Transformers Classics: Astrotrain by Hasbro

Astrotrain is surely no stranger to fans of the G1 cartoon. He became a pretty major character in the series, and was prominantly featured in The Movie. Besides being one of the popular Triplechanger sub-group, he often served as a shuttle to his Decepticon comrades, ferrying them to different planets, or hauling Energon cubes. I loved his character, and he was front and center in one of my all time favorite episodes, Triple Takeover. So how did he fare as a Classics figure? Let’s see…

So, let’s start off with Astrotrain’s shuttle mode, since this is the mode he came packaged in. Yeah, what was Hasbro thinking, eh? Maybe they were shooting for a color scheme closer to the actual space shuttles, but it was a bad move to deviate so far from the original character’s grey and purple deco. There’s some purple there, on the wings and engines, but not enough to carry the day. I’m also not a fan of Hasbro’s use of unpainted white plastic on these figures. I mentioned it with Prowl, and here we are again. I’m way too paranoid this figure is going to yellow over time. Still, the black and gold look kind of nice and the red stripes on the engines are cool. Astrotrain doesn’t have any Decepticon insignia, but he does have a rubsign planted on the shuttle’s back. Apart from that, I really like the sculpt used here. The train parts aren’t terribly obvious and there’s a nice amount of detail. For a Triplechanger, this is a really solid alt form.

Astrotrain’s locomotive mode is obviously the secondary alt form as it isn’t as polished as the shuttle mode. Unfortunately, it’s also the second faux pas that Hasbro made with this figure. Instead of recreating the original’s old steam engine mode, Hasbro made him a modern bullet train mode. I agree, that this helps the shuttle mode along a lot, but I just can’t identify this form with the G1 character this toy is supposed to be based on. Besides, which, I just find the bullet trains to be boring. It’s just a tube with a nosecone. Apart from that, it’s ok. The shuttle thrusters remaining on the back is a pretty obvious piece of kibble, but it’s cool that you can mount his cannon on the back. [I would have shown that if I had it handy, but alas, Astrotrain’s gun is at the bottom of some other tote. -FF] Overall, this mode just doesn’t do much for me. I really miss the steam engine.

Astrotrain’s robot mode is pretty much on par with his shuttle mode: Great sculpt and design, poor color. Not to beat a dead horse, but this white deco just doesn’t say Astrotrain to me, but he is at least showing more purple than in his shuttle mode, but where’s the grey? Everything else about the figure is spot on. The headsculpt is extremely reminiscent of the G1 animated character and the paint apps on the face are excellent. The shoulder armor can be positioned straight out, or up on an angle, which is the way I like it. The two halves of the train nose shift to the side to reveal his hands, which is a cool idea, but they don’t lock and tend to shift back easily. If you have his gun in one hand, that will keep that arm right.

The articulation is quite good. Astrotrain has a ball jointed neck, his arms have ball jointed shoulders and elbows. His legs have universal movement in the hips and knees with hinges and swivels.

Even with his various flubs, I still really enjoy this figure. That having been said, Astrotrain is one of those figures that you may want to go Japanese with if you don’t yet have him. Buying the Henkei version won’t fix the fact that his train mode is still a modern one and not a steam engine, but it will fix all his color issues, and you’ll also get cool Decepticon insignia on the wings instead of the unsightly rubsign. Considering how good his shuttle and robot forms are, I think it’s worth the extra money to get him in the proper colors, something I defintely plan on doing some day.

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