"Generations" Combiner Wars Sunstreaker Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: August 2015
Price Point: $14.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Blade/Rifle

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
A Combiner robot needs contributions from every bot that forms it, and Optimus Maximus is no different. Optimus Prime can bring the courage. Prowl can provide the strategy. Sunstreaker? He makes this Combiner look goooood. Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This cover ops Sunstreaker figure brings his blaster to the fight when he’s in robot mode, and he converts fast to sports car mode when chasing down Decepticons is the primary objective. But he can also become an arm or a leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Optimus Maximus warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Sunstreaker figure is in, he’s going to bring maximum carnage to the battle! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

 The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

The late summer of 2015 brought about a new wave of figures that fans had been speculating on for months. When a picture of Optimus Maximus' artwork leaked with a limb that looked like a yellow version of Sunstreaker, fans suspected the Stunticon molds would be given new decos and retooling as Generation One Autobot characters. At Botcon 2015 this theory was confirmed as Hasbro announced two waves of redecos and retools of the Stunticon molds representing Autobots from the 1984-85 period of G1.

Sunstreaker was one of the original Autobots introduced in "Generation One". Unlike other members of the original Ark crew however, he has not received as much attention over the years as say Bumblebee or Prowl from that era. Back in 2003 there was a convention exclusive Sunstreaker. A couple years later he appeared as an Alternator. More recently (well, in 2008) there was a Deluxe version of the character released as part of Universe 2.0. Still, it's been a while since a Deluxe Sunstreaker has been on shelves so this figure is a welcome addition to the line. This time out Sunstreaker is a retool and redeco of "Combiner Wars" Breakdown so check out that review for detailed thoughts on the figure (and thoughts on how it could be used as Sunstreaker). This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

The packaging for this wave of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.

Starting with wave two of "Combiner Wars", the packaging changed significantly. Now a comic book was packaged with the figure, so the card became longer and the bubble on the card wrapped around the edges of the card to offer stability and security. The comic book features an exclusive cover featuring Sunstreaker's artwork. The figure is in robot mode inside the packaging, making for a dramatic presentation. The back of the card has a brief bio of the character along with the requisite safety information in multiple languages.

One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of Sunstreaker written from the perspective of the the Autobot psychiatrist, Rung. It really helps give more color to the character's personality and even references some of his old G1 profiles. However, it strays away from some of the darker aspects of the character from the IDW Publishing titles. Overall the packaging for "Combiner Wars" wave two and beyond really stepped things up compared to wave one.

Sunstreaker includes the same accessories as Breakdown. This includes the fist/foot/weapon piece which has two huge exhaust vents in the front (which you can also interpret as cannon barrels). These simulate the look of parts from G1 Sunstreaker found on the back of his head. The weapon is cast in silver with silver paint used on the front section. He also includes the rifle/sword weapon that Breakdown had, but this time the weapon has been completely painted silver.

Robot Mode:
When the designers at Hasbro and Takara worked on the Combiner Wars figures, they knew they would be creating redecos using certain base sculpts over and over. This particular sculpt was definitely more engineered towards being Breakdown, so most of the details on this figure don't really match up to the more traditional Sunstreaker details. This includes the vehicle mode's cabin section forming the torso and blocky arms with rocket launchers on the shoulders. The only detail that stands out to me as potentially reminiscent of G1 Sunstreaker are the feet, which are rather wide and angular. These somewhat resemble G1 Sunstreaker's feet which formed the front of the vehicle mode.

What the designers did do was give this figure a whole new head. This head is based on his G1 design, featuring a distinctive "helmet" section that includes a rounded section on top and sections that flare out to the sides with rows of horizontal lines inside. To this day this is one of the more distinctive head designs from the original "1984-85" era Autobot cars and I think the designers did a great job of creating this new head sculpt.

Sunstreaker is cast in light metallic yellow, silver and black plastic. The yellow is really a light shade of the color and it would look bad if it weren't for the metallic flake inside of it. Thanks to that the yellow actually looks really nice (instead of looking cheap). The silver is used on his thighs and some smaller parts like his heels. The black is found ont he head, the panel the head rests on and smaller parts like the wheels and hip area.

In an effort to bring the figure closer to the look of the G1 character, there are several deco choices which call back to G1 Sunstreaker. First is the extensive use of metallic black paint. You'll find this on his forearms, chest and the front panels of the lower legs. These are all sections that had black color on them on G1 Sunstreaker. Red paint is used on his shoulders, which call back to sticker details on G1 Sunstreaker. Some metallic light blue is used on the center of the torso, a possible callback to G1 Sunstreaker's windows which were sometimes colored blue in books and the cartoon. The head features yellow on the parts that stick out the sides and silver on the face. His eyes are light blue. The finishing touch on this figure is a small Autobot symbol on the left side of his chest in red (though it's so bright it almost looks orange). Overall the color scheme on this figure looks great. It's very different from Breakdown and you can see the designers really tried to call back to G1 Sunstreaker using the deco. If I had to nit pick I'd say the feet and thighs could use some additional deco but that's about it.

All the joints on this figure are still nice and tight. The way the legs connect to the hips is still weird by design, so you have to fool around with the legs a bit to get them even. He can hold his weapons in his hands, and thanks to the wide feet and heel pieces he's very stable when posed with them. For weapon storage you can attach the hand/foot/weapon piece to the back of the figure. When you do this, the barrels of the weapon wind up sticking up behind the head, which acts as a homage to G1 Sunstreaker's head design. I love this little design "easter egg".

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Push up the robot feet against the lower legs.
  4. Swing back the halves of the spoilers.
  5. Swing each forearm up against the upper arms.
  6. Swing the lower legs out to the side and up, collapsing the thighs into them.
  7. Push the leg sections together.
  8. Push the arms down at the shoulders, connecting them to the leg sections and forming most of the vehicle mode's body.
  9. Swing the robot head and the platform it rests on back.
  10. Swing the car hood forward.
  11. Swing the windshield piece down.

Vehicle Mode:
Sunstreaker's vehicle form is a car that seems partly based on the Lamborghini Diablo. This is quite appropriate since G1 Sunstreaker was a Lamborghini Countach. Taking the G1 call backs one step further, both Sunstreaker and Breakdown shared the same base vehicle mode: a Lamborghini Countach! This symmetry between these modern day versions of the character and the G1 versions is very cool in my book.

There are no retooled parts in this mode between Breakdown and Sunstreaker. The vehicle mode of the two characters is the same.

This mode mostly shows off the metallic yellow plastic. The spoiler is silver and the wheels are black. In terms of deco Sunstreaker is almost perfect. Metallic blue is used for the windows, which really looks striking against the yellow plastic. Silver is used for the headlights and surprisingly, the rims on the wheels! Red is used over the rear wheel well (echoing the red from the robot mode's shoulders). The hood has a large red Autobot symbol in the middle. The front end of the vehicle mode has black painted on it, offering some nice contrast against the yellow. Really the deco looks clean and shiny, but sadly the rear of the vehicle has no painted details despite the presence of rear lights. Had those been painted I think the deco would've been perfect.

The hand/foot/weapon piece can attach to the top of the vehicle in two ways. You can just plug the 5mm peg into th ehole on the top of the car, or you can attach it the other way, using the small tabs on top. Not only does this bring the weapon closer against the car, but it also simulates the way G1 Sunstreaker looked with an engine in the back. The sword attaches to the vehicle using the edge of the hilt as a tab that fits into slots on the sides.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Take the fist/foot piece and fold the section with the thumb down, then swing the thumb up.
  3. Swing the rear halves of the vehicle out then connect them together.
  4. Swing the windshield/windows panel back.
  5. Swing the front of the vehicle back.
  6. Swing the arm connector piece out.
  7. Rotate the hip around with the spoiler section facing up (so the arm has elbow articulation).
  8. Attach the hand to the hole at the back of the vehicle (now the forearm).

Arm Mode:
If you've read my review of Breakdown you'll pretty much know everything you need to know about the arm mode. The sleekness of the vehicle mode hels make this a convincing arm as it is not too bulky. All the articulation points in this mode are relatively tight. The yellow and silver colors really act as a nice contrast against the red, blue, white and black colors found on the rest of the "Optimus Maximus" team.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in vehicle mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Make sure the foot piece has the fingers tucked in and the thumb forming the heel in the back.
  3. Swing the windshield/windows piece back.
  4. Swing the front of the vehicle up and back.
  5. Swing the leg connection piece up.
  6. Attach the foot piece to the back of the car.

Leg Mode:
Sunstreaker's leg mode is basically the vehicle mode standing up with its hood flipped back. The cool part about the leg mode is how well it works. You'd think a relatively thin vehicle like Sunstreaker's wouldn't serve well as a leg, but the way the hood folds back gives it a thickness that works well.

Final Thoughts:
Sunstreaker is not the ideal representation of the character. From a pure sculpting point of view I would argue the Universe 2.0 Sunstreaker did that better. However, given the economic realities of having to reuse tooling I think the designers did a great job with this figure. If you've been collecting "Combiner Wars", this guy definitely deserves a spot on your toy shelf!

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