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Windcharger

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

We already talked about how poorly Hasbro did distributing Voyager, Deluxe and Legends class figures at the end of the Reveal the Shield subline - today we go for the quadfecta.

Windcharger isn't precisely the fastest Autobot on the ground, but he does have the highest acceleration. Heedless of any passengers he might be carrying, he goes from zero to 130 miles per hour in less than a second, and screeches to a stop almost as fast. His overloaded power plant generates a strong electromagnetic field, which he can direct into powerful blasts from the cannons in his hands.

Windcharger was a G1 minibot, but he hasn't had a new toy since then. No, we're not counting the Alternator, because that was never intended to be him. Technically this one isn't, either, since his participation in the "Reveal the Shield" gimmick would suggest he's actually supposed to be a movie version of Windcharger, but since when have we cared about that?

This new Windcharger looks very little like his 1984 counterpart, neither toy nor animation model. In both forms, he had a grey body and red arms, while this version ends up with a red body and grey arms. This is mainly because what will eventually be the car's hood is over his chest, a big departure from the old toy. On the other hand, the legs are nearly perfect updates, with black venting on the shins, horizontal design elements on the thighs and circles on the front of the hips. The designs on his feet look like they're there for traction - a nice choice, considering that this was Blurr before there was a Blurr.

The major difference between Windcharger the toy and Windcharger the cartoon was the face. In that the cartoon had one (the toy just had a black eyeslit and a silver faceplate). This new figure favors the animation, as many modern toys do. Unfortunately, the cartoon duplicated the way the toy's head was encased in a block, and that doesn't work when the head doesn't butt right up against the torso: it looks less like a structural element and more like the robotic equivalent of shoulder-length hair.

The original Windcharger moved at the shoulders; this one is much better. He has balljoints at the neck, shoulders, elbows and hips, and hinge joints in the knees. The wrists are hinged, as well, but that's as part of a play feature: you can flip the hands around to reveal cannons in their place. Amazingly enough, those come straight from G1, where he had powerful electromagnets in his arms. When they were shown on the cartoon, the design of the magnets looked just like these. Nice!

Back in the day, Windcharger's altmode was a superdeformed Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. These days that would require licensing fees (to say nothing of being nearly 30 years out-of-date), so instead he's a generic muscle car. Seriously, that's what it says on the back of the packaging: "muscle car." Still, it's a lot closer to the old Windcharger than the robot mode was.

The design is an amalgam of the new Mustang and Camaro (which are pretty darn close to each other to begin with). It has the Ford's squarish front end and the sloping rear of the Chevy. The car is 4" long, 1⅞" wide and 1¼" tall. All four wheels roll (with plenty of clearance for the kibble under the car), but there are no other features: no opening doors or anything. We certainly wouldn't expect them at this scale.

Windcharger is a good figure - for $7-$9. Unfortunately, you'll never get him for that price. He's ragingly rare, thanks to reasons we've been over before - to say nothig of the fact that he's the sole new figure (of a popular old character, no less!) in a series of repaints and rereleases. There have been scattered reports of him showing up at discount retailers, but that's far from universal. Hasbro really needs to find a way to get this mold back out there: hell, paint him yellow and call him Decepticharge!

-- 09/27/11


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