18 June 2013

Hasbro Transformers Generations Wave 2 Triple-Changer SANDSTORM review

Here's my review of Hasbro's Transformers Generations Series 2, figure #003 (Wave 2), Voyager Class SANDSTORM.

I don't usually do reviews, but this figure is just too awesome and so I decided to do a review.

Sandstorm is from Wave 2 of the 'relaunched' Generations Line and it is the only the figure in Wave 2. The assortment is something like 2 pieces of Sandstorm and 1 piece each of Springer and Blitzwing, where the latter 2 are from Wave 1.

I'm just going to say here that Generations Blitzwing is a huge disappointment and what I term a 'crappy' figure. Sandstorm on the other hand has far exceeded my expectations.

Here, I have pictured Generations Springer and Sandstorm with their G1 Japanese counterparts C-83: Sandstorm and C-84: Sprung. I think they look awesome together. After 27 years, finally, worthy homages to these 2 characters that are not forced or repurposed from existing molds.

Generations Springer and Sandstorm side by side, both still MISB.

A shot showing the 'box art'. I do like the box art, its larger and better than most previous releases in the Generations line and also has a hand painted quality to it.

The back of the box. Layout is pretty decent and shows each characters' 3 modes. There is also a profile write up and tech specs thrown in for good measure. Sandstorm registers as "10" for both Courage and Skill... really? I just did a quick check and guess what? The Tech Specs for Generations Sandstorm matches that of G1 Sandstorm!

A close up of Sandstorm, just showing the packaging.

A shot of the Generations Sandstorm box - pretty decent layout and graphics, for a Hasbro release. Really, after a string of Classics / Generations releases that is patently inferior to Takara's Henkei / United lines, Hasbro, perhaps in 2013, has finally upped the ante and do quality releases that they have always been capable of doing.

Close up of head - hey, light piping works very well! That's another plus for this figure.

Out of packaging.

Even the instructions are impressive, large and has a large print of its box art.

Close up of Sandstorm still in insert. Notice that instead of wire ties, this release (and many more recent released) uses something more stringy and easier to remove or cut depending on your excitement in releasing the figure from its insert prison.

Hey, and what's a review if I don't place it side by side with its G1 counterpart, out of box and in insert. To see more of C-83: Sandstorm, click here.

'Oh, hello there, Sandy'. The colour scheme is pretty faithful to the original, although Generations Sandstorm has lots of yellows, which the original does not have. Still, the colour scheme works well and gives the figure some 'pop'.

Alright, one more time with their packaging!

G1 Sandstorm side by side with Generations Sandstorm. Where the former is relatively simple in terms of design, the latter is obviously more intricate.

'Hey, what ya looking at?'. One of the winning features of G1 Sandstorm is that it can turn its head! Haha... see how easy it was to satisfy the childhood me?

One of the minor issues for Generations Sandstorm is that it is slightly tricky to make it stand upright - it is too back heavy. So you will have to give it a little animation Optimus Prime 'bent knee syndrome' in order for it to stand on its own. It's not terrible, and to be fair, is really not obvious as you can see from the below photo.

A shot of the back. Looks decent and even the kibble works well. The helicopter tail fins do mirror G1 Sandstorm, which I thought is cool.

Hey, strike a pose! Show how articulated you are.

Love the detail for the wheel / helicopter blade.

I have glowy eyes... proof that light piping works.

- Dune Buggy Mode -

Sandstorm in dune buggy mode. The transformation was simple and intuitive. As usual, I did it without referring to the instructions at all (who needs 'em?). It took about 1-2 minutes, which is great. During transformation, there was not too many things that were flappy. I definitely derived more fun transforming this than Generations Blitzwing (which is a piece of crap toy, did I mention that?).

Side view. Looks a little like the Tumbler from Chris Nolan's Batman movies.

Side view of dune buggy. Nicely proportioned...

... all parts and panels clicking together without much trouble.

Front view. It's a nice alternate mode, looks very strong, almost like a tank.

This is the back view - you can see that the feet looks like exhaust vents here and the design is really holistic and the vehicle mode looks decent all round, not just from the front (which is more than I can say for Generations Blitzwing).

Gens Sandy with G1 Sandy.

One thing to note is that G1 Sandstorm has a lot more blacks, which Generations Sandstorm has a lot more yellows in place of the black. Perhaps the Takara release will look even more like G1 Sandstorm in terms of colour, but who cares, this piece rocks in my book.

Top view comparison

Close up of some details - this is the front.

Close up of the side panels. Well detailed and fits snugly together.

More details.

Man, look at the awesomely large wheel / helicopter blades. I don't know why, but this is one of my favourite parts of this toy.

Rear exhaust.

Oh, it comes with a gun. I don't really care for the gun and think the toy actually looks worse with the gun attached to it... it's so big and unsubtle. Okay, dune buggy with gun.

- VTOL Aircraft Mode -

I really cannot decide which is my favourite mode for this toy - I like each and every one of the modes! However, if I really must chose, I'd pick the VTOL Aircraft Mode as my favourite. It's just a really nice mode.

Here is it is with packaging.

I think one of the reasons I like this mode is because there is some resonance with the Hunter-Killers from Terminator, and more closely resemble the Scorpion Gunships from Avatar (both of which were probably designed by James Cameron).

Here is Sandstorm...

... and here is a Scorpion Gunship!

Close up of the front.

VTOL craft mode from the top.

View from the rear. As with the dune buggy mode, it all looks very designed. All parts serve a function, and it looks aircraft worthy. Which is more than I can say for Blitzwing, which has holes and empty spaces all over in aircraft mode and tank mode (Generations Blitzwing is a piece of crap toy, did I mention?).

The designer for Springer and Sandstorm is likely the same person (or team), but Blitzwing must have been designed by a different person (or team). Probably Takara's "B" team, for Blitzwing...

'What ya looking at?'

'Take that! You piece of sh*t toy'.

Close up of tail section.

Another shot of the helicopter blades... my favourite part of the toy!

With G1 Sandstorm.

Here's another shot of Generations Sandstorm and G1 Sandstorm.

A little bit of a size / height comparison. Left to right: MakeToys The Fallen, Generations Blitzwing, Generations Sandstorm, MakeToys Green Giant.

In closing, I'd like to say that Generations Sandstorm is an awesome figure. I am very impressed. It's hard to recall another recent year release that is so awesome (but I have not opened my Generations Springer yet, sue me!). In terms of playability, ease of transformation and poseability, it is one of the best in the Classics / Generations line. It is intricate, but not overly complicated. 

Box / packaging - 7 out of 10
Instructions - 7 out of 10
Robot mode - 7.5 out of 10
Dune Buggy mode - 8 out of 10 (works really well, all panels and parts fit snugly)
VTOL Aircraft Mode - 8.5 out of 10
Overall - 8 out of 10

Heroic's recommendation? BUY!

~ HD


  1. I have a feeling that Blitzwing was not properly tested with production plastic tolerances and released as a 'Beta' prototype. It does not appear to have been given proper design refinements that would have been clearly identified on a prototype. What may look good on tech plans often fails in practice. That is putting aside the awful design laziness on both alt modes like the gaps which you mentioned but the shoulders and alt mode stability issues bother me more.

    Shame as G1 Blitzwing is my favorite triple-changer and the new toy almost feels like a step backwards. Despite the articulation, it's not stable enough in any mode to play with without the whole thing collapsing.

    1. You could be right that Blitzwing has not been tested and thought through - probably rushed it out. The materials used are also odd - soft type plastics / rubber and the jet nosecone was just poorly designed and engineered.

      To be honest, I thought the robot mode looked really good (when both Springer and Blitzwing were MISB), and I actually was more excited about Blitzwing than Springer. But the other 2 modes are just appallingly bad and lazy excuses for what only marginally passes as a tank / plane.

      It's a real shame really that Blitzwing is the victim of lazy design.

      Other lazy designs for the Classics / Generations line, which resulted in missed opportunities are:
      - Thunderwing / Metalhawk
      - Galvatron (man, what a piece of sh*t toy)
      - Prowl / Bluestreak / Smokescreen (these just look bad and are no fun to transform, parts keep popping off)

      These I though were stroks of brilliance:
      - Warpath
      - Bludgeon
      - Wheeljack / Tracks
      - Blurr / Drift
      - Mirage
      - Ratchet / Ironhide
      - Springer / Sandstorm

  2. Looking at the design queues on both Thunderwing and Blitzwing, I think they are from the same designer. Although Thunderwing is a much better toy than Blitzwing, I can see similarities that lead me to believe they are from the same person. The body proportions and aesthetics are similar and the way the engineering is handled also echo on one another.

    The same thing could be said about Galvatron but he is a bit more 'special' as after pulling mine apart, I have a feeling that it's a shrunken down Ultra since Hasbro was the enforcing a bizarre 'Deluxe only for classics' policy. There is even space there for what could have been the electronic box in the chest triggered when you push the head up like Onslaught or Silverbolt.

    1. I guess if you analysis in cues in terms of how the parts fit (or not fit) together, it's possible that they share the same designer. For a Deluxe, Thunderwing was overly simplistic and had little play value. It's not a bad figure *per se*, but when you compare it with Wheeljack or Warpath for example, there's just so much in the latter figures, where they are intricate, but not overly complicated.

      Galvatron on the other hand is overly complicated (arm cannon part), but is simply no fun. Transformation is stupid and it keeps falling apart. You could be right though, Galvatron's feet does bear some resemblance to Blitzwing.

      Whoever this designer (or team) is, I think they should be given a serious reprimand - FP or MakeToys' second stringer "b" team could probably perform country miles better than them.

  3. Sandstorm is beautiful. Springer is great. Blitzwing...has a decent bot mode. I can't actually get the faces to change, however. Blitzwing's other modes are a bit horrible.

    1. I agree man. I was quite the fan of Blitzwing's bot mode, it looks quite close to his IDW incarnation. Don't really want to touch it or pose it though, because it will kind of fall apart....

  4. Okay, 'looks like the Batman tumbler" ...CUSTOM IDEA.


    1. holy rusted metal Batman, your car is transforming... into the Batplane?

  5. I can't hate on Blitzwing. As long as he's in robot mode, he kicks ass. He just had the bad luck of being released alongside what may be two of the greatest transformers ever.

    1. i agree that Generations Springer and Sandstorm are 2 of the strongest molds that Hasbro has done in years, but I don't think that being released with them would be detrimental to Blitzwing, if Blitzwing was done properly.

      It's just like lackluster pieces like Classics Galvatron or Thunderwing, there is no saving them no matter which wave they came in. They are in and of themselves, lousy designs.

  6. Interesting to note that the forearm fins can be clipped into the upper arms, same as on Springer, but this feature isn't used in Sandstorm (and would crowd the VTOL fans if it was).

    What you can do, though, is shift the arms forward (as in buggy mode), clip in the forearm fins, and point the VTOL fans back to create a fourth mode that looks remarkably like a submarine!


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