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Series: TFC Toys
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2014

Prelude: Legal stuff first as always. Gumball is not a toy released by Hasbro or Takara-Tomy and thus not officially a Transformer. He hails from third party company TFC Toys and is clearly meant to be an updated version of the G1 Protectobot Streetwise, but for legal reasons he can’t be called by that name. Don’t ask me how they came up with Gumball, though.

Robot Mode: At first glance Gumball is your basic car-Transformer, whose legs are formed from the rear half of the car and whose chest is the car’s hood. That first impression is about 50 percent correct. Gumball’s lower half is pretty much the exact same pair of legs we have seen on dozens of other car-Transformers, with te car roof with the police lights becoming his shins. He’s got red thighs and feet, very decent articulation and a solid stance, so no complaints here.

Gumball’s upper body is a tad more innovative than it first appears, though, because the actual front of the car is actually hanging off his back. He only has the windshield and a small section of the hood as a chest shield, while the rest of the car front goes into his arms and shoulders. It’s not a revolutionary new type of car-Transformer, mind you, but Gumball manages to be a bit more than just another hood-as-chest guy. He’s also got a nicely sculpted head that I like quite a lot and two big black guns that look pretty fabulous, too. The articulation in the upper body is nothing to sneeze at, either, though his high shoulders do hamper his range of motion a little bit.

So bottom line: Streetwise was always pretty much Prowl’s little cousin in terms of look and alternate mode. Given that, TFC probably made the best robot mode you could ask for. Not a revelation, but fully decent.

Alternate Mode: Naturally Gumball transforms into a police car, same as Streetwise (and Prowl). The way the car’s front is sculpted makes it look like a Mustang to me, but no actual company logo to be seen anywhere. Mostly white, it has blue trim, police lights on top, and “P.D.N.Y.” on each side, which I assume stands for “Police Department of New York”. Is the acronym NYPD trademarked? Not sure. Anyway, we find some nice detailing here such as silver rims, a silver gas tank, head- and taillights, the works. A nicely detailed and sculpted car.

Many of the G1 combiner limbs – those that transformed into cars, at least – used to come with these big double-barreled cannon attachments you could put on their vehicle modes in addition to their normal robot-mode weapons. TFC pays homage to that as well by supplying a connecting piece for Gumball’s two black rifles, which enables you to put them on his vehicle mode (incidentally leaving no easy-to-lose left-over parts lying around, always a big problem back in the G1 days). Very nicely done. So all in all a great-looking police car mode. No complaints.

Combiner Mode: Gumball forms the leg (left or right) of the Prometheus combiner. I’ll do a separate review on him once I’ve got all five component robots assembled.

Remarks: We haven’t really seen much of the Protectobots since the days of G1. Occasionally there is a helicopter repaint called Blades, but that’s pretty much it. So it’s nice to see them making a comeback now, even though it’s only in Third Party form. To me the Protectobots were potentially among the most interesting of the G1 Combiner Teams due to the different personalities of their members, but little was ever done with it in fiction. Thus Streetwise is little more than “that police-car-bot that’s not Prowl”.

Anyway, Gumball is a decent car Transformer that even manages to have a half-way innovative transformation. Sure, you’re buying him because he becomes part of Prometheus / Defensor, but still. A nice robot. Not excellent, but good.

Rating: B
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