Autobot Ambush! Dirge vs. Roadbuster

Originally posted at on June 11, '09

I reviewed the Springer vs. Ratbat boxset a while back and alot of the same things can be said of this one. Thanks to Hasbro’s need to clear the shelves for the coming of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Playkit, the local distributor was able to get a ton of cheap Transformers and give everyone a chance at figures that we weren’t able to score when the first movie came out.

It was a great move on the part of the distributor, since many new kids and collectors were introduced to the various Transformer lines and were parents were actually able to afford them despite the economic downturn. In addition, the deluge of cheaper toys has fueled a frenzy of demand that I’m sure hasn’t been seen in a long time. If you were at the Revenge of the Fallen Toy Launch held in Megamall on March 30, 2009, then you saw first hand how big Transformers has become. Brand recognition hasn’t been this good since the 80’s.
Anyway, among those bargin bin toy sets that are filling shelves in Toy Kingdom, the Target Exclusive two-pack, “Autobot Ambush” is one of those with the best value.

The box has two Transformers in it, one Voyager Class, and one Deluxe, which is why this is such a great deal. Usually, this set is priced at about p2200-2500, but thanks to Playkit and Hasbro, we can enjoy a sweet sweet price of just p1000.00. That’s the same price as some of the other Voyager Class toys from the Movie line that are on sale. And these sets even come with a comic (though it’s not a great one).

Out of the box, they look kind of mis-matched. The odd color choices are a turn off for me. I would have preferred a more realistic scheme for Roadbuster than the orange and green, and the freakishly bright blue of Dirge just screams “SHOOT ME! SHOOT ME!.

Since these two are both re-paints from older toy lines, they don’t really fit in perfectly with the newer figures. Some of their joint work is obviously a little older and you won’t be getting them into any super acrobatic poses. Still, the Cybertron line was pretty good compared to the old bricks articulation wise so these remain pretty fun.

Roadbuster is a great figure despite the fact that he isn’t really in scale if he really is an APC. At the Deluxe size, he’s comparable to the tiny Transformers Universe Galvatron, who was a tiny tiny tank. Next to the other Deluxe cars, he’s puny. Really really miniscule. Itty bitty.

But like I said, there are things that make up for these little things. For one, his robot mode looks totally amazing. He looks like a little unruly schoolyard devil looking for trouble. It’s perfect for a member of the Wreckers, and if they would go ahead and make a DECENT Springer already, this toy would look great right along side him.

Another thing about the Deluxe figure in this set is the articulation. He’s very good considering the age of the mold. Though some of the arcs are interrupted (like his knee joints) by the body or kibble, for the most part, he’s got pretty much what you need from a Transformer toy. It’s not Marvel Legends level articulation, but he stands well, and doesn’t look like a brick doing it.

The best thing about him is the hidden missle racks. Sure he’s got two top-mounted machine guns, but that doesn’t cut it considering the advance armor tech Cybertronians are bound to enjoy. If you remember Robotech (or Macross and the thousand rip-offs thereof) then you probably wowed at the little boxes of tiny missles that went every which way but straight ahead and then proceeded to blow up a cloud of enemies. It was like the opposite of a GI Joe vs Cobra firefight. Never understood how anyone survived those exchanges.

Well, Roadbuster is packing 6 hidden missle racks while he’s in robot mode. There are two on his shoulders you just open, two on his legs you have to flip over, and two more that are unlocked using the Cybertron key gimmick (my collection of Cybertron molds is growing, but I still am not sold on this key thing). He’s a veritable wall of ordanance by himself, and what he lacks in size, he makes up for in firepower. If that weren’t enough, he’s got a little detachable sword in case he runs out of gunpowder.

The APC mode is ok, but nothing to write home about. This is where the weird color combos really show up. The orange, brown and green make him look very odd. I would have prefered a more realistic look to him.
The only missle rack you see in this mode is the ones inside his guns. You can activate it the same way, using his key. It look really unusual though, so I keep ‘em closed.

Unlike most people buying this set, I prefer the Dirge toy to Roadbuster though. He’s bigger, being a Voyager Class toy and his color scheme is less ridiculous. The blue and black go well (though still too bright), and though I could do without the browns, it’s passable. I do like how his face is black. Makes him look… shifty.

I prefer him in robot mode to his jet mode. It’s not that the jet mode is bad, it’s just that his robot form is so much more fun. He comes with a spring-loaded weapon that acts as a pistol for the robot or a cannon for the jet. Like Roadbuster, Dirge shares a Cybertronian feature and it unlocks two blades hidden in his wings. They pop out when you insert the key in his back. They make for great looking weapons, though because of his bulk, alot of the articulation they’ve given him is limited in range.

There is a quality concern with his swords. On mine, the key mechanism isn’t fully functional and it doesn’t allow the sword on one side to extend. The lock won’t disengage. It’s really frustrating and I have to get a knife to pry out the sword if I change my displays. I don’t know if it’s like this with all of them, but it’s something you might consider before buying one.

His jet mode is pretty straight forward. A “futuristic” spaceship. It doesn’t look all that great, but I find it fun. Much better than the “Cybertronian jets” we’ve been getting from the movie lines. The pop-out swords still work while he’s in this form, but look kind of silly. There are Legends Class toys based on this mold that have gun barrels instead of swords, and I think that might have been a better choice of weapon.

Both of the toys have a pretty simple transformation scheme, an they’re both fairly obvious. If you can’t transform them without the instructions, you deserve to get your fanboy badge revoked. This isn’t a bad thing, since simple transformations allow you to have alot more fun with the toys. Witness the incredibly complex Revenge of the Fallen Leader Class Prime. Level 4 complexity means about 15 minutes from robot to truck. There’s only so long I can do the “choo-chew-chu-chew” noise before I turn blue in the face.

Both Dirge and Roadbuster are good toys. Getting them together for p1000.00 is even better. If you don’t have either molds from their previous releases, I highly recommend getting this set while you still can.

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