Monday, October 6, 2008

[TF:Universe Acid Storm] Divide and Conquer!

Hasbro is getting better at repainting toys, I'll give them that. There was once a time when the most you could hope for for was a coat of white paint on ol' Optimus.

Acid Storm was produced from the original design and mold of the Starscream toy from the same line. This design has probably been reused more than any other Classics/Universe toy, and as a result, there have been complaints of factory mold degradation on some of these later versions.

Unlike many other repaints, this is not merely a square-peg-round-hole set of colors forced on a non-consenting toy. There was an actual green Seeker jet in an early episode of the Transformers cartoon (Divide and Conquer), which was responsible for seeding the clouds above Cybertron to create crippling acid rain. So it's a fitting, if obscure, tribute to the old cartoon.

The vehicle mode for this toy is, of course, the traditional F-15 Eagle. I guess this sort of dates the toy at this point. But, like the F-14 Tomcat Valkyries from Macross, it just wouldn't be a Decepticon jet without the trademark F-15 design. I am by no means an expert in military aircraft, so I cannot tell you the precise model on which this toy is based (although you may note that it is a single-seater).

I've seen some complaints about the color scheme for this toy- specifically that it is unrealistic to have a camouflage airplane. The reason for this coloration is that it makes the jet more difficult to see- from above- when it operates in forested regions. While I guess I don't know if there ever was an F-15 that used these colors, that is not to say that it is an unreasonable design stretch. I actually think the colors on this toy are pretty subdued when you compare them to other repaints. Aaron Archer was supposedly heavily involved in the production of this toy, so he may be to thank for the 'real-type' color scheme.

Transformation to robot mode is pretty simple, although not intuitive. I have to use the instructions nowadays, which makes me feel sad. It is, however, surprisingly analogous to the transformation of the original Decepticon jet toys. The turbines in Acid Storm's chest turn into tiny useless wheels. Wheee...

Overall, the Classics/Universe toys are just really excellent, and this one is no exception. I love camouflage/real-type color schemes, and to receive something like this as a domestic regular release is a treat. Acid Storm is clearly a kids' toy, but it is complex enough to be engaging for older collectors as well. Much like the old Chogokin/Godaikin or Microman toys, Hasbro has produced something that successfully transcends the usual child/collector toy boundaries.

More photos on my flickr set.

1 comment:

Ully said...

I hear you. I bought an 80's Sausaiger the 'Robot Train' mech. I think Yamato has re-released in figure mode only in their G-NU line. Anyway, I'm ashamed to say it took me about 20 minutes to figure out how to transform it :(

Maybe at the next SDCC there should be a speed robot transformer contest.