Posted June 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Both Springer and Sandstorm sold in 1986, and both were car-to-helicopter Triple Changers.  Both were not great Triple Changers.  Springer was designed as a cartoon character first, like most of the new Transformers The Movie characters, and so his toy was kind of a robot who becomes this vague vehicle thing that's two vague vehicle things if you squint at it.  Sandstorm, on the other hand, was designed as an actual Triple Changer, more in line with the other four Triple Changers sold that year.  He's everything Springer's original toy wishes he could've been.

And now he IS Springer's toy.

When you've got two car-to-helicopter Triple Changers and Hasbro makes one of them, there's a good chance they're a headswap and a redeco away from making the other, especially when the other guy isn't nearly as well known, meaning you can take more liberties with his design.  But apparently Hasbro was all, yeah, okay, we could do that, but what if we also heavily retool him to give him different vehicle modes and a different transformation?  Like a boss?

At a glance, Sandstorm seems like he might be an entirely different toy.  Much of the toy's engineering and parts are the same, but between all the new parts and the strikingly different color scheme, they could be confused for different tooling entirely by casual buyers.  Sandstorm's land mode is now an offroad dunebuggy thing with a wire-frame bumper and oversized hind wheels, the latter of which flip to become VTOL engines for his new hovercraft mode (instead of the traditional helicopter mode).  You like his new hovercraft tailwings?  Well, they fold over to become his roof and armor up his windows in land vehicle mode.  The VTOL engines and the tailfins also change the robot mode's silhouette significantly.  All the new parts are used pretty efficiently.  You can fold the kibble that pops up behind his head if you want, and it fits snugly into his back, but I'm fine doing it the instructions way since I think of Sandstorm having kibble up over his head like on the original toy.

Like Springer, Sandstorm has a gun (a completely different one) that hooks up under his cockpit in ways unexplained by the instructions.  And also like Springer, you kind of have to start shoving stuff everywhere until you find the elusive groove that snaps into the elusive slot.  His gun has one firing missile instead of Springer's two, and because Sandstorm isn't a helicopter anymore, he doesn't come with the propeller sword either.  A trade-off for the awesome color scheme, I guess.

Sandstorm's traditional mustard-and-orange color scheme has been contrasted dramatically into a very visually grabbing yellow and orange.  He's hard to look away from, he's so pretty.  If I didn't have such a hard-on for Springer and Nick Roche, Sandstorm would be the best of the two just by virtue of his color scheme.  Even then, he and Springer are often neck-and-neck in my brain.

(All Wreckers symbols are Reprolabels I applied.)