"Transformers Universe" Roulette & Shadow Striker Toy Reviews

General Information:
Release Year: July 2003
Retailer: Official Transformers Collector's Convention Exclusive
Price: $65.00
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3 (Advanced)
Accessories: Gun/blade x 2, Missile x 2, Missile launcher x 2

Roulette and Shadow Striker were two of the exclusive toys released at OTFCC (Official Transformers Collector's Convention) 2003. Both are redecos and retools of Side Burn, who in turn was a slight redeco of Speedbreaker from Car Robots. You can read a review of Speedbreaker here. This review will go over Roulette first, and since Shadow Striker is just a redeco of Roulette, her review will just cover the changes made to the toy for that character.

Roulette and Shadow Striker are packaged as a two pack. They come in a box that has elements of both the Generation One packaging as well as the new "Transformers Universe" packaging. The box background is black, with red grid details. An Autobot and Decepticon symbol help indicate which character is on what side. The new logo firmly places these characters in the "Transformers Universe" storyline. The artwork in the back is the artwork used to promote OTFCC 2003, which depicts toys from both the OTFCC exclusives as well as toys from the main Universe line such as Striker and Optimus Primal.

The toys themselves are held to a tray inside by twist ties. The tray is black with a red grid pattern on it.

The box also has the tech specs for each character printed on it in traditional Generation One style including the red background on the number stats. There are two sets of art for each character, one smaller and one main "tech spec" art, which was a nice touch. The only complaint I have on the packaging is the clear plastic window, which was quite frail and easily damaged. The design of the packaging is great however. It's visually stunning and brings some old and some new together.


Roulette Review

Vehicle Mode:
Roulette's vehicle mode is a Dodge Viper. When Speedbreaker was originally released in the United States as Side Burn, it seems Dodge didn't realize there was a car on the toy market based on their popular design. By the time the redeco of Side Burn rolled around (no pun intended), Hasbro had to work out a deal with Dodge which included trademark information on their packaging as well as a Dodge logo on the toy itself. So to be super technical, Roulette is a redeco of the second version of Side Burn released in Robots in Disguise. This is also evident by the fact that Roulette's engine is vacuum metallized gold and silver, which were the colors used for the second Side Burn's engine.

Sculpt wise, this is a very well done Viper. It has all the right lines and curves including the large front section and the curve near the front of the doors. Since this mold was created in Car Robots as an attempt to recapture some of the original Transformers "realism" when it came to alternate modes, the toy holds up well, not looking out dated even after three years from its original release. The fact that Dodge would even want their logo on the toy is a testament to how well done the sculpt is. Nice details fill out the engine mode such as vents on the hood, the design of the engine and the patterned

Like her Generation One predecessors, Roulette has rubber tires. Each tire has the words "TF Cybertron" on them. The doors can open and look good (although all you'll see inside are a bunch of robot parts).

Roulette's primary color is silver. Two purple stripes run down from the back of the car all the way to the front, making Roulette slightly reminscent of Generation One Jazz. A large Autobot symbol is heat stamped on the top of the vehicle (which all the Robots in Disguise cars had). The headlights are made of translucent clear plastic, and the smaller headlights in the front are painted white. The rear brake lights are painted gold.

Overall, Roulette has a nice, understated color scheme in this form. She's not over the top and seeing this mold without the blazing flame pattern is

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the tailpipe piece from the underside of the car.
  2. Flip the front section of the car (with the headlights) forward.
  3. Open the car doors.
  4. Detach the rear brake lights section of the car and insert the missile (tailpipe) into it.
  5. Detach the rear sides of the car from the top window section and swing them down.
  6. Swing down the purple and orange sections to form the robot legs.
  7. Flip the car over and you'll see a robot arm folded up with the right side front wheel attached to it. Swing that piece to the side. Rotate it around and then swing it back so the tire is where the arm was.
  8. Rotate the robot legs/lower body section to the side, then swing the car windshield section (with the other arm) forward and up.
  9. Detach the silver weapon attached to the lower body.
  10. Rotate the lower body so the legs face forward again.
  11. Swing the piece with the engine on it down to form the robot chest, and reveal the robot head.
  12. Place the weapons in each hand.

Robot Mode:
Speedbreaker's sculpt was the thinnest of the three Car Robot brothers, making the form ideal for a gender change (so far as Transformers have gender, but that's a whole different debate). The most obvious change to the toy (other than color, which I will get to soon) is a resculpted head. There's a couple points of significance here. First, this is the first time a Transformers convention exclusive is not only a redeco but a major retooling of the toy as well (the very first was Arcee, whose chest was tweaked a bit). Roulette's entire head sculpt is different than Speedbreaker's. The face is without a doubt,a female Autobot done in a style reminscent of the Generation One cartoon. The area around the face looks like a helmet you would find in some ancient civilization for warriors. The face has large, oval eyes, hig cheeks which then curve down into a small chin. The lips are full as opposed to the thin lines which usually serve as Transformers mouths. The head sculpt looks great, and it's a wonderful sign that Hasbro is willing to go as far as creating a whole new head for the toy for such a small run. For those wondering, there will not be any more of this toy made in any deco since the molds for the female head were destroyed after they were used.

Roulette's color scheme is primary black, orange and purple. The helmet, shoulders, chest, feet and knees are orange. Her lower body, upper legs and arms are black. The purple is actually metallic purple painted on the legs and abdominal area. The face is silver with blue eyes (following the convention of the G1 show where all Autobots had blue eyes) and pink lips (which follows the portrayal of female Transformers in the original show as well). The Autobot symbol on her left arm has been painted with vacuum metallized purple, which looks really nice against the black of the arm.

Roulette has fourteen points of articulation. She has two weapons: a "crossbow" type weapon formed from the rear of the car and the tailpipe and a gun that doubles as a blade (it can be held both ways). It's really nice to see the amount of tech detail worked into the smaller weapon. The smaller weapon is no longer vacuum metallized, rather it is just plain silver now.

Roulette is a really nice piece of work. The redeco was cool enough, but the whole new head sculpt totally rules. It's not ambiguous at all (like say, Strika was), this is definitely a female Transformer, no doubt about it.

Shadow Striker Review

Shadow Striker is a redeco of Roulette (who in turn is a redeco of Side Burn who is a redeco of Speedbreaker. Whew!). This review will cover the changes made to the toy (see above for a more detailed review of the toy itself).

Vehicle Mode:
Like her sister, Shadow Striker is a Dodge Viper in vehicle mode. However, whereas Roulette has a sleek, bright appearance with her predominant silver color, Shadow Striker is a much darker looking vehicle. Her primary color is black. Two dark blue stripes run from the back of the vehicle to the front, replicating the pattern that her sister has.

Like Roulette, Shadow Striker is technically closest to the Robots in Disguise redeco Side-Burn in color scheme. Her engine is vacuum metallized gold and silver and she has a Dodge Viper symbol on the front of the car. The brake lights are painted gold while the small headlights on the front are painted silver. A large Decepticon symbol is heat stamped onto the top of the vehicle.

This color scheme looks great on the car. The stripes running from the back to the front is a great piece of visual continuity between the two sisters who are supposed to be twins. Interestingly enough, although she is a Decepticon, Shadow Striker has an Autobot symbol. Look at the window in the back and you'll see the Autobot symbol which is molded into the left robot arm. It is colored in vacuum metallized blue. Of course, it would have required a much more extensive retool to change this arm, and since Shadow Striker is hanging out with her sister in the Universe continuity, perhaps this shows something of a dual nature? A stretch, maybe, but it's neat to speculate about.

Robot Mode:
Shadow Striker shows some new colors in robot mode. Her helmet, arms and upper legs are all black. Her shoulders, parts of her chest, waist and feet are a light brown/tan color. Parts of her chest as well as her lower legs are a lighter blue color. Black is used for much of the detailing on the mid body area
as well as the legs.

The robot face is pretty much the "opposite" of Roulette. Her face is gold (as opposed to Roulette's silver) and her eyes are red (the "traditional" G1 Decepticon eye color). The lips are still pink (pushing the whole "female robot" thing home). It would have been cool to see a dark red or something used for the lips to differentiate the face more from Roulette, but it is hardly a fatal detail.

The gun and missile for Shadow Striker are the same color as Roulette's, which works out well since that allows their parts to be interchangeable between the two.

While Shadow Striker looks good in robot mode, Roulette's more metallic looking details stand out a lot more than the more flat colors used on Shadow Striker.

Make no mistake, if you purchase this two pack, you will be spending a good chunk of change. It sold for $65 at OTFCC 2003, so expect to pay more than that. This is definitely an item meant for a more hard core collector and in that vein, it is recommended.

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