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Transformers
"Astrotrain"

Lestor Wong, Transformer guru and proprietor of SGCollect.com, has returned with another great Transformer review.  Hey, isn't that the space shuttle?  Let's see what Lestor says...

To make things more enticing, Takara have also decided to bring to collectors the legendary "WHITE ASTROTRAIN" in this reissue. "White Astrotrain" is an affectionate term for the Japanese exclusive black and white release of Astrotrain way back in 1985. The second release of the toy saw the colors being replaced by gray and purple, which was the color scheme that was used for HASBRO's release of Astrotrain in the US then. Because of the rarity, a mint and sealed vintage "White Astrotrain" will cost a bomb to own. This reissue will help many Transformers collectors fulfill the dream of owning the figure.

As a Triple-Changer, Astrotrain has two alternate modes as well as a robot mode. He transforms into a space shuttle or a train when he takes on his role as Military Transport.




Packaging - ****
Continuing the fashion of earlier releases, we see Astrotrain housed in a typical TF/C book-style packaging. The artwork on the front of the box shows a modern anime version of the character, while the back of the box shows various contents in the box, as well as past and imminent releases. You may have notice the "20TH ANNIVERSARY" logo printed on the top left corner of the box, indicating the Transformers stepping into its second decade. The internal packaging consists the file cards of Astrotrain, POWERGLIDE and JAGUAR, as well as catalog featuring SCOURGE, CYCLONUS, OCTANE, RAMJET, THRUST, Megatron, STARSCREAM and the PREDACONS. A poster showing the reprinted #5 cover of the Dreamwave G1 Transformers comic is also included. Astrotrain is displayed in a clear window in space shuttle mode. Due to the odd shape of the product, twist-ties are used for the first time in the TF/C line to fasten the figure.

Overall, Takara have maintained their standard in attractive and functional packaging. This is how Transformers should be packaged. 

Space Shuttle Mode - **
In space shuttle mode, Astrotrain's primary colors are white and black. The color scheme is quite outstanding, as it makes the shuttle looks more realistic. His DESTRON insignias, which are purple, are found on his wings. A rubsign is found right on the roof of the shuttle. The slight glitch in appearance is found on the sides of the shuttle, which clearly outlined the "wheels" of his train mode. 

Astrotrain, despite his small size, is actually quite heavy. This is because some of the parts are made of die-cast metal. The non-metal parts are disappointing, because like the MEISTER reissue last year, the plastic parts are of inferior quality, and tend to produce a slightly reddish tint, and look extremely susceptible to yellowing. The cockpit is also plastic, which is different from the vintage version, which has a metal cockpit.

Nevertheless, he looks generally ok in this mode. Playability, however, is restricted to moving him around via the wheels underneath the shuttle. 

Train Mode - ***
Astrotrain's train mode is arguably the most attractive of his three modes. At least, to me, it is. Primarily black, Astrotrain looks more vicious in this mode. The scupt work in this mode is also the most defined, detailing his train parts excellently. Of course, the color black seems to have a spell over most Transformers collectors, so having an almost all-black vehicle mode is more or less an appealing choice. Once again though, his playability is restricted to moving him around, but his wheels are more prominent in this mode. 

Robot Mode - **
A Transformer is incomplete without his robot mode. In robot mode, Astrotrain is still primarily white and black. His chestplate show red and blue details, which actually made him look less ruthless. This is also typical of an old Transformer figure. Although he looks symmetrical, the proportions on the toy is somewhat off. This is partly due to his very small head, and shorter than usual arms. To make matters worse, the designer has chosen to give Astrotrain a gun that is too big for him. The grooves on his fists are also not well made, causing his gun to tilt to a side when he holds it. 

Astrotrain has two ball-jointed shoulders, which allow some array of poseability. But as with most older Transformers, articulation is restricted to his arms movement. Still, at least we've more movement that the up-down arm movement on many Transformers of the era. 

Overall - **
Astrotrain is not the most accomplished action figure out in the market. I won't exactly recommend this toy if you're looking for aesthetics. However, you may still derive some playability out of the figure because the main gimmick of a Transformer is that you can transform it into various modes. At the end of the day, nostalgia does play a strong role in a Transformer-buying decision. I'd suggest getting Astrotrain to relive those times when toys are simpler. 

Where to Buy:
Several online stores are taking orders for Astrotrain, including ACTION-HQ


Figures from the collection of Lestor Wong.

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