Monday, July 7, 2008

Let's Go Streaking

[Sunstreaker: he's the one with the big ears]
Written by GL

As cars, you gotta love the Autobots; they come in every awesome design in every model, color and size you've ever imagined your own dream car to look like - aside from the fact that they can actually speak and tell jokes.

But none of the Autobots ever had the shape and sleek-ness of Sunstreaker.

[Animated: European cars rock]

Sunstreaker was one of the first generation of Autobots in the original Transformers television series. He was the twin brother of Sideswipe, whom also turned into a 1980 Lamborghini Countach. His alternate mode however, was yellow and had a modification in the form of an engine that sticks out of his back.

[Lambo mode: sweet]

He was described as the ultimate egotist, being notoriously difficult to work with and pair up with anyone else besides Sideswipe, and described himself as the most beautiful thing ever. He was also a cold, ruthless and effective fighter who would do anything to win. He is one of the few original Autobots to have apparently survived the attack on Autobot City too.

In Autobot mode, Sunstreaker wears a right shoulder mounted, laser-guided, ground to air missile launcher. Each missile is the equivalent of 450 lbs. of TNT and can down a Decepticon jet fighter at a maximum of distance of 37.5 miles. He also carries an electron pulse gun capable of emitting at 300 bursts per second a beam of highly energized electrons (the high rate of emissions makes it effectively a continuous stream of electrons). A sustained burst of 1.5 seconds will burn a 3 inch hole in a 0.5 inch thick plate of titanium alloy steel. His upper torso construction incorporates a tough polymer steel skin, making him particularly resistant to artillery fire.

That's a lot of hardware for a Lambo.

He, unlike his twin brother, Sideswipe, had a brief appearance in the movie as the pilot of the shuttle carrying the detachment of Autobot reinforcements to earth. This was his last appearance in the series.

Sunstreaker appeared frequently in the animated series as one of the Autobots on Earth, saving Trailbreaker from the Seekers in 'More Than Meets the Eye', but he also had very few prominent roles.

Fun fact: Sunstreaker appeared in two places at once in the Transformers movie. Before the Decepticon attack on Autobot City, Sunstreaker was helping Kup move a roadblock. He was knocked over when Hot Rod and Daniel Witwicky drove through it. Meanwhile, he was also on Moon Base One and helped pilot the shuttle that flew Optimus Prime and the Dinobots to Autobot City.

The true G1 fans should be interested to know that the original toys actually came with some manufacturing discrepancies: Sunstreaker's Tech Specs and Transformers Universe profile mention a rear mounted engine (which is actually only a feature on Sideswipe). On top of that, the missile launcher and gun in Sunstreaker's profile are actually found on the Sideswipe toy.

[Tech Specs: dummies guide to transforming Sunstreaker]

The Sunstreaker figure was designed by Koujin Ohno (of Takara Toys) and is credited as the first 'Car to Robot Transforming Toy' ever made. It appeared first in Takara's Car Robot Series in 1982 before being used in the initial wave of Hasbro Transformers in 1984.

[The 1984 version: boxy and cool]

According to original tech spec notes, the original name for Sunstreaker was Spinout.

Recent news shows that Hasbro announced (at BotCon 2007) that both Sideswipe and Sunstreaker will be released in 2008 as part of the Transformers: Universe/Classics 2.0 line as Deluxe sized toys.

Sunstreaker is the considered the original toy, while Sideswipe will be a remold of him with a new head and weapons, with the body being rotated from Sunstreaker's robot mode so the car's hood (on Sunstreaker's back) becomes Sideswipe's chest.

[The 2007 Classics series: too awesome]

On the 23rd of January 2008, the Transformers Collectors Club revealed a pictures of both his vehicle and robot mode to members only. This picture was quickly reprinted on the Toyfare magazine web site. And a packaged version of this toy first followed on eBay in March of 2008.