Thursday, January 12, 2012

Transformers Dark of the Moon: Sandstorm

Presenting the Autobot Sandstorm and Private Dedcliff from the Transformers Dark of the Moon toyline. At first glance, DOTM Sandstorm doesn't appear to be much - a potboiler figure meant to drain your pockets and a lot of people probably ignored him.

Personally I was also leaning towards ignoring this Scout Class DOTM figure had I not known the history behind the name "Sandstorm." In Transformers lore, Sandstorm (in the Marvel Comics continuity of the Transformers) is a Wrecker - one particularly nasty Wrecker who actually beat the crap out of Optimus Prime himself. He was again listed as a Wrecker in the Dreamwave and IDW comic continuities so I had to get him to help boost my fledgling Wreckers collection alongside other Scout class Wreckers like the Autobot Whirl.

As with his cartoon/comic versions, DOTM Sandstorm is a triple-changer - in the cartoons and the comic books he could transform into a dune-buggy, robot and helicopter - something which makes him akin to the Autobot Springer I suppose. More or less he maintained this... "trademark" through the years, though in 2010, the Autobot Beachcomer - who could transform into a sand buggy was released and a re-painted version was released named Sandstorm which did not have a third form - The helicopter mode was gone. Unfortunately, DOTM Sandstorm does not transform into a helicopter either. Instead he transforms into a mobile weapons chair - yes I said chair.

DOTM Sandstorm's blister pack reads: "Sandstorm was designed to spend long periods of time in the most harsh and forbidding environments imaginable. Earth has nothing to throw at him that he can't laugh off with a smile. Sandstorm requires his partner Private Dedcliff be just as tough. Together they work to hunt Decepticons where no one else can, or would want to, go. Even in the most remote areas of the planet there's no place to hide from this team." 

What's to like about DOTM Sandstorm?

His color! Not. DOTM Sandstorm comes in this pale green color, that I do not find aesthetically pleasing. Bring on the good-old Olive Drab is what I say!. Anyway, DOTM Sandstorm has articulation going for him. No, like most Transformers, DOTM Sandstorm cannot twist his waist, however his hips are ball-jointed so he can have the appearance of a twisted torso - even if it technically isn't!

His joints and center of balance are also good enough to allow DOTM Sandstorm to kneel and even stand on one leg if you need him to as can be seen below. There is even room enough up top for his human companion - Private Dedcliff to hitch a ride. While in robot mode, DOTM Sandstorm's primary weapon is an energy rifle - he has what later becomes gun-ports when he reaches his third mode under his wrists, but these are out of position to fire anything having been thrown askew by the emergence of his hands.

DOTM Sandstorm transforms into a dune-buggy - which could be armed should you clip on the energy rifle. Here you get to see just how solid and heavy his wheels feel. It almost screams run me over the sand to see how tough it is- save that his body is really low and you'd probably end up scraping it. Sgt. Dedcliff fits comfortably inside. Seating him inside is made easier by the fact that you don't need to bring down the roll-bar unless you absolutely have to. 

DOTM Sandstorm's final mode is a gun platform (chair) which involves a mechtech transformation whereby these missile tube come slightly out of what was once his torso. I have to admit though that the gun-platform looks slightly awkward - missiles fly out from under where Private Deadcliff is seated and the secondary weapon - two-three barrel auto-guns are kinda low. No way is this a front line combatant as the pilot is exposed and the firepower is not that impressive - even with the clipped on energy rifle. So I thought that he's probably an anti-aircraft station, but if that were true, then it's too low and lacks the proper elevation. So, in a battle, I'm not quite sure where I would want him hanging around. 

Note the two "joysticks" that Private Dedcliff wields while they're in this mode. Note also that there are two proposed modes for this transformation, you can either lower the back two wheels or keep them up. Personally I prefer them down - it gives DOTM Sandstorm the appearance that it can rotate in a circle like a proper gun-platform should. 

What's NOT to like about DOTM Sandstorm?

Aside from not knowing really what kind of gun-platform he is - which was a bit of a disappointment, not much. I do have issues which Private Dedcliff. At first I thought that I just got a bad piece, but subsequent views on the internet have revealed that it really looks like he'd been shot in the face - maybe it's because he's sitting in a gun-platform with no cover whatsoever.

Further, I have issues with how un-sleek and bulky DOTM Sandstorm's sand-buggy mode looks like from the side.

It doesn't give the dune buggy mode the image of a rough and tumble dessert ride, no, it gives it the appearance of something cobbled out ill-fitting spare parts that could fall apart upon hitting a speed bump.

Still he's a fine addition to any Wrecker crew collection.

I got DOTM Sandstorm from Toys R'Us at a discount retail price of PhP 450 (Roughly US$10). He's available on Amazon for US$ 11.99 plus shipping.

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