"Generations" Roadbuster Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2013
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Small blaster, Energon Harvester

*Images with asterisks above are from Amazon.com:
Roadbuster has never been anything but a soldier. When battle rages around him, he acts with a quick certainty that is an inspiration to the other Autobots. But when the guns fall silent he withdraws into himself. Without a battle to fight, he doesn't know what to do with himself. So what he does is prepare constantly for the next fight – or he goes out and picks one. The battle between Autobot and Decepticon is never over, and this Roadbuster figure is the next generation of awesome Transformers action! Your Roadbuster figure is a fierce Autobot who can convert to Cybertronian assault transport mode when he needs to take the fight to his Decepticon enemies. 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 Roadbuster 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 "Greenjeeper", part of the Valdigus team and a redeco of Generation One Swindle. Later, Greenjeeper would be released outside Japan as "Rollbar" in the "Robots in Disguise" toy line. In a rather slick and cheeky move, the designers decided to use Greenjeeper as the basis for Roadbuster, who himself is a redeco of Generations Swindle who in turn was a redeco of San Diego Comic-Con Swindle. 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 Roadbuster even though they are meant to represent an incarnation of the G1 character. 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 weapon included with Swindle, Roadbuster also has an Energon Harvester cannon. In the "Fall of Cybertron" video game this weapon was a shotgun that not only damaged enemies, but gave enegy to its user. A similarly named relic was featured in the "Transformers Prime" episode "Deus Ex Machina". The blaster is a thick, short weapon with a 5mm peg handle. The front has three rectangular sections pointing forward. Pull the handle back and the rectangular sections slide up and a small barrel slides back. The top of the weapon has a 5mm hole allowing you to attach Roadbuster's other weapon. I absolutely love the fact that the weapon can lock in its alternate form. Most "transformable" weapons such as those from the "Dark of the Moon" toy line can transform, but cannot stay locked in their alternate forms. It's cool to see one that does. It's also cool to see that the Energon Harvester wasn't swapped out for the weapon included with Swindle, but rather this is in addition to that weapon.

The Energon Harvester is mostly cast in gunmetal grey with some silver parts such as the handle. The "T" shaped weapon carried over from the Swindle version of this figure is also cast in gunmetal grey. Neither weapon has any paint applications on it, but they don't really need them. Both look like heavy duty weapons and having some silver parts on the Harvester adds to its visual appeal.

Robot Mode:
All the Wreckers figures feature new head sculpts. Roadbuster's is based on his G1 namesake with some extra designs added in. The structure of the head is consistent with the G1 character including four rectangular sections flanking the face, visor eyes and a mouthplate that sticks out a bit in the front. The head is cast in gunmetal grey plastic with blue paint used for the eyes and green on the crest and details flanking the mouth piece. It's a good looking head sculpt and I like the fact that there are two colors on the head instead of one. If you know the character of Roadbuster at all, the head sculpt is immediately identifiable which is critical since the body is really Swindle's body and not an original sculpt intended to represent Roadbuster as he appeared in Generation One.

Instead of yellows and black plastic colors, this figure has a much darker color palette consisting of dark green, silver and gunmetal grey parts. The green makes up most of th eupper body and lower legs. Silver is found on the large wheels that make up his shoulders and part of his lower legs. It's also used on the waist area. Gunmetal grey is found on smaller parts such as the thighs. By themselves these base colors are already very "military" in appearance, which fits the character well. However, the other layer to this design is that these colors are also inspired by Greenjeeper who had a lot of green parts with black (gunmetal grey serves as the "black" in this figure).

Further tying Greenjeeper to Roadbuster are the paint colors used on the figure, specifically the orange found on the torso piece and lower legs. On the torso orange forms line details (thin and thick) as well as a large Autobot symbol right in the middle of his chest. The knee armor is also painted orange. Silver is used for the engine-like details surrounding the head as well as the pipes running along his lower legs. The same blue paint that is used for the eyes can also be found on his lower legs and chest. Finally, black is used for the small vent details on his shoulders, his fists and front grille. Overall this is a really nice deco. Almost every major section of the figure is painted somewhere. The same cannot be said for Swindle, but that's the trade off of reusing most of a mold. You may be getting "mostly" the same toy again, but financially it opens up the opportunity for more decos since you're not spending money investing in a brand new sculpt.

All the joints on Roadbuster are just as tight as the ones on my two Swindle figures. He can hold the Harvester up fine even though it's a bulky weapon. I haven't noticed any tooling issues with this version of the figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. On each forearm, rotate the exhaust pipes around so they point forward.
  2. Swing each robot foot down.
  3. Push the two lower legs together.
  4. Rotate the lower body around at the waist.
  5. Swing the robot chest up.
  6. As the chest goes up, you can push the head down.
  7. Connect the top of the chest piece to the edge of the lower legs.
  8. Connect the tabs on the insides of each forearm to the corresponding slots on the sides of the hips.
  9. The weapons can be attached on the top of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
In Generation One, Roadbuster was an off-road armored vehicle. In that respect, this vehicle mode is consistent with his previous incarnation. Swindle's Cybertronian "jeep" mode works well since it does look like an off-road vehicle you wouldn't want to mess with! Its big tires, "claws" in the front and large tailpipes running along the back really solidify this as a vehicle with power. In this form you won't notice any sculpt changes other than the new weapon being attached to the top.

The green sections of the vehicle all com etogether to form most of the outer shell of this vehicle. The wheels and exhaust pipes are silver with the "claws" in the front cast in gunmetal grey. All the orange details from the robot mode come together here in the front and middle of the vehicle. The details that didn't get focus in the robot mode are the blue details painted onto the sides of the wheels, giving them the appearance of "glowing" similar to the way the Transformers look in the "Fall of Cybertron" video game.

The weapon fits nice and snug on the port on top. There may be only one hole, but since you can attach both weapons together this isn't a problem.

Leg Mode:
Start with Swindle in vehicle form and swing up the purple connection point underneath the hood of the vehicle. Then flip out the robot feet and connect it to the connection point on Impactor (he can form either leg). The gunmetal grey joint has a hinge with a ratchet joint that allows you to "bend" Ruination's leg at the knees.

Arm Mode:
Start with Roadbuster in vehicle form and swing the gunmetal grey connection point up so it's now pointing to the side. Swing the robot legs out. Behind each lower leg is a hand for Ruination. Depending on which arm you are creating (left or right) you have the choice of swinging out a hand that matches that side. Connect the gunmetal grey joint to the connection point on Impactor's shoulder.

In both of the "limb" modes, this is pretty much the same figure as Swindle. The biggest difference is in color and tone. This is a considerably darker figure in appearance, befitting the character even if these aren't his "original" colors. Aside from the obvious vehicle mode parts that appear in this form you'll see Ruination's hands are silver, matching many other parts on Roadbuster. Functionally the figure works well. Some have reported that the connection tabs can stress and potentially brea. I have not personally experienced this but then again I'm not transforming these daily or anything.

Final Thoughts:
Roadbuster is a fun and very meta homage. I kind of like the roundabout reference he represents instead of just being a straight forward application of the character's G1 colors to a new sculpt. Still, some fans are going to be disappointed since he doesn't have the primarily orange and green colors of G1 Roadbuster and that's perfectly fair.

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