Transformers Smokescreen
Transformers Smokescreen
Transformers Smokescreen
Transformers Smokescreen

Smokescreen began life as a retooling of the standard Diaclone Fairlady Z mould in 1983, retooled and recoloured as a GT racing car - based on a real IMSA machine that seems to have captured Takara's imagination when competing at the Fuji circuit. Changes for Transformers were minimal, largely involved removing a few brand names, adding a faction signal and - thanks to Transformers godfather Bob Budiansky - adding a superb name and bio to the figure.

After the typical second-year car profile (a couple of reasonable parts in second series cartoon episodes, not much else), Smokescreen had a brief spell as Dreadwing's back when Generation 2 introduced the concept of name roulette, and later got to be a crane in Armada for no readily apparent reason. Around this time, Takara reissued the original in the Transformers Collection series, and they and Hasbro also started slapping the character's colour scheme on toys seemingly at random, with little thought as to how the dreadful moulds would carry it off.

More importantly than all of this, Smokescreen was my first-ever Transformers figure, back in 1985. Before I got him at the Hereford branch of Woolworths, I only had the Super Gobots Bug Bite and Baron Von Joy - had I not got Smokescreen, I might have turned into some sort of insane Gobots fan, writing insane episode guides for Challenge of the Gobots and spending a fortune collecting the toys. Close call, eh? Oh.


Smokescreen has one of the great Transformers alt modes - about the only thing that's approached him since is Alternators Mirage. The Fairlady-Z is a seriously sexy car to begin with, all poise and immaculately sculpted clean lines. Add into that the gorgeous, gorgeous colour scheme, and you've got a winner.

The racing car fanboy in me ponders why there are only racing numbers and no sponsor stickers, but the toy enthusiast is more than happy to accept the crisp maroon/white/blue in all its' uncluttered beauty. The Diaclone version has various small bits of branding added, but these just unecessarily break up the scheme; with the grill and windscreen patterns there's already enough detail on the thing. The retooling is subtle too - an airdam around the front bumper, and spoilers added to the rear. It adds a little variety compared to Prowl and Bluestreak, and for my money actually improves the shape of the vehicle.


Smokescreen is blessed with one of the line's great transformation patterns, executed superbly. Superficially complicated, it's actually very intuitive and well thought-out, with everything locking firmly into place. There are fragile parts, notably the painted transparent plastic (the colour matching is excellent, incidentally) used for the rear windows and roof, but handling Smokescreen with care avoids any breakages.

The robot looks fantastic. The colour scheme has been properly designed so it lays out well on the figure, rather than slapped on the vehicle mode and ending up wherever. The black and white parts revealed in this mode gel perfectly with the showing car pieces. Smokescreen is nicely proportioned too, and is one of the few Transformers of the era to look good from the side and back - there are no gaping holes you can peer through here, with the car roof especially doing a good job of blocking unsightly parts. Articulation is limited to the arms, which at least means Smokescreen can wave his rifle around, while the shoulder launchers round the robot off nicely. In short, he's a visual treat.


The usual caveats of a 25+ year old figure do apply - Smokescreen isn't for kids or the clumsy and is too fragile to have particularly large play value. However, he's fun to transform and looks stunning in both of his well thought-out modes. In short, Smokescreen is a glorious figure - undoubtedly the best of the Autobot cars, and one of the outright triumphs of the whole line.