The greatest opportunities are born from adversity.
w/ Starcatcher, Astro-Hook, Astro-Line & Astro-Sinker
Series: Official Transformers Collectors Club Exclusive
Constructed to serve as a transport for Megatron and his warriors, Astrotrain became discontent ferrying unappreciative Decepticons across the galaxy. In the chaos that followed the Unicron Battles, Astrotrain struck out on his own as a bounty hunter. Astrotrain convinced the Mini-Con Starcatcher to join him by promising him wealth and riches. The same promise was made to a trio of Mini-Cons who joined him later: Astro-Hook, Astro-Line, and Astro-Sinker. Astrotrain is cruel, but he is also extremely loyal to those under his command. He has an innate ability to inspire loyalty in others. His years of successful commissions have afforded him significant wealth, allowing him to upgrade his systems, greatly enhancing his strength. However, he has never given up his primary weapon, an ionic blaster that disrupts an enemy's internal circuitry.
Astrotrain is a repaint with a new head of Armada Jetfire
. It's been ages since I reviewed that figure, though, and Astrotrain is special enough to warrant his own, full review.
As successor to the original Astrotrain
this new version of the classic character certainly looks the part, despite being a "mere" repaint of another character. Armada Jetfire was a pretty great figure and this repaint has certainly lost none of that, but rather improved on it tremendously. Astrotrain was gifted a completely new head sculpt that greatly resembles that of the original animated character and fits perfectly on this body.
Apart from the excellent new head Astrotrain also sports a truly excellent paint job. He carries his traditional animated colors purple and grey with some yellow and white highlights. I especially like the fact that he has blood-red eyes and the white patterns on his wings also look very good. I think it was Walky
who said something along the lines of "Astrotrain's paint job owns my immortal soul!" I wouldn't go quite so far, but Astrotrain's paint job is really, really great-looking.
New head and new paint job aside Astrotrain retains the great characteristics of Armada Jetfire. His posability is quite good, only slightly restricted by the panels at the sides of his chest, but those can fold in. He carries a weapon that looks wonderfully like a prop from a 50s Science-Fiction B-picture and a grey shield that can apply to either arm. His feet are formed from the engines of his space shuttle mode and just look great.
I could go and on, but I think you get the point. Astrotrain has a truly excellent robot mode. No complaints at all.
This new version of Astrotrain is not a triple changer, he only has one alternate mode. But I think more people think of Astrotrain as a space shuttle rather than a train, so that's okay. Just like Jetfire did, Astrotrain transforms into a not terribly accurate looking space shuttle. And remember that wicked new paint job Astrotrain got? Well, it looks even better in vehicle mode. The patterned wings really look great here, there is a huge Decepticon logo on his cargo bay doors, and everything just fits together incredibly well.
Of course there isn't a whole lot you can do here, but that's the case with most alternate modes. Astrotrain offers docking pins for three of his Minicons, while the fourth (Starcatcher) becomes his front landing gear in this mode. The shield from the robot mode becomes the rear landing gear. That's pretty much Astrotrain's only weakness: Lose the Minicon and/or the shield, then no more landing gear. Apart from that, though, an incredibly cool-looking and very neat vehicle mode.
Being a repaint of Jetfire, Astrotrain can, of course, powerlink with Armada Optimus Prime
or Powerlinx Optimus Prime
. I chose Powerlinx Prime for the pictures, seeing as his paint job is a much closer match to that of Astrotrain. Combined the two look fabulous. Astro-Prime isn't exactly a posable robot (his lower body can do little more than spread his legs a little), but he's big and tough-looking. The only downside here is that Astrotrain's shield isn't really meant to be a chest plate for a combiner, as it looks a bit plain here. Apart from that, though, pretty cool.
Astrotrain comes with no less than four Minicons. The first one is Starcatcher, a repaint of Jetfire's Minicon partner Cometor. Starcatcher transforms from a wheeled robot into a kind of moon buggy and has a third mode (sort of) where he functions as Astrotrain's landing gear. Maybe it's because he's based on the most dated of the Minicons assembled here, but Starcatcher is the most boring of this foursome in my opinion.
The other three Minicons are a repaint of the Cybertron series Giant Planet Minicon Team and they're named Astro-Hook, Astro-Line and Astro-Sinker. Astro-Hook transforms into a yellow construction vehicle with two crane arms on top. Not only does he look pretty good in both modes, he also has one of the more unusual transformations I've seen in this size class, as the sides of the vehicle mode actually fold together to form his torso with the wheels in the middle. Nicely done.
Astro-Line is a fighter jet with giant missiles under his wings. He actually somewhat resembles Cybertron Sky Shadow
in both vehicle and robot mode, where the wings form his shoulders. Astro-Line looks somewhat more humanoid when you remove the missiles from his arms, but leaving them in gives him a pretty bad-ass look. Not the best of Astrotrain's Minicons, but nice.
Finally there is Astro-Sinker, a black submarine. There aren't all that many submarines in Transformers history, so he gets props for an unusual alt mode. He also looks pretty good in both modes, has very decent posability, and the Minicon connection port on his chest makes it look like he has a big gun there. Looking good. The vehicle mode is, of course, little more than a black cylinder, but features decent sculpting for a toy this size. Astro-Sinker is my favorite among this foursome.
Astrotrain is, of course, a homage to the original G1 figure of that name, even though his story places him in the Unicron Trilogy universe. His only appearance to date is one of the text stories available to members of the Official Transformers Collectors Club, "The Dark Heart of Sandokan". He's portrayed as a very succesful bounty hunter, who works independent of the Decepticons. Three of his Minicon partners are named after the Marvel Comic characters Hook, Line, and Sinker, heralds of Unicron who never got a toy of their own (and don't really resemble these Minicons in any way, shape or form).
Astrotrain was available exclusively to members of the Official Transformers Collectors Club. I bought him much later when he was on clearance at Big Bad Toy Store. He still wasn't exactly cheap, but well worth it. What you have here is an already very good figure, transformed into a homage to a great character by way of an excellent new head and a kick-ass paint job. I didn't really think I'd like Astrotrain as much as I do, but I do. If you can get one, do so! He's worth it.