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Topspin, with no particular sign of Twin Twist forthcoming. If some exclusive or something doesn't happen to see this pair put together, I can imagine a fair bit of annoyance. Meanwhile I'll be annoyed if when it happens it's not based off this engineering, because Topspin's got some pretty cool things going on, and only one particular negative about it. Topspin is on the bigger side. Maybe not exceptionally tall, but he's bigger and beefier than most everything else in the price point. It's something that makes it stand out in a positive way from the rest of the pack.
The one area that's not true is the hands. Which will be important later.
The deco works pretty well, with the robot getting by with a relatively small amount of paint, almost all of which is picking out detail spots, not correcting for plastic colors. I could have done with some more of the detailing on the chest to get some subtle highlighting, but it manages okay as is. Now, if you dislike that particular slightly off-white Hasbro uses from time to time, you might find yourself dissatisfied with the white parts on Topspin. It doesn't really bother me.
Topspin carries some kinda prominent backpack, but it's not really out of place. I mean, yes, having chunks of the vehicle pointing off the back could be taken badly, but these are made to look like they do something. The angle and the venting read to me like boosters. There's already rocket nozzles in the heels, so why not presume the backpack is part of a flight system?
Poseability is rather nice. Great big ball joints in the shoulders have an unexpectedly good range of movement within the square blocks while at the same time hugging close to the body.
And if those aren't enough by themselves, the transformation joints are easily added in as well.
Despite the arm wings, the bicep swivel can have a full range. Just make sure the elbow is pretty straight or it will be blocked to the outside. The elbows are good double joints that fold over pretty well. They can hang a little bit going back down and not quite fully extend. That's when they have trouble clearing the wings when you use the bicep joint. The wrists have no movement - not even unintentional movement. The forearms are all enclosed, so the wrists get locked in place solidly.
The waist joint is smooth and this copy feels like it has nearly perfect tension. Easy to move, but going nowhere on its own.
That's a running theme in the lower body, as the hip joints enjoy a similar feel when moving through their range.
Thigh swivels of course, and the single knee joints get the standard 90 degree bend. Topspin's feet can angle up, but as a consequence the back half of the leg will start being pushed open after a very short distance. But it can still come in handy for some poses. Unfortunately, the weakest joints are in the shoulders. That's sure to vary from case to case, but at least as they're big ball and socket joints, standard tricks to firm them up are available to correct for that.
Topspin's head is in general one of the better looking. This is thanks in part to being largely all one color. The face sculpt is itself pretty nice. But what really stands out to me is the metallic blue visor which looks great when it picks up some light.
Freezeout's own robot mode far less impressive. But the face is kind of interesting. It'd just be nice to be able to more clearly see its details.
Alas, despite my best efforts with video editing tricks, Topspin is not in fact a Jumpstarter anymore, so we have to go the comparatively long way around. Open the panels on the forearms and flip the fists inside.
Then collapse the forearm up over the elbow joint.
Now, hinge the torso forward.
Rotate the waist joint, and here comes another Triggerhappy moment.
Rotate the back two-thirds of the torso 180 degrees and clip it back to the waist plate.
Unfold the backpack and close down the canopy.
Lift the arms in to the spaces to either side of the cockpit.
There's two tabs to hold them, at the top and bottom ends.
Open the back half of the leg, and fold the toe up.
Compress the lower leg over the thigh.
Tab the two halves together.
Then just close down the knee caps.
Oh, and maybe extend the landing gear too.
So it may not be a Jumpstarter, but the transformation does a great job of being easy, while still doing interesting things. I dig it. Equally, I dig this vehicle mode. It is such a retro space fighter I'm surprised it's not from Gundam.
The aesthetic is really hitting the right buttons for me. For one thing, I love the huge pile of giant engines making up the back end.
The front fork has that great bit of looking useless but also vague enough that you can't really say it's not doing something. The tiny, useless winglets then just add that final touch of a vehicle designed by someone with no idea how anything works.
It's a beautiful, intentional mess of ideas that I love. It's great too because all of it comes together really tight. The different pieces integrate together leaving no serious gaps or anything. And it visually all somehow seems like it belongs together. Such a lovely piece of design.
The only part that can move are the wings, and they're supposed to be set so their larger plane is basically level. They have no particular catch or anything to hold them there though. So best of luck with that!
The inside of the cockpit makes an effort to look like there's some sort of controls, which I always appreciate.
Freezeout secures inside, though you have to put a little bit of effort in pressing the heel tab in its slot; the fit is a tiny bit on the tight side.
More than a little paint goes here specifically. The frame of the canopy is painted, naturally, and the front fork is painted top and bottom as well because that piece falls on a blue parts tree.
The guns are where problems arise. Now, on their own, I think this is a really good design for the oft-used paired guns. Individually they have no immediately obvious seat space. There is a hollow side, but that's not an immediate deal breaker.
Once you tab them together, the "babyseat" part becomes clearer. So that did good at hiding the functionality until it's called upon.
These also each have an extra half a 5mm peg that comes together when the guns are joined, so there is a normally placed handle for the bigger gun. Perfect! However, concept must give way to execution, and thus we have issues. First the seat can't securely hold a Titan Master. The heel slot being split across two pieces means it doesn't close tight enough to catch.
The other problem is more substantial, in that the combined peg is also slightly thicker than it should be. Remember I said Topspin's small hands would become important? Trying to use the combined gun will cause stress marks in the hands. Many stress marks, potentially. The individual pegs also seem a hair too big, but not so bad as that split one. So, exercise care here.
Otherwise, the guns have 5mm ports on the ship mode they can attach to.
But they're meant to go under the wings. They have specific tabs for this purpose.
I find this also helps keep the wings very close to their intended alignment too, so there's a bit more benefit to be had.
I love almost everything Topspin is doing, and the things that I don't are likely just a case of the plastic tolerances not working entirely as the design was made expecting. That happens sometimes. But those are largely ignorable problems. The design and engineering is fairly brilliant at points, and the overall aesthetic is wonderful to me. Out of the new molds, Topspin is the one that feels like it's firing on all cylinders. It's quickly gotten itself to the place where I want to see creative reuses of the mold and the engineering just to see what else can be accomplished with it. Hopefully starting with a retool in to his fellow ex-Jumpstarter. But, even if that happens, where could I possibly hope to get them recolored as Salt-Men...?
|Date||February 7th 2017|
|Score||(9 out of 10)|
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