Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 1, September 1984 / Issue 50, March 1989
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 50, March 1st 1986
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 1 (Season 1 #1), September 17th 1984 / Episode 65 (Season 2 #49), January 9th, 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1984
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - Maketoys
- Added an Autobot symbol to the chest
- Added an Autobot symbol to the bonnet
I have a fond attachment to Gears, because he was the first minibot I had, and despite losing the figure later, I still remember transforming him and enjoying his diminutive proportions. One of the more striking aspects of the character was his superman-esque colour scheme, I believe he was the only red and blue Autobot of the 1984 cast, with the exception of Optimus Prime (Although Optimus was more dark indigo than blue). He was used pretty sparingly in the cartoon and also the comics, although did star in one of the stranger US comic episodes, where he teamed up with Spiderman in the only Marvel crossover other than GI Joe in the run. Despite ending up splatted after a big fall, Gears was apparently repairable, not that we ever really saw him again. Perhaps Optimus Prime was trying to spare Spidey's feelings. Due to his relative obscurity, Gears has so far been overlooked by Hasbro, and fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) iGear stepped up to the plate to produce their homage. Typically, they monumentally cocked it up with an uninsipring, overly large sculpt and a dreadful pastel colour scheme. Then there was another company called SXS, who came up with a nicer product but one which did not evoke Gears particularly. Be thankful, then, that the visionaries at Maketoys saw it appropriate to step in with their own homage.
Appearance (Robot Mode) 8/10
Yes, this is more like it. Here we have a figure who is about the same size as Windcharger, which is my ideal for minibots in general. He is well-proportioned, with chunky feet and broad shoulders, thanks to the massive wheels on display. There are no wheels jutting out on the leg, because these cleverly tuck away for a neater silhouette. Gears comes with a pretty groovy gun, and curiously Maketoys have gone with a non-standard 4mm handle as opposed to the pretty much universal 5mm size. This enabled them to keep the hands nice and compact, I guess. The paint apps are fairly minimal but what are in place are very well applied and really evoke Gears well. The base plastic is actually the right colour, as opposed to iGear's washed out mess. Also the headsupt is nice, but it doesn't really blow me away. It's very neutral although in an added bonus you do get another head which is more toy-accurate. This can easily be popped on in place of the 'stock' one.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 7/10
I'm really torn about this, because it is a very neat-looking vehicle but I'm not that keen about the overall aesthetic. I love the wheels and the proportions seem to hark back to the 'Choro-Q' based G1 minibots. Something I've noticed which is slightly odd is that there are visible screws on the bodywork between the front and rear wheel. These parts form the forearms in robot mode, and again the screws are visible. I find it strange that Maketoys did not put the screws onto the inside of the forearm, so they would be less seen in robot mode, and not seen at all in vehicle mode. This is going to sound strange, but it makes the whole thing more obviously a toy. I mean, I know it is a toy (technically adult collectible, LOL) but I find it odd. In a nice touch, the bonnet opens to reveal so additional lights, not sure why, but it shows good attention to detail.
The rear of the truck is lifted clear to unfold the legs, in a transformation seen many a time before. The feet are then unfolded. In a neat touch, the rear wheels are folded into the calf, stowing them nicely. The arms detach from the sides of the vehicle and they are extended by pulling on them. The hands are unfolded and snapped into position. Most of the time the hands pop off their tiny ball-joints unless you use the tab on the forearm to push into place instead. Then on the roof section the rear parts fold down and tab together, this allows for the sides of the main roof to be folded into the 'armpits' giving a better-proportioned robot silhouette. This is pretty clever stuff, and I particularly like the concealment of the rear wheels.
Gears has a ball-jointed head, although in order to move it, you will most likely need to remove the entire chest section - a feature that is present to allow the head swap. This is because it is set into the torso section, so is forgivable. He also has waist swivel. He has ball-jointed shoulders and hips, with an extra joint at the shoulder. There is also bicep and thigh swivel, with tight ratchet-like joints in the elbows, and more traditional joints in the knees. Both the hands and feet are on ball-joints, although expect the hands to fall of quite easily, and the balls are set very narrow. He balances reasonably well thanks to his ball-jointed feet, although he seems prone to tilting backwards.
The plastic is pretty decent, and on the whole the paint apps are very well applied. It feels like a well-designed toy but I am disappointed with the hands detaching too easily, and also the opening bonnet feels quite floppy. I also think that having to pull the chest section out to easily move the head is a problem, because I imagine that feature was designed to be used only a few times.
Overall - 38/50
This is a real improvement over the other iterations of Gears I have seen, and I am more than happy with the size and aesthetics of the robot mode, which I feel look great with the other Hasbro and 3rd-party figures. I'm not sold on the alternate mode, but then I'm not likely to use it much. This is a really nice (and reasonably priced) addition by Maketoys. Recommended.