Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Sunday, 7 September 2014

DOTM Human Alliance Roadbuster

The Movie Human Alliance cars have been the absolute highlight of Hasbro and Takara Tomy's feature film robot offerings with items like Jazz, Barricade and Bumblebee rightfully considered to be Masterpiece quality toys. They are representative of everything that is right/wrong with the movies, depending on your persuasion. I enjoyed the movies, and the HA toys are some of my most treasured possessions. I thought - mistakenly - that the quality ended with Jazz, but since then I have discovered Human Alliance Skids and now Roadbuster. Roadbuster is one of the Wreckers introduced in Dark Of The Moon, based on Dale Earnhardt Jr's #88 Hendrick Motorsport Chevy Impala NASCAR sponsored by the National Guard. Leadfoot and Topspin were similarly weaponised official NASCAR vehicles, but only Leadfoot got a release alongside Roadbuster. Dino and AOE Lockdown never really stood a chance of being given the Human Alliance treatment. Why do the best things in the TF universe have such tragic omissions?

If I write a dedicated post for a toy immediately after featuring it in a New Arrivals post, you can pretty much guarantee that I am extremely taken by it. Human Alliance Roadbuster is proof of this, I love it. Truly. It's like discovering another album by your favourite artist from a few years back that turns out to be as good as the classics...but in a different way. While Roadbuster is real-life vehicle accurate in terms of the base NASCAR, it cannot assume the un-weaponised race car shape, only the armed-to-the-teeth attack form of the car. HA Leadfoot is the opposite, in vehicle mode that toy is 100% real life racing accurate as Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Ganassi NASCAR with no weaponisation. Having had this in hand for a couple of days, I massively prefer the weaponised Wrecker vehicle mode on Roadbuster.

Like every good Human Alliance toy, if you don't study the instructions religiously, every time you pick it up in the first few days you will discover something new. Panels that can be moved, weapons hidden away in plain sight and bits that can be further adjusted or custom-posed to suit you and the busy Bay-verse aesthetic. In vehicle mode, I didn't initially realise that Roadbuster's launcher could be mounted at the back or that the headlights flip around to reveal little guns. I still haven't figured out where best to store the chainsaw in vehicle mode *EDIT* Google has helped me find box back images of the toy and I have now stored it underneath the driver-side seat. The Roadbuster car is also along the same lines as the other HA toys of the past, you pick it up and hold it and all is right with the world. At no point would you take this figure and wonder why you spent the money you did on it, especially if you got it for $12 as I did. In the picture above you can see the Human component of the package, a non-descript race car driver with a white helmet and green racing overalls, named "Sergeant Recon".

Initially, I didn't like the transformation. It felt like someone new trying incredibly hard to make a simpler and less-refined mould as sophisticated and intricate as the Human Alliance toys that had gone before, and that was a very unfair assessment I have come to realise. Once I unlocked the technique for easy and repeatable transformation, Roadbuster is great fun. Really good as a vehicle and quite beefy as a robot. Talk about a unique look and silhouette. I love that chainsaw on his arm and the launcher is cool as well, but those flame-moulded missiles really are atrocious and I would love to see the back of them.

My daughter actually thought this was another Lockdown, and I can completely see why she'd think that with all the weapons and mish-mash look of the thing. It's more Lockdown than any of the AOE toys have been thus far, that's for sure. Posability exists and he does look good posed dynamically, but there's no waist articulation, no up/down movement in the robot head and no real ankle articulation so the very best poses I like to put these kinds of bots in are out of reach. He is also not as stable as the other HA figures despite those huge feet. The eyeband gimmick is quite nice and very HA, lift the cap and use the tab behind his head to bring down the clear blue visor.

An all-important deciding factor of success when it comes to HA figures is screen accuracy, and I think Roadbuster does a great job, especially upper body. I desperately hate that foggy bland grey plastic that Transformers have been sporting for a number of years now in favour of well finished metallic colours or regular paint application, but Roadbuster's head sculpt, shoulders and chest are spot on. No HA is perfect and the gappy midsection on the toy is probably the worst offender on HA Roadbuster but the chunky shins and feet really help fill out the overall appearance. It also helps that every time I see the thing I want to pick it up and pose, weaponise, transform and generally play with it. Also he has an Scottish accent. And he says "Wanker".

Movie fan? Human Alliance fan? Roadbuster is essential.

All the best

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