy would be better served as an upgrade for the Omnibot Overdrive, which is the name this toy has in the Binaltech line, I have no problems seeing this as Windcharger's new form.
Windcharger's box is in the same as the other Alternators in the second style packaging. The window is gone, though the dome covering the toy, with it's top down, is still intact, keeping the grubby hands of the consumers at bay. The artwork isn't bad, though it really doesn't capture the character. The side panels show Windcharger in car mode with the top on and in robot mode. The cross-sell on the bottom shows Grimlock.
The back of the box highlights some of the many features Windcharger has such as detailed interior, detachable convertible top, and that his engine is removable and becomes a shield. This wasn't always the case, however. Originally, there was a drive shaft attached to one end of the engine and ran underneath. When transformed, this would form the barrel to a his rifle. However, someone, somewhere decided they didn't like Windcharger having a gun, so that part was removed. Fortunately, some enterprising fans have made reproductions of the test shot drive shaft for anyone wishing to return Windcharger to his full glory.
Windcharger traded in his Pontiac Fire Bird vehicle mode for a more modern and convertible Honda S2000. This is a first for Transformers as he comes with a removable roof as well as an attachment to simulate the roof being down, which is how he's packaged with the full roof tucked underneath the chassis.
In vehicle mode, Windcharger is 6 3/4 inches long, 3 1/4 inches wide, and a few hairs over 2 inches with the top up. He features Cybertronian Radial brand tires as well as opening driver and passenger side doors and trunk. The hood also opens to reveal a detailed engine.
A first for the Alternators, Windcharger also features a small antennae on the rear passenger side of the vehicle, near the hinge for the trunk. The seats are also nicely detailed and can pivot forward for Spike and Carly to place a couple small packages while they're out shopping.
You can find the Honda "H" on the front of the car, just in front of the hood, and in the center of the back portion of the trunk lid. Right below is the license plat, adorned with the Autobot symbol and the letters WNDCGR. Windcharger is also tricked out with two chrome tailpipes.
The rear view mirrors feature a reflective surface, so Spike can be on the look out for Prowl while racing down the highway. Windcharger's interior has mosts the things one would find in a typical car; vents, some panel controls, emergency brake, and a gear shift with a silver handle.
My only complaint about the vehicle mode is the plastic used for the steering wheel. It's a soft, malleable plastic that does not maintain it's shape very well. Sure, it turns, but it'll melt if left in the sun while waiting for Carly to finish her shoe shopping.
There are parts of every Alternator so far released that I've disliked about their transformation to and from robot mode. With the Subaru molds, it's lining up their legs going back to car form. With the Vipers, it's configuring their arms, for the Corvettes it's the stiffness of the legs, and for the Mustangs it's figuring out getting their arms out for robot mode or back in for car mode. Windcharger is the exception as the designers took the easiest parts of the Viper and Corvette transform and combined it for this toy.
The front of the car transforms into his legs in a similar fashion to Side Swipe and Dead End, except that the front fenders fold inward to give Windcharger better legs and feet than the Vipers. The doors also fold down, along the outside of the legs. Fold the running boards down, raise the trunk and dashboard/windshield section up and rotate 180 degrees then turn the waist around 180 degrees and fold the seats down. The back of the car splits apart into the arms, similar to Tracks and Battle Ravage, only with most of the rotation missing. Last thing to do is bring the back of the car and the trunk down to form the torso covering and reveal his head.
Now, the instructions show that the roof down accessory is to be detached before transforming, but that's not really necessary and gives you a piece to potentially lose. Also, thanks to the drive shaft being removed, the engine slips out easily when you open the hood. However, should you find yourself with a reproduction of the missing piece, be prepared for s slight struggle as it can be a tight fit near the point where the drive shaft connects to the engine.
At 7 1/4 inches, Windcharger surprisingly is one of the taller Alternators. In fact, Side Swipe and Dead End are the only ones that don't have to look up to see eye to eye with Windcharger. Needless to say that really makes me happy that one of the smallest Autobots can finally stand as tall alongside his Autobot brothers.
And what a robot mode it is too. Windcharger is near perfection in terms of proportion, detail, and articulation. His head doesn't resemble the G1 version of the character's toy or cartoon depiction, though that doesn't stop it from being a very strong looking Autobot face and helmet. The blue visor covering the eyes is a nice touch as is the red stripe down the center of his helmet. And for those that don't think this was meant to be Windcharger, may I direct your attention to the abdomen. Turn Windcharger upside down and you just might see some resemblance to the original Windcharger in there.
The closed roof can be used as a shield that pegs into either forearm, which makes the engine turning into a shield a little redundant, but if that's what it takes to get the toy released, what can you do? The lack of the barrel doesn't take away from the toy, in my opinion. It looks more like a magnetic weapon, which is Windcharger's claim to fame after all. However, I did find someone who was able to make a reproduction of the barrel and it really improves the look of the weapon as well as Windcharger's overall appearance. The engine/shield/rifle pegs into the inside of his fist, though it tends to jiggle loose on mine from time to time. Maybe I shouldn't play with my toys.
back to the articulation. Windcharger doesn't lack in that department at all. Well, maybe a little. The rotation of the shoulders stick a bit due to the rear fenders rubbing against hinge joint, used to bring the arms down, and the upper torso plate. His knees are also rather stiff and a little high up, making him a little difficult to pose. On the bright side, except for the hood protruding from his lower back, Windcharger has no kibble issues which is a nice change from some of his teammates like Grimlock and Tracks.
If you buy one Alternators toy in the line, make it Windcharger. He looks awesome in both modes, comes with some pretty cool accessories, is well detailed and articulated, and he doesn't take half-an-hour to transform. Windcharger is a welcome addition to the Alternators line and an worthy upgrade to one of my favorite Autobots.
|Reviewer||Richard C. Mistron|
|Date||January 7th 2005|
|Score||(9 out of 10)|
|Link||Windcharger Database Profile|