Transformers Car Robots Super Spychanger Toy Reviews
Release Date: April 2003
Price Point: $5 per figure (approximate)
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Just when you thought you had seen the last of the Spychangers, they're back! The six basic Gobots molds form Generation Two return once again in the Super forms of each Spychanger team member (well, the ones that appeared on the show anyway). Although the toys were not technically classified as Car Robots toys, they are the same characters (listed on the box with "Super" in front of each of their names).
Each case of Spychangers comes with twelve figures. Six to form a basic set, then four "doubles" of regular figures and two "chase" figures. At this time I only have two of the six chase figures, so if I get more they will be added. Each figure comes in a small box that really shows just how compact packaging for these guys can be. You can't tell who is in the box just by the picture as it only shows an outline of Artfire with a question mark. However, it's a fair bet that if you wanted to compare weight, the lightest one is Counter Arrow since he's the thinnest and lightest of the group.
Check out my original Spychangers reviews for my first look at these figures. This review will focus on the changes made to these toys for this release.
Interestingly enough, these redecos are not strictly based on the original Spychanger decos, which partially consisted of heat sensative areas that you would rub to reveal Autobot symbols. Rather, if you look at the pictures carefully, you'll notice that these decos are in fact variants on the Robots in Disguise versions of the toys. The big give away are the use of heat transferred Autobot symbols and metallic colors on the windows instead of black.
Each figure comes packaged with an insert. One side shows the Spychangers along with their names. Also note that the background and Transformers logo are all classic Generation One style rather than Car Robots style. On side two is brief text about the Spychangers (which I'm trying to get translated) and a black and white group drawing.
For this release, the designers basically decided to use roughly the opposite colors to Hot Shot's scheme. Artfire's overall color is now white instead of black. His robot head is painted gold instead of silver. The translucent plastic piece which makes up the body from the upper legs to the robot head is now translucent green instead of clear plastic. The lower legs are black with silver painted on the knee and foot pieces (as opposed to Hot Shot who has white with silver painted on). The flames are particularly nice, consisting of metallic blue with gold on the inside, done in the same pattern as the original.
Like Hot Shot, the Autobot symbol is heat stamped onto the top of the car mode. The windows are all a dark metallic silver color instead of the metallic blue on Hot Shot.
Artfire's deco is very nicely done. It was a good idea to go the "opposite" route color-wise since the previous two redecos of Artfire (Hot Shot and the Kay Bee/Target Hot Shot) both were essentially the same color scheme. This really helps him stand out more, and I would go so far as to say that they could have easily made him a new character since he looks so different.
Counter Arrow has a very striking color scheme, radically different than the previous one. His primary color is now red, with white being used for detail/patterns. The design on the front of the car is now metallic blue witha white border. An Autobot symbol is heat stamped onto the area. His spoiler still says "TM Transformers" on it and the pattern that was filled by blue paint in the original release is now done with white paint. The "1" is still present on the sides of the vehicle, but it is now a light metallic gold color.
In robot mode, Counter Arrow shows a bit of black with his gun and the part that makes up the underside of his chest and upper legs. His robot head is orange with the eyes painted red. The parts leading from his knees to his feet are painted white. His overall appearance is reminscent of a "fire based" Transformer, with emphasis on the orange and red colors. This matches well with a Transformer who is a speedy F-1 racer.
It seems the designers were really aiming at making these versions of the characters as different from the previous incarnations as they could. Eagle Killer's primary color is now dark metallic blue. Like R.E.V., he has an Autobot symbol stamped onto the top of the car. The stripe detailing that runs from the front of the car to the back is still present, now done in metallic gold rather than orange. Showing its RID roots, the back of the vehicle has a beautifully done gold spray op (something the original Eagle Killer did not have, but R.E.V. did, but in orange).
Eagle Killer's chest detail (with the eagle and letters TF) is now done in green, contrasting nicely against the dark blue chest. His mid-body and upper legs are red and his lower legs are silver. His robot head is metallic blue with a red face.
The contrast between this version of the toy and the Car Robots (or RID) versions is a huge one, and in a redeco that's what you want. The toy is nice enough looking that it stands up well on its own as opposed to having to rely on being a redeco of a cetain character to sell.
Ox's new color scheme makes this old fan actually think back to a Diaclone toy. What?! Yeah, I'll explain. Back in the days before the Transformers were firmly entrenched in the US as a toy line, Takara did try to release some toys here under the "Diakron" name (which of course, confused parents to no end). Many of the Transformers molds were used for this line, including the original Ironhide (who Ox is somewhat a descendent of). The Ironhide was primarily black and red. This Ox redeco is mostly black, with some red detailing. It's a personal connection, I doubt Takara intended this connection at all.
Anyhow, what we have here is a nice looking toy. Like Artifre, the designers seemed to want to go "opposite" on this guy. He is mostly black now instead of white. His "cow" details are silver instead of black. His Autobot symbol is still on the top of the hood and interestingly enough, they decided not to change his window colors. They are the same as the RID Ironhide, metallic blue. The storage area aat the back of the truck is now a dark metallic green rather than red (keep in mind it was not deco'd at all with the original Ox release). The front of the vehicle (bumper, grille and all) is dark red, which contrasts very nicely against the black. The infamous ox head is still on the hood of the truck, now in gold rather than red.
In robot mode, Ox's head, to upper body (underneath the front of the truck) and upper legs are dark metallic blue. His gun is red (again, offering great color contrast) and his lower legs are white (opposite of the black from the other releases of this toy). Unfortunately, it seems that someone rushed the paint job on the eyes on my Ox. They are supposed to be orange, but one eye is blotched while the other is done right, giving the odd appearance that he is either winking or has a lazy eye. I'm quite sure this isn't a wide spread problem, but you folks can enlighten me if it is.
Ox's redeco is a nice way to go. Like Artfire, it uses a mostly "opposite" route in the deco, resulting in a very nice looking toy. If it weren't for the distinctive ox on his truck hood, you'd think this was a whole different character.
Wars' new color is quite different from the original, and unlike Ox or Artfire, it's not an "opposite" routine at all. His primary color is silver. The Autobot symbol is stamped on the top of the car, and his windows are now metallic light green. His spoiler is painted metallic blue at the end. And in keeping with the RID color scheme, a strip of metallic blue can be seen on the lower edge of each door. This detail was yellow on W.A.R.S. but not present at all on the original Wars. The front of the car is a metallic silver, consistant with the original release. The "Wars" symbol on the chest is still there, now in red contrasting against blue. The pattern is still the same.
In robot mode, Wars' head/upperbody/upper legs piece is white. His face is painted in red. His gun is translucent green (probably having come from the same tree as Artfire's body piece) and his lower legs are dark blue.
This is probably one of the less thrilling color schemes of the set. It's okay, but not particularly great.
Wars Chase Figure:
The Wars chase figure is mostly translucent clear plastic, with the only painted details being the car windows, Autobot symbol stamped onto the top of the car, the face, Wars symbol, the metallic blue strips on the doors and spoiler and the word "Wars" on the doors. Wars' gun is also clear plastic. Effectively, this is Japan's version of the Spychanger going into his "invisible" form, so we're catching him in the middle of his disappearing act.
X-Car was always an interesting toy, utilizing translucent plastic a unique way among his teammates by layering translucent plastic on top of blue, giving him an odd 3d type effect. This also had the side effect of making him look very high tech compared to the other Spychangers. In a way, Super X-Car's color scheme does that too. He is mostly translucent green. In his vehicle mode, you'll also find the details which were silver in previous incarnations are now gold. With the Autobot symbol on top and black windows, he effectively looks like a computer board on wheels. As unattractive as that may sound, it's actually neat for a "tech" looking character such as this.
In robot mode, the piece which makes up the robot head/mid-body and upper legs is silver. The helmet section of the head is painted metallic blue. His gun is silver, matching the upper legs/head/mid body section. The "X" on his chest is now gold rather than silver.
This is probably one of the most straight forward and simple redecos of the team, but it's an interesting look for the toy.
The translucent X-Car basically removes all the green and silver from the toy and leaves only clear plastic, the gold details, black windows and Autobot symbol intact for the vehicle mode. For the robot mode, the head is still painted metallic blue, but since the face itself is translucent, is sort of reflects the metallic blue, making you think they painted more of the head than the other versions of this toy. If you look close enough however, you'll see that's not the case. Nice looking, but since most of the body is translucent with few details in robot mode, it's an interesting variant at best.
This is a very nice set of redecos. With Wars being the weakest one (just my opinion folks), you could easily add this to your collection and make up whatever names you want for these little guys. The chase figures pretty much require you to either buy a box (to get two of the six) or invest a lot of money in a case. But those are for more hard core Spychanger fans. The basic set is cool enough and definitely belongs in your Car Robots collection.