An Alternators logo? But Arcee only appeared in Binaltech! LOLOCAUST!!!!


Transformers Overdrive
Transformers Overdrive
Transformers Overdrive
Transformers Overdrive

The Honda S2000 Alternators figure was designed and released in Japan as Overdrive, an update of the 1985 Omnibot figure. In the West, however, Hasbro had trouble trademarking such a generic name. Instead, they slapped the name Windcharger on it (strengthening one of their existing trademarks in the process). They might as well have called him Cliffjumper, Roadhandler, Chase or Lightspeed for all this meant (well, they probably can't trademark Lightspeed or Chase either, but shut up).

I was briefly tempted to fork out twice as much for the Binaltech version out of sheer bloodymindedness, but instead just decided to refer to the Hasbro figure as Overdrive all the time on the grounds that no-one can stop me. Plus I've always had a soft spot for the Omnibots (even if Overdrive was my least favourite that's a bit like saying he's my least favourite Father Ted episode, they're all pretty good), and the idea of a high-concept figure being purposefully designed as one - ahead of the likes of Prowl and Wheeljack - is very cool.


Straight away the car mode doesn't say Windcharger at all - a muscle car, like the planned Mustang retool (which turned out to be Wheeljack, though Clay of the TFArchive has done a custom showing how it should have been), would have been much more suitable. While Alternators generally avoids slavishly fitting alternate modes with the original, there's usually more than an incredibly common car colour linking the things. The only problem with this is that it doesn't particularly scream Overdrive either.

The original Overdrive turned into a Ferrari, and while modern licensing laws put that beyond Hasbro/Takara's means (see the, at the time of writing, current situation with the Dark of the Moon line as it's looking increasingly unlikely there won't be a proper figure of on-screen speaking-role Autobot Dino), something a bit meaty would have been nice. However, the Honda S2000 is, bluntly, a girl's car. It's the sort of thing legally blonde valley girls drive with a tiny dog in the passenger seat. Of course, being an Alternators toy there's a high level of detail and accuracy (there should be a Honda badge on the front, but it's rubbed off this example). Unusually for the range, Overdrive includes leftover parts - the cabriolet roof can be switched out and replaced by a part shaped like a folded soft top.


The figure has probably the simplest transformation of the whole line, no more complex than a fair few recent Deluxe toys (and probably simpler than a sizeable number as well). In some ways it feels a little like a cheat at this size, but then - having criticised some of the figures of the range for being overcomplicated - it only seems fair to applaud when things are kept simple. There are still some nice touches, especially in the arms and chest, and it's hardly boring. However, the robot mode itself leaves a bit to be desired. Like the Viper mould it looks fine from the waist up (indeed, Overdrive's solid-looking chest is an improvement on the unconcealed dashboard of Sideswipe/Sunstreaker), the legs are similarly disappointing.

To credit the engineers, at least the problem of the dangling bonnet has been solved - on Overdrive, it rotates up and lines up on the figure's back. However, the forever-parted legs, tiny ankles and small feet remain and - together with the two halves of the front bumper on the outside of the feet - mean that lower body articulation and balance in general aren't what they should be. The sad part is that the upper body movement is terrific. There's a great head cast too - clearly based on the Omnibot and looking not quite but almost completely nothing like Windcharger whatsoever, surely solving that one for anyone with any sort of sense. The "closed" car roof can be mounted either in Overdrive's hands or in holes on the outside of the wrists as a moderately convincing shield, while the "open" roof part can actually remain positioned inside the robot's chest. Infamously, the gun had to have the barrel removed for the Western market after objections from the American branch of Honda, resulting in a plastic engine with a couple of notches in the end. The result is unconvincing, but still better than the Mustang's gun.


Despite some nice touches like being an Omnibot and having a transformation that's about as difficult as an Omnibot, there's something faintly underwhelming about Overdrive. The figure seems like a variation on the Viper, and while there's nothing wrong with that in theory (the RX-8 is heavily based on the Impreza transformation, for example) and some lessons have been learnt, it's still a basic configuration that didn't need revisiting. Overdrive isn't without his charms, but is far from a high point for the line.