"Generations" Autobot Topspin Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2013
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blasters x 2, Blaster/Saw weapon

*Images with asterisks above are from Amazon.com:
The conquest of new territories is just as important to Autobot Topspin as the defeat of the Decepticons. Whenever he's not charging into battle alongside his teammates, he can be found alone in the galaxy's wildest places. He is an explorer and adventurer at heart with an unquenchable desire to see whatever mysteries lie behind the next mountain. The battle between Autobot and Decepticon is never over, and this Autobot Topspin figure is the next generation of awesome Transformers action! Your Autobot Topspin figure is a fierce Autobot who comes armed with a savage snap-out saw. He can convert to Cybertronian rocket plane mode when he needs to take the battle skyward. But when he wants to really take them down, he and his allies can combine into a giant robot! Collect all 5 Wreckers (other figures sold separately) so you can build a complete Ruination robot. Keep converting your Autobot Topspin figure back and forth so he can handle whatever his enemies dish out, or make him an arm or a leg for your giant Ruination figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

One of the surprise releases in the "Generations" sub-line was a set of five Combaticons who combined into the powerful Bruticus. Combiners as a whole have been relative rarities in recent years and to have one at this scale was virtually unheard of. Such an investment is not to be taken lightly, and as part of the process of making sure the sculpts pay for themselves and then some, a redeco/retool was inevitable. Instead of another team of Decepticons, the Combaticons were given new decos, identities, head sculpts and weaponry. Representing the Autobot team known as "The Wreckers", the designers decided to get a little meta.

Back in 2000, Japan released a series of Transformers in a series dubbed "Car Robots". This would later be imported into other countries as "Robots in Disguise". This line was made up of a combination of new molds and redecos of older ones. One of these redecos used the original Bruticus figure from Generation One, giving the group a whole new identity. One of these was "Shuttler", part of the Valdigus team and a redeco of Generation One Blast Off. Later, Shuttler would be released outside Japan as "Movor" in the "Robots in Disguise" toy line. In a rather slick and cheeky move, the designers decided to use Movor as the basis for Topspin, who himself is a redeco of Generations Blast Off who in turn was a redeco of San Diego Comic-Con Blast-Off. This circular reference is amusing from a long time collector's standpoint and even before diving into this review I'll say I appreciate the forethought that went into this figure. Keep in mind however that this isn't much of a homage to G1 Topsin. He's a different interpretation of the character altogether. I do recommend checking out my reviews of the previous releases of this sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made for this release.

In addition to the small, hand held blasters that came with Blast-Off, Topspin also comes with an additional weapon. It looks like a heavy duty cannon complete with a large barrel and a rather thick main body complete with all sorts of small details including circles, ractangles and triangles. Sticking out on the right side is a large tab. Pull it back and the barrel retracts and a spinning saw blade swings out and forward. The motion makes the saw blade spin and it looks great. The only problem? It doesn't stay in place, much like the Mech Tech weapons from the "Dark of the Moon" series. This was a big disappointment after reviewing Roadbuster whose weapon does stay in place. That said, it's still cool an extra weapon is included with this figure and there are two connection ports on the sides for 5mm peg weapons, so that makes up for it a bit.

Robot Mode:
Aside from a new weapon, Topspin also features a new head sculpt. The design is largely based on the "Generation One" toy of the same name. This includes a crest in the center and a helmet section that features a rim at the edge where it transitions to the face. The sides feature flat panels that sweep back at the ends and the sides of his head feature small vents. The eyes are rectangular visor eyes and he has a rather pronounced chin. Topspin isn't exactly the most well known Autobot out there (at least, not on the level of Bumblebee for instance) but if you do know him, the head sculpt is almost instantly recognizable. The designers did a great job.

The rest of the body is the same as Blast-Off's. Sure it isn't exactly what you'd expect of Topspin. The original was a rather blocky and squared off looking character with some small wings on the sides of his arms (and pretty gigantic feet). Here he's very angular with a lot of sleek lines and details that make him look like he could be a very fast warrior on the battlefield. The gigantic shoulder armor pieces give him an appearance of power. Add on his weapons and Topspin definitely looks like he could throw down in a fight. Don't get me wrong, when I look at the figure I still think "Blast-Off with a different head" but then a second later I think "Topspin". Either way, it's still a cool looking figure.

Topspin is cast primarily in white and gunmetal grey plastic. The white makes up most of his body with the gunmetal grey making up smaller parts like his upper arms and thighs. These colors align nicely with Shuttler/Movor's primary colors which were also white and dark grey. The colors used to paint the figure include blue, orange, silver, gunmetal grey and light blue. The orange color stands out most brightly on the chest, forearms and waist. The light blue color works nicely against the orange. Dark blue is used on the sides of the lower legs and the edges of the shoulder armor. Silver is used heavily on the shoulder armor, coloring the mechanical looking parts and tubes in between each "fin". The eyes are painted light blue and the face is silver (much like G1 Topspin). The orange color is also fitting because it was one of Shuttler/Movor's primarily colors as well.

All the joints on this figure are nice and tight. I will say that the tab that connects to the joint under each arm is a bit tighter than the one on Blast-Off. When you push that tab in to secure the arm, you have to give it an extra bit of a push to snap it into place. Nothing breaks (and I've done this a few times now for this review) but you may want to brace all the parts with your fingers as you snap them together.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Pull each of the arms back.
  2. Swing the panel on the back out and swing the chest panel up.
  3. Tuck the panel back in place.
  4. Swing each arm back and connect the shoulder armor pieces together.
  5. Push the cmbined shoulder pieces up against the back panel from the robot mode.
  6. Rotate each leg around so the robot feet point out to the sides then swing them forward.
  7. Attach each of the small blasters to the holes on the "wings".
  8. The larger blaster can attach to the hole in the center of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Surprisingly, there is a sculpt change in vehicle mode as well as robot mode! The change involves the piece that formed the back of the robot mode. This piece had a beveled design that was relatively level before. Now a 5mm hole has been added to the center to allow you to attach the extra weapon. What I really appreciate is that this maintains the standard of ensuring all the weapons attach to both forms without leaving anything lying around.

This mode is mostly white like the robot form, but the deco on it winds up consolidating a lot in this form, so almost every section has some really nice colors on it. The front section is a mixture of orange and blue (with some gunmetal grey to boot) and the back has blue with silver (echoes of his G1 counterpart). In the center section is a small red Autobot symbol. Overall I find the vehicle mode deco stronger than the robot mode one, just because all the colors come together so well. The blue offers a hint of the character's lineage

Arm Mode:
To form the arm, start in vehicle mode. Push the legs down and then swing them out as if you were forming the robot legs. Rotate the wings so they point downward. On the underside of each wing you'll find a fist and a thumb. One for each side depending on which arm you want to form. Swing out the appropriate fist and thumb pieces. Swing in the outer parts of the wings and connect the two halves together. Then swing the front of the vehicle out a bit to reveal the purple connection point. Swing it down to connect to the connection point on one of Onslaught's shoulders.

Unfortunately the arm mode is the weakest of the two limb modes. It's way too long in proportion with the rest of Bruticus and winds up looking pretty darn weird. This is somewhat mitigated by the ability to attach several weapons to this mode in addition to having him hold the weapon in his hands. In terms of deco, it's much as you'd expect, the main colors that shine here are the blues and orange colors from the front part of the vehicle mode.

Leg Mode:
The leg mode winds up being a much quicker to transform from vehicle mode than the arm mode. All you need to do is swing in the wings to form a solid base for Bruticus to stand on. Then swing the front of the vehicle up to reveal the connection point and plug that into Onslaught's leg connection points.

Of the two limb modes, I much prefer this one. Topspin's length works perfectly as a leg. Also thanks to the robot lower leg being in the back, it is very stable.

Final Thoughts:
Topspin is a cool figure overall. Not the strongest of the Wrecker figures but that's mostly because of the arm mode. The head sculpt is a great design and pays proper homage to G1 Topspin even if the colors do not. I also appreciate the inclusion of an extra weapon and the "double homage" here to Topspin and Shuttler/Movor is fun. Recommended!

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