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Alternator Windcharger Reviewed by Thunderscream
The Return of Windcharger...

Windcharger is a name that is perhaps obscure to most fans of Transformers, particularly those who became fans long after the original toy when out of production. With the BinalTech line being released in the US as the all-plastic Alternators, it seems Hasbro has taken the opportunity to bring back this name with a totally new mold. In Japan, this was actually called Overdrive, who, unlike previous releases, was a different character than Windcharger, creating one of the first breaks between Takara and Hasbro in the way a character was named in the two lines.

Altmode: Honda S2000

The main draw behind Alternators and BinalTech was that familiar characters took the form of realistic vehicles. Windcharger takes the form of a primarily red Honda S2000 sports car. Other colors used include black for the tires, top, dashboards, seats, grill, and radio antenna. silver for the hubcaps, Honda logos in front of the hood and on the trunk, tailpipes, license plate, headlights, and S2000 logo on the sides, and orange for the signal lights. In addition, his license plate has the Autobot insignia on the left with the black letters "WNDCGR" next to it.

Windcharger comes with a few features common to the BinalTech/Alternator line. His doors, hood, and trunk all open, with his hood revealing the engine block underneath. Set on four rolling wheels, he can be pushed along the ground quite easily and can "zoom" along even carpets quite well. Unique to Windcharger are his interchnagable tops; one can either chose to display him with his top "up" or "down" depending on their preference. The designers could have easily gone the same route as with Side Swipe, but it's an interesting change that adds to his appeal.

There are a few small issues with Windcharger in this form. His joints apparently don't all fit, so gaps are present, especially around his hood. His "up" top is difficult to fit in properly the first time, and there's nowhere to store either peice when not in use. Most noticable the the rattling noise one hears if they shake Windcharger lightly; this is because his engine is loose due to a part missing from the figure. More on that later.


First, remove Windcharger's interchangable top, whether up or down and set aside. Open the hood, remove the engine, and open the doors; set engine aside. Split the car front in half and straighten out his legs; turn over so the car's undercarriage is visible. Push the wheels in towards the back and flip grill peices back; straighten wheels. Flip feet out and down, pull magnets down, close inside panels and flip out the heels. Extend the door panels out and flip down against legs. Fold center panels in against the main body and turn hood 180 degress up. Turn car rear 180 degrees, fold seats down, and pull rear wheel panels out and down. Fold trunk and back panels down ato form the chest and torso, and pull head up to face forward. Rotate arms away from the rear wheel wells and unfold along with hands. Windcharger is now in robot mode.

Windcharger's transformation is relatively difficult and may take a few turns with the instructions to get used to. This shouldn't be unexpected with a figure sold at the Mega/Voyager price and is a welcome relief to those tired of the increasingly simple transformations found in the main line.

Robot Mode

In robot mode, Windcharger stands about seven inches from head to toe. There's not much change in color from his car form; a little extra gray on the lower torso and upper legs, more silver on his chest, face, and feet, and a dark blue visor across his eyes, but that's about it. A red Autobot insignia is prominantly displayed in the center of his chest. He's about as skinny as Side Swipe, if not as tall.

Windhcharger comes with two features that add to his play, aside from his high points of articulation. The first is concerns one of his car tops; the "up" top converts into a sheild that fits on his arm thanks to a peg in the top that fits into a hole on his arm. An interesting feature, though it does beg the question of how effective a cloth top would be against laser fire; one's imagination could suggest that it's made of an exotic Cybertronian material.

As with most of his Alternator breathren, Windcharger's engine block converts into his handheld gun, though astute observers will note something odd about it. This is because BinalTech Overdrive had an additional barrel with his gun, one that was removed for Alternator Windcharger's release due to issues concerning safety. This why his engine is so loose in car mode; the barrel also acted as the car's "drive shaft" and held the engine stable. While the concern over child safety is understood, it is disappointing that it was removed at all, though it does give a unique appearance to Windcharger's weapon. Unfortunately, the sheer length of the gun makes in impossible to pose his arm other than straight out; the back can be lifted to form a sort of "targeting scope", but it looks odd that way, especially since it has no barrel.

There are a couple of other problems with Windcharger as well. As in the case of his car mode, there's no real indication of where to put that extra car top piece when not in use. It can be stored under his chest in the same locale as it would be in car mode, but it's suggested that one removes it before transforming the character back. Also, a couple joints on my version are loose, specifically around the shoulders and left ankle. The ankle is easy to fix, but I can't say the same for the shoulder peices. Disappointing to say the least.

Final Thoughts

Despite his problems, Windcharger's and okay figure for being a domestic release of what is a collector's line. If you already have BinalTech Overdrive, I would suggest you skip this figure unless you're a completist. If you don't and aren't willing to pay the high importer's prices, then this is the figure for you.

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