Retro-Review: G1 Autobot Clones Cloudraker & Fastlane

Discussion in 'Transformers Feedback & Reviews' started by Philister, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Philister

    Philister Teutonicons Rising!

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    For more pics, click on the image above

    Prelude: Many thanks to fellow TF-fan BlackZarak, who loaned me Cloudraker & Fastlane for this review.

    Robot Modes: The whole deal of the 1987 Clones was that you’d have two robots that look identical in robot mode but transform into completely different alternate modes. Such is the case here, as Cloudraker and Fastlane look very much identical as robots... at least from the front and ignoring the black spoiler peeking out above Fastlane’s shoulders (to be fair: it can be removed). Once you look at them from the back, of course, the illusion is ruined, as Fastlane has rather visible black tires, while Cloudraker has wings on the backs of his legs. Still, they look very much alike and you can’t tell (from the front) what they transform into, so mission accomplished as far as the gimmick goes.

    Apart from that the two of them are pretty typical G1 post-1986 Transformers. Articulation is average for their time, meaning they can move their arms and nothing else. Both come with two guns (different ones, though) and two rub signs each. One rub sign is the Autobot symbol, the other is one that reveals what their alternate mode is (in case you’re too lazy to simply turn them around).

    Not much more I can say here. Cloudraker and Fastlane couldn’t look more like generic Season 3 Autobots if they tried, but apart from a lack of articulation (which all the figures at the time sported) there really isn’t anything wrong with them, either. So bottom line, good robot modes that pull off the clone gimmick well.

    Alternate Modes: As I wrote above, the deal of the clones was different alternate modes from identical looking robots. So Cloudraker transforms into a jet, Fastlane becomes a car. Let’s look at Cloudraker first. Much like the Pretender robots from later, Cloudraker basically just folds up and flips out wings and a small cockpit. The result is surprisingly good-looking, though, considering the transformation is pretty much done in five seconds. It’s more of a science fiction style jet than any realistic kind, but I don’t have a problem with that. Cloudraker’s guns can be attached underneath the jet to give it firepower (and also serve as a kind-of landing gear). So bottom line: a simple, but fully sufficient jet mode.

    Fastlane’s transformation is even simpler than Cloudraker’s. He just flips the arms onto his chest and unfolds the wheels from his back, that’s pretty much it. The result is a mixed blessing. You can see it’s supposed to be a car and it can roll across the floor, but unlike Cloudraker it can’t really hide the fact that it’s a robot lying on his back. The guns can attach to the sides of the car, which doesn’t really look all that good, either. So bottom line, a working, but otherwise rather shabby car mode. Cloudraker’s vehicle mode is by far the better of the two.

    Remarks: The Autobot Clones, as well as their Decepticon counterparts Wingspan and Pounce, were among the huge horde of new toys... eh, characters introduced in the three-part G1 cartoon finale “Rebirth”, but didn’t really do anything but stand around in the background. They had a bit more exposure in the Japanese Headmaster cartoon and scored several cameos in the IDW comics, but that’s pretty much it. So not a whole lot I can say about them as characters.

    As for the toys, they are pretty cool and make the gimmick work. Not much beyond that, honestly, but they fully achieve what they set out to do and under the general limitations of their time, they are good toys. Cloudraker is better than Fastlane due to a better vehicle mode, but considering the two come as a set, it’s not really a decision-factor. They are certainly not all-time classics, but if you manage to get your hands on them for a decent price, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing them.

    Rating: B
     
  2. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Translatorminator

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    Clones were an awesome concept. I hope they revisit it. Thanks for the review! (I read them all)
     
  3. slugslinger2004

    slugslinger2004 TFW2005 Supporter

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    Agreed. It would be cool to see these guys with modern engineering.
     
  4. BScorpinok75

    BScorpinok75 Squadron X #1 Consultant

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  5. Philister

    Philister Teutonicons Rising!

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    My pleasure and glad to hear it, thanks.
     
  6. j.a.f.o.

    j.a.f.o. Just Looking, Not Buying

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    Great review. I remember as a kid agonizing over which set of clones to buy with my allowance: I decided on Pounce and Wingspan. While they are arguably the better set, in retrospect I wished I had gotten these guys instead.
     

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