I look at a ton of Transformers on Figurefan, but some of you may have noticed that I haven’t looked at any of the Human Alliance series. It’s not that I don’t admire the line, but paying $30 for a figure I already own in a slightly different scale is too rich for my blood. Well, with Dark of the Moon, Hasbro introduced a new class assortment to the line. These new bots fall somewhere between a Scout and a Deluxe in terms of size and complexity and still includes the little human figure. I’m still not overly excited about this line, but I decided to give it a try with Sandstorm.
The figures come on a standard Dark of the Moon style cardback, which means the deco looks awesome. The layout of the package is very similar to the Power Core Combiner Commander two-packs. Sandstorm is in his robot mode and Dedcliff is mounted beside him. Yep, just like the PCC Commander and his Minicon. As always, let’s start with Sandstorm’s vehicle mode. The package is still schilling the whole MechTech gimmick, which I find a bit odd, since there is no MechTech weapon included. As always, let’s start with the vehicle mode…
Sandstorm is a military style dunebuggy. Just think of a one-seater GI Joe Awe Striker, and you’ve got the idea. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the single seater dunebuggy released in the 2.5″ Sigma Six line. It’s a fairly ugly vehicle, but I think the design serves it well because it is a military vehicle and not intended to look pretty. It is a very solid little toy and it rolls along great. I’m fairly impressed that the rollbar locks together nicely and the weapon has a clip that allows you to place it in a number of different points on the toy. Sandstorm’s seat has a peg on the back, which fits into the socket on Dedcliff’s back to keep him seated upright nicely. There’s plenty to like here, but if you compare him to, let’s say, Revenge of the Fallen Dune Runner, Sandstorm lacks a lot of that dunebuggy’s intricate sculpted detail, despite being a larger figure.
The Dedcliff figure is very impressive for such a tiny little guy and if you don’t like the name Dedcliff, just call him Duke because he’s the spitting image. The sculpt is very detailed and the paintwork is excellent. He even has a tiny Autobot emblem stamped on his shoulder! Compared to the older Human Alliance humans, this guy is a huge leap. His articulation is also remarkable. You get a rotating head, ball joints in the shoulders and hips, and hinges/swivels in the knees. Considering there’s plenty of larger figures on the market with less articulation, I’ve got no complaints about this little dude. If Hasbro had delivered the 2.5″ Sigma Six figures with this kind of sculpt and poseability, I think that line would have been a lot less despised. Either way, Hasbro went above and beyond with this tiny figures.
Transforming Sandstorm is easy enough and his robot mode looks great. He does have some rollbar kibble hanging off his back, but at least the ones that hang over his shoulder looks like they actually surve a purpose in blocking melee attacks ot his head. His articulation is excellent for a figure in his size class, with ball joints in his neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and ankles, along with hinged knees. The figure features a lot of playability and the gun for his dunebuggy mode doubles as a handgun for his robot mode.
I’m generally surprised at how impressed I am with this set, considering I was not all that excited about picking it up. Sandstorm is a great Transformer and doesn’t sacrifice anything to satisfy the Human Alliance scale and gimmick. And as dumb as it sounds, I’m blown away by the quality of the Dedcliff figure. I should note here that Sandstorm also has a third battle platform alt mode, which I didn’t think worth showing. Either way, though, this is a remarkable little set, loads of fun to play with, and at $10 it actually feels like a bargain. Yep, I’ll certainly be buying some more of these.