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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Numbat's review of: LOC Sunstorm

Name: Sunstorm
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function:
Sub-Group: Legends of Cybertron / Seeker

The character 'Sunstorm' is an excellent example of the power of the Transformers fanbase to influence toys and fiction. Sunstorm's origins date as far back as the original G1 characters as he appeared in the first episode! Of course, he was only cannon-fodder really a recoloured yellow and white Seeker. His popularity has grown underground over the decades, though after all, we all love the Seekers and his however brief is one of the coolest colour schemes.

Roll on 2003, and E-Hobby released a G1 Starscream recolour named Sunstorm, based upon this original. Hasbro quickly picked up on this success, and appeared as a PVC figure at Botcon 2004. He also had a part in the Dreamwave comics, as a clone of Starscream, and finally hit Western toy shelves proper in 2004 as Universe Sunstorm (a repaint of Armada Thrust).

There's a brief history of this character. In Cybertron, he has appeared as a repaint of Legends of Cybertron (LOC) Starscream although there is a Cybertron minicon with the same name, he appears to have a different character (just to confuse us!).

I'm a big fan of the Seekers, and I love Sunstorm's legit colour scheme (as opposed to the E-Hobby orange). And I love the Cybertron Starscream design. Everything points towards this guy being a hit! (Of course, bright yellow and copper is not everyone's cup of tea. Bare in mind I think the Costco yellow Overload is by far the best version of that mold.)


Alternate Mode:

Being a repaint of LOC Starscream, Sunstorm's alternate mode is the cool jet based upon Don Figueroa's War Within design. Basically, this is just the tiniest version of the mold (3 1/2 [6cm] long) which has seen three size classes!

The yellow and copper works really well, in my view, with black highlighting the nose, cockpit and engines. There's no cream or silver in this mode as you'd imagine from looking at the G1 robot mode!

Molded detail is great, with the copper being used to pick out patters rather than features. The side cannons (poseable in the Supreme version) are there in perfect detail, and, frankly, you'll be blown away by this sculpt!

The Planet Key feature is here, although no longer activated by keys. You can flip the blade from the right, and the null ray cannon from the left. They are molded in shiny creamy white, and look as out of place in this mode as they ever did at Supreme scale (or the double blade daftness of the Galaxy Force Voyager Starscream).

Negatives? Well, the nice contours are spoiled by the lack of the top piece leading from the cockpit to the nose. There's no good reason for this. Also, the whole jet seems to teeter and tip backwards, without proper balance / support. And, as ever, the black head really stands out badly (only the ComicCon LOC Skywarp pulls that off).

Still, this is my favourite colour scheme that this mold has yet seen (and, let's face it, with Starscream, Skywarp and Ramjet, it has already been round the block a few times).


Robot Mode:

The biggest surprise with Sunstorm, was the transformation. With the mold being so simple at other size classes, I expected it to be one of the most straight forward LOC adaptations. It isn't. It does keep the transformation almost perfectly, but a case of extreme arthritis results in stiff joints that'd rather pop than twist. This can be rather frustrating! (Also, am I the only one who thinks that halfway through, all versions of this mold resembles like that frog character in Spirited Away?) Anyhoo the obvious absentee is the nose piece which folds under the crotch. More subtle is the fact that the nose cone does not collapse into the feet (leaving pointy toes), and the swivel of the tail, rather than the split fold method of the larger fellow.

The end result is an excellent miniaturization of the larger molds this time standing proud (at around 3 1/2 [6cm] tall) in Sunstorm's colours.

Now, I absolutely adore this incarnation of the Seeker frame. I think it stands up beside the G1 imagery, and epitomizes the Decepticons. I just love how the entire upper torso of the design is a stylised Decepticon insignia! Take a look. I know Soundwave's head is the logo, but this incarnation has taken the symbol as a design inspiration. It's beautifully executed. Also, as has been mentioned in dedicon's review of LOC Starscream, the proportions are very good with the arms improved and almost coming down to his knees.

Articulation is great (especially for a LOC figure), with shoulder ball joints (expanding on the arm range of larger incarnations of the mold), hips, and knees. His head even moves which I am particularly pleased with. Only the lack of elbow joints hinders poseability.

The colours really continue to shine in this mode with yellow still dominating, and the copper more dispersed. Silver / shiny creamy white comes into play in the thighs and lower arms, and the face is picked out in silver. Finally, red hits off the shoulder missile racks. The effect is superb, and he continues to impress with the blade and null ray cannon flipped out.

Sunstorm, in my opinion, is by far the greatest release of one of the best LOC molds. Of course, the colour scheme is heavily dependent on personal preference but few would argue this is not a great mold.


Still, the end result is great.


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 7 Although seemingly simple, the scale actually presents challenges.
Durability: 7 The mold is very sturdy the stiff joints are the only concern really. You might lose a vital piece!
Fun: 8 Great fun for a LOC figure, for sure!
Price: 10 He costs 2.97 ($5.50) at Tesco (and I believe is even cheaper in the US). There is not better value to be had in the world of Transformers!
Overall: 9 I'd say he is a must have for wee Transformer collectors (especially those of us who remember G1 fondly), and an excellent piece of TF history for anyone else. Sunstorm really is an exceptional wee fellow. (And his arm truly is long and yellow.)

 
 
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