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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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

Name: Windcharger
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Warrior
Sub-Group: Minibot
"Quick action equals quick victory."

Windcharger is the fastest Autobot over short distances. Good in situations requiring fast, decisive action. Enthusiastic but impatient. Short attention span. Casts powerful magnetic field which can attract or repel large metal objects. Smashes them at closer distances. These abilities use up tremendous energy. Often burns himself out due to carelessness.”

Windcharger is among the canonical Minibots. Having made his appearance in the first series of the G1 cartoon, he was privy to a decent amount of screen time, and so he has ended up a more memorable character. Although by no means a huge favourite of mine in the cartoon, he did provide colour and depth (something I find lacking in most childrens’ programmes these days), and was a fairly believable characterisation – the impatient headstrong warrior who tends to bite off far more than he can chew. The toy, in contrast, has long been a favourite. It’s difficult to put my finger on why. As you’ll all know, or will find out quick if this is your first read of my reviews on the site, I am a fan of small Transformers, so I suppose that is likely to bias me from the start. However, I think in Windcharger’s case it is his pleasing alternate mode, and the fact he could drive up and down Metroplex’s ramps quite nicely.

The mold has been reused, notably with the 1986 wave of Minibots, in the form of a remolded character (Tailgate), and was recently repainted as a BotCon exclusive (Rook, 2002). In total, the Windcharger mold has been recoloured seven times I am aware of, ignoring the Tailgate remold. Amazingly, five of these were variations of a character called Camaro, available in Argentina only in 1985. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are more that I have not come across as well!


Alternate Mode:

Windcharger’s alternate mode, like his animated counterpart, is a sleek, small, red 1980s sports car. From bumper to bumper, he measures in at 2 ½” (6cm) long, which is a respectable size. There’s a small bit of chrome on the front bumper, and a nice asymmetrical vent detail on the bonnet. Another point of note is the larger rear wheels, which give it that speedy look kids love. All in all, it’s a nice alternate mode.


Robot Mode:

Windcharger’s transformation is among the simpler of the Minibots’. You flip he legs down, pull his arms out, and you have him standing 3” (7.5cm) tall, ready for action.

Here we encounter the crux of the Windcharger problem. He bears about as much resemblance to his cartoon counterpart as I do to Keira Knightley. There are certainly a few major anatomical differences in both cases, alongside a plethora of more minor variations. The proportions are horrendous – he looks like a domino with arms and legs! But, the major problem is the head – it looks absolutely nothing at all like his cartoon persona’s. It is arguably one of the worst of the G1 Transformer heads, and is very plain. Still, he's miles better than that horror of a Transformer, G1 Iron Hide (he resembles his cartoon character exactly as much as I do a giraffe, and his face is the worst). Unfortunately, he does seem to be wearing a little faster than even his remold, Tailgate, with the front wheels (which are attached to his arms) showing signs of bending outwards at the attachment point, while his legs have become fairly loose at the hips (which are not articulated). Alas, mine has also lost his Autobot insignia, which once sat proud on his chest.

Articulation is very limited, as you would expect, although it’s nice to see that due to the construction, his arms can move slightly in more than one plane.

Aside from these fairly serious issues, the toy is rather fun to play with, and doesn’t look too bad on the shelf in robot mode, alongside other small Transformers, as long as nobody looks directly at the face!

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 1 – There’s really nothing to it, although it is pretty standard for the time.
Durability: 4 – He stands up pretty well, but does have a few serious design flaws (such as his leg attachments), and seems to be made of slightly poorer plastic than his later remold.
Fun: 3 – He is good fun, and a nice car, but this is only in the context of a G1 Minibot! Alas, his face really lets him down – certainly in retrospect!
Price: 7 – Although not the cheapest of G1 Minibots, he surely isn’t the most expensive. You can pick him up loose from between £5 ($9) and £10 ($18) fairly regularly.
Overall: 5 – As a pivotal G1 character, and one of the original Minibots, he’s a nice addition to relevant collections, with these facts redeeming his facial problems a little.
 
 
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