Cybertron Toy Reviews: Smokescreen

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Cybertron, Earth Planet, Galaxy Force

General Information:
Release Year: September 2005
Retailer: General Release (Target, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee etc.)
Price: $10.99 (Depending on retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Cyber Planet Key, Missile launcher, Missile

Smokescreen package art


Tech Specs:
Back on Cybertron, Smokescreen was considered a practical joker. Always ready with a gag and a laugh, he kept the mood light, even when the struggle against the black hole looked hopeless. Since the fight against the Decepticons on Earth heated up though, his talent for the trickery has been turned against the enemy. More than one Decepticon has been stuck in traffic at a series of nonfunctioning toll booths on a remote road in the middle of the desert.

Strength: 5 Intelligence: 9 Speed: 8 Endurance: 6 Rank: 6 Courage: 7 Firepower: 5 Skill: 9

Smokescreen is one of the last of the deluxe Transformers figures for the Cybertron line before the line bows out to make way for Classics and next year's Transformers live action movie figures. He is a redeco of the figure originally released in Japan as Galaxy Force Autovolt and then later released in Cybertron as Crosswise. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Each Transformer from the basic sized figure and up comes with a Cyber Planet Key. Smokescreen comes with the standard "Earth" Planet Key. Unlike the Japanese Galaxy Force "Force Chips", these have codes printed on them that you can use on the official Transformers web site to unlock extra content. Smokescreen's code is d4v6 and his unlocked material reveals an image of his color chart and the following text:

The color scheme for this figure is again an homage to a character from Transformers history. In 1985, the Autobot Diversionary Tactician SMOKESCREEN was released. He appeared in the original Transformers cartoon and also in the original Transformers comic book. The colors on this newly re-painted Crosswise are almost identical to the original colors on Smokescreen, even down the number 38 insignia on the doors!

Vehicle Mode:
Homages to classic characters have become a common theme with Transformers redecos over the past few years. What began as a unique phenomena with Botcon exclusives has since branched into a staple of the mainline Transformers figures. Armada, Energon and Cybertron have all had their homages (both in sculpt and colors) to Transformers from Generation One, and Smokescreen is one of the most recent examples.

In vehicle mode Smokescreen is a car inspired by the real life exotic sportscar known as the Bugatti Veyron. This somehwat futuristic looking vehicle makes for an excellent "real world" car to base a Transformer on, giving it a form with Earth sensability that could fit with the furturistic vehicles one would imagine on Cybertron.

In creating this homage to G1 Smokescreen, the designers did not just take Smokescreen's basic colors and apply them to the existing figure. They also tried to duplicate the pattern of those colors. Smokescreen is mainly cast in red plastic in this form. This allows most of the top and lower portion of the vehicle to be red. Towards the rear his hidden missile launchers and the spoiler section are black. The translucent plastic is a bluish shade now, although the car windows are so light they're practically clear. It is really in the missile/flame accesory that you see the blue color come through.

Running from the front to the sides of the vehicle are white lines. They start at a V like shape at the front and move along the sides horizontally. These are very similar to the white lines on the sides of G1 Smokescreen. A metallic blue color follows the path of the white lines (albeit taking up greater space) from the front to the doors. Some silver is used as well, most notably on the headlights, wheels and the propeller like detail on the front end of the car.

Tampos are used for additional detail. Perhaps the one that completes the homage are the black and white number "38" tampographs on each door. These are very similar to details on the original Smokescreen. On the top of the car is an Autobot symbol which rests in the same place that G1 Smokescreen had his heat sensitive "rub symbol" on the top of his vehicle mode.

The functionality of the vehicle has not been affected by going through three production runs. Insert the Cyber Key in the rear of the vehicle and twin missile launchers flip out from the rear. Combined with the large flame/missile coming out of the vehicles rear section this is one powerful looking vehicle (which is apt as the Bugatti has a reputation of being a powerful vehicle).

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Smokescreen winds up being a bit of a double homage. For the most part is is still a G1 Smokescreen homage. The newly introduced colors are yellow paint and off-white plastic (that has an almost light greyish tone to it). The upper arms and upper legs are cast in the off-white plastic. Black plastic is used for his feet and waist section. The chest, lower legs and lower arms are cast in red plastic with metallic blue paint offering detail.

The dual homage aspect comes in with the head. As I mentioned in Autovolt's review the head sculpt is more based upon G1 Action Master Rad than G1 Smokescreen. This sculpt homage is furthered by using red for the outer helmet, a silver face and a blue translucent "visor" over the eyes. Add to that the central crest being painted yellow and there's no mistake that we have a fantastic homage to Rad's head design and color.

Smokescreen's Planet Key gimmick works just fine in robot mode as well. His posability has not been affected. All his joints are still tight. The missile launcher still fires the missile a good distance as well.

Final Thoughts:
The only thing I regret was grabbing Smokescreen so quickly off the shelves. Looking at the section where the robot chest section meets the car doors, some of the blue paint was not painted on completely. This leaves small bits of red that look like "chips", but really aren't. I recommend making sure you take a good look at that section before buying.

I always saw this sculpt as an update to the classic Autobot "car hood as the chest" design, and with a G1 homage color scheme that connection becomes even stronger. Highly recommended.