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Series: Generations Thrilling 30
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Voyager Triple Changer
Year: 2013

Sandstorm lives for action. His only real fear is a fear of boredom. As a result he takes unnecessary risks, both in combat and out - risks that can sometimes threaten the success of his mission. He lives fast, loud, and dangerously - traits that make him fun to hang out with most of the time. But his fellow Autobots are getting a little sick of his habit of giving away his position to the Decepticons just so he has the opportunity to enjoy a fight.

Prelude: Big thanks to my buddy Caked-Up who got Sandstorm for me.

Robot Mode: Okay, first off: Sandstorm is a so-called retool – meaning a repaint with quite a few structural chances – of Generations Springer. Not that you’d notice when standing the figures side by side. Okay, the chest, forearms, and legs are close to identical (except for the colours, naturally), but Sandstorm has a completely new backpack that changes his silhouette completely. He has those large wheels / VTOL thrusters sticking out on either side of him (or sticking out back, if you prefer), a big orange plate standing up behind his head (you can fold that down, if you want, though), and a different gun to boot. Combined with the new colours and new head mold (far more G1 cartoon accurate than that of the G1 toy, actually), you’d be hard pressed to realize they’re the same figure on first glance.

Sandstorm offers quite a bit of choice on how you want to configure him. You can have that big orange plate stick up behind his head or not. You can fold the VTOL turbines back or leave them on the sides, plus they can rotate, too. In terms of articulation Sandstorm is just as good as Springer and offers little to complain about. The only thing slightly worthy of critique are his relatively tiny feet. They tab in a little better than Springer’s, but they’re still pretty tiny compared to the figure and thus he has a bit of a balancing issue in some poses. Overall, though, nothing to complain about.

Sandstorm has a different weapon than Springer, and that’s pretty much the one thing I don’t like about him. It’s strangely shaped, hollow when looking at its underside, and has a squeeze trigger (which isn’t a bad thing, mind you, but not something I expect in a Voyager-class figure). It’s not a bad weapon per se, but it could be better.

Finally Sandstorm has a bit of an intermediate mode where he folds down the big wheels on his back and stretches his legs out front, giving him a sort-of wheelchair mode. Haven’t seen something like this since Animated Bulkhead’s famous chair mode. Nicely done. So overall, a pretty great robot mode with only very, very minor grounds for complaint.

Alternate Modes: As a triple changer Sandstorm has two alternate modes. The first is called a dune buggy, though it looks more like a Nascar race car with really, really big rear wheels. The car is mostly identical to Springer’s car mode, the differences are – of course – the big rear tires and that the tail end of his flight mode flips over the car roof forming shutters for the side windows. The gun can go on top. I’m not a hundred percent down with this mode, as the big rear tires look somewhat out of place, but overall it’s a very nice modification of the car mode Springer came with.

The bigger difference is the flight mode. Both Springer and the original G1 Sandstorm became helicopters, so it would have been easy for Hasbro to just give Sandstorm here Springer’s helicopter mode and be done with it. Instead they modified him into a VTOL (vertical take off and landing) craft. Instead of a rotor on top he has two big turbines on the sides. As a result the VTOL looks very different from Springer’s helicopter and I like it very much. This is what I’d imagine a Cybertronian mode for Sandstorm to look like. He can either unfold a landing gear up front or mount his gun underneath the cockpit. Either way, a very cool looking flight mode. Nicely done.

Remarks: Sandstorm is one of those characters whose portrayal varied wildly between the cartoon (pacifist leader of his own planet), the comics (background member of the Wreckers), and his tech spec profile (thrill-seeking loose cannon). Personally I’m partial to his cartoon portrayal, as he was the main character in one of season 3’s most adult episodes, “Fight or Flee”. It was basically a story hammering home the age-old wisdom that the best can’t live in peace if their evil neighbours won’t let them and that there is a difference between being a pacifist and being a push-over. Thus I always liked Sandstorm and I’m glad to see a new toy of him.

For all that he is “just” a retool, Sandstorm is a great figure that goes the extra mile. Hasbro could have just left him with the car and helicopter alternate modes Springer had (the first promo pictures actually did depict him as a mere repaint with a new head), but instead gave him that little something extra with those big wheels / VTOL turbines. Which is why I have absolutely no problem recommending this figure here to pretty much everyone, even if you already own Springer. The figures are different enough that it’s worth getting both of them. Two thumbs up.

Rating: A
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