KO Henkei Sunstorm

Posted: December 19, 2010 in Buy Cool Toys, Knock-Off Toys, Transformers
Tags: , , , ,

The most exciting knock-off  that I’ve been waiting for finally arrived in the mail today.  Sunstorm!  He’s a knock-off/repaint of Hasbro’s Classics Starscream.  The biggest difference with this KO is that it’s a character that fans have been clamoring for that hasn’t been, thus far, released in this line by either Takara or Hasbro.  Sunstorm’s appearances in Transformers G1 fiction have been limited, but he has become a fan-favorite over the last few years.

Sunstorm's IMDB credits are just as extensive as Hauler's

After years of just being a one-off character/possible animation error, Sunstorm was brought to life more fully in the 2000’s by Dreamwave comics.

Textbook example of taking a level

This story arc firmly solidified Sunstorm in the Transformers mythos. If you’re curious about the backstory, check the TF Wiki. Fans have waited for Hasbro to re-color a Starscream toy so they can finally own a Classics version of their favorite character, but have thus far been left wanting, which left the market wide open to KO makers. Of course, the question you may be asking yourself is “do I want to take a chance on a Sunstorm made by Chinese KO makers?

The answer, I believe, is yes.

Let’s have a look:

Ah, the pretty packaging!

As you can see from the in-package photo, this Sunstorm comes from the CHMS mold. The packaging is clearly taking a page from the Takara Henkei line. If there actually had been a legitimate Takara Sunstorm made, the packaging would give away the KO status of the toy. CHMS is clearly marked on the top right of the card and on the left of the blister over the “Transformers” logo. Also, the card-art is blurred and a bit smaller than the real deal would be. Packaging tends to be a little neater than the other Seeker KOs in circulation right now. The toy comes bundled with launchers and a ziplock baggie with instruction sheet and character collector’s card. There are only two twisted ties around the body of the airplane. (The other mold also has ties around the wing tips.)

Sunstorm in jet mode

Here we see Sunstorm in his F-15 jet mode. Unlike many of the KO seekers out there today, Sunstorm fits together quite well in jet mode. The piece directly behind the cockpit is a little bit difficult to fit in, but it does snap together (and quite tightly, at that.) The wings all sit securely. The blasters peg in under the wing, though the pegs are almost too big for the wing mounts. Extreme caution should be used to avoid stress marks.

Now, the question that’s on everybody’s minds… Just how yellow and/or orange is this guy? Judge for yourself.

Who you callin' yella??

As you can see here, Sunstorm falls somewhere in the middle of Classics Bumblebee and Solar Storm Grapple. My wife’s immediate response when I asked her the color was “mustard yellow.” I think most fans were looking for something closer to e-Hobby colors, but I have to say, in person, Sunstorm really does look good. Given that there is a recolor that matches the e-Hobby version more closely in the works for later, some fans may choose instead to make Sunstorm their yellow Rainmaker. Witness:

We make it rain!

Now…on to the quality of the figure.

Joints on this one are EXTREMELY tight. In fact, in some places, they’re almost too tight. The feet are one problem area, as they are a pain to fold down. The chest area is a bit difficult to open and then put back together. The nosecone is very stiff. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done, but this figure is built tight! At some points, I became worried about putting stress marks on the joints and at times outright breaking it. To my great relief, nothing broke, so I have a solid figure.

Perhaps the best news is that the launchers peg into the arms VERY tightly. There is no slippage, and they do not fall out on their own. Poseability is the same as any Hasbro/Takara version of this toy. Paint apps are well done. Overall, the figure is very solid, with only the few negatives that I’ve mentioned above. I would, however, recommend that you leave this toy in one mode, as I am not confident that it can hold up to massively repeated transformations. This is a display piece and for collector’s only, and should not be given to kids who are going to want to play with it aggressively.


I will have more outdoor and natural light photos tomorrow!


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