I kept eyeballing - and dragging my feet on - Springload. So far the one-step changer is the only non-Kreon version of this toy (not including the Japanese import), and the novelty of a car that turns into a frog robot is unusual. A car that turns into a robot can be fun, but I've got those - a frog bot? No. That's new.
Coming in at a size just a little smaller than a deluxe car with bigger wheels, Springload is a fun little toy to change back and forth compulsively. He has no hands, and no 5mm part compatibility - he's just neat. Packaged as a car, the vehicle doesn't really match the off-roading vehicle as seen on the cartoon. It's basically its own thing, with limited markings effectively applied. Springload actually has painted side windows - something Hasbro usually drops - plus blue around the wheels and some green highlights. You can even see the robot eyes peeking from under the car hood, which is both adorable and sinister.
To transform this figure, pull out his rear wheels a bit - they tilt and free up the back legs, while gravity lets the front legs dangle down. The hood of the car springs back while the frog jaws open, revealing big metal silver teeth. It's worth noting some early images of this toy show unpainted teeth.
It's easy to change back and forth - and it's far more fun than it should be. I kept futzing with it for a straight hour, which isn't something I do with more complicated toys. It's appropriately froggy, but it isn't an exact translation of the TV show model. I'm OK with this, mostly because I like getting more varied body types and I don't have enough new characters, or enough Decepticons. The robot mode doesn't really do much of anything other than sit there and look cool, which is also what most of my G1 toys did as a kid. If anyone tells you that Huffer and Bumblebee were marvels of fun toy engineering, they may be misremembering - a lot of the toys went from car brick to robot brick and back again, and we liked it because we were young.
Were this toy $6 or $7, it would be the greatest $6 or $7 toy you can get. It's $10, unless you get the import with a few more paint applications for $17-$20. If you have a coupon or discount, you gotta get it. If you just want something weird to play with, this is definitely it. It's not a Generations toy, and that's quite all right as we rarely see much experimental in there. The collector line plays it safe and the results are usually good. The kid line does get to try a few new things, and here is a fine example of why they should keep doing that. I don't normally buy one-step toys, but I'm glad I got this one.
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