Siege Springer Review Name: Springer Manufacturer: Hasbro Toy Line: Transformers Series: War for Cybertron - Siege Allegiance: Autobot Year: 2018 Note: as metric is my native measurement system, all my measurements are in metric. However for those used to inches, 1 inch=2.54cm. Alternately, there is a cm to inches converter here.
Background: In 2018, Hasbro announced it would be taking a very different approach to the Transformers toyline. Traditionally, Hasbro had tended to cater more to children, while Takara had tended to cater more towards adults. However with the move towards global shared branding, announced in 2017, this all radically changed, with the first line to be developed under these auspices, being the War for Cybertron Trilogy – specifically the Siege toyline. These figures, featuring a more Cybertronian look at feel, better plastic and tolerances, more intricate transformations, significantly more paint apps and more solid construction, have proven to be more in line with the types of figures sold traditionally in comic book stores and have proven to be a huge hit with fans. This review will look at Voyager-Class Springer from that line. Packaging: Unlike previous lines, all figures from Deluxe and up are packaged in windowed boxes, featuring general artwork on the left side of the that really does feel reminiscent of the the old battlescapes on the back of G1 cards and boxes. The diagonal right side of the box, features Springer leaping into batting in a way that feels like he's going to leap right out of the box at you. The right side of the box, also reveals the code word “TRIPLECHANGER” in Cybertronian when a black-light is shone on it. Entering the code on Hasbro's website gives you access to a transformation video for the figure. The back of the box shows him in all 3 modes, lists a 25 step transformation from robot to car, a 26 step transformation from car to helecopter and cross-promotes him with the Battlemaster Smashdown.
Some very nice touches, as with all the Siege line. 7.0/10 Booklets: As with all Siege figures, this is definitely the worst part of them. They're certainly detailed with transformations, while the listing of weapon stats and actually giving each weapon and combined weapon a unique ID are a nice touch, however as others have noted, the red-on-black colour scheme can make it incredibly difficult to read them. The only thing which saves this situation are the transformation demo videos on the official website. 3.0/10 Robot mode: In Robot mode, Springer is 16.2cm tall, 9cm wide and 6.5cm deep, and he looks like he leapt out of an animation cel from the Sunbow cartoon and then got into a bar room brawl with 100 Sharkticons. Starting at the top, the head is the characteristic lime green helmet with the v and middle spike crest in lime green, with a dark lime green strip along the base and air intakes painted yellow on the inside. The face is the cartoon pale lime green, with deep sky blue painted eyes. The animation grey collar bone connects to the shoulders, which are the cartoon accurate yellow fenders at the front, with battle damage used so well here you could swear the part was painted die case. The yellow fenders back onto lime green wheel hubs and animation grey wheel hubs with black plastic painted tires. The wheels do have holes in them, but they form a geometric design so it looks like a deliberate pattern. The arms are also lime, with dark lime green forearm guards. The chest is the characteristic lime green, with again, battle damage being used so well that once again, it looks like it could be die cast. An Autobot logo is in the middle of the chest and the abdomen comprises of the yellow front grill. The waist is dark lime green with a yellow trapezoidal 'belt buckle' in the middle, which sits above the lime green hips. The thighs are the cartoon accurate pale lime green. The lower legs are animation grey, with equally excellent and deceptive use of battle damage on the front of the shin. Unfortunately as the battle damage didn't carry over to the inner and outer panels of the legs, it creates a jarring effect of plastic around die cast; I'm not sure if the cost saving measures were worth the payoff here. The backpack of the figure is primarily dark lime green, with lime green sides and the yellow segments at the base. The lower legs are uncovered at the back and there is a gap in the middle of the backpack, but given the engineering on the legs, I'm not sure that much of anything could have been done to fix that. 9.0/10 Articulation: Where the articulation on this figure falls short is due to transformation, and even then, there's only 4 real detractors. The figure has an impressive 23 points of articulation, not including transformation joints. The head, which is where the first detractor is, has ful 360 degree head swivel, but only a tiny head tilt, making his ability to look up close to non-existent. There are 5 points of articulation on each arm there is close to 270 degree arm rotation built into the figure, where the limits appear to be designed to mimic the range of movement of a person. The shoulder pads do limit the shoulders to about an 80 degree sideways movement, but it's still fairly realistic. There is 360 degree bicep swivel and elbow rotation which is greater than 90 degrees while using a single joint; while not as great in motion as a double shoulder bend, what is there comes very close to being stopped by the massive shoulder pads. As to be expected, there is also wrist swivel.
I'll get this out of the way now, due to transformation, there is no ab crunch, while a hinge joint at the butt limits hip rotation to around 30 degree in each direction – which does feel very “human” in its movement limitations. The legs have full 180 degree rotation and with 90 degree sideways motion, the figure can easily do the splits. There is a single bend at the knees, but with a 135 degree range of motion, rivaling most double jointed knee bends. Sadly while there is no ankle bent, there is a 90 degree ankle tilt.
This figure is close to be a well engineered super-articulated action figure in its own right, ignoring the fact that it's a Transformer. Given how insane the engineering is and what it did to work around it, I'm left feeling very satisfied with it. 9.0/10 Transformation to car mode: Masterpiece engineering in a voyager.
- pop the arms out and down;
- fold out the panels at the back of the shoulder pads, roated the shoulder pads back 90 degrees and tab the panel into the base of the fist;
- flip the chest open, bring the chest section forward and flip open the side panels;
- rotate the head 180 degrees, bring the head forward and down, fold the chest up and over the head and then raise the section up until it slides in under the front of the roof of the car;
- flip the feet up 90 degrees to the front, open the side panels on each leg, flip out the fins and close the panels;
- acordion the car roof section back, tab the lower legs together, rotate the lower legs 180 degrees and slide the legs under the hing, into the depressions on the car body;
- accordion the rear of the car roof back and tab the rear of it into the legs. If the tabs donb't neatly slide in, push the feet in together more;
- accordion the sides as far forward and in as them will go and then tab the arms into the sides. While the back of the roof is a little fiddly, this transformation is what you would have imagined out of a Masterpiece Springer, give or take a couple of bits of kibble that weren't covered up, which I'll cover when looking at car mode. All in all it all but nails it. That said, there was a clear fail in terms of the clutch power on the leg tab, although hopefully it resolves itself over time. So very close to perfection. 9.0/10 Car mode: In car mode, Spring is approximately 15,9cm long, 79.cm wide, and approximately 4.8cm high, and he looks like he drove out of an animation cel from the Sunbow cartoon and then got into a demolition derby with the Stunticons. The front of the car is yellow and in this mode I cannot hel but with that the battle damage was applied to the grill as well as the front fenders. Likewise the following lime green section being battle damaged in the middle but not on the sides, feels like a half job. The cockpit is clear Autobot blue, however the silver inner paint apps on other figures, sadly aren't present here and it does feel like it's missing something as a result. Behind the cockpit is the rear section which formed the backpack in robot mode and now those yellow sections can clearly be made out ot be thrusters. Underneath then is the animation accurate grey rear of the car. However the 2 noticeable issues with the car mode are kibble in the form of the shoulder hinges and sides of the thighs being visible in car mode.
It's not perfect, but it gets far more right than it gets wrong 8/10 Transformation to helecopter mode: Masterpiece level engineering in a Voyager.
- accordion the roof forward and up and slide the arms out;
- untab the panels at the fist, rotate the panel forward, flip the skids out, pull the forearm guard out to the side, tab the panel back into the fist and rotate the skids 180 degrees;
- rotate the legs back 180 degrees, untab them, twist them 180 degrege at the top of the thigh, flip the wheel up panel out and back 180 degrees and flip the inner shin panels out 90 degrees;
- accordion the legs at the hips to extend them tab the rear wheel hubs and fins together, rotate the feet 180 degrees and then rotate the inner leg panel the remaining 90 degrees so that it and the feet are covering the thighs;
- make sure the torso hinge is accordioned into the hips and accordion the engine section of the helecopter back in place and tab it into the feet;
- accordion the arms into the sides until they fit snugly and tab them into both sets of posts;
- slide the swords into the holder and tab the assembled rotor blades into the engine. There are a couple of fiddly bits, but the amount of engineering involved is Masterpiece level – if not better. 9.0/10 Helecopter mode: In helecopter mode, Springer is 19.8cm long, 12.2cm wide at the landing skids, 5.8cm tall and has a wingspan of 20.2cm. Again the helecopter mode delivers exactly what the robot mode and car mode leave you expecting and then some. In this mode, the front fenders and wheel hubs sit a little bit further back than they did in car mode, now featuring a pair of pontoons. The back of the car mode has turned into the tail of the helecopter, with the wheels now functioning as a tail rotor. The only real flaws I can find with it, if I'm nitpicking, is that the forearms are more noticeable in this mode, bordering on arm kibble, there is a hole in the front of the middle of the tail of the rotor, due to transformation and the front wheels are still clearly visible. There's far less annoyingly obvious kibble on this than a certain upcoming and massively overpriced Masterpiece figure (yes Blackarachnia, I mean you) and it is so very close to a battle damage deco version of cartoon accurate perfection. 9.0/10
Accessories: The love continues, with Springer packing a small armoury and has not 1, but 3 super weapons combos. His base weapons are a pair of Airslice Chopper Blades, which double as both rotors and swords, a rotating weapon hub, a Warp Blaster, and an EM Void Blast Capacitor. While the swords feel like they're more out of a graphic novel than the Sunbow Cartoon, the guns definitely feel like they're taken straight out of a 35 year old animation cel. The Warp Blaster, and EM Void Blast Capacitor can combine to form a larger rifle, tabbing the blades into the hub parallel to it, rather than sliding them inside the grooves in line with it, creates a set of spinning claws large enough to give either Wolverine or Vega a serious case of blade envy. Finally, all 5 accessories can combine together to form some very heavy artillery for either the robot or car modes, in the form of a D.E.W. Mega Missile Launcher. You can also moult the claw onto the back hardpoint and the rifle into the claw to stor everything on his back in robot mode. The accessories supplied are generous and work well together in every way possible; it's a great example of how little touches here and there really do add up to create something special. 10/10 Gimmicks: Springer's 5mm hardpoints are very well designed and transition quite well between modes with 3 exceptions, allowing for him to have the same loadout in all 3 modes. In robot mode, he has 11 hardpoints – 2 on the shoulderpads, 2 on the forearms, 2 on the shoulder blades, 1 in the middle of the back, 2 on the sides of the knees and 2 on the soles of the feet. In car mode, he loses the 2 on the soles of the feet for a total of 9 and in helecopter mode, the back hardpoint is used to house the rotor blades. The sides of the engine section also feature 2 long-slotted tabs, for over-the-shoulder, ninja-style sword storage. What really works with this is that the shoulder pad hardpoints allow weapons to be permanently mounted and correctly oriented in all 3 modes, while the forearm and knee hardpoints, simply require the mounted weapons to be rotated when changing modes. There aren't just plenty of hardpoints on this figure, but the majority of them have been implemented with a great deal of thoughtfulness.
The fireblast points, sadly aren't as flawless. There are 2 on the sides of the shoulder pads, 2 on the chest, 2 on the lower shins and two on the parts of the shins what would be where the tail lights would be in car mode. Some of this feels like it's covered all bases, but a fireblast point on the front of the shoulder pad and the sides of the forearms, really would have made this a home run in its implementation.
So very, very close. 8.5/10 Overall: Siege Springer leaves me in a quandry. Siege Prime left me feeling like a little bit more here and there and it would have been a Masterpiece figure. With Springer it's different. I look at the figure, find myself wanting a tiny bit more here and there, but at every turn, I feel like those demands are unreasonable. I look at the gaps on the back of the legs and can thing of no way to cover the back of them with how insanely engineered the legs are. The transformation is fiddly in parts, but given what this figure needed to do and did with its transformation, saying that really feels like nit-picking. Maybe the backpack could have been more solid in its combined mode in robor mode and maybe the front of the shoulders and thighs could have had a fireblast point. Maybe there could have been one or two weapon mounts. With the exception of the vehicle mode tabs on the inner shins which make me a little nervous, and my disappointment over the stopping short with battle damage on the legs, I find myself looking at the wish list and wonder if maybe I should just be grateful for the figure as it is and what we got.
That's really the charm of this figure – it's ability to push the envelope as far as it can, leave you with a short list of what ifs that keep it from an unassailable perfect score, and then make you feel ungrateful for even making the list to begin with. It even shows up upcoming Masterpiece figures while costing a fraction of the price (Blackarachnia, I'm looking at you).
This is without a doubt the best figure in the Siege line to date bar none and the best G1 accurate Springer that Hasbro has ever produced; I'd go so far as saying that it's a love letter to the character. It's not perfect, but it's so very close to it. When you can't decide between 9.5 or a perfect 10, that really does speak volumes. 10.0/10