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Sea Spray

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

We faced a unique problem with today's review: namely, how to file it. Normally we'd have just thrown it in with the movie toys and called it a day: but looking at the packaging, there's nothing saying that this is a movie toy. Sure, you could just say that the movie packaging has been redesigned - after all, what is "Hunt for the Decepticons" if not the continuation of "NEST Global Alliance," itself the ROTF version of the first movie's "AllSpark Power" series? On the other hand, TF Wiki insists this is a new, separate toyline (despite all evidence to the contrary); of course, they also seem to think War for Cybertron is part of G1, and that's 100% wrong, so they're a bit off the rails at the moment.

Many Decepticons believe that while the Autobots may rule the land, the sea is safe. Those Decepticons have never met Sea Spray. Crankstart thinks he's safe hidden on a remote African shore, but he's about to get the worst shock of his life. Sea Spray will come screaming out of the surf, turning the beach into a blasted wasteland with nowhere to hide.

Adding to all the confusion is the fact that Hasbro has come right out and said they consider this figure to be the same character as G1 Seaspray, just given a size upgrade like Powerglide, and they would have put him in the new Generations line, if it weren't being limited to only Deluxe Class toys at the moment. So Hasbro says he's G1, the packaging says suggests he's movie, and the fandom says he's something new; who do you believe?

The new packaging displays Voyagers in robot mode, which is definitely a change. You'll recall that the entire point of having size classes was to have a set price and a set packaging size, so stores could just drop new product in the same spot - this box is smaller than the ones they've been using for years, and vetical rather than horizontal, so we're talking fairly substantial changes! Stores are going to have to work out new plan-o-grams (the little maps that show workers where to stock things - you've probably seen printouts taped to the shelves when stores were in the middle of inventory or a reset).

Back in G1, Seaspray (one word) was one of the Minibots, like Beachcomber or Brawn. You know, a tiny little guy. This one is 7¼" tall, making him bigger than most of his old buddies (the lone exception is Powerglide, who ended up an inch and a half taller after his upgrade). Of course, while Powerglide was fairly similar to his '80s incarnation, Sea Spray (two words) is almost unregonizable.

In the broadest sense, the colors are the same: he's still blue, white and gold, but Hasbro didn't try to map the colors onto the figure in the same way. The blue is mainly on his head and legs, rather than his feet, and the gold ends up on his arms instead of his legs. The only thing that really betrays this as a new version of Seaspray are the fact that there are turbines rising up over his shoulders.

The figure may not immediately resemble the '80s toy, but he does immediately resemble an aquatic warrior - there are quite a few design cues that make Sea Spray look like an underwater trooper. The head has (light-piped) goggles and a mask with breathing tubes, which makes him look very Bionicle-y. His feet have flip-out flippers, which you can ignore if you want to have him operating on dry land. The turbines are poseable, to help propel him beneath the water, and the way his back is formed looks like scuba tanks. Nice stuff!

Sea Spray is very poseable, not missing any of the joints you expect from a good TF these days - well, other than a waist. His head can tip backwards, for more realistic swimming poses. There's some kibble hanging off the figure's heels, and if you don't correct for it, you'll find him leaning forward more often than not. He has two "harpoon" launchers than can be held in the hands or mounted under the arms.

Changing Sea Spray is listed as a Level 3, or Intermediate, process, which seems accurate. It's not hard to figure out where things go, but getting them to line up and click into place is. He turns into a hovercraft, as you'd expect, and in this mode, the colors are much more clearly influenced by the original version: white cabin, gold propellers, blue skirt. Now that's the Seaspray we know and love!

While this hovercraft is not full of eels, it can be full of something else: the back end is a flat surface, perfect for transporting Scout Class vehicles. Much like Mindwipe and Skystalker were meant to be together, this is purpose-built for the upcoming Breacher, but really, almost any vehicle will do. There's a texture on the skirt, and the launchers can mount on the sides. The boat is 7¼" long, 3½" wide and 2½" tall. The ship's call letters are printed on the sides and the roof of the cab: Sea-S.P. Ray. Ha!

Back in the '80s, the same guy voiced both Seaspray and Mer-Man - and used the same gargling voice for both of them. It doesn't matter whether you consider Sea Spray a movie toy or an update of the G1 character, or something else entirely. Hell, put him in your Robots in Disguise collection if you want to. It's not like the toy police are going to come around and check to make sure you've got everything sorted out the right way. Sea Spray is a fun toy, regardless of what logo is (or isn't) on the package.

-- 07/13/10

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