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Roadbuster

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

Today we celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a review that's both green and orange, so we don't piss off the Protestants or the Catholics!

Ask this Autobot who his greatest enemy is and he won't name a Decepticon. He'll say it's boredom. To him, there's simply nothing more entertaining than turning a few Decepticons into a smoldering pile of scrap-and he never misses a chance to pursue his favorite pastime. Few Autobots are more eager to hurl themselves into combat, and fewer still have accomplished more on the field of battle.

Roadbuster is, like Springer, a character I don't actually remember existing. My first exposure to him was when Animated Ultra Magnus was repainted green and yellow - at the time, I didn't even know that was supposed to be a reference to anything. [You thought a Transformer would get a unique and original colorscheme? You should have known better! --ed.]

The original Roadbuster mold was created by Takatoku Toys, rather than Takara, and was only licensed to Hasbro - that's why he was never in the cartoon. It might also be why this toy's head bears only a passing resemblance to the one from 1985. With its mouth grill and eyeslit, it looks more like Zaku Gundam; only the orange "ears" feel like an update.

His robot body is very blocky. He's like a series of cubes with a few limbs poking out here and there - and that, at least, is definitely a reference to 1985. The sculpt makes him look like he's covered in thick, bulky armor, suitable for a guy who loves war so much. You can totally read this as a green robot wearing layers of brown and orange armor to protect himself. Well, he should be wearing a bit more around the stomach area; that ends up looking hollow. Also, his feet are surprisingly flat; guess they'd have to be big and broad to hold him upright. You get an entire sheet of stickers to decorate Roadbuster, many of which are taken from the original toy, and almost all of which are the wrong size for the places they're supposed to go. Good planning, team! On the plus side, we do get our choice of either Autobot or Wrecker insignias for him, and he does look a lot better with the decals on than without them.

Roadbuster moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and head. It sounds like a nice amount, but a lot of it has issues. The swivels in the biceps and thighs are slightly misshapen, so instead of turning smoothly, they want to pop out of place. Plus, the shoulder hinges that move the arms away from the torso are ratcheted, but the ratchets smooth out almost instantly. If this wasn't a brand-new mold, we'd say the steel tools were starting to wear out, because these are the kinds of problems you usually only see on parts that have been used over and over.

The original Roadbuster came with a ton of accessories, and this one keeps that tradition alive. He's carrying almost as many weapons as Hound, though not as much of a variety: other than one small missile battery, everything he has is a gun. Other than his hands, there are nine points where the weapons can be attached to his body, and all the guns have ports where they can plug into each other, as well. So you can either spread the weapons out all over the place (the instructions show two possible configurations) or turn them all into one gigantic super-gun. For some reason, however, the holes on his shoulders get smaller near the bottom, so they're not large enough to allow the guns in all the way, and thus the accessories fit rather loosely.

Also, the spring-loaded launcher broke while writing this review. The spring literally shot out with the missile. Quality.

Converting Roadbuster is easier than it seems: raise the chest, pull the arms in, and fold the legs over. There are a few more minor steps in there, but that's really all there is to it. His altmode is some sort of short, wide Humvee-type vehicle with a high wheel base and a lot of extra armor. The windows are very small, for maximum protection, and all four wheels roll. The jeep is 5½" long, 3¼" wide, and 2¼" tall.

A lot of the stickers you spent all that time putting on end up upside down or even buried inside the vehicle. We also lose three of the weapon connection ports, but that does mean six of them are still accessible, and you can load up the weapons however you like, turning this orange, brown and green armored vehicle into a rolling death machine!

Roadbuster is one of the harder figures to find, coming out near the end of the "Thrilling 30" subline, after the pegwarming Whirl, but before the phantom Brainstorm. I ended up getting mine from Hasbro's website when they had one of their many 20% Off discounts, which really is about all he's worth. With the loose joints, loose weapons, and stickers not at all sized for the areas they're supposed to be, Roadbuster is only a so-so Transformer and definitely not worth paying full retail for.

-- 03/17/15


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