The short-lived Season 4 of the US Transformers cartoon introduced (or perhaps jammed in is a more accurate term) a slew of new characters in its 3 episodes. Notably very few of these characters had Earth modes, showing the direction the brand was heading in. Also new concepts were introduced in these episodes such as Targetmasters and Clones.
Three (or should I say four) of these characters were the Autobot Clones Fastlane and Cloudraker and the Decepticon Targetmaster Slugslinger with his diminutive partner Caliburst. Lucky for these characters, the G1 cartoon continuity in Japan continued with the series Headmasters, in which these guys got a far greater outing.
As the characters were more prominent in Japan, I decided to get the Legends versions of all these guys, so today we will be looking at LG55 Slugslinger with Caluburst and LG58 Autobot Clones Fastlane & Cloudraker.
As can be expected with most Takara Tomy versions of Hasbro figures, Slugslinger comes with a rich vibrant painjob that looks fantastic. They really have done a marvellous job of making Slugslinger very G1 comic/cartoon accurate, right down to the shape of the legs, the chest adornments and the dual cockpits sticking up over his shoulders. The Headmaster figure looks great with a smooth rounded forehead, settting it apart from most ‘blockheads’.
Cybertronian Dual-Cockpit Fighter Jet Mode
As Sluslinger transformers into dual-cockpit jet he does not even try to conform to earth standards. Once again, a great job of replicating (and dare I say improving) on the original toy design and concept. His Headmaster fits snugly and easily into the cockpit (a bit odd he already had two and they had to put in a 3rd) and Caliburst can be put under either wing. However I find that makes the alt-mode look off balance so I tend to place him on top of the jet like the G1 cartoon and toy.
Wow – this little guy really makes me wish I had shelled out the extra money to get the Tak/Tom versions of the other TR Targemaster characters. Well proportioned, nicely coloured and lots of detail in the little face – very good!
It’s a cool looking gun and is well scaled to Slugslinger in robot mode. However I would say that with the flats of the robots feet joining up at the front makes the gun look like it would be a major airflow impediment when attached to Slugslingers jet mode, creating a lot of drag.
Looks exactly like the G1 version, though the JP G1 rather than the US G1 due to the more pinkish body. In my opinion he is how the clones should look, as in no hint of alt-mode so you can’t tell what they are going to turn into (except for that damn big sticker on the chest of course).
Cybertronian Space Jet Mode
Much more compact than the original toy, which I was quite the fan of. He actually looks like he was designed for space which works well for him, though I do miss the yellow on the nosecone and longer black wings of the G1 figure.
Though I loved the original toys when I had them as a kid, one thing that bugged me was that you could always tell Fastlane was the ground vehicle clone because of the wheels and spoiler obvious over his shoulderblades. Not only have they not rectified this but have made it worse with wheels visible on the legs as well.
Cybertronian Dragster Mode
I think the front wheels on the side are an improvement rather than the old single one underneath. Something I felt that the G1 toy could have benefitted from was some colour to show the grill and headlight details on the front of the vehicle that were made up of the tips of the robot modes feet. Those details aren’t even present here which was a letdown. With wheels on the side he looks a bit better than the G1 toy but it’s still a pretty weak vehicle mode.
Cloudraker and Fastlane – The Clone Concept
As mentioned Fastlane’s obvious kibble really detracts from the ‘you can’t tell which clone is which’ concept. When I saw their little jet and car symbols on their chests I thought ‘Oh cool! Rubsigns!’, figuring that since it was a hot day they must already be heated. Imagine my disappointment when I found they were just stickers, which means you can permanently tell one from the other.
The other disappointment here is that neither bot comes with his dual hand weapons. Given the cost of the figures, I think it’s a bit lousy for them to not come with their guns, especially since they could be used in either mode by the original figures.
Slugslinger is fantastic and as stated, really makes me wish I’d gone the Tak/Tom route with his compatriots. If you don’t have the Hasbro version go online and grab him – Caliburst makes it well worth the few extra bucks. As for the clones, I ordered these from Japan since the Hasbro versions of both clones were only available at US stores and I live in Australia. Cloudraker is OK but Fastlane is fairly weak, so unless you are like me and want every Classicsverse version of every G1 character you can get, these two are an easy pass.
Got anything to add to this review? Would love to read it in the comments section below!
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