This week we have a repaint and a retool, I don't cover a lot of retool (repaints I do, see ALL of Wave 3 of the PCC line) so this'll make a nice change.
Sandstorm is a HEAVY retool of Springer and I do mean heavy.
They share most of the same engineering but a lot of parts have been retooled, I'll cover those more as I go through each of his modes.
There's a lot of sculpted detail on this figure, he's on par with the other Generation releases from around this time.
So right off the bat we see a lot of differences between the two figures and the big stand out parts are the VTOL engines and the tail section. They add a whole load of bulk to the chopper mode, it's kind of obvious that the VTOL's are the wheels. It's unavoidable, the tire print is right on the side of the engines. It's not a massive problem and let's face it, it's an obvious nod to the other mode and that hasn't happened much with the other triple changers I've reviewed. Because of how he transforms the VTOL engines are adjustable so you can pivot them to make him look like he's flying forward/backward/hovering.
The tail section just pegs on top of what would be Springers tail section. There's a slight difference in how Sandstorm transforms his arms compared to Springer as well. Sandstorm basically just tucks his hands away and holds his arms straight. It still has the tooling to fold the arms up like Springers in helicopter mode and for awhile I did it out of habit. Tip for life here, no matter how much you think you know a figure always look at the instructions. The gun clips in just like Springers and yet again I'm worried that it'll wear down and be “un-clippable” after awhile.
VTOL mode is a fine mode but I think we should talk about the dune buggy.
The gun pegs in the top, no surprises there, and it sits in a good position thanks to the notches in the handle.
The head. I don't like it.
It's for a simple reason but I feel it needs some explaining.
There are many visual clues I always associate with certain Transformers and if they are missing it looks off to me.
For example, the Dinobots should have red eyes, Optimus should have a full face plate, Shockwave should have one eye and a gun hand. The list goes on and on.
To me Sandstorm should have a face plate, the toy does not. It's a bit of a weird one here, after checking the Tfwiki I found that Sandstorm has a mix over the years. The Original toy had one as did his Dreamwave appearance and some of his IDW appearances. The G1 cartoon, the G1 (both US and UK) comics and his latest IDW appearance all have a mouth like the Generations toy does.
It's weird, I cannot tell you why I think Sandstorm should have that face plate apart from the fact it feels like he should. I almost wish some third party group had done a replacement head for him with the alternate face.
Second problem is the heels. For awhile now I struggled to get Sandstorm stood properly. At first I thought this was just due to the massive back pack VTOL engines but in the last few days I discovered something else. On Springer his heels are kept flat with the rest of his feet by the wheel arch of the tires in his legs. It provides a simple stop which makes them secure feet. Sandstorm not having said tires in his legs has no such support. You can swing the heels further up into a position
where they cannot support all of that back pack weight and down he goes. The bright side is that the pins are tight enough to hold them in place but if you nudge them or move Sandstorm back on his heels they fold and he's left with no support at all.
Now I've got that out of the way lets talk about what I do like. Everything else on this guy!
It's pretty much the same as Springer apart from the VTOL back pack, the re-sculpted shins and the chest.
The shins aren't anything amazing, they're a simple re-tool with some new landing gear knees attached to them.
The chest is a complete retool, obviously it's the hood of the car I spoke bout before but we also have newly sculpted side chest parts. They're picked out in yellow and it helps make the chest look smaller. Something I realised is you can do is to make Sandstorm look like he did when Squadron X “escaped” on POVA. Just pop the shoulder out and swing it down.
The VTOL backpack clips together nicely and as long as you have his heels set right it doesn't over balance him. The engines never feel like they take up to much space either.
The tail fin parts can be posed in various positions. The official photos have it showing over the top of the figure but personally I prefer them swung down and hidden away or just having the front part of them showing over the top. It's up to yourselves where you put yours.
I should mention his gun at some point I suppose. It's yellow and black, it launches a missile through friction. It's big. Not much else to be said about it really.
So should you own a Sandstorm if you already own a Springer? Yes. There has been enough re-tooling between the two figures for it to feel like a completely new figure. I can fully understand if you have one you might not want to get the other but I'm happy owning both. It's always good to have another Wrecker for the collection.
Next week we have another Wrecker of sorts, he's only been a Wrecker in one universe and the one that this version is based on has never been a Wrecker. It's easier for him to turn a blind eye to the Wreckers methods when he's not in the same bloodbath as those guys.
He sometimes takes epic trips and tells tales of these sagas often.
When not watching people in spandex fight each other he paints miniatures, go HERE to take a look.