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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Auntie Slag's review of: Springer

Name: Springer
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Aerial Defense
Sub-Group: Triple-changers / Wreckers
"Strength is more than physical."

A wise-cracking, sharp witted adventurer. Powerful Autobot fighter with a massive physique and an easy-going manner. Possesses incredible "springing" power in his legs. Travels long distances with pogo-like motion. In robot Mode, carries a laser that produces giant wind tunnels. Helicopter blade transforms into a light saber that can cut through concrete. Optimistic and good humored.

Aaah Springer, good ol' Springer. Ultra Magnus with balls! Roister doistering, rebellious roustabout, rickshaw riding, Arcee shagging, sword wielding Springer. Isn't he the mutt's nuts?

In the movie, Springer led his small band of merry Autobot's against 'The Junkions'; a horde of stunt riding Dick Van Dykes, and unlike all leaders before him, actually didn't die!!! He is the only Transformer to have gone one-on-one with a member of the Monty Python team, he regularly answered back to Rodimus Prime, and made repeated advances toward his bird. Springer probably has really hairy armpits (for a robot), a dishevelled underwear drawer, and only changed his shirt when it was really necessary. Not that he cares, because that's the way robot's were in the seventies... when a robot WAS A ROBOT, GODAMMIT!

Ahem, in the comics (UK Marvel comics at least), Springer was the leader of a group of elite Autobots known as 'The Wreckers'. They all came from up north and worked on German building sites, constructed Spanish villas, transported Space bridges across continents and, most recently, smoked Cuban Havana cigars. The majority of The Wreckers sadly died fighting Galvatron and Megatron in the famous 'Time Wars' saga, but Springer managed to survive the altercation with only crushing mental scars.

Popular hard green bastards include; Lou Ferrigno, Springer, Kermit the Frog, Baron Von Greenback, Sarah Green, Gamorian Guards, Martian Manhunter, Warcraft Orcs, The Green Lantern, the Turtles, those little things that lived underground with the Fraggles, and Yoda. You just don't **** with these guys, unless you're a prick like Ang Lee or (shudders) George Lucas. Green is the new black.

Do you feel lucky.... random TF toy review reader?

Vehicle Mode:
Springer is the product of a breakaway group amongst Hasbro's Transformer design team. They were notorious for playing by their own rules and took the premise 'Robot's in Disguise' with a pinch of salt and a degree of looseness only recently superseded by Christina Aguilera. To indignity, and beyond!

Thus, Springer's first mode represents an inconspicuous day-glo green and yellow helicopter or futuristic origin. 'Futuristic', what an incredible escape clause!

"We've done research, and kids don't want robot's transforming into Ferrari F40's or F-16 Fighting Falcon's, no... they want brightly coloured bricks!"

Nevertheless, perhaps I should spring (ho ho) to their defence. These toys were being designed at a time when it was scientifically proven that children were mindless automatons, susceptible to even the tiniest bit of advertising; and not the highly intelligent gun wielding, crack whoring amoral citizens of today, to whom pithy things like laws, decency and common sense do not apply. Why go to the trouble of appropriate imitation with chrome bumpers, or, heaven forbid, apply actual thought and imagination to a new design… when video games haven't even been invented yet? The competition is at least three years away. Lets kick back and slide some, bricky bots for all, wipe my arse with a hundred dollar bill, etc.

However, Transformers were also nearing the end of their three year product cycle, so perhaps its unsurprising that 'Robots with no real disguise at all' managed to wangle their way into the line with nothing but a wave of the hand and the blithe explanation 'futuristic' as a catch all. Hey, fut-ur-is-tic was four syllables! did they really love us? Maybe I was wrong after all! Lets hold hands and sing; "We are the woooorld, we are the childreeeeen!" Last one outta the pool sleeps with Michael, woo-ha!

As far as it goes, Springer's helicopter mode isn't too bad. The rotor blade actually spins with wild abandon, and you can make cool "Whoop whoop whoop" noises as you help him soar through the air, also with wild abandon. It's a shame that his robot fists are noticeable in this mode, but hey, you can't have everything. It does at least feel like you are commanding Springer above the planet of Junk against Wreck-Gar and his cronies. Therefore Springer's helicopter mode = good fun.

Now I move with decidedly less wild abandon to his vehicle mode. Again, its 'futuristic', a very dodgy concept at best. What's worse is that its almost identical to Springer's helicopter mode. To achieve it, simply tuck his arms underneath, remove the rotor blade, split the tail fin in two, and fold forward, ta daaa! Instant car. Why even bother with the triple changer motif when the look is this bad? It's akin to donning a false moustache and calling yourself Hitler. I wonder if any Decepticon idly passing overhead would recognise Springer driving along the highway? In the olden days a 'Con would have had to look for a giant red Autobot insignia across a bonnet or hood, now he simply looks for any ridiculous design/colour scheme that stands out like a sore thumb.

Genius!

So, what's good about his vehicular mode? Well, Springer has good old- fashioned soft rubber tyres. I've yet to see one with hard lifeless one's like many a Rodimus Prime figure… That's about it really! Um... he's probably about as manoeuvrable as any other Transformer car and... god what else is there to say? He's a silly looking green car-thing. Braille porn for the chronically handless is more exciting.

Robot Mode:
Oh dear. Look, its not as if Springer isn't fun because he is. After all, this is a major character of both comic and cartoon, and there is a certain amount of enjoyment to be had in holding this formidable little robot in your hands. But... nnngh! his robot mode sucks.

Why does it suck? Well, acclaimed movie Director Brian Singer once said of his 'X-Men' franchise that to put Wolverine on celluloid adorned in bright yellow spandex would look rather silly. And he's right of course. Its the same problem with Springer, for though he looks quite the piece of work in comic and cartoon format, his toy is a garish piece of blockery that wouldn't pass muster in a Lego competition.

First and foremost, Springer acquired his name because, according to his tech spec he 'possesses incredible springing power in his legs'. Take the most cursory of glances at the toy and you'll realise he has no feet. NO FEET! A springing robot with no feet, isn't that like a flying robot with no wings? a horse without a cart? a Sonny without a Cher? Not only that, his legs don't move! They are one hundred percent static! AAAAAAND his waist has been designed by the pre-eminent blind, rabid, waist constructor of the toy industry.

His face is green.... ENTIRELY GREEN! There's no special colouring for his optics, no slightly different shades of less lurid green. Instead he's had a distinct single dip in the colouring pool to give him that lovely 'bland' look you only get from a toy line punch drunk and heading for the ropes. Can you feel the love?

On the plus side.... he's Springer. If another fan or collector were to gaze at your Transformer collection he could instantly tell you have a Springer, because no-one else looks like him, or features such a daft colour scheme. He stands out like a Polar Bear at a Giraffe's only dinner party. He is a green thing looking almost totally unlike his comic/cartoon incarnation, even his box art! There really should have been a caveat on the box when I got this fella back in '87 saying; 'Warning: Transformer inside does not necessarily resemble image on cover'. The question surely is; would that have stopped me? He is Springer, he's the man (or one of them), wonderful heroic stuff of kiddie legend! Truth be told I would have bought him regardless. There was a good line spoken by Steve Martin's mother in the film 'The Jerk':

"Navin, I'd love you if you were the colour of a Baboon's ass".

Its the same with Springer, he's a life lesson; You've got to learn to love your kids, even the ugly ones.

Transformation: 7 - He's rather fiddly. Certain pieces of plastic scrape against each other frustratingly, and you find yourself wondering if he's going to snap at some points. Like a paedophile, he's not child friendly.
Durability: 7 - If you're patient, kind, caring, thoughtful, loving and honest then maybe we should go out sometime (GSOH, no time wasters). Honestly, Springer is fairly tough. I haven't had anything break off mine, but its not like I ever pushed him to extremes. Because of his largely blocky design, he's capable of taking a few bumps and knocks without losing face. Don't lose track his rotor blades/sword though, or you'll lose the ability to play with his rather fun Helicopter mode.
Fun: 8 - Why so high? Well there's not many Helicopters in the Transformer universe, and of those (Blades and Vortex instantly spring to mind), they simply aren't as much fun as Springer. Fellow Wrecker Whirl might be a good for a giggle, but he's much harder to get hold of. Springer's car mode, while instantly forgettable, nevertheless does do what toy cars should, and that's go forwards and backwards whilst you make "Broooooom" noises in a butch voice. His robot mode is... well... put the sword in his hands and he looks like he could slice through some imaginary concrete.
Price: He's quite a big league player in the world of Transformers, but seeing as his toy barely resembles the character on screen the price must surely be affected negatively. In the UK he'll fetch £20 loose in 'played-with' condition on eBay, perhaps less.
Summary: I'm sure an avid TF fan would want Springer to round off his collection. He also has the novelty of being an Autobot triple changer, of which there were only three. If you're lucky to find one with his full complement of stickers, he can look quite the cup of tea, brandishing his nice long sword and shiny gun. No wait, here's the one reason, the only reason he should be on your list:

"I've got better things to do tonight than die"

Possibly the coolest line ever said by a transforming robot! Go on, buy him. Then you can wiggle him about whilst saying that under your breath. He'll look so cool and tough, and, by extension so will you, honest! *snigger*

 
 
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