Almost 27 years after that fateful trip to the Best Department store, I finally got that damn Springer Transformer I wanted.
There, that’s the truncated version if you’re just looking for a conclusion. But if you’re even half as excited as I am, you might be able to entertain a little more information on how we got here, and just how damn good this particular figure really is.
The first thing that any current fan of IDW’s Transformers books is going to recognize is that this Generations Springer is not just a 30th Anniversary edition, it really should be called the “Awesome Nick Roche Edition.” Obviously, Nick shares my passion for this character, as only crazy people of Irish descent can. This look debuted in Last Stand of the Wreckers, a fantastic series done by Nick and the equally impressive James Roberts, where Springer gets a world of hurtin’ put on him, as only those who truly love can do.
So, right there, I’m already done. One of my favorite Transformers, in the style of one of my favorite artists, from one of my favorite comics — not just Transformer comics, but comics period. And that’s without the box open.
Once you bust him out, though, then the real fun begins. Springer nimbly avoided the fate of other recent Voyager-class figures; he is neither small nor hollow as many of them ended up. He has a solid, athletic-looking build that feels G1 in the barrel chest and big shoulders, but feels more modern with a streamlined torso and legs. His size and scale are dead-on to what I was hoping for to fit with my Masterpiece-centered collection.
Springer also gets the goods in articulation. He has great ball-joint shoulders that not only support the weight of his holding weapons, but allow such full motion that he can draw his sword from his back. And to help sell those sword poses, he has arm and wrist swivels, and even a little wrist pivoting. If the handle were a bit longer, he could achieve a dual-grip easily. The head is ball-jointed, with a fair amount of up/down give, as well as full range on his hips, with thigh swivels and even a waist joint. He doesn’t have a great deal of ankle articulation, but the transformation allows for some pivoting, and his spoiler/tail fins work great for stabilizing. Seriously, this guy is solid enough in ‘bot mode alone, that everything else is already gravy.
His color work is also solid, even using the dreaded yellow plastic. He has some nice silver details worked in as well. I have to say, though, a mold this good might warrant a Takara-version purchase, especially if they give him some gold or chrome. Still, for a Hasbro paint job this definitely works.
The accessories live up to the rest of the figure well. His sword nicely transforms into his rotor-blades, just like the original’s, and his double-barreled blaster can be deployed (or stowed) in all modes.
All three modes, that is. Springer got his triple-change back!
Transformation into his alt-modes feels intuitive. I know that phrase comes up a lot, but if we use it as defined, what you end up with are parts that become other parts in ways that seem natural and make sense. You don’t have to turn him into a pretzel, or stick his head up his ass just to get a car mode. Not that this is a mere car mode, mind you — I’ve heard it described as anything from the Tumbler to Death Race, and I think they all somewhat apply. Not only does it look cool and imposing, it’s got good heft and size to it, looking decently scaled with MP Sideswipe here.
The helo mode was yet another pleasant surprise. It was pretty clear the ground mode was going to be good going in, but I wasn’t expecting to like this mode as much as I do. While it has some futuristic influences going on, it reminds me more of some the Light Attack Helo concepts that the US Army ran back in the ’60s. Springer reminds me somewhat of a Sioux Scout, especially with the blaster slung under the nose. And here, again, the idea of him being a lightweight and likely single-seat scout ‘copter satisfies me both in character and even in scale to some extent. A hell of a lot better than a deluxe-class Attack Tiger does, anyway.
I only have a few regrets where this figure is concerned, and none of them have much to do with Springer himself… One of which has to be that I’m a little bummed that I don’t have Hexatron yet to have him spar with. Overlord might be the reason we haven’t seen him in the books lately, but where the toys are concerned, the sword-wielding Phase Sixer would make a great foil for him while playing wi– I mean, taking pictures. On a similar note, I realize I need more and better Wreckers, especially Nick Roche ones. I want a rickety-old Kup figure to go with this guy, and I don’t think the little Generations one is going to cut it anymore.
But those are modern big kid concerns. All said and done, I got what I’ve been after since the beginning, and it didn’t cost a small fortune to get him — he is a sturdy, direct sales, decently priced, licensed rendition of the classic movie character. As soon as I steal me a time machine (you know I ain’t gonna invent one), the second stop after I clock Hitler or something will be depositing one of these to be picked up by 1987 me.
Either that, or kicking 1987 me’s ass for taking home Wreck-Gar.