"Robots in Disguise" (2015) One Step Changer Springload Toy Review
Release Date: December 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
The 1-Step Changers are 2-in-1 speed-changers, and this Springload figure is one of the toughest! He's the same Decepticon amphibian-warrior as always, but he converts in just one step from Beast Mode to supercharged muscle car mode and back. Take the fight virtual when by scanning his badge into the Transformers Robots in Disguise app (device not included). Can this Springload figure's Autobot enemies keep up with him? Not as long as he keeps converting back and forth!
At the end of 2015 a wave of One Step Changers was released that introduced the first transformable version of Springload into the toy line. This odd Decepticon was introduced in "Rumble in the Jungle". Obsessed with finding a city known as Doradas, this Decepticon resembled an Earth frog in his beast mode and transformed into a pickup truck. This figure is not quite a replica of his on-screen counterpart, but it does fill a gap in the Decepticon lineup in the "Robots in Disguise" toy line.
Like the "Age of Extinction" One Step Changers, these are packaged in bubbles on small cards. Artwork is on the left side and the Transformers logo is on the right. The artwork is the same one that is used on the "Tiny Titans" collector card. The back does not feature any tech specs information, instead using the space for the instructions and multi-language legal information. It's a shame but Hasbro seems to be refocusing any efforts at more traditional packaging into the "Generations" segment, which I get since I'm guessing they're assuming most of the kids getting these will wind up just throwing out the packaging.
In "Rumble in the Jungle" Springload transformed into a pickup truck to escape his Autobot pursuers. For this figure however the designers had something very different in mind, and it is kind of odd. Instead of a truck, this version of the character is a muscle car in vehicle form. Its form is reminscent of cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. It also has huge tires for a car of this type reminding me of "Age of Extinction" Vehicon. It's a very sleek vehicle and even has support bars in the back that imply this is one heavy duty vehicle despite its sporty appearance. Despite its lack of show accuracy, this is one very cool looking vehicle form.
There are some interesting design influences on this vehicle. The most interesting design flourish is the grille. It has a distinct design with raised vertical designs overlapping rows of thin horizontal lines. This design is taken directly from the animation model's vehicle form leading me to wonder if this was Springload's original vehicle form at some prototype stage before his animation model was finalized. Other interesting designs include thin "eyes" protruding from the top of the hood complete with furrowed brows and air intakes on the sides.
Springload is cast in metallic bright green and black plastic. There are small hints of a more even toned green with a matte like finish on the back of the vehicle. Metallic green paint is used on the center of the hood with a scannable Decepticon symbol on top of it. The hood is painted silver and is flanked by two metallic blue headlights. Light blue is used on each of the wheel wells - a carry over detail from the animation model. Peeking out from the hood are red eyes and the finishing touch is metallic black on the windows. It's a cool color scheme and it fits the character. I'm also very appreciative of the nods to the animated model.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
Hold on to the rear sections and pull them apart. This will cause the rear legs to drop out, the hood to swing back and the front legs to swing out.
While his vehicle mode differed quite a bit from his animation model, Springload's beast mode is largely based on his appearance on the TV show. Here his frog-like appearance totally comes across. The most obvious detail is the head which is wide in the back and narrowing towards the front. He has some sharp looking teeth inside his mouth. Like his animation model his front wheels wind up on his back. Also like his animation model his front legs have digits on the feet while his rear legs rest on circles (intended to be his rear wheels). He's not a perfect representation of the animated version of the character, but One Step Changers generally require some type of design sacrifice so this is not shocking. He also seems to have some type of design (perhaps a tongue?) inside his mouth.
Springload's vehicle mode colors carry into this form, bu tnow you get to see more of the darker green color on his legs and rear section. His red eyes are more obvious here and his teeth are painted silver. The figure looks good but I wish the beast mode had a few more blue accents to simulate the blue lights seen on the animation model.
There is no real articulation to speak of here. The legs are on loose hinges so they swing out during transformation, but they don't move at all and in fact depend on the figure resting on them to settle into place. Even the mouth doesn't really open or close, it just stays open.
Most Transformers fans aren't going to dig this figure. Really he's mostly aimed at fans looking to expand their Decepticon cast of characters from "Robots in Disguise". I'll be honest and say as toys go his entire gimmick depends on the transformation. If that doesn't sound like it's for you then definitely skip this figure. I for one am very glad that fans have a chance to have a transformable version of this character for their Decepticon team.