"Transformers Universe" Sunstreaker Toy Review

General Information:
Release Year: July 2003
Retailer: OTFCC 2003 Exclusive.
Price: Special included with rooms for pre-registrants (one night in
the room was $140+ after taxes)
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Missile holders x 2

2003 introduced a "new" kind of convention exclusives. These were set aside for those who both pre-registered, and used the "Botcon room rate" for rooms at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel (where the event took place). For each night you were in the hotel, you received one exclusive. Basically this helped to guarantee the hotel some business and in turn, gave fans another exclusive to look out for.

Sunstreaker is a name that has not been used for a Transformer in a very long time. Since Takara has not yet reissued the classic Autobot, and the name has not been used in so long, many feared that Hasbro had lost the rights to the name. Fortunately, this proves that the name is still available for use as a robot in disguise! This review will be brief since this is almost the exact same toy as Sideswipe.

The packaging for Sideswipe is very nicely designed. It is primarily black with a red grid/tech pattern over it. The Transformers Universe logo is used since this toy fits into that storyline. The tech specs printed on the box are done in traditional Generation One style, complete with the blue line for the spec numbers. The OTFCC illustration featuring characters like Optimus Primal, Unicron and Razorclaw is used in the back. The only bad thing about the packaging is the clear plastic window piece. Since it is made of very thin plastic, it crunches and bends easily. Mine has actually already caved in. The packaging is not perfect, but it does look nice if you can keep the window in good shape. Nicely enough however, the artwork used for Sunstreaker is different than Sideswipe's instead of just being the same art with new colors.

While not dealing with the packaging specifically, there is an issue with the way in which Sunstreaker's parts were packaged with the toy. As any Mach Alert/Prowl/Sideswipe owner knows, the weapons for this mold are two missile launchers with missiles resembling flames. These missile launchers/holders are not identical, since they have fins on them, there is a "right" and "left" launcher/holder. Unfortunately, because of a mix up with Hasbro, most Sunstreakers wound up with two of one side (two "rights" or two "lefts"), causing quite a bit of confusion. People at OTFCC even held small gatherings to "trade" for the right parts. Plenty of people were also prowling the 'con looking for the part that would "complete" their set.

Fortuantely, there is a bit of a loophole here. Since the missile launchers/holders were cast in white plastic, you can still pick up a loose Prowl or a discounted one and just take his holders and use them for Sunstreaker.

Vehicle Mode:
Sunstreaker's vehicle mode is a Lamborghini, which is a great touch of character continuity since the original Sunstreaker was also a Lamborghini (but a Countach). Like his Generation One form, Sunstreaker is mostly yellow in this mode. Black runs along the lower edge of the car on all four sides. A large Autobot symbol is heat stamped onto his hood. Like Sideswipe, the police alarms have been removed so all that's left is a small square tab. The back panel is gunmetal gray like it is on Sideswipe, while the rear lights are red and black translucent plastic. The small side lights and the two thin lights in front are painted orange.

From a distance (like a feet or two) away, this car looks great. Unfortunately, upon closer examination the paint applications could have used some work. The parts which are translucent plastic with yellow paint have some really badly done edges. On mine, some yellow trin at the edge of the windshield curves a but right on to the windshield. Also, the black color used for the lower section trim all around bleeds a bit onto the parts underneath the vehicle. Granted most people don't go flipping their cars over to stare at the bottom, but it's still a quality control issue that could have been dealt with better at the factory level.

Parts-wise, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe do share a few. The windshield and doors are the same dark, smokey translucent plastic and the tires all say "Transformers 2000" on them. In design, this is a cool looking vehicle, but in execution, it could have been done more carefully.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. If you have the missile launchers/boosters attached, detach them.
  2. Open the doors and swing them out.
  3. Lift up the windshield section.
  4. Lift the front section of the car up.
  5. Holding on to the seats inside the car, pull them forward to reveal the robot legs.
  6. Rotate the car doors so they point down.
  7. Rotate the lower legs and feet around.
  8. Swing down the section with the twin tailpipes to form the robot chest.
  9. Separate the two parts of the car's rear section to form the robot arms.
  10. Move the piece which is the front of the car up, then put the windshield section over it. The hinge tucks into the central body.
  11. Slide the section with the legs attached to it up.
  12. Attach the missile launchers to Sideswipe's right arm.

Robot Mode:
Sunstreaker introduces a couple of surprising colors in this form. Like his G1 counterpart, his head is yellow and black. His face is silver with light blue eyes (following the G1 convention of Autobots all having light blue eyes and Decepticons having red eyes). His shoulders have red painted on the tech designs leading to the balls in the center which are painted powder blue. His feet, lower legs, main body (underside of chest down to the waist) and upper arms are all cast in black plastic, but the legs and waist have metallic gold paint on them, which really looks nice.

Parts that are cast in white are the upper body piece (which the shoulders connect to), the lower arms and upper legs. These do not have any paint apps on them. The chest piece is done in dark translucent plastic with silver coloring on the edges and the pipes that wrap near the Autobot symbol. The Autobot symbol is colored in vacuum metallized red, which looks fantastic. The tailpipes are painted yellow. The "flame missiles" have been redone in translucent light blue plastic with white tips, which looks really nice in contrast to the rest of the robot mode. I also think it was a neat idea to toss some red color into this toy, it keeps the yellow from overwhelming the robot mode visually.

So the big question is, should you get this? Well, as a word of warning, be prepared to spend over $80 for this easily. Most dealers are going to look to get back some or all of the room rate cost they spent to get this item. It's a neat item, the first Sunstreaker in ages - but between the oddities in paint job and the "wrong missile launcher" problem and the cost, I would say think hard before picking this guy up.


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