Despite his being one of the main characters from one of the more fun chunks of Transformers lore, Autobot Springer is the first toy I had the pleasure of owning based on the movie-era G1 character. I passed on the BotCon exclusives and the recent China release, and uh, well, sometimes you have your ear to the ground that better things are coming. The results for most triple-changer toys are a mixed bag, with 1 or 2 modes being pretty good and mode #3 being wonky, or in the case of poor Octane/Tankor in 2008, you get 3 wonky modes. The 2013 Springer has a decent car mode, a good (but tall) robot mode, and a helicopter mode that feels like it needs more time in the oven - it doesn't like to stay together too well. Overall I would say it's better decorated and better executed than his casemate Blitzwing.
In robot mode Springer stands a hair over 7-inches high. Largely molded in color, the figure looks cleaner than Blitzwing as the latter's painted yellow head looks iffy and some in-box pre-scraping never helped anybody. Springer's bright green and equally bright yellow look awesome together, with a small metallic red Autobot logo in the middle of his chest bringing him to life. He has clear bright blue eyes with a light-pipe effect and a painted grey face, generally looking like what you would expect out of a modernized G1 toy after a world of IDW-redesigns.
Scale in Transformers is largely a joke, so you can enjoy Springer knowing that he's about the size of other Voyager-class toys like Classics Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus. This puts him head and shoulders above recent Classic-ized Kup, Rodimus, and Blurr figures... but they still look pretty fantastic hanging out together.
Of particular interest are his weapons. I buy a lot of these toys, but not all of them so I don't know if his blaster mechanism has been used elsewhere. It's a "marble"/ball-launching type of rocket, but this time they're completely enclosed in a really swepp painted green and silver blaster with a trigger that fires one, and then the other, in quick succession. It looks great and works well, without looking stripped-down like the marble-shooter rockets in Beast Machines. The sword doubles as the helicopter rotor, and it fits together in a rather sturdy way and makes a convincing weapon. I've got nothing snide to say here, it's really good.
I was unable to finagle the helicopter mode into a sturdy form - a couple of panels felt loose, but it generally fit together just fine. I wasn't able to get the cannon to mount to the bottom in a sturdy way, but the sword made a great rotor and spun surprisingly smoothly. Generally speaking, Transformers choppers don't spin very well so this was a nice surprise. The mode was, let's say, good enough. You could tell the back chunk of the aircraft were legs but it's not like this thing is magic, and since a lot of it is leg by volume it makes sense they'd have to go somewhere. And I guess if you really want a solid helicopter, there's always the 2012 Toys R Us/Asia Springer.
The car mode ultimately works for me, despite chunks of helicopter hanging off of it. It's obvious the spoiler is repurposed copter kibble, but it still works for me. The rotor folds nearly under the car's body, leaving a fairly nice armored vehicle with only minor frustration. Like Blitzwing, there are numerous pegs and tabs that must be placed just-so or panels will flop everywhere when you pick him up and move him around. The car is good enough, a pain to get him just right but hey, that's a modern Transformers toy for you. They can't all just work easily like a 1984 Soundwave for some reason. (What is this reason?)
This toy is mostly good for novelty's sake, a rather large triple-changer that doesn't feel hampered by its budget. This is surprising considering Grimlock in the previous wave felt a little more hollow and cheap, while at the exact same price point Springer feels more or less as good as a toy produced in 2008. The head sculpt is good, the articulation is above and beyond what's requested, and the transformation isn't particularly hard to figure out with few parts feeling like you're going to break them. If you're short on cash and can't decide between Blitzwing and Springer, let me assure you, go get Springer.
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