The inaugural entry into the Alternators line, Smokescreen is an updated version of the 1985-released Autobot on a larger scale. No longer a Datsun Fairlady 280 ZX race car, Smokescreen is now a Subaru Impreza WRC #8 rally car and over twice the size (in either mode) of his original toy. Also, it's nice for me to finally see a name reused for the original character in a new body as well.
Approximately 8" long in car mode, Smokescreen is mainly dark blue with the deco of the Subaru World Racing Team's 2003 Rallye Monte-Carlo race car. For more information on the team, their cars, and a store full of fun stuff, visit SWRT.com. Needless to say, he's covered in sponsor tampos from Motul to Kenwood to Firelli and lots more. He has real rubber tires, something that hasn't been seen on TFs since RiD Optimus Prime and the Car Brothers if I recall correctly.
The trunk opens as do all four doors. The interior is nicely detailed with a steering wheel, instrument panel, gear shift, emergency brake, air conditioning vents, and other features. The front seats pivot forward as well. Also, the hood opens to reveal the engine, his rifle in disguise. The two front wheels are attached together via a magnetized axle that allows them to turn together for realistic turning action. This feature isn't tied into the steering wheel, however, though I doubt it could be.
To transform into robot mode, open the hood and remove the engine then open the two front doors. Gently separate the top of the car from the rear window pieces. Pull back the rear section of the car from the front. Flip out the rear, lower portion of the car bumper. Straighten out the robot legs and slide each half of the rear window up. Split the legs apart and flip the black tab down to form stabilizers for the feet and fold the rear car doors back.
Flip the car over and separate the front from the mid-section then swing the middle section forward. Flip seats backs forward and each center piece to the sides. Then, insert the pegs on them into the holes on the waist piece. Rotate the robot legs around and swing the robot arms out. Flip down the steering axle to reveal the robot head.
Flip the front windshield piece back and fold the hood down. The center section of the hood stays back to allow the robot head through. Fold the car's roof around and the barrel of the gun out on the engine. Using the small peg on the handle of the gun, place the weapon in his hand via the hole in his palm.
In robot mode, Smokescreen is simply amazing, a perfect blend of his original, G1 styling with today's updated technology. He stands at just under 7" tall, almost a full 3" taller than his G1 toy, and sports an amazing amount of articulation. His neck is a ball joint, enabling him to look, unhindered, to the left, right, up and even down slightly. His shoulder joints are fully functional, though the steering vein sections can get in the way at time. His elbows are double jointed and his wrists rest on a ball-socket joint. His fingers open and close with the index finger independent of the others. Smokescreen can also turn at the waist, ball-socket hips, bending knees, and toes.
Smokescreen's head closely resembles his G1 toy and cartoon selves. The antennae are gold and his face is surrounded by a think helmet, similar to his G1 cartoon model. His face is painted silver and his eyes are blue, possibly another nod to the G1 cartoon. In addition to the many Rallye Monte-Carlo markings, two Autobot insignias are revealed in robot mode, one on each shoulder. These are well-painted, red symbols with a silver outline surrounding them. Smokescreen's rifle is modeled closely after his G1 version. I didn't realize this until I brought the two toys together for the photos. Kudos to the design team for going to such lengths to maintain the G1 connection.
Alternators Smokescreen is a gem of a toy. The accuracy of the car mode and the attention to detail in robot form is absolutely amazing. Even though this is a toy aimed more towards collectors, the difficulty in lining up all the various panels isn't very enjoyable when transforming back to car mode and it can be downright frustrating if, like me, you're not known for your patience. And while I like the front steering wheels being joined in car mode so that they turn at the same time, the mechanism gets in the way with the robot mode shoulders. Still, Smokescreen is a great toy and well worth the $19.99 retail price.
Final Grade: A-
|Reviewer||Richard C. Mistron|
|Date||December 26th 2003|
|Score||(9 out of 10)|
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