Speed Stars Stealth Force Gears Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Revenge of the Fallen, Speed Stars, Stealth Force


Speed StarsStealth Force

General Information:
Release Date: July 2010
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Pull tab

Images:

Videos (from my Youtube channel, this will open in a new browser window):

Last year, the Transformers introduced a sub-line known as "R.P.M.'s", aka the "Robot Powered Machines". This expression of the brand focused on the vehicular aspect of Transformers play including Hot Wheels styled cars and larger vehicles that had more kiddified transformations. At Toy Fair 2010 it was revealed that the line would continue with an added sub-line known as "Stealth Force". The idea is that a vehicle roughly deluxe size or larger would have a gear system that allowed it to transform from a regular vehicle mode to a "battle mode" with all sorts of weaponry appearing from hidden compartments in the toy. One of the first characters released for this line is Autobot Gears.

Vehicle Mode:
Based on the artwork from the packaging and the character's tech spec, I think it is safe to say this iteration of Gears is based on his "Revenge of the Fallen" incarnation. However, instead of having a vehicle mode based on the GMC SUV's used in the original Transformers live action movie, this vehicle mode appears to be more based on longer vehicles such as the Chevrolet Suburban. Unlike the GMC SUV from the first movie, this vehicle has four doors and windows, but then over the rear wheel well is a long window. It looks almost as if this was a pickup truck and someone slapped on an extra cover on the back of the vehicle. My guess is that this size was created to accomodate the functionality of the transformation which involves gears and a push button mechanism.

Gears has many of the key features of the Suburban including the aforementioned "extra" windows, a prominent bumper in the front, curved headlights and more rectangular lights in the rear. To avoid licensing issues of course, many aspects of the vehicle's design have been modified. The wheel wells are much larger and stick out to the side more than they do on the Suburban. The overall shape of the vehicle is also a lot more flat, giving it a sleeker appearance. The sideview mirrors are rectangular in design instead of sticking out to the sides and there are a row of lights on the top of the cabin section. To keep some design continuity with the character of Gears, the front grille has thick, horizontal lines running across that are reminscent in design to the mouthplate on the robot mode head in the deluxe figure. I appreciate the design continuity since Gears is not really linked to an iconic vehicle in the same way as characters such as Optimus Prime or Bumblebee.

While he is a very sleek, smooth vehicle with lots of curved lines, Gears does have a lot of tiny details that are sculpted into the toy. Look inside the sections where the wheels connect to the body of the vehicle and you'll see bars or pistons that "connect" to the wheels. The front and rear bumpers have layered line details on them while the sideview mirrors even have "lights" sculpted into the sides. Flip the vehicle over and you'll see details like springs, tubes, grid details and more. While this vehicle does transform, the transformation is not quite as significant as a vehicle to a robot, so adding a little something "extra" in terms of sculpted details is nice to see.

Gears is cast in a very different color scheme than last year's deluxe figure. His most prominent color is metallic purple. Black plastic is used on the wheels and sideview mirrors. Grey plastic is used for the front and rear bumpers along with the underside of the vehicle. You can barely see the grey, but if you flip the vehicle over it takes up most of the bottom. Paint details are done in black, orange, silver, white and red. The windows are painted black, but perhaps the coolest black details are several "gear/cog" type details found on the front, sides and rear of the vehicle, some of which have Autobot symbols in the center. These patterns are also found on the deluxe figure and offers further continuity between the two. Silver paint is used for the sides of the wheels as well as the front and back bumpers. You'll find a lot of the smaller details painted orange. This includes the lights along the top of the vehicle as well as the tiny lights on the sideview mirrors and in the front of the rear wheel wells. Red paint is used on the rear lights, but it is most prominent on the underside of the vehicle where you'll find a large Autobot symbol.

I confess that the color scheme looks nice, but sort of mystifies me. The cog details of course make perfect sense, but purple is so dramatically different from last year's Gears figure, the lack of continuity would almost seem counterproductive since the sculpt was clearly made to relate the two. If he had been metallic blue or silver I think it would have made a lot more sense. Still, the colors look good, but nothing about it screams "Gears" to me other than the black cog details.f

Transformation to Battle Mode:
To activate Gears' transformation, press the button on the top of the vehicle. It is located in the center of the row of lights on top. Do this and the vehicle essentially expands, with several panels opening up at the same time. The panels that open up are:

  • The top of the vehicle opens up to reveal a missile launcher.
  • The rear bumper slides down to reveal missile launchers (non working).
  • The rear wheel wells move out to the side, revealing four barreled cannons.
  • The doors on the sides swing out, showing cannons underneath.
  • The front wheel wells slide out with guns inside.
  • The hood pieces split and raise up, revealing missile launchers (non working) inside.

To reverse the transformation, you flip over the vehicle and pull the raised tab in the middle back up and all the parts will slide back into place and lock.

I have to say that this transformation is really fun to watch. While I do love transforming figures manually, every now and then having an "auto transformation" is cool to see, especially one where it's not just one or two sections that transform but rather the entire vehicle. Almost everything in this figure moves, shifts or transforms into Battle Mode which is super fun in my book.

Battle Mode:
As sleek as the profile of the vehicle mode is, the Battle Mode gives it a much wider and more aggressive appearance, and not just because there's artillery sticking out everywhere on this figure. By having the doors swing out and the wheel wells expand out to the side the vehicle actually does become wider in this form. With the weapons on the hood and the cannon on the top, the vehicle also becomes taller. None of the vehicle mode parts disappear in this form, but they do break up to reveal a ton of weaponry. I'll break up the rundown of the weapons from the front to the back.

Front weapons
The hood pieces lift up to reveal missile pods on the left and right, but my favorite detail is the way the center of the hood raises up a bit higher to reveal a blaster inside. The missiles are typical "cluster bomb" type missiles with a flat front end but round in shape. The blaster in the middle has an asymmetrical design that includes ridged lines along the length of the barrel. On either side of the hood are details that could be weapons or additional mechanical detail revealing the Cybertronian nature of the vehicle. These details have a barrel shape but no real end that looks like weapons fire would come out of it. Still, the design is cool and looks like the internal systems of a complex machine.

Middle weapons
The most prominent weapon in the middle of the vehicle is the large cannon that emerges from the top of the vehicle. This cannon seems to take some design inspiration from Ironhide's arm cannons, with a tube that has layered details on the middle to the end while a ring caps the forward section. This cannon also doubles as a missile launcher. Plug in the included missile and press the tab on top and the missile fires. Similar to this cannon are the two cannons on the doors. Each of these look just like they came from Ironhide with a smaller tube connected to the side of the larger barrel and tons of small details including wires and overlapping line detail. These three cannons are among my favorite weapons on this vehicle. I love the design continuity behind these weapons and those on Ironhide. After all, most military organizations have standard issue weapons that are deployed to troops, so why couldn't another Autobot have weapons similar to those Ironhide uses? I also have to say that watching the top section split open and having a large cannon come out has a really dramatic visual effect.

Rear weapons
Gears is armed to the teeth pointing forward, but what if he gets attacked from behind? No worries! From both of the rear wheel wells, quad-barreled cannons emerge. What I dig is that each of these is set on a spring that causes them to rise and point up at an angle automatically. I envision him blasting away at Seekers in the air with these guns and it's also cool to see not everything just points straight forward or back. However, let's say there is an enemy right behind him, he's got that covered too! The rear bumper lowers and reveals eight missiles similar in design to those in the front. What I really like is that the notch that is on the front of each missile doesn't face the exact same direction, giving it a more interesting appearance.

All of the weapons are cast in metallic silver plastic, with the missiles cast in green. The missiles are sculpted to look like energy blasts so the green color fits. The ends of the missiles on the front and rear are painted gold, helping to distinguish them from the silver plastic the are cast in. Despite the wheel wells moving out to the side, the vehicle can still roll fine without a problem.

Final Thoughts:
Gears is a very different type of Transformers toy than I'm used to reviewing. Despite the odd color scheme choice, I have to say that this is one awesome vehicle-based toy. This isn't for the traditional Transformers fan since it doesn't have a robot mode, but between its cool transformation and well thought out weaponry, I can definitely consider this vehicle recommended!