Transformers United Stepper
At the tail end of the 2011 Takara-Tomy Transformers United figure line, a special recolor of the Autobot Special Ops Jazz mold was made available as a mail away figure if you bought the Japanese Transformers Generations 2011 volume 1 Collector’s book by Million Publishing. This figure was Stepper, a niche character known to Western fans as Ricochet. Originally a Japanese exclusive G1 Targetmaster repaint of Jazz, Stepper was brought to the US shores 17 years later as part of the Toys R Us Commemorative Series redubbed as Ricochet with his Targetmaster partner Nightstick. Now that we’ve covered some basics about the character, we can step into this review and find out if this modern update of a niche character warrants its hefty exclusive price tag.
As I mentioned above, the mold used for Stepper is the Special Ops Jazz from the Reveal the Shield line, which on it’s own is a great modern update for Jazz. It’s a mold that I really like. The transformation is pretty simple and straight forward, as you rotate out a few pieces to form both legs and spread open the arms, much like Jazz and Stepper’s G1 incarnations. The one thing I don’t like about this mold is that the chest hood doesn’t lock in to place anywhere, so when posting the figure it can sometimes flip up and you have to set it back into place. It’s definitely not a deal breaking gripe for the mold, but it’s something that could have made this already great mold, perfect. Even without locking in place, it’s not really that bad, it’s just a minor gripe I have with the mold. As far as I can tell there was no remolding done to the Stepper version, so it too has the same non-locking chest hood, but after comparing it to my Jazz, it seems Stepper’s is tighter. One remold feature that I wish would have been included was to be able to have the Targetmaster clip on to the vehicle mode or Stepper’s shoulder, similar to his G1 figure’s shoulder cannon. While not officially included as part of the design, it can be done with some steady posing of the Targetmaster.
An interesting thing about Stepper’s deco is that When we first saw solicitations for the figure, it looked like most of his deco would be stickers rather than tampographs. I was quite surprised when I opened my copy of the figure to find out this wasn’t the case. All of Stepper’s paint decos are tampographed on with amazing detail. The gold has a crisp sheen that sparkles and shines, with zero overspray. Another thing to note is that there’s actually shiny gold paint behind the clear translucent visor, making it appear that it’s a gold visor. Takara-Tomy has really outdone themselves with both the paint and detailing on this figure.
Stepper comes with a couple of accessories, a small pistol capable of transforming for vehicle storage, his Targetmaster partner Nebulon, and two sterio speakers. The pistol is a white version of the gun the Jazz mold comes with and suits this version of the mold very well. Nebulon is the real treat of the accessories. If you’re familar with any version of the Classics/Henkei Cyclonus figure, you’ll recognize this guy right off the bat. While it is the same fully transformable Targetmaster we’ve been getting for the past several years, the paint deco is nice enough to make you forget you might own this Targetmaster 3 times over. I’m quite surprised that this little guy hasn’t had mold degradation yet. The painted details present are crisp and the figure’s black molding is the same color as Stepper itself, which help to give it a synergy between the two. Nebulon is his Targetmaster partner after all.
Like Jazz, Stepper comes with the two speakers that can be deployed from both vehicle and robot modes. They’re a fun little gimmick that fits with the Jazz character, but with Stepper, consider them an added weapons upgrade because they have the 3mm clip system and can clip on to the pistol to make a bigger gun for Stepper.
Starting off simple, the vehicle mode rolls like any normal car should, but that’s a given. Stepper’s articulation is above average for a modern transformer, especially in the Classics line. He features a ball joined head, shoulders, and wrists. As you can see by the pictures, his hands are open rather than closed; a feature we’re seeing more and more of these days. Double jointed elbow and knees are presents, along with a waist joint, which allows Stepper to be able to be posed into a variety of action poses. His hip joint are swivel joints, but allow for a wide range of motion.
As an exclusive figure, I feel that you get your money’s worth with it. Stepper is an amazing figure and a gorgeous display piece that fits in with a Classics G1 collection. If you’re into collecting rare/exclusive Transformers, I highly recommended picking one up, you won’t be disappointed. With that being said, if you got in on the preorders for this figure, consider yourself lucky. Stepper’s value is only going to climb on the aftermarket, especially now since a second Million Publishing Exclusive figure has been announced being Targetmaster Artfire. If you’re looking to pick Stepper up, be prepared to pay a premium for it.