Sunday, June 12, 2016

Unique Toys Sworder - Sandstorm

Sandstorm was the last figure I collected as a child so he has a special nostalgic value for me. Despite being a remold, Generations Sandstorm was a great update. The helicopter was wildly different from the source material, but the other two modes were great. Unique Toys has a great helicopter mode, but a lackluster car mode. So between the two figures, we have one great toy.

There is a decent amount of line work and painted highlights throughout his body. His face sculpt is not as stylized as the Generations figure, but it is pretty cartoon accurate with his mouth instead of a mouth plate. His eyes are painted a metallic blue. My least favorite parts are his arms and feet. His biceps are too short. His feet are rather large and clumpy. He's also missing much needed heel spurs, which should be standard engineering.

Transformation from robot to helicopter mode is rather involved. The instructions are not very clear, but your familiarity with how these things are supposed to work will fill in the gaps. There are many moving and rotating pieces on multiply hinged connections. I couldn't get a couple of tabs to come together without popping out the opposite side.

Helicopter mode really shines. I don't know if it is based on a real world design. Like most helicopter Transformers, the blades are formed from the swords. Both rotors have a good amount of spin. The windshield is blue transparent plastic, but it is tinted enough that the insides of the figure are not visible. The windows along the fuselage are blue metallic paint. He rolls pretty well on three small landing gear wheels. There are still gaps from panels simply being missing.

Transformation to car from helicopter, and probably from robot, is a nightmare. The legs and feet are particularly aggravating. Again, the instructions are not the clearest in the world. I do like how the cockpit of the helicopter becomes the cabin of the car, moving from the front to the middle and opposite side of the vehicle. Again, I had trouble with some of the tabs.

Ultimately, the car mode is not worth the effort. The shape and color choices are rather unfortunate. He doesn't look like the dune buggy from the cartoon nor does he have a pleasing design. Both the G1 and Generation toys look far better. He doesn't roll that well on his plastic tires because the helicopter rotor drags along the ground. Two of the swords seem to be able to tab onto the hood, but the left one causes the sword to bend because the fog lights get in the way.

Transformation back to robot mode wasn't too bad since you basically unfold and unpeg everything first. Then it's a matter of reforming the feet, legs, and body. Badcube no longer holds the monopoly on an explosion of limbs and panels. To Unique Toy's credit, half-transformed Sworder is able to stand for a photo, which is more than can be said for a fully transformed Transformers Prime Megatron.

His head is on a swivel and hinge. His elbows are on swivels and ratcheted hinges. He swivels at the biceps, elbows, wrists, thighs, and knees. His thumbs are fixed. His fingers are single pinned, but the pointing fingers articulate separately from the rest. The crotch swivel makes a return. He has single jointed elbows and knees, with ratchets in the elbows. He has ankle rockers and feet tilt.

His accessories include a spare tire and his rifle. I cannot figure out where and how to attach the spare tire. The rifle has some painted highlights. It fits well in his hands with a Masterpiece style tab. It also stores in both vehicle modes.

I will display Sworder on my Masterpiece shelf. He goes well with Buzzing and the rest of the Season 3 and 4 cast. Unfortunately, Provider is just a tad too short in comparison so I'll just have to hope that DX9 completes the set of Decepticon Triplechangers.

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