"Generations Selects" Sandstorm Toy Review

05/19/21

General Information:
Release Date: February 2021
Price Point: $29.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Online Exclusive (BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Hasbro Pulse etc.)
Accessories: Arm Blasters x 2

Images and text in italics below are from Hasbro Pulse
It's the G2 Sandstorm figure fans have been waiting for since the 90s. For the first time, fans can add the elusive character to their collection! This special edition WFC-GS21 Decepticon Sandstorm figure is inspired by the mockup of the never released G2 figure, featuring desert camo deco and a ferocious snarling face on the nose of the jet mode. This Decepticon Sandstorm figure converts from robot to jet mode in 25 steps and comes with 2 null ray accessories that can attach to the figure in robot and jet modes.

Includes Generations Selects Voyager Class Decepticon Sandstorm figure, 2 accessories, and instructions.

  • Generations Selects is a fan-dedicated line of figures featuring special edition characters that can’t be found in the main line
  • Inspired by the mockup of the never released G2 Decepticon Sandstorm figure from the 90s
  • Figure features desert camo deco inspired by the original mockup, and the ferocious snarling face on the nose of the jet mode
  • This Decepticon Sandstorm figure converts from robot to jet mode in 25 steps
  • Comes with 2 null ray accessories that can attach to the figure in robot and jet modes
  • Figure scale: 7 inches
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

During the Generation 2 era there were many figures that were mocked up for that era but never released at retail. Over the years, many samples and photos of these unreleased figures have appeared in dribs and drabs online. One such figure was to be a redeco of G2 Ramjet as Sandstorm. No, not the Autobot Sandstorm but a new Decepticon character. Now, decades later the character has finally received a wide release as a Generations Selects figure. This figure is a redeco and retool of the Earthrise Seeker sculpt used to make Starscream and the Skywarp/Thundercracker two pack. This sculpt was used for Ramjet as well, but I am reviewing this version of the sculpt before Dirge and Ramjet. This review will focus on the changes made to the base Seeker sculpt for this release.

Packaging & Accessories:
Sandstorm is packaged in the standard Selects cardboard box complete with a sticker on the outside that both seals the package and identifies the figure inside. The figure itself is binded to a plastic tray with the instructions underneath.

Sandstorm's weapons are the same ones that came with Starscream. They are even described in the product description as "Null Rays", weapons most often associated with the treacherous Decepticon lieutenant. These weapons are cast in a beige plastic, featuring a 5mm peg as well as a connection point for Blast Effects at the end of each barrel.

Robot Mode:
At first glance it would be easy for one to think all the designers did was swap out Sandstorm's head and slapped some wings on his legs, but there is actually a bit more happening than that:

  • The "standard" Seeker head has been replaced with a "conehead" head. This piece is about the same width as the standard Seeker head, but the top is longer, intended to look like the nosecone of the jet mode. I say "intended" because this does not actually form the nosecone of the jet mode. That piece is still on the back of the figure.
  • The chest panel design is different than the one used on Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker. It looks very similar however, featuring turbines on the either side of the chest, but the smaller details are different including the rectangular sections underneath the turbines.
  • The front panels on the legs are a bit more flat than the ones on Starscream and company. This is particularly true at the knees, which only have a very slight angle compared to the first three Seekers using this base sculpt.
  • Each lower leg now has a large hinge on the sides to attach the jet mode wings and boosters.
  • The hinge on the back of the figure does not connect to the wings on the back, rather they connect to smaller wing segments.

I was very happy to see just how much had been altered on this sculpt to make it into a "Conehead". I was surprised to see pieces like the torso panel have so many changes and I think the figure is better for it.

When looking at the deco on Sandstorm, it is important to remember that it is based on concept/mock up photos and artwork. It is hard to say what the figure would have looked like exactly had it been released so I see the photos that have popped up online more as guides or inspiration for the deco this figure finally received. The base color for this figure is beige, consistent with the unreleased G2 figure. Smaller pieces such as the elbows are brown. Other parts such as the boosters on his legs are black plastic. Paint colors on the figure include black, red and white. The desert inspired deco comes directly from the G2 figure and while the colors may not be the most exciting in the world, they are consistent with the "source material" and he looks good. Given the inference that he is a desert fighter however, I do wish he had some Siege style wear and tear on the deco.

All twenty one points of articulation on this figure are nice and tight. The Null Ray weapons can be attached to his arms or held in his hands. He also has 5mm ports on his legs and the wings on his lower legs.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the fists up and push the forearms up into the elbow sections.
  4. Push the two halves of the feet together.
  5. Swing the front panels on the legs forward.
  6. Hold the front torso panel and then pull the back half of the torso section back.
  7. Swing the nosecone section up over the head, then pull the cockpit section up and rotate it around.
  8. Push the robot arms in and then push the back and front halves of the torso together.
  9. Swing the lower legs over the back of the thighs, then push them together and up against the tabs on the middle section.
  10. Push the front panels of the legs up.
  11. Push the wings down.
  12. Swing the smaller hinges back, then push the ends of the wings down.
  13. Attach the Null Rays to the wings.

Vehicle Mode:
Like Ramjet, Sandstorm's vehicle mode is an F-15 jet at its core with wings based on the F-16XL. They have a distinct, triangular shape that ends in small ends that angle down and forward. Each wing is connected to a giant booster with an angled stabilizer fin on it. This vehicle mode design definitely differs quite a bit from the "source" Seeker sculpt.

Like the robot mode, most of this form is beige. The boosters and nosecone are black. The cockpit cover is translucent orange plastic. It is in this form the deco really shines. From the wings all the way towards the front air intakes there is a brown and off-white camo pattern based on a pattern from the mock up of the G2 figure. While he is a G2 inspired figure, each wing has a G1 inspired Decepticon symbol on it. That's all cool, but my absolute favorite deco pattern on this figure is on the cockpit section. On either side is a "shark face" based on a detail seen on the G2 mock up of Sandstorm. This gives the figure a distinctive and almost humorous appearance that is really fun.

All the ports in this form still hold 5mm peg weapons nice and snug including the Null Rays and/or Battle Masters. From a play pattern standpoint I have no issues with this figure.

Final Thoughts:
I'm a sucker for unproduced Transformers figures being produced as modern day figures. Sandstorm is no exception. This guy may not have the most spectacular deco ever, but he looks great and quite different from any of the other Seekers. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Several retooled parts.
  • Cool deco, especially in vehicle mode.
  • All parts are still nice and tight.
  • A fun callback to an unreleased figure.

Cons:

  • I would have liked a bit more deco in robot mode to break up some of the beige.