CLOUDRAKER & FASTLANE
Series: Generation 1 Gravity is the chain that binds us all.
Often acts frustrated, can't reach escape velocity and achieve orbit. Extreme claustrophobe - feels the sky isn't big enough for him. Usually flies as high as he can. Terrified of being on the ground. In vehicle mode, uses 2 gravity-rod rifles to cause objects to float away or crash to the ground. Clone brother is Fastlane.Either your'e out of my way or out of luck.
A bit immature, sometimes acts like a thrill-seeking show-off, enjoys looking for new ways to get his kicks. Usually makes reckless driving a way of life. In vehicle mode, reaches maximum speed of 220mph; maximum speed with booster jets: 550mph (for no more than 5 seconds). Range: 350 miles. In robot mode, carries 2 sonic boom rifles; one blast can shatter foot-thick steel. Clone brother is Cloudraker.
Many thanks to fellow TF-fan BlackZarak, who loaned me Cloudraker & Fastlane for this review.
The whole deal of the 1987 Clones was that youíd have two robots that look identical in robot mode but transform into completely different alternate modes. Such is the case here, as Cloudraker and Fastlane look very much identical as robots... at least from the front and ignoring the black spoiler peeking out above Fastlaneís shoulders (to be fair: it can be removed). Once you look at them from the back, of course, the illusion is ruined, as Fastlane has rather visible black tires, while Cloudraker has wings on the backs of his legs. Still, they look very much alike and you canít tell (from the front) what they transform into, so mission accomplished as far as the gimmick goes.
Apart from that the two of them are pretty typical G1 post-1986 Transformers. Articulation is average for their time, meaning they can move their arms and nothing else. Both come with two guns (different ones, though) and two rub signs each. One rub sign is the Autobot symbol, the other is one that reveals what their alternate mode is (in case youíre too lazy to simply turn them around).
Not much more I can say here. Cloudraker and Fastlane couldnít look more like generic Season 3 Autobots if they tried, but apart from a lack of articulation (which all the figures at the time sported) there really isnít anything wrong with them, either. So bottom line, good robot modes that pull off the clone gimmick well.
As I wrote above, the deal of the clones was different alternate modes from identical looking robots. So Cloudraker transforms into a jet, Fastlane becomes a car. Letís look at Cloudraker first. Much like the Pretender robots from later, Cloudraker basically just folds up and flips out wings and a small cockpit. The result is surprisingly good-looking, though, considering the transformation is pretty much done in five seconds. Itís more of a science fiction style jet than any realistic kind, but I donít have a problem with that. Cloudrakerís guns can be attached underneath the jet to give it firepower (and also serve as a kind-of landing gear). So bottom line: a simple, but fully sufficient jet mode.
Fastlaneís transformation is even simpler than Cloudrakerís. He just flips the arms onto his chest and unfolds the wheels from his back, thatís pretty much it. The result is a mixed blessing. You can see itís supposed to be a car and it can roll across the floor, but unlike Cloudraker it canít really hide the fact that itís a robot lying on his back. The guns can attach to the sides of the car, which doesnít really look all that good, either. So bottom line, a working, but otherwise rather shabby car mode. Cloudrakerís vehicle mode is by far the better of the two.
The Autobot Clones, as well as their Decepticon counterparts Wingspan and Pounce, were among the huge horde of new toys... eh, characters introduced in the three-part G1 cartoon finale ďRebirthĒ, but didnít really do anything but stand around in the background. They had a bit more exposure in the Japanese Headmaster cartoon and scored several cameos in the IDW comics, but thatís pretty much it. So not a whole lot I can say about them as characters.
As for the toys, they are pretty cool and make the gimmick work. Not much beyond that, honestly, but they fully achieve what they set out to do and under the general limitations of their time, they are good toys. Cloudraker is better than Fastlane due to a better vehicle mode, but considering the two come as a set, itís not really a decision-factor. They are certainly not all-time classics, but if you manage to get your hands on them for a decent price, thereís nothing wrong with grabbing them.