"Generation One" Windcharger Toy Review
Price: $2.99 (at time of release)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Release Date: 1984
When the first series of Transformers was released in 1984, the Autobots had their forces bolstered by a small group of "Minibots". Like their larger counterparts, the Minibots had been out in another toy line in Japan before they became Transformers. In the case of Minibots, they were part of a line known as "Microchange". These small vehicles were meant to be super-deformed/cute versions of real life vehicles. Intended to act as spies or messengers to the Autobots, the Minibots actually performed a variety of functions from pure warriors to espionage.
In vehicle mode, Windcharger is a red Trans Am. The windows, wheels and part of the rear of the vehicle are black. Vacuum metallized silver is used for the hubcaps and fender.
A popular car at the time, this particular rendition of the Trans Am was not particularly sleek and streamlined when compared with the real thing. Compared to other Minibots however, he was very sleek. The mold uses some of the details from a Trans Am and etches them into the sculpt. the front has the familiar "V" shaped lines of a Trans Am along with the rectangles for the headlights. However, the huge tires used for this toy clearly distinguish it from your typical Trans Am. Plus, the wheels in the rear are larger than the front, so the rear of the vehicle is molded a bit larger to accommodate this.
Despite my harping on the exaggerated features of this toy in vehicle mode, I think it is genuinely a neat toy. The big tires serve to make the character look more powerful. Overall Windcharger looks great in this mode.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin by swinging the rear of the vehicle back. Stand the car, pull the sides of the car out to form the arms. Windcharger is now in robot mode.
Windcharger's robot mode shows off a new color as part of his color scheme: grey. The robot head and main body are both mainly grey. His eye visor is black and his mouth plate is silver. The upper legs are vacuume metallizes silver.
Being a Generation One Minibot, only so much articulation can be expected. In this case there are four points of articulation. Each arm can move up or down, and the lower legs can be swung back.
In terms of detail, there is a surprising amount considering that this toy was at a very low price point back in the day. The main body has grooves and indentations that could have been left out. The upper legs also have some nice detailing. Also, the ends of the arms do have "finger" details etched into the hands. This keeps the toy from looking plain and the effort is appreciated.
Overall, Windcharger is a cool toy and he stands out as being one of the less cutesy Minibots. B-