This was a surprisingly difficult post to write.
Not because the toys aren’t awesome. They are. In fact, one of them is easily one of the best molds in Transformers history. More on that later in the post.
Not because I don’t care in the least bit about the character. As a matter of fact, I don’t. Springer played a pretty big role in the cartoon from the point he was introduced in the 1986 movie on. He was used rather prominently in the promotional material for the movie-related merchandise.
Unfortunately, despite the potential present in his original bio (“a wise-cracking, sharp witted adventurer”) Springer has lately been pigeonholed as, in the words of the TFWiki, the “archetypical action hero”.
*Yaaaawn* We have enough of those running around in the IDW universe. To tell you the truth, I didn’t notice that he never came back after Last Stand of the Wreckers. Apparently he suffers from some newly made-up affliction, the Transformers equivalent of a coma-inducing embolism? I don’t know. IDW has practically created an ever-expanding Grey’s Anatomy of how Transformers work.
No, the reason this post was difficult to write is this:
As the polar opposite of Trailbreaker, who couldn’t catch a break in toy form, Springer was the subject of much unwanted attention over the years. Unwanted because Springer is a member of the somewhat exclusive Triple Changer club.
Despite this, each of his subsequent three toys only had one alt mode, which — as you are most likely aware — is one less alt mode than is needed to actually be a Triple Changer.
Granted, as Triple Changers go, his G1 toy was not exactly a bastion of awesome. Sure, he has the requisite three modes; he has a decent robot mode, a simplistic but definitely passable futuristic helicopter mode, and then… this,
As far as I can tell (because I don’t actually own his G1 toy), that is actually a mid-step in transforming him from robot to helicopter mode, not an actual mode itself. Well, he’s certainly no Blitzwing or Astrotrain.
For Botcon 2007, Springer received his first toy update. His Timelines release was a repaint of Cybertron “Cybertron Defense Force” Hot Shot. A good choice with a great armored attack vehicle alt mode, the design of the headsculpt definitely lends itself to a Springer-esque interpretation. Unfortunately he’s missing a flight-based secondary alt mode, which meant he wasn’t the Springer for my collection.
The following year he showed up in a two-pack as a repaint of Cybertron Evac, he finally had his helicopter alt mode back, but at the cost of his ground-based alt mode. Now, helicopter alt modes might be my favourite traditional vehicle alt mode, but the colouring was far too dark of a green and the headsculpt didn’t really look like Springer to me.
By the third attempt, the “GDO” or Hasbro Asia exclusive turned Toys R Us exclusive redeco of the awesome Tomahawk mold, it was beginning to look like Springer would never rejoin the world of Triple Changers. Initially I wasn’t going to buy this one either — despite being a helicopter, painted correctly, AND having an awesome new headsculpt — but ended up getting him and Cliffjumper in a package deal to get my hands on the two I really wanted, Wheelie and Swerve.
Which is where we finally come to the part about why this post was difficult to write, or to be more precise, difficult to start.
I never opened him. He’s been sitting, along with the aforementioned Cliffjumper, in the closet for somewhere near eight months. Once the recently released triple changing Voyager class Generations Springer was announced, the GDO release became as extraneous as Cliffjumper already was.
Do I open him? Do I not? As stupid as it sounds, I was at a serious deadlock over this. I had even worked up a justification for his existence. In my version, Springer wasn’t always the massive, triple changing ‘bot he is today. He used to be a standard one alt mode Transformer. Still, contrary to my “Transformers Are Meant To Be Transformed!” policy, I decided against opening him.
Then I sat down and had a beer.
That’s when I decided that Transformers still in the packaging was for the birds (sorry MISB collectors, that was just the beer talking) and allowed him to break free of his packaging.
This guy is amazing. Of course, I kinda already knew that because of Tomahawk, but it helps that he fits my justification perfectly. He makes for a great “younger Springer”.
My only complaint would be the much darker green on his legs, I would have liked to see more of the bright green throughout instead.
The new headsculpt is very reminiscent of the original toy and has wonderful light piping owing to the fact that the entire back of his head is translucent plastic. It actually does a better job than the newer mold at harkening back to the G1 toy.
My favourite part has to be in alt mode where they homage the G1 toy’s yellow and blue sticker details.
As semi-futuristic helicopter molds go, this toy remains one of the best. Without the more recent Generations Springer release, I’m pretty sure I would have been happy making do with this guy as my collection’s Springer update. A lot of fans have already taken to doing mods to give him some semblance of a secondary wheeled alt mode. Just do a Google Image Search for “Springer GDO Minor/Repaint” to see a good deal of them.
But enough about history. This is the present.
There are a couple molds I consider perfect. Generations Jazz is one of them. This is another.
Based on Nick Roche’s designs for Springer’s IDW incarnation, I have no complaints about the source material. I may have ranted a couple times now about Mr. Roche’s poor writing skills (I believe his formula is “witty quip, death, witty quip, death, later, rinse, repeat) but I am a fan of his art, even if he does continue the annoying “teeth on Transformers” tradition.
I didn’t know what to think of his Transformer designs at first, they have a lot of heft and weight to them. After Dreamwave’s horrible ever-inflating balloon-formers I had enough of bulging ‘bots. Luckily Roche and the other IDW artists can manage to vary the size of their cast, so not all of them are overwhelmingly bulky. Even with that, sometimes the mass of the IDW’s ‘bots can still get away from the artist.
The physics of reality has put Roche’s Springer design on a diet. To render him into a workable toy form, he’s slimmed down considerably while still retaining all the details of the source design. He’s also one of the very few toys with drawn box art that can successfully mimic the artwork.
Like I said, a perfect Transformer with a remarkable amount of articulations points. He wouldn’t be a perfect Springer without a sword made from his helicopter alt mode’s rotor.
Click here for an alternate shot with the sword (the guy is just so photogenic, I couldn’t decide which sword pose I liked better!)
Speaking of alt modes, to be a perfect Transformer toy, your perfect robot mode has to seamlessly fold into a perfect alt mode. He succeeds at this twice. His helicopter mode is freaking awesome with almost no indication of there being another alt mode.
His gun can be carried under his cockpit for an assault chopper.
Then he switches it up to armoured car mode, hiding all signs of helicopter mode and even changing the shape of his windshield between the two.
The handle of his gun is on a pivot, the added articulation helps a lot when posing him but also allows a range of motion for the gun when it is mounted on top of his car mode.
Just spectacular, everyone needs this guy in their collection. Hopefully he will start to be more widely available in the coming months. I actually lucked out on a recent out-of-town trip where I found Prime Hun-Grrr at a Meijer’s and then found both Springer and Blitzwing at a WalMart in Battle Creek, Michigan.
This makes three Springers in my collection, though Kre-O Springer has his issues. Mostly it’s the fact that despite have great painted detail on his chest piece, the instructions then have you cover it up with the piece that holds his rotor on.
Not only does it cover up the chest details, but the fact that he carries swords in robot mode that are traditionally formed from those rotors makes them somehow incongruous, something he shares with the GDO release. Granted, his alt mode is about as good as one expects from the Kre-O Microchanger series.
That’s the joy of Kre-O, you can make them look however you want, so those parts go into the extra parts bag.