Clay's review: Autotrooper
Autotrooper (literally Autorooper, but read below)
The Kiss line’s last Binaltech supplant was Autolooper. Unlike Rodimus or Convoy, Autolooper was not something that was leftover from a cancelled Binaltech or Binaltech Asterisk. Instead, Autolooper is a slightly modified Mazda RX8 sporting police lights and a new head.
About the name: Takara seem to like giving Transformers Western names to make them sound exotic or trendy. However, the names they come up with do not always sound so good to native English speakers (I’m sure ‘Lio Convoy’ or 'Bound Rogue' sound wonderfully foreign and enchanting in Japan, but they are pretty stupid names when you actually know what those words mean), and they occasionally make mistakes when adopting foreign words.
Autolooper’s name has such a goof: the L replaces what should be an R, and it’s missing a T in favor of a pun that only works in Japanese. The Japanese language makes use of only one of the liquid dental sounds (retroflex), and omits the lateral entirely. As such, when it comes to incorporating foreign words, the pronunciation and documentation of L and R sounds gets completely randomized. As for the missing T, given that Autolooper’s function is a police drone, it should
be obvious to any native English speaker that the attempted name was Autotrooper
However, it's actually a pun since the 'T' sound can't be pronounced by itself in the Japanese syllabary. To quote DrSpengler, who translates the manga for this site:
I think the name they were going for was "Autrooper", or "Oo-to-ruu-paa", or "Autorooper", etc. Since the Japanese sound system doesn't have just a "t" sound, the "to" works for both the word "Auto" ("Oo-to") and the word "trooper" ("to-ruu-paa"). I think that's why we get "Autorooper/Autolooper" so often in translations, because translators can't decide which word is more important, "Auto" or "trooper". It's one of those puns which can only function within the confines of the Japanese language and can't really be ported over to English without lengthy explanation.
Most TF sites list his name in its most literal translation possible, however daft it sounds.
In an effort to hopefully inject a little common sense into foreign Transformer nomenclature, I will call him Autotrooper from this point on.
Autotrooper is a slight remold of Meister. It has a police light bar and some extra ornaments on the front grill. The basic appearance is simply black and white. All the logos and identifying marks come from an included sticker sheet. The sheet is fairly nice, providing a surplus of options. Twelve Japanese characters designating different squads and numbers one through four are given, meaning your Autotrooper can be one of 48 possible drones. I could not afford 48 of the toys upon their release, so I just bought four.
The RX-8 mold shows some signs of fatigue, though. The pieces that make the trunk don’t quite clamp flush, leaving a small gap in the top of the car. Also, the doors are bit finicky about closing flush as well, but this isn’t a unanimous problem.
The paint application is not the best, either. Since most of the pieces are molded in white, the black trim of the car is painted on, but only on the outermost surface. White still shows through in all the crevices around the doors.
Production faults aside, it is still a fun cop car. The uniform nature of police vehicles and customizable serials really make Autotrooper an ideal release to army build with, costs not taken into consideration.
Autotrooper’s robot mode is fairly bland without decals applied. Once that’s done, he becomes visually distinct from both the Binaltech Asterisk Alert (no red) and Meister (police decals). The head is very… drone-like. It has no mouth or eyes and few physical distinctions to give it personality. It works well with the black and white décor, though. Autotrooper looks like a uniform security robot.
The Mazda is still one of the best robots produced out of Binaltech / Alternator / Asterisk / Kiss Players line. Autotrooper has good balance and excellent articulation. The muffler gun even has a place to be stored – it can be mounted on the knob above the elbow on either shoulder and play arm-cannon. Neat!
As with the other two Kiss Players releases, Autotrooper gets some little bonus stuff. Four road cones combine into a faux minigun, and a little Kremzeek figure can be… well, it can’t do anything, really. Kremzeek is just a static figurine, stuck in one pose. But he is very cute and neon, and he’s harmless to leave on the shelf. The road cones are good fun, though. And if you buy multiple figures, you can stack the cones to make an even bigger gun! No, it’s not worth it.
Also included is a little anime figurine thing, but I threw that in the trash when I got Autotrooper. Not my cup of tea.
8. The Mazda is still one of the more straightforward cars of the line. It’s designed to be intuitive and has very few random car parts situated in odd places.
6. Because of the way the sprues are set up, Autotroopers lower legs are actually black plastic painted white. It can chip off as a result.
X. Depends on how well you like drones and army building. Autotrooper is fine in that respect, but the 1:24 scale cars are still not the kind of figure you can roll around in dirt.
6. Autotrooper was fairly expensive on release at roughly $50 (the same as Convoy and Hot Rodimus). His price since then (about a year after release) hasn’t really lowered. He’s not an impulse buy.
5. Autotrooper is middle-of-the-road, I suppose. I would recommend it much more fully if the paint applications were better and the mold not slightly deteriorated. As it is, though, I can only say that completists will want to buy Autotrooper because of (or rather in spite of) the lower production values and the non-character / drone nature of the release.