Friday, November 11, 2016

Unique Toys Allen - Springer

Springer is one of my favorite characters. I loved the idea of a sword wielding Transformer who turns into a Cybertronian helicopter and car. He also strikes a nostalgic chord as he was one of the last G1 toys I had collected. Unique Toys Allen is a fun figure and certainly more successful than Sworder, but it doesn't really satisfy that Masterpiece itch for me. 

He comes packaged in robot mode. The transformation to car mode involves a lot of moving parts, but it really wasn't difficult. All the tabs line up very easily. Most of the time is spent on the legs and feet. The result is a pretty solidly held together Cybertronian car. It's a little wide in the front and some of the colors may be off here and there, but it definitely reminds me of the cartoon. His rifle can tab in on either side, but he only has one so those of us who like symmetry will be disappointed. The cockpit canopy opens, but there isn't really any detail underneath. The little people who come with Masterpiece figures certainly wouldn't fit in the cockpit. The undercarriage is fairly clean, even if the back of his head is clearly visible. He rolls quite well on rubber tires.

Transformation to helicopter mode from car mode involves flipping out a few more pieces and plugging in the rotor. This is my favorite mode for this figure. I like helicopters so this Cybertronian design tickles my fancy. It definitely satisfies my need to annoy the kids with chop-chop-chop sounds as I buzz their toys. His rotor spins easily enough. There are working landing skids, but the one in the rear requires you to split the tail to deploy.

Transformation back to robot mode is straightforward, but I did have trouble with a small gray piece in the tail section of the helicopter and needed to use a spludger.

Was Springer this large in the cartoons? In The Movie, he only seemed to be a little bit taller than Arcee, so by extension Hot Rod as well. Allen towers over Masterpiece Hot Rod and stands eye-to-eye with MP-10 Optimus Prime and MP-09 Rodimus Prime. It seems like each Unique Toys release is getting larger than the one before. I don't find anything particularly wrong with his body sculpt and line work. It seems more curved and less angular than I would prefer. He has a couple shades of green with fairly clean yellow paint application. Back in vehicle modes, the paint around his thrusters simulate heat burn. There is some chipping on his Die-cast toes. Unfortunately, I don't like his face sculpt. It's too old looking and too narrow at the chin. His feet are large and clumpy.

His head seems to be on a balljoint and his neck is on a separate hinge, giving a reasonable amount of vertical articulation. His shoulders are on ratcheted swivels and hinges, but they do not butterfly. He swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs. His elbows and knees are ratcheted and single-jointed. He has fixed thumbs and single pinned fingers. His pointing fingers articulate separately from the rest and have an extra knuckle each. His hips are on ratcheted universals. He has ankle rockers and tilts, but if you engage them too much they break the sculpt of his legs. Although there seems to be a lot of travel between each click of his ratchets, his limbs actually hold very well.

His only accessories are his rifle and his sword. His rifle is green, molded plastic. The handle is on a hinge for storage in vehicle modes. His sword is grey plastic with dark grey paint applications. It also doubles as his helicopter rotor when split down the middle. Both weapons use Masterpiece-styled tabs that work very well in his hands.

I will be using Allen on a DX9/Unique Toys/Toyworld shelf. He doesn't quite strike that Masterpiece aesthetic for me. Instead, he reminds me of an oversized GI Joe action figure. His size will probably work well with those larger than normal Toyworld seekers. So far, Buzzing is my favorite Unique Toys figure. I anxiously await FansToys and Ocular Max to release their Springers for my Masterpiece display.

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