Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $30 (depending on retailer at time of initial release)
Retailer: Asian Exclusive (Q2-Q3 2012), Toys R Us Exclusive (Q4 2012)
Accessories: Missile launchers x 2, Missiles x 2, Sword
Most of the time when a Transformer comes out as an exclusive, they do so in one store chain or one region of the world. However, the Generations incarnation of Wheelie (along with several other figures including Swerve and Springer) are different. In the Summer of 2012, a series of repainted and retooled figures were released exclusively in Asia. The original intention was to keep these as Asian exclusives to attract that ever growing market. However, at San Diego Comic-Con 2012, Hasbro announced these figures would be brought to North America around November of 2012 (though in September some sightings in Canada have already begun to pop up at Toys R Us stores).
One of the first Deluxes released for this line of exclusive figures is Springer. First introduced in 1986's "Transformers: The Movie" film, the character went on to become a central figure in the third season of the Generation One television show. Years later, he would pop up again as a Botcon exclusive and then a Target exclusive in the Universe 2.0 toy line. There's even a toy representing Springer in the live aciton movie toy line and more recently he has been appearing in the IDW Publishing "Regeneration One" comic book series. He may not be the best known Transformer, but clearly he's not one that's been forgotten either!
Springer is a retool and redeco of the Hunt for the Decepticons "Tomahawk" figure. Check out that review for more details on the sculpt and functionality of the figure. This review will focus on the significant changes made to the figure for this release.
The version being reviewed here is one of the Asian versions from a case pre-ordered before the North American release had been announced. It is worth noting that the North American and Asian releases do differ in packaging. The North American releases will have the figures packed in vehicle mode and the packaging has Chinese characters on it to represent its "exclusive" nature.
The artwork on the packaging is actually a nicely done manipulation of the original Tomahawk artwork. In the original art, Tomahawk was shown leaning in slightly with both his missiles exposed. Springer's artwork uses the same body, but puts Springer's head on top of the body instead, and it's a bit zoomed in, with the right shoulder missile not appearing at all.
Let's dive into the juicy stuff first. Springer is not just a straight up redeco. Like the other Deluxe figures in this wave, he has a newly sculpted head that is based on his Generation One namesake. The head is in every way a great representation of Springer. The top of the helmet portion has a central crest and pieces over the brow that are extended a bit in front and flair out to the sides. On either side of his face there are small vents. Each of these details are borrowed from the original G1 head design and it looks great. There's no doubt just who this figure is meant to represent.
The other new part of this figure is one of the accessories: a sword. In the G1 "Transformers The Movie", Springer was shown to have a sword, and indeed the Generation One toy did have a sword made from Springer's rotor blades in his helicopter mode. This time out, the accessory is a standalone piece and it has Mini-Con combatible pots on either side of the hilt. I was really surprised to see a new accessory included with the figure. Usually a new accessory means the previous one gets replaced, but the missile launchers included with Tomahawk are also present here along with their missiles. Awesome!
Springer's color scheme is quite different than Tomahawk's. His main plastic colors are grey, black, silver and two shades of green. In both his cartoon and toy form in G1, grey made up a lot of Springer's body, but it was a bit more prominent in the G1 toy. Here, it makes up most of his torso, his elbows, forearms and part of his back and feet. The black is used for smaller parts such as the fornt of his feet and the "claw" weapon attached to his right arm. The silver is a light shade found on his hands and the missile accessories. Two shades of green plastic are used on ths figure. The first is a dark green, which is used to make his upper legs. This color is similar to one used on the box art of the G1 Springer toy. The other green is a neon green, which is used of rhis sword accessory, his shoulders and part of his head. This color is less influenced by the G1 toy and more by his G1 animation model, which featured a very light green color. The final plastic color is translucent dark blue, used for the cockpit cover on his torso and the light piping on the back of his head. At first I found the two shades of green a bit too different from each other on the same figure, but after seeing the G1 influence for both, I can appreciate this for the melding of two different representations of the character in a new form.
Springer uses several colors influenced by his G1 incarnation in his paint applications. These colors include: yellow, black, silver, red and gold. The yellow is the most prominent, found on the outline of the air intakes on his chest and on the bottom of the helicopter's nose. This placement is roughly analgous to the yellow found on G1 Springer's chest, though there it was just one giant block of yellow. For this particular robot and vehicle, I think breaking the color up was appropriate. Black paint is used on the knee armor, matching up with the black plastic on the feet. It's also used for the frame of the cockpit window. Silver is used to paint the face while gold is found on small patches on his shoulders and forearms. The red is used to paint Autobot symbols on each forearm. I kind of wish there was another Autobot symbol right on the nose of the helicopter so it would be prominent in this mode, just as G1 Springer had one on his chest, but that's a minor quibble. Overall the designers did a very impressive job of meshing G1 Springer's colors and patterns onto this figure.
While this sculpt has been released before, this version includes an additional accessory in the form of a sword. In both the animated movie and series, Springer had the ability to draw a sword out from his back (in toy form, it was formed form the helicopter rotor blades on his back) so this is a really neat accessory to include. It fits into either hand and it has Mini-Con compatible pegs on either side, allowing for you to attach it to other standard weapons with the appropriate holes or a Mini-Con. His missile launchers also have 5mm pegs, allowing him (or other figures) to hold them in their hands. The missile launchers also have "C Clips", allowing you to attach them to compatible bars on many of the figures that were released in the main line and the Cyberverse line in the past couple of years. All the joints on the robot mode are nice and tight, making for a solid figure.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the sword and missile launchers for now.
- Push both feet and ankle sections up.
- Connect the two legs together using the peg/hole system in the middle of each leg.
- On each arm, swing the sides of the forearms out and forward to begin forming the rear of the helicopter.
- Pull the cockpit window open, then swing the cockpit piece up over the robot head and close the cockpit cover.
- Swing the air intakes from the robot chest up to align with the cockpit.
- Swing the wings with the missiles on them up.
- Swing the robot arms down and back to form the tail and center section of the vehicle. There are two small holes one the top of each forearm piece which should go right over two small bumps on a part of the robot mode's back piece.
- Move the "blades" at the end of the tail so they're in the open position.
- Swing the waist/robot legs section forward and connect the back of the legs to the black tabs on the underside of the vehicle.
- Move the rotor blades so they form four blades.
- Attach the missile launchers to the underside of each wing.
- The sword can also be attached to the hole on the underside of the wings, but this will mean you'll have to attach one missile launcher via C Clip to another part of the vehicle.
With most of the green plastic on the figure obscured in this form, the main color becomes grey, with only small spots of green to break it up here and there. This ratio works out just fine to reprsent the character as G1 Springer didn't have a ton of green in vehicle mode either. The main "new" spot of green is used on the cylinder on the top of the rotors with bits from the robot mode visible on the sides under his wings. In terms of paint deco, this mode reveals a lot more of the yellow color on the air intakes, outlining not only the edge, but also going back to the wings on the sides. His most heavily "G1 inspired" detail are a series of gold and light blue hazard stripes on his wings, which was a very pleasant surprise to find on this figure and really shows how in depth the designers got in trying to replicate G1 Springer's deco.
As mentioned above, the new sword accessory creates a bit of a storage conundrum in this mode. If you want him to remain symmetrical, you pretty much can't store the sword in this mode. If you don't mind the sword sticking out from under a wing while a missile launcher hangs on another part then you're all set.
Generations Springer is a really awesome redeco/retool of the Tomahawk sculpt. I already thought the Tomahawk sculpt was cool, but between the new head, new accessory and G1 inspired deco this one's a total winner. I wouldn't go crazy and spend $30 on it unless you have to. Hopefully it will be readily available at retail soon. Highly recommended!