The first table I walked up to on Friday had these two figures sitting on it in plastic bags. Top Spin came with his chrome weapon and was marked $3, while Twin Twist included his chrome weapon, instruction booklet and tech spec. Twin Twist was marked $5. Both figures seemed to be in pretty good shape. I picked them both up and handed the dealer exact change.

There was a time when these two figures, referred to as Jumpstarters based on their gimmick, were as ubiquitous as Bumblebee figures are now. In flea markets and early conventions, these figures were everywhere. At some point several collectors started to troop build the Jumpstarters, meaning they bought as many as they could, often for display purposes. This would cause a shortage for several years at Botcon. The trend was and is even more pronounced when it comes to sharkticons. Its been many years since I have seen G1 Sharkticons at Botcon. In more recent times, Jumpstarters have begun to surface once more as an affordable offering at dealer tables.


Both Top Spin and Twin Twist were featured prominently in IDW’s recent Last Stand of the Wreckers story, along with IronFist. They were also among the orignal cast of Wreckers from the Target: 2006 story from the UK Marvel Comics.


I had both of these figures as a child and liked them very much. Matchbox cars were cool, but a Matchbox car that you could pull back and let go and see it drive off was awesome. Same principle with these two figures. Transformers are cool. No doubt. But these were Transformers you could pull back and release. Not only would they drive off, but after a short distance they would spring upward and transform landing on their feet ready for action. Now that is pretty darn awesome. They weren’t very articulated, but they sure had plenty of play value. These may not be the best toys for a collector, but for a fan or child, these two figures are where its at. This Top Spin didn’t quite have enough spring action to get him to jump up and stand correctly. I was only able to get him to stand once out of about a dozen attempts.

Twin Twist’s springs had no trouble at all, though, as you can see in the video below.

[UPDATE] Forum member TigerPaw commented on the Top Spin youtube video above dropping some knowledge on me about the little lever on the back of each of these figures’ heads. I never understood what that little lever was for and the instruction booklet below does not help in that regard. Apparently, there is ever so slightly a difference in length between the back of the head and each of the edges of the lever. The difference in lengths provide a couple options on the angle of the head when it hits the ground as the legs spring up and forward. When I changed the lever to the ‘A’ position on Top Spin, he was jumping and landing correctly far more often and consistently. You learn something new everyday. Thanks Tigerpaw!

I remember liking Twin Twist a little more than Top Spin. There was just something cool about those chrome drills that was neat to a six year old me. As I mentioned earlier, Twin Twist also came with his tech spec and instruction booklet. The tech spec is a neat artifact in that early releases of both of the jumpstarters actually had their character art swapped. So this tech spec for Twin Twist actually features art for Top Spin.

I took the liberty of scanning in the instruction booklet for Twin Twist because I love the old instruction booklets. They all folded into the same size booklet and all had identical layouts. Their uniformity actually makes them somewhat collectible today.