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

Name: Sparkstalker
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Cryptologist
Sub-Group: Firecon

Quote: "The smallest details reveal the largest secrets."
His greatest talents are revealed in the tiniest structures. An expert in robbing memory banks, counterfeiting printed circuits, decoding binary messages. Meticulous, cautious, obsessed with minute details. Decepticons appreciate his appearance more than his other talents because he terrifies Autobots. Shoots flame from mouth with limited accuracy. Better equipped to light campfires than melt Autobots.

Well, here’s a group of Transformer often left out of mind. The Firecons (and their Autobot counterparts, the Sparkabots) were released in 1988, and are an, um, interesting group of small Transformers. Back in the days, when different toys had totally different gimmick, these guys shot sparks from their mouths. Also, back in the days when you have functions such as ‘Cryptologist’! I just don’t know how the present day Transformer armies get by without filling any technical roles…


Alternate Mode:

Sparkstalker turns into some form of mythical monster, as do his Firecon compatriots – Cindersaur and Flamefeather. Measuring around 4” (10cm) long, he’s not a bad size. As a symptom of his time, he is molded in horrendously poor plastic, and, alas, is by far the most hideously coloured Firecon. Why on Earth he was the one I so desperately wanted to spend my pocket money on at the age of six, I have no idea whatsoever! He’s a mad clash of fluorescent pink, grey, white, yellow, and blue/purple! His major competition for worst colour scheme in a Transformer is most probably Cybertron Quickmix… I’m afraid I’d have to err on the side of Sparkstalker though…

The mold itself is actually quite nice, as far as Firecons go. He’s not the worst sculpt of the three – it’s the colour scheme that sinks him to the bottom of the pack, showing just how important colours are!

He has articulated arms (which end in spikes) and legs. I found the legs became very slack over the years, but the arms held stiff. The wings are not articulated – moving these reveals the robot mode face!

As for the gimmick – roll him on his belly and sparks shoot out his mouth. Over time, this leads to discolouration of his white plastic around the monster mode’s neck, which, while not serious in this mode, becomes a major detractor in robot mode…


Robot Mode:

After an exceptionally simple Transformation (common to all Firecons, although by no means as straightforward as that offered by a Sparkabot!) you have something that is more robot-like than the monster mode.

The colour scheme at least looks slightly better in this mode. There’s less clashing, with only the pink and white dominating. Still, the introduction of robin egg blue for the face is ill-advised at best.

Alas, the mold work really falls down in robot mode. The problem is endemic to all Firecons. There is little serious sculpting on the torso, and for no reason I can see. Any detail would have been hidden by the wings in monster mode, so there is really no excuse. This lack of detail gives a concordant lack of definition to the robot mode.

The amount of kibble is truly ridiculous for such a simple transformation, and the entire mode is poorly executed.

There is no articulation, bar the legs (which have become extremely loose over the years, and, as you can see in the picture, it is impossible to stand the fellow up without something for him to lean against). If you can get him to stay upright, he measures in at 3” (8cm) tall.

The spark feature has discoloured the plastic around the head of this figure, and I have no idea if this is common or not.

If you have the perverse desire to display this figure, you surely won’t be using the ‘robot’ mode.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 1 – extremely simple, and, given the kibble in robot mode, poorly thought out.
Durability: 2 – He’s held together for 18 years, but the leg joints are very loose, and the spark gimmick has discoloured the plastic around the robot’s head.
Fun:2 – Very dull, and awful for display, but he does shoot sparks out his mouth in monster mode… Fun in the dark at least.
Price: 5 – He’s pretty cheap loose if you can find him (from £1.50 [$2.80] upwards), but expensive carded (£25! [$47]). Either way, he costs far more than he’s worth in my view.
Overall: 1 – This is a poor representative from a dismal Transformer line (Firecons). I can’t fathom why anyone would want him, but appreciate at least completists will. Mine has since gone to a (hopefully) far more appreciative home.

 
 
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