I've always liked Sunstreaker. I'm not particularly sure why, though. In the cartoon he's just as bland and faceless as every other Autobot that's not called Optimus Prime or Bumblebee, while he rarely featured in the Marvel comic (my Transformers hit of choice for most of my childhood). He was included in the Earthforce cycle of strips, but after a promising reintroduction in "Perchance to Dream" quickly became another face in the crowd. It might be the fantastic name (seriously, you can tell why the first couple of years' names stuck so well most of them are still in use today - Sunstreaker, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Trailbreaker... Much better than the 'normal word jazzed up' or 'jam two words together' efforts Hasbro have given us in the past decade). It might be some sort of childhood attainability - Autobot cars were always my favourite Transformers, but being pretty decent, they were pricey things, and in a good year I'd get one for my birthday and one for Christmas. Add into this that it wasn't until 1985, and my beloved Smokescreen, that I got an actual Transformers toy, and I pretty much missed the boat.

Thankfully, in 1990, Hasbro's European wing reissued Sunstreaker as part of the Classics range, and I got one then. I was so elated at just having the guy (compared to the Action Masters and Pretenders then current, the Classics reissues were seriously exciting stuff for me) that I was able to look past him being a bit of a weird figure. Then the truth hit home, and I've been after after a decent Sunstreaker figure ever since... I was briefly tempted by the rather unspectacular looking Alternators offering, but thankfully before I could buy what would probably be a horrible Rube Goldberg Machine of a figure I saw an early picture of this baby and decided to wait. Hasbro's preposterous RRP of £13.99 (that's just under US $26) nearly meant I waited for a long time, but thankfully splendid colonial-based legend Notabot helped me out, managing to get me Universe Sunstreaker and Prowl, as well as Movie-cum-Universe Big Daddy and Fracture for not much more than just Sunstreaker would have cost me over here. Good man.

Sunstreaker's alternate mode is a license-dodging composite of the Lamborghini Gallardo and the same company's Diablo. I'm going with that, as those guys don't do anything other than look this sort of thing up. It does manage to look like Sunstreaker if the Ark crashed in 2008 instead of 1984, though. The look is quite similar to that from the IDW comics, a worthy update. Personally I'm glad he doesn't have a chromed or silver spoiler - it fitted the design of the old Countach, but on this one it would spoil the look. The mounted engine is a nice nod without compromising the look, however. The detailing is nice and subtle as well - clear plastic headlights and painted indicators, good stuff without making the car mode too busy (and losing something of the sleek simplicity).

I only really have two complaints - one is that the matching of shades between the yellow plastic and the paint isn't quite right (though most Transformers have this problem, so...); the other is the number-plate, which displays the lame in-joke "WE R 84" - I mean, why? Is that meant to be funny or clever or something? Stupid.

Transforming Sunstreaker is rather good fun - the sequence is complex without being needlessly complicated. It's nice to have something that's challenging the first few times without being basically impossible without a little help from instructions or other sources. I also love the way the head comes out when the chest is rotated - good fun indeed.

The layout of the robot mode is superb. The configuration is a good mix of common sense (with the large, hollow legs working especially well) and nostalgia, with the windscreen pointing down a nice touch, and the head cast an excellent blend of the original toy and the character's animation model. The shoulders perhaps look a little weedy by comparison to the rest of him, but that's really a minor quibble. Sunstreaker has suitably excellent poise - Hasbro/Takara have finally got the idea that articulation and poseability aren't necessarily the same thing. The toy has excellent balance, and all those joints actually work nicely together, meaning the figure can pose a wide variety of ways without toppling over and/or exposing a giant hole through some part of his body.

This really is a pearl of a figure, vying with Skywarp for the title of best Transformer for... Oh, far too long. Both modes are very well done, and the toy captures the essence of the character perfectly. The dynamic robot mode allows for good display or fun play, and the transformation is going to take a long time to get boring. Check him out, especially if you've steered clear of the line in recent years.