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Classics Astrotrain Reviewed by Thunderscream
Ready or Not, He's Back

Astrotrain is another classic name that hasn't seen any use since it's inception in the original Transformers line. Because he hasn't seen the kind of exposure that fellow toy absentee Bumblebee has, so he's become something of an obscure character among casual and new fans. Recent years have seen the character make a comeback, and Classics is no exception.


Altmode: Space Shuttle

Astrotrain is packaged in space shuttle mode, so the review will start here. His primary color is white, with black on his underside and wing edges, gold windows and red and purple trim on the sides of parts that will become the train cab. The tops of the wings have also been colored purple and gold highlights can be found on his back, towards the tail. He has a heat stamp on his left side, on the section where the payload doors are supposed to be. Fans of the original series may find his colors odd, since the cartoon version of the character depicted his colors as primarily gray. Even his recent appearance in the IDW comic series shows him in his gray colorations. It is, however, more in tune with the craft that he is supposed to be imitating.

Astrotrain has a strong resemblance to the real space shuttle, except that the sections that become the train cab are visible on his sides. These are sufficiently streamlines so that they don't look completely out of place, but it does somewhat ruin the illusion. Also ruining the illusion are the train wheels that are clearly visible on top of the shuttle's dorsal. Astrotrain also has six wheels molded from white plastic; two set on pegs under the wings, one on the tips of each wing, and two on the retractable landing gear under the cockpit. The two on the wing tips serve no purpose in this form and the ones that do touch the surface don't roll very well.


Altmode: Bullet Train

Astrotrain's original train form was that of an old-style locomotive; for Classics, it's updated into that of a bullet train. Colors haven't changed, more black and purple are visible, as is red trim. Probably the most noticeable feature is the train's length; at nearly 8 to 9 inches long, this is perhaps the longest deluxe sized figure in recent memory. It's also very streamlined and no doubt will be subject to some lewd comments for the future

Like the shuttle, there are six wheels, two at the very back, and four in the very front. They roll a little better than the gears on the shuttle, though not much. There are several details molded into the figure; passenger windows and doors at the front sections, more windows in the back on the sections that make up the shuttle wings, and train wheels under the midsection. Still, as with the shuttle, the illusion is not perfect. The tail sections are clearly visible under the train, even when displayed and the shuttle wings are clearly visible. Especially noticeable are the shuttle thrusters at the back; one could imagine them as giving Astrotrain an extra boost of speed over the tracks, but it could also serve to expose him as a "robot in disguise" to passing Autobots.

Another problem with Astrotrain in this form is that the engineer's section doesn't line up exactly with passenger section. It also takes a bit of work to line up the two halves so that they attached correctly. There's also a noticeable gap between the train halves and the midsection. It's too easy for the halves to come apart as well.


Robot Mode

Astrotrain stands about 5 inches in robot mode, and is certainly one of the more bulky figures in the Classics series. There's no really change in his coloration from his other modes; there is added purple on his upper arms, silver on his face, yellow in his eyes, and red on a spot on his helmet. The chest piece has red and purple lines, a slight splash of color that is probably better than purely white.

Astrotrain has eleven points of articulation, mostly at his limbs and head. The joints on his legs are fairly tight, so don't flap about too much. The same cannot be said for his arms; they are more loose and don't hold their position well when jostled or carrying a weapon in the fists. The arm shields and shoulder pads are also loose and wriggle about at the slightest jostle. On the plus, the head bears a strong resemblance to the character as he was depicted in the original series, even if his colors don't.


Transformations

Normally, this would be located between the character's alt and robot forms, but since Astrotrain is a "Triple Changer" it seemed more appropriate to mention this part separately rather than repeat between each of his forms.

The instructions might be need for the first few transformations, but after one gets the hang of it, it's fairly simple. The instructions show the transformation from shuttle to train to robot, but one will find ways to transform the figure from shuttle to robot or robot to train without much trouble.


Accessories

Astrotrain comes with a large gun that is molded from a single piece of purple plastic with a typical hand peg and another peg on its left. Since it is a single piece, there are no projectiles that come with this weapon. There are, however, many details sculpted into the gun, including what appears a scope.

The extra peg is so that the gun can be attached to the underside of the shuttle mode flat, as the gun is just too big to be attached otherwise. It's an interesting solution to a very visible problem, though it does interfere with the retractable landing gear. The gun can also be attached to the back section of his train form, giving him some offensive capability, though it would only be straight ahead or ten degrees to the left or right, when attached via the hand peg. As to be expected, Astrotrain can hold his gun in his fists.


Summation

Astrotrain could arguably be considered the weakest of the Classics figures, but one has to remember that he's one of the first multi-form Transformers of this size in recent memory. Most other "triple" and "multi-changers" since the end of Beast Wars have been of ultra and "Leader" sized. For what represent basically resurrecting a "lost art", Astrotrain is not a bad first attempt. I still hope for a release of his "brother" Blitzwing.

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