Rescue Bots Sawyer Storm with Rescue Winch Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Basic

Rescue Bots

General Information:
Release Date: August 2011
Price Point: $5.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rescue Winch Tool/vehicle

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Transformers.com:
Your SAWYER STORM figure is ready to join the rest of his RESCUE BOT friends on another rescue mission, and all he needs is you! Choose from 2 modes - Rescue Gear and Robot Tool. Pull the tow hook and press to activate winch! No matter what dangers await, your SAWYER STORM figure is ready to be a hero! Includes tear-away character card! For extra adventure, team him up with BLADES THE COPTER-BOT! (Sold separately.) Comes with figure, vehicle and card. Ages 3 to 6.

As long as Transformers have been around, there have always been sub-lines of toys dedicated to a younger age group than the main toy line. In 2011, the "Rescue Bots" line takes this role. Focusing around Transformers working with humans on rescue missions using equipment ranging from helicopters to rocket packs. Unlike previous attempts such as "1-2-3 Transformers" and "Go-Go-Gobots" however, this line actually includes Generation One inspired characters in it. This line is firmly aimed at the younger set (ages 3-6 according to the packaging), so I'll say right away that older collectors may find it a bit lacking by their standards.

The official description of Sawyer Storm and this playset mentions that he is meant to pair up with Blades, the helicopter based member of the Rescue Bots team. However, it's interesting to note that on his official TV show profile Blades is shown instead with Dani Burns, the daughter of Chief Charlie Burns (you can see her picture and bio here. I do wonder if we'll wind up seeing Sawyer at all on the show though I do appreciate the attempt at gender diversity among the characters in the show.

Sawyer Storm:
Sawyer drives a land based vehicle in this playset, but clearly his design is meant to reflect that of a helicopter pilot. His entire head design is focused around looking like someone who pilots an aerial vehicle. He has a round helmet that wraps around his chin. Coming out from the left side is a microphone that wraps around part of his face ending up near his mouth. His torso design shows a vest that has pockets in the front (presumably for rescue supplies). The vest puffs out a bit like a life vest, but nowhere near as thick as you would imagine. Being set in a futuristic world, I'm guessing life vest technology is more form fitting in the Rescue Bots world.

The arms and legs are the standard design seen on other figures like Axel Frazier including large hands and feet (proportionally speaking) with four fingers on each hand instead of five. Interestingly this is not the aesthetic used on the television show, where the characters are much more proportional and have five fingers. Clearly the divide here is between watching a piece of entertainment and making toys that will appeal to kids with the "cute" aesthetic and in that case the difference is understandable, but interesting to note. Around each of Sawyer's wrists are bracelets (presumably more rescue gear) and between his belt and straps around his legs it appears he is wearing a rescue harness.

Sawyer is cast in orange, grey and black plastic. The colors are very similar to Blades' color scheme which are themselves based on those see in in many real life rescue vehicles. These colors are broken up between his various body parts. The head, hands and chest are orange while his arms are grey and his legs are black. Paint applications are done in brown, light blue, orange and a light and dark shade of grey. The blue is used to paint the visor on his head. The brown is used for his face while the greys are distributed throughout the figure providing detail for several of the raised sections such as the aforementioned bracelets and harness gear. The orange paint is used to paint what look like Air Force symbols on his shoulders, adding an extra touch to remind us that Sawyer works in the skies. A final detail is an Autobot symbol tampographed onto the top of the helmet.

Sawyer has six points of articulation with two in each arm and head articulation. His wrists are designed to turn so he can grip handles on the various vehicles in the Rescue Bots toy line. Holes in his feet allow him to connect to said vehicles using the pegs found on them. Overall I like the Sawyer Storm figure and I appreciate the shot at racial diversity in making him dark skinned.

Rescue Winch Vehicle Mode:
The Rescue Winch vehicle is a four wheeled All Terrain Vehicle (ATV). This makes perfect sense since sleek sports cars aren't going to do a whole lot of good in rescue operations. I like the idea of having a vehicle that Blades can deploy with Sawyer so he can get to those in need of help no matter the terrain.

Like many real life ATV's, the Rescue Winch doesn't have a lot of outer shell to it. There's a flat platform with a blocky section in the front that connects to the steering handles and the winch control. The front wheel wells have angled covers over them but the rear wheels are largely exposed. Each wheel has been cast with a rough texture befitting a vehicle meant to travel on dirt roads and other less than optimal conditions. A spare tire is sculpted into the front end of the vehicle and right under that are several vertical grooves that resemble parts of an engine.

Like Sawyer himself the vehicle is cast in grey, orange and black. Orange makes up most of the vehicle, forming the base plastform, the front section of the vehicle and the winch hook in the front. Grey forms the other parts of the vehicle except for the handles and wheels which are cast in black. Light grey and black paint are used for detailing. The light grey is the most heavily used color, found on most of the front "engine" section and on parts in the middle of the plastform leading to the rear wheels. Black is used on the platform as well, forming a black stripe in the center. On the left side of the vehicle is an Autobot symbol tampographed into the front end.

Sawyer can connect to the vehicle using the peg on the platform piece and by holding onto the handles. He winds up leaning over a bit to grasp the handles but it doesn't look too awkward. To use the winch, pull out the hook (revealing the blue string inside) and then press the spare tire to retract the line. It doesn't just "zip" back in, you have to hold the button down and watch it move in slowly. It's a very smooth motion and simple enough of an operation for younger kids to perform while getting a satisfying "action" out of the vehicle. All four tires also roll nicely along the ground for "driving" action.

Transformation to Robot Tool Mode:

  1. Pull the front section forward.
  2. Underneath the vehicle the handle for a Rescue Bot will deploy.
  3. Attach to the hand of any Rescue Bot.

Rescue Winch Robot Tool Mode:
There's not a whole lot to this mode that you didn't already see in the vehicle form. The handle that Blades can use to hold the tool is new of course and the winch mechanism is now set forward (or down if you have a robot holding it). A bit more black plastic is revealed in the form of the hinge that swings the front section forward. I'd probably feel better about it if there was a way to point the winch forward, but the design doesn't really permit that (having elbow articulation here would also be a big help in the case of Blades).

Final Thoughts:
The Rescue Winch isn't the most impressive vehicle in terms of transformation, but I do like its action mechanism a lot. I'm glad the line doesn't just "zip" into its slot in an instant. Instead it takes time and can really help kids simulate an adventure and be able to see what happened to the line! The Sawyer Storm figure is cool and again, despite his (current) omission from the television show, it's neat to have a character that offers some diversity to the Rescue Bots crew. Recommended, but it is a weak transformation overall.