Transformers Alternators Toy Review: Decepticharge

in 2005, Action Figure Review, Alternators, Alternators, Decepticon

Alternators

General Information:
Release Year: July 2005
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Accessories: Engine, Collapsed top, Hardtop

Images:

Decepticharge is a new entry into the Transformers universe. Unlike other Alternators toys, he is not a G1 character reborn, but a new one. This figure was meant to be released earlier in the Binaltech line (once even possibly as Blackarachnia!), but as of December 2005, it has not, making it a US exclusive thus far.

Decepticharge is a redeco and retooling of the Binaltech Overdrive sculpt, later used for Alternators Windcharger.

Vehicle Mode:
Decepticharge is a custom version of the Honda S2000 car, part of the Mugen line of vehicles. Three significant mold changes have been made to the sculpt for this release:

  1. The cabin section cover is a different sculpt, representing a hard top instead of a canvas cover as Overdrive had. Decepticharge does come with an alternate accessory you can attach to represent the top not being there.
  2. A spoiler as been added to the rear of the vehicle.
  3. There are more spokes on the tires than on Overdrive (eighteen on each).

The deco change is also significant. The primary color of the vehicle is metallic flake yellow. Most of the figure is sculpted in this color plastic. However, the cabin cover was cast in clear plastic, so metallic yellow paint had to be used on that section. The paint's metallic effect is slightly stronger than the metallic flake in the plastic, but it still blends very well. The hood piece has been painted black, with a metallic yellow "4" painted on it. A four is also found on each door with black flames trailing it.

What is really fun are the "sponsor logos" found on the windshield and sides of the vehicle:

  • On the windshield, "Energon Power" is printed in gold along the top.
  • On the doors, "Energon Power" is repeated along with "Dinotron Racing Fuel"
  • On the section right under each door is the "Cybertronian Radials" brand, the same imprint used on most of the Binaltech and Alternator tires.
  • On the side, near the front tires is "Thrust Power" (a nod to a name used for a few Decepticons in past series).
  • Under "Thrust Power" is "Destron Oil" (a nod to the Japanese term for Decepticons).
  • Under "Destron Oil" is "Hyperlinq Racing", a reference to the OTFCC exclusive character.
  • Underneath "Hyperlinq Racing" is "Dualor Exhaust", the name belonging to a Mini-Con from Armada.
  • Under "Dualor Exhaust" is "Sporal Plugs", which I believe was meant to be "Spiral", a name of a Mini-Con.

What's really cool is that each phrase is in different fonts, making them look more like company logos. Their sizes also vary, and next to "Destron Oil" is a grid pattern, and next to "Hyperlinq Racing" is a symbol that resembles a gear. While I love the "real life" logos we saw on Smokescreen, these Cybertronian "sponsors" are cool too since they reference names and terms from Transformers history.

At the rear of the vehicle the license plate has a Decepticon symbol on the left, and the letters "DCHRG" on the right. These are set against a white background, helping them stand out more.

Between the sculpt changes and the radical deco change, Decepticharge escapes from being "just" a redeco of Overdrive/Windcharger and manages to look like a vehicle all his own. The "in the know" names for sponsors were an inspired idea. Excellent vehicle mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the cabin cover.
  2. Flip open the hood and pull the engine out.
  3. Split the spoiler.
  4. Swing the doors out, extend the yellow parts of the doors and then fold them over towards the front.
  5. Split the front end of the vehicle.
  6. Extend each half of the front end forward.
  7. Push the front tires back and flip the front fender sections out.
  8. Flip the middle flaps on the underside of the front section out.
  9. Swing the robot feet out.
  10. Swing the heel pieces out.
  11. Swing the magnetic pieces down.
  12. Swing the middle flaps in.
  13. Rotate the windshield/hood cover piece around.
  14. Rotate the upper robot body around.
  15. Swing back the flaps in the middle with the words "Cybertronian Radials" on them.
  16. Swing the middle section of the back area down.
  17. Extend the arms out.
  18. Swing out and rotate the rear tire sections to form the shoulders and arms.
  19. Rotate the lower robot arm sections (starting at the elbows) around.
  20. Fold each car seat down.
  21. Swing the trunk cover down to form the robot chest. Each half of the spoiler winds up on the side.
  22. Turn the robot head around.
  23. Attach the cabin cover to the lower arm as a shield. Place the engine in one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
Decepticharge shows that if you do just enough retooling and a proper redeco, a toy can stand on its own and not be seen as a copy of its predecessor. The most significantly retooled part in this form is the robot head. I am not exactly sure just who this head sculpt is meant to be. Some have speculated it might be a modified form of a Stunticon head. I personally find that the design has some slight resemblance to G1 Megatron's head (especially on the brow above the eyes). However, for now this head sculpt only belongs to Decepticharge himself. It is a sleek design, with an angled top, and sides which sweep back and indent in the center. It is also layered, down to a "chin strap" on his chin.

The other piece which is different are the spoiler halves, which show here as additional hip details. I like the way the ends of the spoilers show in front, which makes them look like additional detail instead of odd appendages.

Decepticharge's color scheme carries over from the vehicle mode, with one major color addition. His primary color is still yellow, but black is found at regular intervals along with silver (in both silver plastic and silver paint). This alternating color scheme keeps the figure from looking dull or boring. I am fond of the silver paint used on the legs. That section was left fairly blank on Overdrive, so having it filled in here is really nice. The robot head's "helmet" section alternates between yellow and black, with a silver face and red eyes. On the center of his chest is a large tampographed Decepticon symbol. It would have been nice if the background of the symbol was silver, to match the silver on the rest of the toy. However overall this looks great.

The engine/weapon is fairly useless. Essentially being a neutered version of Overdrive's weapon, I guess you could imagine it as some sort of stun gun or something. But it definitely ceases being a long range weapon. As with Overdrive, I love the idea of the cabin cover as a shield, and it works just as well here.

Decepticharge has twenty four points of articulation, so nothing has been lost in that respect. His knee joints are very difficult to move at first, so I recommend caution when moving them. You do have to use a tiny bit of force, but don't break your figure!

Final Thoughts:
Decepticharge is a great example of how to do a redeco and retool of a Transformer. The Cybertronian "sponsors" were a fun and fantastic touch. Also, Decepticharge does not seem to have the same flimsy plastic on the legs that Windcharger did. You really do not feel like you are buying the same toy just in a different color scheme. The neutered weapon is a minus. However this figure is still recommended.