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

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Hasbro G1 Turbomaster Hurricane

The Turbomasters are an absolute wonder of late European (and Japanese) Generation 1 Transformers. Some refer to these particular Autobots and other toys of the same era as G1.5, as they are so close to the Generation 2 era toys, but they are still absolutely G1 toys, from 1992. They are also some of the best G1 toys in existence because they have the core essence of what makes G1 special evident throughout their makeup. 

Beatties price stickers <3

Of the six G1 Turbomasters - Thunder Clash, Rotorstorm, Flash, Boss, Scorch and Hurricane - the latter is rarely cited as anyone's favourite, but he's a beauty when 'done right'. And what do I mean by 'done right'? Well this is all part of my quest to showcase vintage G1 Transformers, especially under-appreciated ones, as the designers intended them to be appreciated. This includes getting damage and wear-free specimens and making sure their factory and applied stickers are 100% correctly placed and in fantastic new condition. 

"Vortex". Apparently.

It is amazing how a G1 toy can shine when everything is in the right place and without damage. Even the tactile experience of perfect joints and tolerances can add to the overall charm and appeal, allowing one to recognise why often-underappreciated toys were in the hands of those making decisions pre-release and got a vigorous "yes!". This quest also involves the use of 100% authentic materials, so no repro stickers etc, and no yellowing. This is especially difficult with such a white figure. Hurricane - or his Italian GiG cousin "Vortex" - had to be purchased sealed for this purpose, and stands as only the second G1 toy I've ever opened for article and project purposes. Incidentally, just like the Darkwing before him, this GiG "Vortex" Turbomaster Hurricane was also a gift - an add-on to the purchase of the 4 sealed Turbomasters.

You can see the Hasbro multilingual Turbomaster packaging on the left has a sort of grey base for the toy to sit on within the sealed bubble, whereas the GiG figure on the right is a standard setup of toy sitting on paperwork inside the bubble. Hurricane's artwork is gloriously dynamic and rather unrepresentative of what the toy can actually do. It does have that gorgeous late G1 style to the art, though, even if the rest of the packaging has moved on so much from the original grid and starburst pattern of 80s Transformers packaging.

Pic courtesy of TFSource

In Japan, as part of the Operation Combination designation of TF-XX in 1992, the Turbomaster cars were packaged with Predator Jets in lovely Vs packs. Hurricane was renamed "Checker Road/ Check Road" and packaged as TF-08 alongside "Moon Jet", AKA Predator Talon.

Slicing the bubble along the bottom, albeit quite a way up the sides as well, Hurricane and his paperwork/accessory baggie are easily removed, and the bubble stays very much attached and can be used to slide the toy back in for carded display again. It felt like a very invasive process compared to a clean bubble removal, or cutting a flap in the back of the card, but I do really like the result.

Hurricane is a sports car, based apparently on the Porsche 917 Le Mans legend, knowledge that would aid me a little later in this adventure. The front end of Hurricane is painted a quite brilliant white. A white that the plastic moulded back half never quite matches and often gives the impression of discolouration. I really do not believe this specimen is discoloured at all, but it is possible that the Japanese Checker Road is just that bit more brilliant white at the back - or at least that's how pictures seem to portray him.

Hurricane also has a massive missile launcher for the three uniform Turbomaster missiles he comes packaged with. Like Rotorstorm, his launcher is absolutely lethal and needs to be treated with respect. Where once missile launchers were neutered in Europe - and replaced with massive rubber bopper missiles in Italy - it's back to lethal weapons-grade projectiles again for these bad boys.

Other than yellowing, the absolute key reason I have not been able to find a mint loose Hurricane is sticker wear and application. His stickers are absolutely tiny and impossibly slender in some cases, totally prone to misapplication, damage or just plain omission. He's not alone in this, as I have never seen a loose perfectly stickered Boss either. 

Pic courtesy of Jose F. Raices

The sticker application map on carded Transformers is never good, and is usually just printed on the back of the card. Hurricane is no exception, and even the above Japanese Takara version of him that actually comes with an instruction sheet uses the same application map. Stickers 11 and 12 are just ambiguously identified as going on the back of the car somewhere, and the stripes that run along the sides of the car are slightly misrepresented - not helped by the sticker sheet having some extra removable segments of green stripe not needed for final design. Sticker 7 above for the launcher is where my problems began.

If you look further up, the box artwork for Hurricane shows that sticker in roughly the same place as the sticker application map; a little way behind where the rim of the launcher ends and the main shaft begins. But when I looked at the raised rectangular section on the launcher that seems ideal for a sticker, it was too thin to accommodate the sticker, so the edges of it would have to kinda fold over onto the surrounding surface. That can't be right, I thought?

Now, if you place that sticker BETWEEN the slightly raised rectangular section and the white rim of the launcher, it fits absolutely perfectly within that space! Also, if you take a look at the stock photography on the above Takara packaging, that's where that Checker Road has the sticker on the launcher too! I think this might just be a case of things getting communicated badly from design to production, and there are no stock photos of Hurricane on the Hasbro/GiG cards, just the same line-art diagrams you see in the instructions.

The next issue for me was how to position stickers 11 and 12, the taillight strips. OK most cars normally have the indicator (orange) on the outside and the brake light (red) on the inside, but I wanted to be absolutely sure I'd gotten it right as the designers of Hurricane intended. The application map, as you can see above, does not give anything remotely resembling accurate positioning or orientation advice for these labels.

Cue a short trip to TFWiki and the tidbit of information saying that Hurricane is based on the legendary Porsche 917 Le Mans racer. Just like Hurricane, this 917 has the rear lights in a short strip on either side of the exhausts, and other similar design elements, so I believed it! I didn't know where to source images without stealing them...and then I remembered that I had my own pictures of the glorious 917 from a trip to the Chelsea Auto Legends show in 2010! 

Ta-da! I know it's not exactly a shattering discovery that taillight stickers will go over moulded taillights despite a lack of exact placement info in the instructions, or that indicator lights will sit on the outside compared to brake lights, but I just wanted to be 100% sure. I felt I had enough reference material to sticker Hurricane up as required at the rear, and the result is super nice.

What about the rest?

Well. How bloody good does this figure look with his stickers properly applied and aligned? The green stripes on the sides, even the zigzags, were not too bad to apply, they just needed a steady hand. It's a bit tricky with the central stripe sticker as it touches the metal pin, and can therefore get worn or displaced by moving the toy's arm that pivots around that pin. I made sure it was as far down as it could go on that section, which has resulted in a tiny amount of misalignment with the zigzag, but I'd rather that than instant wear!

Those. Hot. Pink. Synthwave. Headlights. And. Windscreen.

Hurricane is neon, Hurricane is Le Mans. This is a dream combination. You can attach those Turbomaster missiles to the rear fins or just leave them off. I love how that honking great launcher aperture at the back is reminiscent of the turbine position on the real Porsche 917. G1 stickers are an absolutely essential part of the look of these toys, and when in perfect condition, they are an outstanding visual addition.

A tremendously simple yet satisfying transformation later and you have a slightly awkward looking Hurricane in robot mode. When the stickers are trashed and the bottom half is yellowed, there's really not a lot to redeem the figure. Well, unless you count the astounding quantity of translucent hot pink on show, of which we have even more now with his MASSIVE eyes!

Just look at that disapproving scowl! By the way, those tiny green thigh stickers and that impossibly thin yellow helmet stripe were supremely nerve-wracking to apply. So much precision required to place a small sticker on such a limited and defined space. I really took my time, but the result has been totally worth it. He doesn't just look like a child's toy, he looks like a proper display piece and the realisation of the designer's dream.

While the light piping on Hurricane does not work anywhere nearly as well as on Rotorstorm - which is a shame as it would have positively lit up half his face - each and every sticker off the sheet has a positive influence on the overall look. I like that the shoulders are adjustable so it can be made to feel less like G1 Kup, with his arms coming out the side of his chest.

Going through a journey like this with a figure, researching and then painstakingly applying stickers for such a marvellous result, absolutely cements Hurricane's place in my heart. Racing heritage, a delightfully fresh specimen and elements of design that resonate with me deeply make this regularly underrated figure a hero. I love being able to do some justice to a designer's vision by photographing a figure as it was meant to look on removal from packaging the day of purchase. As much as today's toys being painted or moulded with all the detailing they'll ever need allows us to focus on the toy itself, the journey to final intended look with these G1 figures is as much a part of the joy as the figure itself. If this is considered the weakest of the Turbomaster cars, what an experience the next few days and weeks will be.

All the best


  1. Maz if you ever stop posting I might have to cry myself to sleep for the rest of my days. In all seriousness, your articles really are some of my favorite pieces of media regarding our specific community. This blog is an amazing place for us who love transformers toy history to come and learn new things, whatever those things may be. Maybe it's a random little known variant of a popular G1 figure, or maybe it's just your thoughts about any Transformer accompanied by beautiful photography. Whatever the case, you provide an amazing place for the community to come and learn about our hobby. For everything you've done for the collecting community, thank you. Sincerely, a 19 year old G1 enthusiast who experienced the series as a toddler on VHS.

    1. Oh wow, I'm absolutely blown away by your praise, thank you so much! You are so absolutely welcome, it's a tremendous privilege to be able to write about, own and photograph these things, let alone share them and get feedback. I hope I don't ever have to stop :)

      All the best