Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: Free to Botcon Primus Package attendees
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Accessories: Missile launcher, Missile x 1, Dual barreled rifle, Spoiler
Buried in the corner of Transformers fiction somewhere is a little known story outside of Transformers fandom. There, a group of Transformers once sacrificed their ability to transform in order to gain untold power via a power source named Nucleon. Called "Action Masters", the line was released as (mostly) non-transformable figures that had nice sculpts, but were not the highest in terms of quality (joints became loose very easily). These figures would come with transformable weapons and/or vehicles. The line was not a hit in the United States, where it fizzled after about a year.
However, in Europe the line continued on with several figures that became exclusives outside the US and highly sought after by fans of the Action Masters. One of these characters was "Slicer", a Decepticon redeco of the previously released Wheeljack Action Master figure. With its bright mix of gold and bright red colors set against a dark teal background, this odd color scheme made him a perfect choice to join the "Generation 2: Redux" set. Of course, other fans will note that this Decepticon has an Autobot symbol on him painted in purple, so in a sense "Slice" (so named due to trademark issues) is actually two characters in one: Slice(r) and Shattered Glass Wheeljack - you decide who you want him to be!
Not only was Slice the perfect character to use for this set, there was a perfect sculpt for it. During Cybertron and Energon series, the character of Downshift was designed as a homage to Generation One Wheeljack, especially in the head design. The Energon version of this character was ideal to use as Slice since he is the one that most resembles the Action Master in body design. You can read my review of the previous releases of this figure here and here. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
If you trace the history of this figure back to its source character, Slicer was based on Wheeljack who was himself a race car in vehicle mode. Given that, it makes sense that this was the version of Downshift chosen to be redone as Slice. The vehicle mode remains unchanged in sculpt from its release as Downshift. The mold has not been used a lot previously, so there are no ill fitting parts or flash on the plastic. All the lines are well defined and the vehicle definitely looks tight.
Energon Downshift's colors were very bright, mostly made up of white plastic. Things darken a bit with Slice. Using the dark teal color from Action Master Slicer as its base, the white is replaced with a metallic blue plastic that is darker in tone than Slicer. While he would have been wonderfully loud in the original color, I think using the metallic blue gives the figure a more sophisticated look (well, as sophisticated as a fictional, transforming race car robot can be). The translucent plastic is red, but a deeper red than the original Downshift figure. His weapons are also cast in these colors. The wheels and spoiler are still cast in black while the layered strips on the back are cast in beige. The paint applications are what solidifies this as truly inspired by Action Master Slicer. On the top of the hood are curved "blade" designs with the outer parts in black and the inner parts in red. His tail lights are alsp painted in red (though a brighter shade than the one used on the hood). These details are inspired by similar details found on Action Master Slicer's legs, which would have formed the front of the car were he able to transform. Black paint is also used for smaller details such as the gear symbol behind the front wheel wells as well as the lines by each door. Silver paint is used to paint the sides of the wheels as well as two huge Decepticon symbols, one on each door. To any Transformers fan in the know, there is no doubt right from the vehicle mode who this figure is inspired by. It also looks great since the color pattern and palette are quite different than Energon or Universe Downshift's colors.
The weapons included with this figure are made to plug into any of the holes on the side of the vehicle. If you plug them into the holes near the front wheels, they look like futuristic exhaust pipes. Plug them into the holes above the rear wheels and they look like pure weaponry outfitted onto the car. Either way they look fantastic and I always loved this element of play in the Energon line. Another nice touch involves the doors, which can swing up in "gull wing" style. Slice has definitely upgraded from being a non-transformable figure to a stylish vehicle mode like this!
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the Energon weapons and the spoiler.
- Holding on to the front section of the car, pull the halves apart a bit to separate most of the car down the middle.
- Move each half of the windshield/windows piece forward so it covers the hood halves.
- Flip the car over.
- Swing out the black panels on the lower legs and flip the robot feet out.
- Flip out each half of the robot feet and close the panels.
- Move each robot arm out to the side, and then downward.
- Swing the panel behind the robot head down.
- On each shoulder are exhaust pipes, swing them down so they point forward.
- The Energon weapons can each attach to the robot hands or you can connect them to the holes in the spoiler and have him hold the central peg of the spoiler.
The design of Energon Downshift was meant to have parts in robot mode that simulated vehicle mode parts. This included his chest, which looked like the cabin section of a car as well as his feet, which looked like the front end of a car split in half. Originally, these details were meant to pay homage to Generation One Wheeljack, who had similar features in his robot mode (but those were part of the vehicle mode for that iteration of the character). Not only does this help this figure tie back to its source character/figure, but it also makes it perfect as a canvas for a homage paint scheme!
The same colors seen in vehicle mode carry over, with one added one: grey. The original Slicer had grey painted on to several parts including his arms and legs. His chest is also cast in grey, but it's largely painted over (more on that in a bit). Here, several smaller parts of the robot mode including the shoulder joints, forearms and feet are cast in grey. The head and small panels such as those on the front of his lower legs are black. Translucent red plastic is found on the back of the head, acting as light piping for his eyes. In this sense, there is a perfect coincidence here where red was used on Action Master Slicer to represent his windows, and here it can be used for that purpose as well as "evil" red Decepticon eyes.
The paint colors from the vehicle mode carry over into this form. Red and black are used on the chest and legs. On the chest they outline the curved pattern leading to the fake "windshield" on his chest. This mode introduces a new color into the mix: copper. Found on his mouthplate, nose, "ears" and waist, this is a color that was found on Action Master Slicer as well, and on the same parts to boot! The Autobot symbol that is sculpted onto the chest is painted purple, allowing this figure to "double" as Shattered Glass Wheeljack. As a homage, this paint scheme works perfectly, and I love the fact that the figure can "double up" as another character.
All of the joints on this figure are tight, and I don't just mean "acceptable for a redeco" tight, I mean like "Feels like the first release of this figure" tight. I was really surprised by this. The only slight blemishes on the figure are on the shoulders and lower legs where the blue plastic was broken off the trees. The cuts weren't quite perfect so it looks a bit lighter blue where the parts were snapped off, but this doesn't really tarnish the look overall in my book. Like the Energon version, you can attach the weapons to Slice in many different ways. They can attach to his legs, shoulders, fists and even onto the spoiler which can then be held in his hands. Add to that his exhaust pipes acting as extra guns on his arms and there's a lot of play value here. For those curious, Slice can indeed still be transformed as an upper or lower body half of a combined figure with other Energon figures, adding even more to his play value.
For a give away figure, I think Slice could have easily been part of a two pack or the boxed set. While not strictly based on a Generation 2 character, he does carry a lot of the design "spirit" of that era in Transformers history. The sculpt is a perfect one to use for the Action Master Slicer homage down to the head sculpt. I'm also glad to see the sculpt has held up well (though I grant it hasn't been used that much before). While this figure was free at the convention for Primus package holders, keep in mind that said holders easily spent $300+ before they got it, so this figure will sell at a premium online. While I only recommended this guy previously, the brilliant use as an Action Master homage while doing double duty as a Shattered Glass character just sends this over the edge into highly recommended territory!