"Generations" Drivetrain Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: August 2010
Price Point: $3.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Specialty Markets (Family Dollar, Hastings etc.)
Accessories: None

Transformers are a popular item on toy store shelves nowadays, but not all store chains wind up getting larger and more expensive exclusives like the ones Wal-Mart and Target receive. Smaller store chains such as Family Dollar often need to make alternate arrangements to carry exclusives. These sometimes take the form of repackaged figures from past Transformers lines. Other times they are smaller figures given new decos and repackaged, thus is the case with Drivetrain. Originally released in the United States as part of the "Transformers Cybertron" Recon Mini-Con team, this figure was once known as "Reverb". I never did review that particular team, so this will be my first review of this sculpt.

I did have a bit of a think on just where this figure belonged category-wise. While the card the figure is shipped in uses the same basic background as the "Generations" line of Transformers, it does not have the word "Generations" on it. I ultimately decided to put it into my "Generations" section partly based on the card design and the idea that the "Universe/Classics/Generations" line celebrates figures from all different parts of Transformers history. In this case, I take these as paying homage to the Unicron Trilogy aspect of Transformers.

Vehicle Mode:
Drivetrain's vehicle mode is a pickup truck. Being a Mini-Con, a bit of latitude exists for just how large or long the vehicle can be. In this case, the front of Drivetrain's vehicle mode looks fairly standard in structure and size, but the back section doesn't have a whole lot of storage room due to the truck bed being quite small. Still, I like the look of the truck, which has some nice detailing. This includes a raised section in the middle of the hood, a row of lights on the top of the cabin and a sculpted Mini-Con symbol on the back of the cabin section. It's a truck that manages to straddle the line between looking cool and "cute" at the same time.

This mode mostly shows off Drivetrain's dark red and black plastic. The dark red makes up a majority of the vehicle with black used on the wheels. Paint details are done in a combination of white, silver, gold and black. White is only found on the Mini-Con symbol in this mode. It contrasts quite nicely against the dark red plastic. You'll find the black on his windows and wrapping around the top edge of the truck bed. It is also found on the windows, making it the most extensively used paint color in this mode. Gold is used to paint the row of lights on the top of the cabin section while silver is used to paint the headlights. Being a fan who grew up with Generation One, it's hard not to look at this combination of colors and be reminded of Ironhide. Indeed, I would not be surprised if this was some type of homage to that character.

All four wheels in this mode roll to move the vehicle along and they still work nicely, no wobbling or uneven wheels here. The Mini-Con connection port is on the bottom of the vehicle's left side. When attached to a couple of my Power Core Combiners the pegs seemed to attach nice and tight. I think it's important to take note of these things as it is a key piece of functionality in the figure and this sculpt has been reused several times already (both in and out of the US). It's cool to see the tooling is holding up after five years.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the front end of the vehicle forward to form the robot legs.
  2. Split the truck bed in half and turn the halves up.
  3. Swing the robot chest piece down.
  4. Straighten out the arms.
  5. Swing the robot head up.

Robot Mode:
The vehicle mode's front end hides a good portion of the robot mode parts, so once you have it in this mode it reveals quite a bit. First is the head sculpt, which has a helmet section with antennae on the side and a crest in the center (similar in theme to Optimus Prime's head design). The face is a regular one with two eyes, a nose and mouth but the sculpt is tiny, making it all the more impressive in terms of detailing. The robot fists were visible in vehicle mode, but here they take center stage, with each forearm detail embedded inside the halves of the truck's back section. The waist piece is blocky but has circle and rectangular details inside of it to give it some balance. Turn the figure around and you'll also find some nice line details sculpted into both his back and thighs.

This mode reveals an additional plastic color: silver. This is found on his arms and legs, offering another color that contrasts nicely with the red. The head is cast in red plastic, but the helmet section is painted black and the face is silver. The black and silver combination offers a nice break from the continuity of the red plastic, which would overwhelm the figure otherwise. Overall this is a really nice looking Mini-Con in both modes.

Drivetrain has eight points of articulation in this form, four in each arm and leg. The joints aren't super tight, but they're not loose either. Technically you could attach him to a larger Transformer with a Mini-Con connection peg by using the Mini-Con port on his right arm, but it does wind up looking a tad silly depending on who you attach him to!

Final Thoughts:
Drivetrain is a well sculpted, functional and cool looking Mini-Con. As part of the original Cybertron three pack he would have made up part of a team that would have been considered an instant "highly recommended". However, he is a redeco and moreover he costs about $5 at most venues (which is almost the total cost of the original Cybertron set he is based off of). If you're really into Mini-Cons and/or redecos, then this is worth the purchase. Its store exclusive nature also adds to this appeal. Like Swashplate, this figure has a fairly limited audience, but I do like it a lot.

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