A flipchanger is a kind of autotransforming toy with a spring-loaded transformation. The toy's major moving parts are linked together by gears, levers, or other mechanisms, and held into place by a simple latch, which keeps the figure in its alternate mode. When the latch is released, the internal springs pull the mechanisms into their robot-mode positions. Usually the limbs or other parts must then be adjusted and posed manually for display. Robots In Disguise Tow-Line is a complete flipchanger of this type.
Some toys referred to as flipchangers use this mechanism, but do not transform completely. Cybertron Override, for instance, has a flipchanger-type transformation which must be completed manually, even before posing the limbs.
Notes on usage
Officially, the term "Flipchanger" has been applied to those Basic-sized vehicles in the Robots in Disguise series which were redecoed from the short-lived Machine Wars line. In fact, the group name was printed on the spoiler of Takara's Indy Heat figure (though it was omitted from Hasbro's Skid-Z version). The term did not seem to be in use by fans until around this time, with its first recorded use on alt.toys.transformers coming in July 2000 .
Fan usage is broader, extending the set of Flipchangers to include the Machine Wars versions of these redecos, as well as the early Beast Wars figures such as Armordillo whose transformations are exceedingly similar in concept. It is uncertain whether the fan use or the official use of the term was earlier.
Broadened as it is, however, this usage does not usually cover the Deployers, robotic animals which autotransform, when triggered, into weapons. This unaccountable bigotry may stem from their reversal of the usual flipchanger design; the Deployers' autotransform converts them to their weapon modes, which are less easily personified than their beast modes. This blatant discrimination is all the more amusing when considered against promotional materials for these figures, which extolled their ability to "flip-change" . Alexis is no doubt picketing the offices of fandom at this very moment. She shall probably not overcome.