Height: 13.5cm (Robot Mode); 14cm (Vehicle Mode length)
Articulation: 12 points total - 3 points in each arm: double jointed shoulders, hinge elbow; 3 points in each leg: Ball joint hips, hinge/swivel combination knees.
Colors: Molded lime green, black, gunmetal, clear orange, clear blue (Cyber Key); Painted black, silver, gunmetal, gold, red, white.
Accessories: Earth Planet Cyber Key, missile launchers x2.
Release Data: Released first quarter 2006 at an SRP of $9.99. As of March 1st, 2006, this item remains in production.
Gallery: 17 images.
Hasbro is awesome. Seriously. Besides just padding out Cybertron with some really cool original designs in the Scout Class, they've added to the line in the Deluxe Class. But finally, they've moved on to a fully new, original Deluxe toy. Downshift seems to be based on the character of the same name from Transformers: Energon, who bore quite a resemblance to the original Wheeljack. But aside from the head, this Downshift is quite different. Rather than a futuristic sportscar, Cybertron's Downshift transforms into a composite of late 60's and early 70's Plymouth models, colored in black and lime green. Downshift *is* the 70's, man. And as if that wasn't good enough, he has Mini-Con hardpoints, something sorely absent from the majority of Cybertron toys.
It's really hard to get over the loow of this vehicle mode. And I mean that in only the best ways possible. Those of us too young to remember the 70's have certainly seen these in pictures around a parent or uncle's home. It's inescapable. Back then, everyone knew at least one person with a car that looked like this. The popular fan theory is that this toy was actually based on the car of a Hasbro employee. Whether that's true we'll probably never know, if only because it could cause a legal problem.
In any case, attention to detail is amazing here. beyond obvious things like door handles, air dams and the almost imperceptible interior, there's smaller details. Accurately styled tail light assemblies, axle detailing in the underbody, and even brake drums visible behind the hubcaps. If Downshift were about double size, he'd basically be an Alternator. Plus one other detail that floored me from the first pictures I saw: The roof texturing. Hard to describe, but anyone who's seen a car like this will know what I mean. It's touches like this that might not even be missed if absent, but they're still included. Somebody spent a good bit of time getting all these details worked out, even the color pattern. But I could go on like this for a good while yet, so I think I'll move on.
As expected with a car mode, there's not lots of play to be had here, the vehicle fits together tightly and leaves no wiggle room. However, being a Cybertron product, it has a Cyber Key gimmick. And unlike the norm, the "ignition" is hidden until you're ready to use it. Another consideration given to the appearance of the vehicle mode. Indeed this is a special toy. Anyway, the middle of the back window has techy detailing and a little notch. Catch it and flip the panel up and you can insert the key. This triggers the grill to spring out and open into a kind of claw. Downshift didn't know he had that driving claw! The claw doesn't really have a mechanism to close around anything, though. Guess it means he can't really round up those pesky evil Mini-Cons very effectively. More to do with the vehicle mode in Accessories!
The transformation is fairly basic, leading to a nicely tall robot, though still not quite as tall as Override who seems to top out her size class. The entire roof remains a homogenous unit, even including the visible engine which sticks up slightly awkwardly behind the head. The engineering of the toy is really well planned out. Even though the key slot has made a 90 degree position change relative to the hood and grill, the key gimmick still works. I'm a bit unsure how useful the claw structure would really be in robot mode, the more I think on it.
Downshift surely won't win any prizes for articulation, nor will he be doing any fancy moves, especially with his arms being shorter than his giant car-hood-sticky-out-chest. regardless, he's getting the job done. Aspects of the transformation preclude a waist joint, and while there's a bit of play to the head, there's effectively no neck joint. I kind of feel that loss a bit more than the waist, but it's not a deal breaker. The head is very much meant to evoke the last Downshift, and by extension, Wheeljack. Even to the point of having clear plastic "ears" that flip out as the head rises during transformation. Add to it the classic Diaclone G1 styling of the robot mode, and you have a figure who is nothing but attention to details.
Figure gets 8/10
Paint and Detailing
Downshift's paint work is nothing short of excellent. Lines are kept straight and neat. Edges of painted areas are smooth and well defined, and even tricky places like the eyes are painted very cleanly.
Paint and detailing get 10/10
An Earth key. Downshift's Key Code is dm8r, which of course you can use to unlock extra content on Hasbro's Transformers website.
Largely generic looking. They're big and boxy, which is not a bad thing. These can attach in vehicle mode to 5mm holes on either of the rear fenders. When attached correctly, the triggers are made to look like the tail fins present on some even older car models. Below the space for the missiles on each launcher is a small cylindrical projection which I've decided must be a laser for quick targeting. The launchers are also shaped specially to give clearance around the rear wheels. Nice touch. (Something I seem to be saying a lot in regard to this...)
Japan simply misses out on all the best stuff. With the total cessation of Galaxy Force, it's unlikely this mold will even appear there as a USA Edition as other Cybertron original toys have. With that said, this is a completely solid toy, with no significant flaws, and everything going for it. Hasbro went all out making Downshift, and it's a toy that really should not be missed. This is shipping with the initial quantities of Cybertron Defense Hot Shot, so there's a good chance Downshift will be plentiful for a while, so get out there and start buying!
I give Downshift an overall rating of Excellent.
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