Timelines: Botcon 2013 Sunstorm Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Botcon, Decepticon, Deluxe, Machine Wars, Seeker, Timelines


General Information:
Release Date: June 27, 2013
Price Point: $99 (In a two pack with Bitstream & Hotlink)
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Missile launchers x 2


The theme for 2013's Botcon exclusive boxed set is "Machine Wars". This was a relatively obscure line of "Transformers" figures released only in Kay Bee Toy Stores in 1997. This was a counterpoint to the main line, "Beast Wars" which focused on animals and creatures as the alternate forms for the "Transformers". "Machine Wars" focused on vehicles, mixing up previously unreleased sculpts with European exclusive sculpts given new decos, functionality and identities. Botcon 2013 celebrated this line with a "Machine Wars" theme, but several Transformers were released who were not previously part of that series, Sunstorm was one of them.

Back in the first episode of the "Generation One" cartoon, several "generic" Decepticons were used during the scenes on Cybertron. One of them was a guy who looked a lot like the "Seeker jets" (aka Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp) but their colors were completely different. Years later, one of these characters was retroactively added into Transformers continuity as "Sunstorm", the name partly inspired by his orange colors shown in the cartoon. As time has gone along, Sunstorm has popped up in the "Transformers" toy line now and then. Once he showed up as an alternate universe version of himself and more recently he appeared as one of Starscream's clones in "Transformers: Animated". In this "Timelines" continuity he is now considered part of the "Rainmakers", a group of "Seekers" who fought Autobots on Cybertron.

Naturally, the sculpt used to create this version of the character is the "Classics" Seeker sculpt originally used for Classics Starscream. Later it would go on to be used for Skywarp, Thundercracker, Acid Storm, Universe 2.0 Starscream, Generations Thundercracker and Shattered Glass Thundercracker. This list doesn't even include modifications/redecos of this sculpt such as Thrust. Basically I've reviewed the heck out of this sculpt multiple times so check out any of the above reviews for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
As his name suggests, Sunstorm is made up of some bright colors. Most of the figure is composed of a metallic orange plastic. This icnludes almost everything from the nosecone to the missiles to even his front landing gear. His cockpit cover is even composed of translcuent orange plastic. Some spots of white plastic also show in the middle section of the vehicle, but those are really meant for the robot mode. In contrast, some black plastic appears on the missile launchers, the front tip of the nosecone and the rear thrusters. There really isn't a huge balance of light versus dark colors here, but that's not really the point of the character. The colors work to represent just who he is and it looks "right" even if a bit bright.

Silver, black and red paint are used for several paint details. The silver and red are towards the front, on either side of the cockpit. Black is used on the edges of the wings and stabilizers. In the case of the horizontal stabilizers, it gives them a slightly burnt "worn out" look which is pretty cool. A bit of orange is used in the front, particularly on the cockpit to paint the frame of the cockpit window.

Additional detail is provided by tampographs. Each wing has red and white stripes on them, reminscent of those on Generations Thundercracker but much thinner and more sleek looking. Overlapping the stripes on the wings are two Decepticon symbols in purple with white outlines. These details are great and call back to previous Seekers nicely. They also offer other details to look at other than a sea of orange.

The landing gear on the bottom of the jet still swings out without a problem. The missile launchers are in good shape too. The nosecone is made of soft plastic, so beware temperature changes and bending. Mine got smooshed a bit on the way home so it points to the side slightly.

Trasformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Rotate the fin sections down.
  2. Swing the chest section forward.
  3. Rotate each wing around.
  4. Swing out each robot arm.
  5. Swing down the end of the nosecone.
  6. Rotate the cockpit piece around (the robot head will now be facing forward).
  7. Swing the cockpit section down, the swing the chest piece up over it.
  8. Swing out each robot fist.
  9. Attach each missile launcher to one of the arms, or they can be held in the fists.

*Note: You may find that when collapsing the cockpit piece against its central hinge piece (it's white on this sculpt) it doesn't push in easily because of how tightly the two parts fit against each other. However, if you line everything up right and push the chest piece back, this generally brings the upper body together nicely.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, the orange plastic domination continues, but this time out it is balanced out more by white and black plastic. The white can be found on the shoulder joints and the thighs. Black is used for the robot head, forearms and feet. Some have questioned this color arrangement since other portrayals of Sunstorm have shown him with white hands/forearms. Given that this figure was likely gang molded with the other Rainmakers, this is not surprising. Would white paint on the fists have been nice? Sure, but to me they aren't absolutely required for this to properly represent Sunstorm.

The same paint colors from the vehicle mode carry over here with an extra: white. The silver and red pieces from the vehicle mode continue to show silver and red on either side of his head. The face is painted silver with red eyes in true classic "Generation One" style. Silver is found again on his lower legs and feet. A bit of black is used for the thrusters above his feet. White paint is used on parts of the missile launchers, offering a visual connection to other parts on the figure. This mode also gets some tampographs in the form of "L" shaped red and white stripes on his shoulders, matching the wing details from the vehicle mode. The only problem with the figure's deco involves the left shoulder stripes, which are a bit smudged so the tampograph isn't perfect. Other than that he looks great.

All of the joints on this figure are nice and tight. Given how much use the tooling for this sculpt has gotten, it's safe to say the tooling has been rebuilt over the years. His fists hold the missile launchers snug and the arm attachment points are nice and tight.

Final Thoughts:
The Classics Seeker sculpt is one of my favorite "Classics"/"Generations" style sculpts in the line today, and seeing it finally in these colors was awesome. The "Rainmakers" were the hit set of Botcon, selling out before the weekend ended, and I'm sure Sunstorm's presence was a part of that appeal. He looks great in both modes and the figure is just fun to play with. Recommended!