Transformers Timelines: "Invasion" Spinister Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Botcon, Decepticon, Deluxe, Generation One, Timelines


General Information:
Release Date: April 26, 2012
Price Point: $95 (Souvenir Two Pack with Octopunch)
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Accessories: Missile launchers x 2, Missiles x 2


In 2008, the "Shattered Glass" universe was introduced to Transformers fans everywhere. This alternate universe featured evil Autobots fighting against heroic Decepticons. 2012 brought the storyline to a new pivot point where the "Shattered Glass" universe invades the "Classics-verse" established in earlier Transformers Collector's Club comic books. Part of the fun of this story was seeing Generation One characters in updated forms. Among these characters was Spinister, a fairly obscure Targetmaster from 1988 who transformed into a helicopter and came with two Targetmasters (who could combine with each other to form a super weapon). Spinister has appeared now and then in "Transformers" fiction since then (most recently in the "More than Meets the Eye" title by IDW Publishing), but he's never quite been a feature character who warranted a new toy - until now.

Botcon 2012 Spinister is based on the mold originally used to create Tomahawk. More recently, this sculpt was given a retool/redeco as Generations Springer. Check out those two reviews for a good look at the sculpt and its functionality. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
Staying true to his Generation One roots, Spinister transforms into a helicopter. While G1 Spinister transformed into an Apache Helicopter, this version of Spinister is a much more futuristic looking helicopter. Still, the two similar modes allow for some of the deco pattern from G1 Spinister to be carried over. Towards the late 80's, many Transformers began to take on increasingly bright or pastel styled colors. Light blues, bright yellows, greens, purples and so on were everywhere and it gave the line of that time a very interesting vibe. Spinister is a great example of this aesthetic. Borrowing colors directly from G1 Spinister, a majority of the plastic on the vehicle is teal color. The underside of the vehicle shows off more colors including a bright marine blue, pink and purple. His cockpit is cast in translucent light blue while the rotor blades and rear stabilizers are a very beautiful metallic silver color. While their placement differs a bit from Spinister's G1 counterpart, these colors remain true to that figure and even without paint applications, any knowledgable G1 fan can pick up on just who this figure represents.

But what fun would a Botcon exclusive be without a rocking deco? Once again the Fun Publications crew shows their love for G1 figures and their amazing ability to translate details decades old over onto a new sculpt. The paint colors used in this mode are black, pink, silver, yellow and red. Black is used on large and small details including the air intakes on either side of the cockpit section and on the wings in the middle of the vehicle. This particular detail is inspired by sections on the original Spinister where his weapons could attach. These sections were black on G1 Spinister, so the black coloring here pays homage to that. A bi tmore homage material is found in the form of a red arrow against a silver background outlined by black. This pattern comes right out of a sticker found on G1 Spinister. The pink color may seem like an odd one for a Decepticon, but in the context of this figure it totally works. There is a pink stripe going down the center of the vehicle on top, and the gun ports at the end of the wings are also colored pink. This helps break up some of the darker teal coloring while not being overly intrustive. The tail rotors are also colored pink, adding a splash of bright coloring to the rear of the vehicle.

Additional details include a mechanical looking silver, black and yellow design pattern at the nose of the cockpit where the yellow is a circle. This is actually a homage to a sticker used for G1 Spinister's robot mode. There are also tampographed Decepticon symbols on the figure. Nowadays you're lucky if you get one Decepticon symbol on a Transformer. Spinister has three. One is on the cockpit window and two more can be found on either side of the tail. Overall, this vehicle mode has some rocking detail that pays wonderful homage to G1 Spinister while looking distinctive thanks to the teal dominating the vehicle mode (as opposed to being split with pink like G1 Spinister).

Spinister's vehicle mode retains all of Tomahawk's functionality. This includes the ability to attach 5mm peg weapons on the underside of each wing and "C Clip" weapon rods in the back. What he does not have however is a Mech Tech gun port underneath the cockpit as the Japanese exclusive redeco/retool does. Instead, this uses Tomahawk's original functionality of having a camera/sensor piece underneath the cockpit that can swivel side to side. The rotor blades do turn, but they're a tad tight so they don't spin all around that easily. Truth be told, I prefer this as the blades don't wind up flopping all over the place in robot mode!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if attached.
  2. Swing two of the rotors back to overlap the rotors into a "V" shape.
  3. Swing the undercarriage sections down.
  4. On the parts you just swung down, swing down the black section and then swing out the foot pieces, forming the robot legs.
  5. Swing the vehicle wings up.
  6. Separate the halves of the tail section.
  7. Swing the halves of the tail section forward.
  8. Swing the leg/waist section back on the central hinge.
  9. Push the cockpit section down to form the robot chest and reveal the robot head.
  10. Rotate the air intakes from the sides of the vehicle mode so they point forward.
  11. On each robot arm, swing the tail ends of the vehicle back to reveal the robot hands.
  12. Swing each half of the tail rotor sections forward so they form the outer armor of each forearm.
  13. The rocket launchers can be attached to the underside of the wings (which wind up over his shoulders) or clipped onto his forearms.

Robot Mode:
If you only own Tomahawk and/or Springer, the first thing you'll notice about this sculpt is the use of a new head. Unlike some of the other heads used in this set, this one was not created exclusively for Botcon. Instead, this was the "alternate head" already designed as part of this sculpt's tree of parts from the beginning. I has already been used as the head of the Japanese exclusive "Dark of the Moon" Vortex figure. With its mouth plate and extended chin piece along with head designs above the eyes resembling the Decepticon symbol, it made for an ideal head to represent Spinister, who also had similar designs on his head (though G1 Spinister's head was more blocky than oval shaped). I think this was the perfect choice for the head, not just because the sculpt works, but also because it offers up a unique version of this sculpt. Since the vehicle mode does not use the 5mm Mech Tech weapon post, this figure is the only combination of these specific parts from the tooling in one release, making it more unique to Botcon overall.

Color-wise, it's interesting to note that structurally this iteration of the character is basically inverted from the G1 version. In G1, Spinister's cockpit section formed his legs and the back of the vehicle mode formed the upper body. On this version it's reversed, and so are the colors. The teal color makes up most of the upper body, with only the shoulders cast in purple and black used for smaller parts like his fists, elbow joints and missiles. The lower body has a combination of pink, black and light blue (though the blue does show up on the arms and as missiles on his wings). The overall effect works out nicely as the colors are still in similar places to their G1 counterparts. For instance, in G1 Spinister had a teal cockpit section that became part of the robot mode, and here he also has teal on the cockpit section, it just happens to be on the top of the body now. This rearrangement of colors works well, since the overall effect is still the same: half of the robot mode is rather bright while the other half is darker, and all the colors still call back to G1 Spinister perfectly.

There aren't a ton of paint applications in this mode, but frankly it doesn't need them. The colors on Spinister are already so ecclectic that if you tossed too much in he'd look frightfully busy. So what does he have? Black is used for details on his shoulders and to paint the front portion of his "helmet" section. The black/silver/yellow detail from the nose of the helicopter winds up on his waist here - which is perfect since that's where the sticker that inspired this detail was placed on G1 Spinister. The center of his chest has a tampographed Decepticon symbol on it and a bit of light blue is used on the "mouth plate" portion of his head. The eyes are cast in translucent blue to allow for light piping.

All of Spinister's joints are nice and tight and his weapons clip on to the "C Clip" bars on his arms nicely. There is a tendency for the wings on his back to pop off if moved in a particular way, but they're basically designed to do that (better to pop off than snap off) and pop back on easily.

Final Thoughts:
Spinister is an awesome piece of work. I appreciate the way this sculpt is a different combination of parts than the other versions of this sculpt and it fits the character perfectly. The deco is beautifully done and pays wonderful homage to G1 Spinister. Add to that the inherent play value and this is one solid figure! Highly recommended!