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Streetwise

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

It's nice, for a change, to see a cop car and automatically know there's a good guy inside it.

Fully capable of wiping out any target, Streetwise would rather track 'em down and let justice take its course. Of course, that justice starts with heavy damage to a few of his enemy's key systems. They can't do any harm if they can't function.

See, that's why "Lawful Good" doesn't have to be the most boring character alignment. There's more to being a good guy than drinking milk and saving kittens from trees, and doing what's right can often times be pretty damn badass. According to the info included with the figure, he was the spotter for a sniper team, but grew tired of all the killing and joined the Protectobots because he thought it would help find less destructive ways to end the war.

Generation 1 Streetwise had a fairly unique head, because his didn't have to act as the connector peg for the big gestalt robot. That means his Generations update has a lot to work with when it comes to looking awesome. He has a ridge running over his head, flat plates with antenae on the sides, and a layered silver plate around his mouth.

Streetwise's body originated with Dead End, but like First Aid, the sculptural changes are so extensive that it makes more sense to call it a "reshell" rather than a "resculpt." The arms, torso, chest plate, knees and shins are all new molds, so really the only reused pieces are the hands, hips, and thighs. There isn't anything about the sculpt that really parallels with the 1986 toy, but that's because the 1986 toy was an undetailed chunk. About the best we can say is that the old one had a black panel on the chest, and this one does too. That's being charitable. This is tons better!

The figure moves at the knees, thighs, hips, waist, elbows, biceps, shoulders and neck. He comes with a triple-barreled shotgun - looking down the barrel, it seems the gun was molded in white, then painted silver. He also comes with one of the handfootguns, which apparently some people dislike, but is a bit of a brilliant idea: sure, the feet end up a little small, but the hands are nice and the fact that they serve a purpose beyond the giant robot is a cool bonus.

The original Streetwise turned into a Nissan police car, which was common at the time. The new one still turns into a police interceptor, but now it's some kind of low, sleek supercar, a cross between a Nissan and a Lamborghini. There's a red lightbar on the roof, angular air intakes on the hood, and a big heavy crash bar on the front end, perfect for ramming suspects' car. Still, unless you're in the richest neighborhood ever, this doesn't look like a police car.

If you want it to look even less official than it already does, you can plug the handfootgun onto the roof. Weirdly, the 1986 Streetwise came with a gun specifically designed to attach to the car, so this counts as an homage. The shotgun can plug into the side, in what is probably supposed to approximate an exhaust pipe, but actually just looks like a shotgun stuck in the side of a car.

The theme of 2015's Transformers is "Combiner Wars," so no surprise that Streetwise can become a limb of Defensor, just as he did in the '80s. Also, just as in the '80s, any limb can become either an arm or a leg, "Scramble City"-style. The packaging shows him serving as the left leg, which is surprisingly what he was in the '80s, too. Of course, you can use him however you like.

Streetwise does include a comic - Combiner Wars #9, according to the info printed on it. Streetwise doesn't appear - none of the Protectobots do - but it's still a decent story that does a pretty good job of bring readers up to speed. And we can tell by the way everybody is treating Chromia that this takes place after the end of the Windblade miniseries!

The pseudo-supercar doesn't really work for a police cruiser, but Streetwise is still cool. Maybe it's just that after four nearly identical Aerialbots and a helicopter, it's just exciting to get a a Transformer that doesn't convert exactly like all the others.

-- 10/13/15


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