Review - BadCube OTS-08 Sunsurge

Since the release of Takara Tomy MP-12 Lambor/Sideswipe the fans have been clamoring for a Masterpiece rendition of his “twin” brother Sunstreaker. With no official answer to our demand a few third party companies have stepped in to help fill the void. The first to market is BadCube OTS-08 Sunsurge, a fantastic looking rendition of the vain Autobot warrior from G1’s glory days. Attempting to replicate Lambor’s officially licensed Lamborghini LP500S vehicle mode (With Sunstreaker’s iconic “Super Tuning” mods) but transform into a wholly different robot form proves to be a tricky situation. Did BadCube pull it off without a hitch? Let’s find out!

Before I get in to this review I want to give a special shout out to the guys I purchased Sunsurge from; A local collectibles shop right here in my home town of Calgary AB Canada! Urban Pop Shoppe is a small locally owned and operated collectibles shop that specializes in Pop Figures, Loyal Subjects Vinyls, Takara and Third Party Transformers as well as other collectible goods. Check them out at www.facebook.com/urbanpopshoppe or if you’re in the area check out their retail location at 202E Centre Street S.W. Calgary, Alberta (403) 978-4075! They bring in a limited number of Third Party Transformers and Takara Masterpiece figures and I hope to work further with them. Give their page a like if you dig my review and let them know you’d like to see more!

"I take out 'cons and I look good doing it!"

Vehicle Mode

Sunsurge’s vehicle mode is a Lamborghini LP500S Super Tuning variant with a rear mounted engine. To my knowledge this is not a real car, but rather a modified toy design of the LP500S that was originally used for the Diaclone “Diakron DK-1 Car/Robot in 1983” (Information taken from tfwiki.net). The large chrome intakes on top of the vehicle mode have been a trademark feature of Sunstreaker throughout various Transformers continuities helping to distinguish him from his Lamborghini brother, Sideswipe.

Va-Va-Vrooom!

BadCube has gone out of their way to try and match the design styling and size of MP12 in order to have both Autobot brothers match when placed on a display shelf together in vehicle mode. I personally think they’ve done a fantastic job with very little differing from the front bumper back to about the rear of the doors. Once you pass that checkpoint the obvious differences start to show themselves but I feel they are in line with the same kind of differences that present themselves on the G1 toys. While they may share a base alt mode these are two different toys after all and not everything will be identical. One particular detail I really found impressive is the vehicle rims. They are a dead match for both the official LP500S rims and the rims on MP12 Lambor. He’s also got some lovely hard rubber tires that add a premium feel to the final product. I personally don’t have any issues with plastic tires but there’s an indescribable joy when a high end figure like this features real tires.

This right here... This is incredible. Bravo BadCube!

The Rear mounted engine intakes and chrome/silver spoiler look great and really help to sell the fact that Sunstreaker thinks he’s better than everyone around him. He’s kitted out, blinged out, and ready to throw down with any challenger. The only real downside to his vehicle mode is the rear end. In order facilitate an all in one transformation with the intakes that become Sunsurge’s backpack there were a few sacrifices to be made and the rear section is evidently where they have all occurred. There is a redeeming quality in that while the rear end doesn’t match MP12’s licensed alt mode he does seem to match the G1 cartoon. Regardless this is really the only part of the alt mode I can find issue with. The robot is tucked up nicely with no visible parts in alt mode, and very few parts visible even when viewed from the bottom.

Nothing fishy here...

Robot Mode

Sunsurge unfolds, twists, flips, and compresses to form a gorgeous bot mode. The design is heavily based on the G1 cartoon model with some splashes of the G1 toy, and G1 box art. The result is a fantastic looking Masterpiece style figure that fits in fantastically with official product while still retaining an identity of its own.

Keep him away from the mirror, he'll never get anything done!

The head is G1 toon accurate with the more rounded “ears” and silver humanoid face with gentle features. He has cartoon accurate blue eyes and the paint job is fantastic, they seem to almost glow even without adding any sort of effects to my final photos. The face details are a little soft and could use a bit more definition but it’s not to a detriment of the figure. The way the face plates swap out I’m sure someone could make some replacement faces if they wanted. Personally I would love a more angry shouting/combat face for battle poses. The head has your usual MP style articulation on a 2 axis joint that allows for a full 360 degree turnaround and the ability to look up and down. The downward angle is a bit hindered but he can look fairly far up without any issues.

"Let's kick some tailgate bro!"

The Torso and arms match the cartoon model faithfully with a smaller “fake” roof becoming the chest to avoid the wider look of the original toy and pull off a swap of the windshield and window colors. I know there is some contention when it comes to fake parts especially on Masterpiece and Masterpiece-a-likes but honestly I can’t really see any way to do this better. Look at the original G1 toy, look at the 3rd party version coming from Omnigonix; Spinout. Both figures suffer from having a huge roof and windshield making the robot mode look less like a sleek humanoid and more like a box with arms and legs. This fake piece also allows for the vehicle mode to have the tinted black windows more commonly seen on the Lamborghini while his bot mode can sport the blue tinted windows that appeared on his G1 model.

Ta-Da! Magic!

I think BadCube made the right call with the secondary chest piece and their figure looks better for it. It’s hard to match the G1 animation style as often times they took many shortcuts and simplified designs to make them appear more natural on TV. Personally I don’t mind fake parts when they benefit the final result and when both parts are not visible at the same time. BadCube did a good job of hiding the original roof and windshield under the backpack so that they are not visible and thus I have no issues with the final result. I know many fans may feel differently but I think the occasional fake part has its place in the MP line up both official and unofficial. Take for example one of the most beloved Masterpiece figures to ever be released by Takara; MP10 Convoy/Optimus Prime. His ab grill swaps out during transformation for one with angled vents. Sure this isn’t as egregious as a full out roof and windshield swap but it’s still the same idea and the final result justifies the need for a part swap.

 

"That's right, I'm a hero!"

 

The connection between the roof/chest and panels that become Sunsurge’s shoulders could stand to be a bit tighter on my copy. They tend to come unpegged if I’m messing with his arms but it’s not so bad that he falls apart when posing him, I just occasionally have to re-secure the pegs. It’s a bit of a nuisance but not a deal breaker. The arms are connected to the torso via ball joints on ratcheted pegs. The ratchets allow you to adjust his shoulder height to your liking and can also assist in some posing. The ratchet joints are quite tight and the ball joint’s friction is more than enough to hold any pose I attempted with Sunsurge. He has double jointed elbows with ratchet joints on the top joint that in my opinion are a bit too tight. I think a double friction joint would have been more beneficial as sometimes the shock of the ratchets can pop his gun out of his hand.

 

"You wish you looked this good!"

 

I’m very happy to see double jointed elbows on this figure. This is something that in my opinion should be standard on MP and MP-alike figures going forward. After messing with MP 28 Hot Rodimus and now BadCube Sunsurge I find some of the older figures with single hinge elbows are so limited in their posing it’s hard to get them to emote the same way you want with a more poseable figure. The wrists are on a swivel with a single hinge allowing the hand to swing open similar to other MP car bots. The hand can actually bend all the way back which can look unnatural but can also assist in the occasional pose where he might be supporting himself or holding a larger object. The hands fold into the forearms for transformation and leave a rectangular peg facing outwards similar to MP Ironhide that allows you to attach Sunsurge’s chrome rockets/cannons. The accessories look great as secondary weapons. There’s no spring launching gimmick but that lines up with the rest of the figures in the Masterpiece line up that Sunsurge is designed to display with.

G1 goodness! Hand swap weapons are making a comeback!

Sunsurge’s lower body is a bit more complicated than his fairly solid upper half. His waist is a standard affair with a waist swivel, hinged flaps (separately hinged…take a note Hot Rod!) and universal hip joints w/ thigh swivels. His knees are double jointed with the top joint being ratcheted similar to his elbows. This is a far more serious issue than it was in the arms. The lower joint is also ratcheted but it’s a fairly loose metallic “clicky” ratchet that moves fairly freely. The top ratchet is incredibly stiff and requires you to leverage the leg in just the right way to get it adjusted. The tolerances of both knees are in great contrast and can make posing his legs a bit tricky. I found the lower ratchets would actually let go quite often when trying to get him into more extreme poses. Due to the transformation and the ratchets he is also left looking like he has no knee caps. The plus side to that is that you can lean his thighs forward an extra click for heroic, anime style poses.

 
Badcube-Sunsurge-(61-of-64).png

Sunstreaker, King of the Robo Squats

 

The doors are integrated into the lower legs with the windows folding in and hiding. This can leave the back of his calves looking a little empty. You can leave the side windows unfolded if you like to try and fill out the legs but this causes the issue of having 2 pairs of visible side windows due to his fake chest. It’s a matter of taste but it is there as an option if you prefer. The doors are on a swivel that slides out to allow the doors to swing up and slides back in to lock them in place. Occasionally when messing with my copy the doors would come unpegged. It’s a simple matter of pushing them back in but it can be a bit of a nuisance.

In sticking with the theme, the feet are a little more complex than they at first seem. The foot is on a multifunction ankle joint that allows for the feet to bend back and forth, as well as tilt at the ankle. He has a flip out heel spur that sits at a bit of an angle to keep the tires from rolling his feet out from under him.

 

"Eat lazer creep!"

 

There are two configurations to the feet that change Sunsurge’s height. At the highest setting he is a little taller than his brother Lambor/Sideswipe, which caused a few feathers to be ruffled when he was first being shown off in the prototype stage. The lowest setting is just ever so slightly shorter than Sideswipe but with some fine tuning you can set it just slightly higher to have him match up perfectly to MP12. This feature is very useful and an example of BadCube really thinking out their design and their audience for this figure. Unfortunately due to the adjustable ankle height there are a couple more tolerance issues that appear. At the lowest settings his ankle tilt becomes near impossible to use. You have to extend the ankle to the highest point, adjust the foot, and then compress the ankle after the adjustment if you want to display him in a dynamic pose. At the highest setting the front to back ankle joint on my copy is a bit loose and he has a tendency to lean backwards and fall. In dynamic poses I don’t find you see the height difference at all, but when he’s just standing side to side with MP12 on the shelf I keep mine ever so slightly above lower configuration for stability and to be around MP12’s height.

Brothers in arms

Accessories

Sunsurge comes with a ton of accessories but many are spare parts to swap the chrome for painted silver, and as such the initial feeling of excitement does die down a bit when you realize many of his included parts will likely stay in the box, or be used once to swap and then the other parts will take their place.

"Up on blocks! What an embarrassment!"

He comes with replacement front and back rims in painted silver instead of chrome. The tires are made of a hard rubber and will slide off the stock rims. Swapping the rims can be a bit stressful as you will need to slide a small prying device (I used a screwdriver but I would recommend something softer like a plastic separator or maybe a credit card) to pop the wheels off of the body. They are held in with a 5 point pop through connector that should come out without any damage. I didn’t even chip any of the chrome off of mine. Simply slide the tires onto the painted rims and pop the tires back into the empty holes. Tada! Less blingy, but it matches MP12 now.

It's honestly hard to tell that these were made by different companies

Oh wait...

He also comes with a replacement piece for his turbo intakes and spoilers. These parts both require the use of a small Phillips screw driver to remove screws that are holding them on. BadCube includes a small screwdriver in the package, though it can be a bit hard to use I would recommend a larger precision screw driver, like the kind you use for computer work or glasses repair, to prevent damage. On the spoiler parts there are screws under the posts that they rotate on. Don’t tighten them too much or you won’t be able to rotate the spoiler parts for transformation. I am a little concerned that multiple replacements of this part could result in stripping the holes in the plastic. The turbo intakes lift up and there are a couple screws underneath that will allow you to remove the chrome cover and install the painted silver version.

Shiny! I'm honestly torn... I'm thinking I'll stick with the painted rims, and put back the chromed intakes...

I’m glad BadCube included the option and their chrome parts are very well done and seem quite resilient, far better than the last couple releases from Takara (Hotrod and Ironhide) who, on some copies, showed signs of thin chrome application, wear, scratches, and blemishes right out of the box. They also included a small baggy of replacement screws just in case they are needed. Good thinking BadCube!

Sunsurge includes a painted silver rifle, similar to the type included with most of the Takara car bots. The handle is hinged so that it can be folded for storage on his back in bot mode, or on the roof of the vehicle for an attack mode. The handle hinge is a very tight friction ratchet that is honestly a bit scary, if you’re not careful I could see someone possibly shearing the handle of the rifle off while trying to close it. Make sure to provide even, steady pressure close to the base of the handle in order to fold it away safely. The actual plastic the rifle is made of is fantastic quality, very rigid and feels as good as or even better than official product. I’m not concerned about the materials, just warning you to be cautious to avoid heartbreak. The rifle is most likely based on G1 cartoon or comic source material as the original G1 toy did not include a blaster of any kind. I had a quick look and I couldn’t really find any pictures of Sunstreaker holding a rifle to compare it to.

 

Rocket Rifle... Cool!

 

There are also 2 small chromed rockets included that can be mounted to the sides of the rifle, used to replace one or both of Sunsurge’s hands as rockets/cannons, or mounted on his back as boosters.

Sunsurge comes with 1 replacement face with a gentle smiling expression instead of the more neutral face that is preinstalled. You are supposed to be able to swap the face without any disassembly but I find that the face pegs in far too tightly for that, and it’s much easier to unscrew and remove the front of his head, and poke the face pegs out with the small provided screwdriver. I appreciate an included swappable face as it’s one of my favorite features of more recent MP and 3rd party figures, but the process to swap his face is going to limit the use of this accessory for me. I also wish they had included a shouting face for dynamic combat scenes.

Two out of Three ain't bad.

The final “accessory” included with Sunsurge, is a small human figure named Fry, who is meant to resemble Chip Chase, the wheelchair bound human companion of the Autobots from the G1 cartoon. BadCube certainly did their best, and for their first miniature human it’s a valiant effort. He looks close, but just below the mark set by Takara’s included human figures. The face sculpt is crisper than the heads on Takara’s mini figures but the paint work and cleanliness of the sculpt is subpar. He has basic articulation, swivels at the shoulders, hips, knees and a 360 degree rotation. It might just be me but every time I look at him I see the nerd character from Robot Chicken.

Scale? What's scale?

His included wheelchair is a static piece with no moving parts. Like Fry, the paintwork is acceptable but not perfect. There are also multiple imperfections and extra lines similar to Fry, most likely caused by imperfections in the molds. The overall sculpt on the chair is very soft and looks…mushy for lack of a better term. Fry is also a little bit too small for his wheelchair, which is a bit annoying as he will slide out of it all the time.

Definitely not voiced by Seth Green

Final Thoughts

BadCube came out swinging with Sunsurge. They had looming competition in the form of Omnigonix Spinout who they managed to beat to the market and from what I can tell they’ve done well for it. BadCube OTS-08 Sunsurge has been on the top of many people’s wish lists alongside other fantastic looking 3rd party Masterpiece entries like MMC/Ocular Max Sphinx, Maketoys Gundog, and Fanstoys Willis. Sunstreaker is one of my favorite G1 Autobots and I have been chomping at the bit for a Masterpiece representation since the day I purchased MP-12 Sideswipe.  I’m very happy to have added him to my collection and I feel like he is the premier option for a Masterpiece Sunstreaker at this time.

Yeah... This one took a while

G1 Sunstreaker and his Diaclone predecessors were one of the first transforming car robots ever designed and one of the first G1 Autobots to be released. BadCube has already paid homage to his roots with a red re-deco of Sunsurge; released as BadCube - OTS-Special 01 - Sentinel Blaze. Given the character’s history I’m sure Takara will release Sunstreaker in an official capacity eventually (the transformation and design skeleton is near identical to Wheeljack) and I would expect an official option to be a little more solid, but also possibly simpler. It’s possible this may be many fans Masterpiece Sunstreaker for a long time to come. He has a few tolerance issues and if fake car parts spoil your fun he might not be for you, but if you like how he looks and you don’t mind a magic roof swap during transformation I say pick him up and enjoy having another piece of G1 nostalgia on your shelf.

What do you think? Leave me a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on BadCube OTS-08 Sunsurge!


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