Transformers Roadbuster
Transformers Roadbuster
Transformers Roadbuster
Transformers Roadbuster

Introduced for the third film as part of the Wreckers, Roadbuster was one of the few Dark of the Moon toys I decided I wanted then and there. A Scottish hooligan named after one of my favourite old characters who's also part of the Wreckers and uses the phrase "Nancy wanker"? Even transforming into a NASCAR racer couldn't put me off this guy.

Roadbuster has so far been released in Cyberverse, Deluxe and Human Alliance versions. The Cyberverse stuff, while an interesting idea and a terrific innovation for kids, is still showing the same sort of clumsy engineering skill as the various Legends lines of recent times - coming up with toys less convincing than similar-sized Gobots from 25 years ago. The Human Alliance version was tempting (despite having an unconvincing driver; would Wheelie or Brains have been so difficult?) but that line is still far too hit and miss, too often meddling with things unnecessarily when a scaled up version of the smaller figure would have done the job just as well. So that left the Deluxe, if only by default.


Roadbuster's alternate mode is a NASCAR Chevrolet Impala, specifically that driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr (he's American, in case you hadn't guessed; he's even sponsored by the National Guard) who's probably dead good at driving around in a circle and hoping other people crash. The moronic nature of NASCAR is a relatively small problem compared to how dull the car mode is, however. Obviously the stock nature of the disguise means a lack of panache and the colour scheme isn't intrinsically appalling.

The problem is that it's largely just a stock car, whereas in the film Roadbuster's car mode was covered in guns. In toy form, the only concession to this is the MechTech weapon and opening up his missile launchers (which don't look good in this configuration). The Human Alliance and Cyberverse versions are in attack mode; I guess the problem is that Topspin and Leadfoot also have Impala alternate modes, so changes have to be made to make the car modes look different so kids don't think they're recolours. I will say that the way the mounting hole for the gun is filled by a small spring-loaded post is a terrific little touch. Roadbuster's other problem is one common to the Dark of the Moon toys - he's visibly smaller than previous live-action Deluxe class figures, an economic necesssity (apparently) which means he doesn't display well with many older toys in vehicle mode.


Thankfully his Hickmobile alternate mode is only one part of Roadbuster. The other is [spoiler]the robot mode[/spoiler] and the figure is blessed with a transformation a lot more intuitive and straightforward than it looks. There are some nice touches, such as the way the car parts on his chest are the real thing rather than dummies and I love the way his front wheels swing around and clip on slightly further down his legs - touches like that really capture the feel of the live-action CGI models. Less successful are the missile launchers, which don't really lock into place, and thus tend to flop around in an unsatisfyingly asymmetrical fashion.

The biggest problem is the colour scheme. The thing is that Roadbuster features a lot of exposed mechanics - on-screen this isn't such a problem as it's a load of moving metal. Here, it's just rendered as flat grey plastic and the few visible green car parts don't really stand out very well. It's a shame as the robot mode is really very competent in terms of layout and articulation (though the lack of waist movement is once again a disappointment) with good balance. The bulk of the upper car hanging from Roadbuster's back is less clumsy than you'd think while the head sculpt is lovely. Each of Roadbuster's arms has a mounting point for a MechTech weapon - the single one included is a nice fit, a gun with an extending bayonet-style chainsaw, though frustratingly there's no way to keep this extended (a problem with other MechTech accessories on Deluxe figures). Also like most Dark of the Moon Deluxes, he's visibly smaller and slighter than similar figures from preceding lines - it's not the end of the world, but it does mess up team displays.


Roadbuster's good, but with a bit of work he could have been really good. While silver paint for the bulk of the robot mode might be an impossible dream, something should have been done to break up all that grey. And considering the Wreckers' main point in the film is to be heavily armed, the relative lack of weaponry is irritating. However Roadbuster's well-made and nicely designed, and for less obsessive people than me he won't disappoint. If nothing else for the creatively-inclined it would only take some well-placed paint and a few customised guns to vastly improve the figure.