"Generations" War for Cybertron: Earthrise Smokescreen Toy Review

01/04/21

General Information: Release Date: October 2020
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Aldi Supermarkets, Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster, Shoulder Cannons x 2

Official product photos and text below in italics are from Amazon.com: Build the Battlefield Beyond -- The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark. Now, fighters must instantly adapt to battle anywhere in the cosmos. With the highly advanced A. I. R. (Adaptable Interconnection Retrofitter) Locks system, the fighters don’t head to the battlefield -- they become it. Bots capable of converting into Modular Battle Stations can A. I. R. -Lock together in custom configurations to fit the needs of battle. Earthrise collectible figures allow fans to build out epic space battle scenes, featuring figures that can convert into Modular Battle Station modes and connect together to expand the battlefield (each sold separately, subject to availability). The cunning Autobot diversionary tactician, Smokescreen, converts into classic racecar mode in 16 steps. Comes with 3 weapon accessories that attach to figure in both modes. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Smokescreen is one of the "1985" Autobots, a group of Autobots introduced in 1985 bolstering Optimus Prime's forces on Earth. There was a G1 toy of course, but over the years the character has popped back up on the Transformers toy radar now and then. Other versions of the character include:

There was also a Selects Smokescreen intended to go alongside Siege Autobots, but I have not yet reviewed that particular figure.

This figure uses the same engineering as the Earthrise Bluestreak figure but features a new head sculpt.

Packaging:
Smokescreen is packaged in a standard Earthrise box. The box is rectangular in shape but the left side is set at an angle. The figure is visible via a large plastic window. To the right of the figure is the Generations logo and under the figure is the Earthrise logo. The angled panel has Smokescreen's artwork featuring him firing his shoulder cannons. The back of the box features Smokescreen in both modes calling out a sixteen step transformation. Interestingly, the illustration shows Smokescreen with dark grey shoulder cannons instead of the blue ones included with the figure. Continuing the use of symbols from Siege there is a large symbol next to Bluestreak (though I could not find its exact meaning on the Hasbro Pulse article on the subject. Despite being a Walgreens exclusive in the United States, there were no Walgreens stickers or anything on my copies of this figure.

Accessories:
Smokescreen includes three weapons. Two of these are his shoulder cannons, featuring a circle at the base and a small barrel in front. Each features a 5mm port on the sides. Each cannon has a 3mm tip, allowing you to attach Blast Effects from other figures. His main weapon is a rifle that can fire a web of electrical energy that shorts out electrically powered targets (according to his G1 tech specs anyhow). The design is heavily based on the G1 weapon including a vertical panel in the back, a targeting scope and a barrel end that narrows towards the front. The weapon features a 5mm peg on either side, allowing you to connect the shoulder cannons to it. The end of the barrel has a 3mm end, allowing you to connect a Blast Effect. All three accessories are cast in blue plastic with no paint applications.

Robot Mode:
In the previous chapter of the War for Cybertron series, Smokescreen appeared in his Cybertronian form which looks a lot like a futuristic Earth vehicle. This time out Smokescreen is meant to represent how he would appear if he took on an Earth form (presumably in the 80's). For those curious, both figures measure a little over 5.25 inches (about 13.33 cm) and both figures weigh about 2.6 ounces (including their accessories).

If anyone was worried this figure was a simple "re-shelling" of the Siege Smokescreen, there is no need for concern. While Earthrise Smokescreen shares a lot of the engineering of that figure, it is actually a whole new figure. There are obvious new parts such as the head and chest, but even smaller parts like the shoulders and thighs are new pieces. A couple parts even move differently. For instance, on Siege Smokescreen the heel pieces swing back. On this figure they swing down from a horizontal hinge. There are also differences in the way the pegs for the Blast Effects are placed. On Siege Smokescreen's shoulders the pegs are set towards the top, on this figure they are set towards the bottom. All that said, the silhouette of the figure makes it easily identifiable as one of the classic "Datsun" brother styled characters (which include Prowl and Bluestreak). He has the "horns" sticking up on his head out of a central crest, the car doors form "wings" on his back and his chest is formed from the front of the vehicle mode.

While this is not a re-shelling of Siege Smokescreen, this figure does share many parts with Earthrise Bluestreak and Prowl. Since this is the only mass release version of this base sculpt, it would be fair to say Bluestreak and Prowl are retools/redecos of this figure. That said, I would not be surprised if all three were planned simultaneously. The two main parts that differentiate Smokescreen from the other two are the chest piece and robot head. The chest piece is thicker and has a different shape than Prowl and Bluestreak. This is in line with the character's rather bulky look in both the G1 toy and animation. I really like the head sculpt as it features a very different "helmet" section than Bluestreak and Prowl. Instead of a "helmet" that wraps around the robot face, Smokescreen has a face that seems to overlay the "helmet", giving him a very distinct appearance.

From a smaller detail standpoint there was a definite move to "smooth out" the look of the character. The Siege figures had a lot of greebles on them from larger parts like the legs to smaller bits like the elbows. Earthrise Smokescreen has plenty of details, but certain parts like his legs have toned down the greebles a bit in favor of "Earth vehicle" detailing.

Smokescreen is made up of blue, white, black and a smokey grey clear plastic. The blue and the white are the most prominent colors. Red, white and black paint are used to paint in a lot of details. A bit of yellow is used for the "horns" on his head. The result is a very bright looking figure that looks like it jumped out from animation and I think it looks great.

Smokescreen has twenty six points of articulation, which is above average for a Deluxe Class figure. This includes six in each arm and five in each leg. This articulation still includes the ankle tilt, a feature I am happy to see continuing in the Generations line. Each fist has a 5mm port for his rifle and there are slots on either side of his head to fit his shoulder cannons. On top of this, each shoulder has 5mm port on the side, as do the forearms. The sides of his legs also feature 5mm ports to attach accessories. There is also a 5mm port on his back for weapon storage or arming him up with Weaponizer parts. All this really helps Smokescreen act like a core robot who arms up with a ton of additional weapons and/or armor, reminding this 80's fan of The Centurions.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the heel pieces up.
  4. Push the lower legs together.
  5. Swing the chest/arms section up.
  6. Swing the panel on the middle of the hood section up.
  7. Rotate the lower body around at the waist.
  8. Push the legs in, with the thighs tucking into the open slots on the back of the lower legs.
  9. Line up the panels that form the rear window with the cabin cover.
  10. Swing the rear section of the vehicle (the robot feet) up.
  11. Rotate the arms at the shoulders so the wheels face up, then swing the arms in and down.
  12. Close the doors to lock everything in place.

*Note: There are two variants of this sculpt. The initial release is the one being reviewed here, and it lacked tabs on the cabin cover piece and in the knees to help the vehicle mode "lock" into place. A later release had additional tabs that allowed the cabin cover piece and knees to hold together better. On my copy of this figure this means that the vehicle mode has more visible seams than is ideal in vehicle mode, but I think it looks fine.

Vehicle Mode:
The original G1 Smokescreen toy based its vehicle mode on the Electramotive Devendorf/Sharpe touring car. Earthrise Smokescreen borrows heavily from that vehicle's deco with most of the car being blue while the upper part is painted red. White runs from the front along the sides as stripes going over the doors and rear wheel wells. Oddly, the number "80" is found on the doors instead of the "83" or "38" of the real life vehicle. At first I guessed this was due to some trademark issue, but Hasbro has used the number "38" on Smokescreen before post-G1 so this remains a mystery.

The slots that allowed you to attach accessories in robot mode carry over here. On top of the cabin section is a 5mm port for the rifle. Right in front of the windshield are the slots for the shoulder cannons.

Final Thoughts:
Earthrise Smokescreen is a good figure and a great representation of the character. That said, I can understand how some fans may not want to purchase another Smokescreen so quickly after they may have picked up Siege Smokescreen. Recommended if you want an "Earth" version of Smokescreen to add to your Generations shelf.

Pros:

  • I am glad this is not just a simple "reshell" of Siege Smokescreen.
  • I'm very glad the designers gave us new head and chest pieces and resisted just making this a straight up redeco.
  • Plenty of attachment points for accessories.
  • Excellent articulation.

Cons:

  • Shares design and aesthetics with Siege Smokescreen, which may put some fans off.
  • The "tabbed" versus "not-tabbed" versions make purchasing this figure a bit of a roll of the dice. Personally the difference does not bother me a lot but I can see how some fans may be very particular about it.