Voyager-class Decepticon Blitzwing
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
Optimus was a young and optimistic recruit in the Autobot Academy, wanting to face off against real Decepticons in a battle as part of the Elite Guard. Unfortunately, he missed the war by a few million years, and eventually failed to graduate from the Academy. His ambitions and dreams crushed, Optimus was instead assigned command of a small maintenance crew for the tedious and boring duty of repairing and cleaning up the Space Bridge network. When the Autobot crew accidentally came across the very powerful, life-giving All Spark which was lost at the end of the war, they were suddenly ambushed by the greatly-feared leader of the Decepticons, Megatron, and his own broken army of experienced soldiers in their search for the legendary artifact. The Autobots got away from the Decepticon warship, and Megatron was destroyed in a fluke explosion, but damage caused their ship to crash on an unknown planet. Optimus Prime and his crew went into emergency stasis lock for 50 years, and reactivated in the future underneath Lake Erie near Detroit, Michigan. The Autobots reformated their alternate forms to match those of Earth vehicles so as to blend in. As they begin to explore Detroit, they come across a human girl named Sari Sumdac, whose father owns the largest robot manufacturer on the planet. When she sneaks aboard their ship to see more of the transforming alien robots, Sari encounters the All Spark, and it rebuilds her electronic key card to carry many of its own powers. With Sari’s help in understanding Earth’s unusual cultures and customs, Ratchet, Prowl, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, and Optimus Prime swear to protect the All Spark from rogue Decepticons until Elite Guard reinforcements arrive.
Even amongst the ranks of the Decepticons, Blitzwing is out of his mind. One moment he is a cold and calculating general proudly standing next to Megatron, the next he is knocking over his own troops in an uncaring rage just to get to one measly Autobot, or he may simply turn around and pull somersaults and start singing! No one knows what he will do next, but what they do know is that whatever mood he’s in, you want to keep clear regardless. Oddly, after the loss of Megatron years earlier, Blitzwing was able to find a strong friend (if there is such a thing amongst Decepticons) in the fanatically-loyal Lugnt, the two of them making a dangerous pair upon arriving on Earth. His alternate modes also reflect his inability to remain focused for long, where he bewilderingly scanned both a tank and a jet fighter for his disguised forms! That suits Blitzwing just fine, though, as variety is the spice of life and he’s full of it.
This mode has four small black ABS wheels.
Two fire blast-shaped projectiles can be stored inside the missile launcher engine exhaust nozzles (through they cannot be pointed forward or downward).
The same four wheels can still turn, but now the turret on top can ratchet all the way around, as well as launch the spring-powered projectiles.
Range of motion is excellent, and includes inward-pitching wrists. (The wings on the back of his upper arms can be folded inwards to take up less space if you'd like.)
Blitzwing’s primary feature in this mode is his face-switching gimmick. On the back of his head is a small dark gray cog that, when turned, will display one of three faces- “Icy”, “Hothead”, and “Random”. In addition to this, his head can still turn at the neck for regular posing.
A triple-changer in Transformers is not an easy thing to conceive, design, or- in the case of a customer- accept. It has an inherent problem that features and details that appear in one mode will not necessarily be useful or aesthetically pleasing in the other mode(s). This, commonly referred to as “kibble” by Trans-fans, is both something to be avoided at all costs and something that can make or break a toy design. Additionally, the design must frequently sacrifice integrity (how well things fit together, number of joints, number of parts, price of manufacturing, etc.) to accomplish a multi-mode state, and yet retain reasonable aesthetics and functionality in all of those modes.
Unfortunately, this toy fails to avoid most of those pitfalls…
Jet mode is, by far, the most unstable of the three modes, barely hanging together by two tiny tabs and a set of pegs. And even then… (For those of you who seem to revel in literally destroying toys, this would be a good place to start from.) There isn’t really anything that flows well except maybe the hawk-ish nose and maybe the rivet detail along the wings. (Getting the nosecone out of the rest of the nose is a downright nightmare if you don’t have fingernails!) The missile launchers act as jet exhaust nozzles, and thus are permanently stuck facing backwards as opposed to being able to swivel forward around the fuselage. The tank treads are just shamelessly there. Boooooo!
Tank mode isn’t much better even though it is the most compact and cute of the three modes. Having the wingtips form the sensor eye for the front of the tank was an interesting idea, and thank goodness the turret can at least turn side to side! Again, nothing flows even though the armor on top has a quasi-fractured look. This is also the only time where the feet actually are retracted into the tractor treads. (Getting those two tan panels past his open-palm hands without opening up the whole toy again is also a real pain. What are they there for, again?)
The fully transformable toys from “Transformers Animated”, at the initial time of their release, were highly praised for their significant screen accuracy being carried over so faithfully, not just in robot mode but also in their alt modes with little exception. While here the jet and tanks only vaguely resemble their TV counterparts, robot mode is the most accurate, right down to the WWII German army-styled tank commander helmet, long black gloves, and extra ammo clips on the belt. The two big things I’ve heard Trans-fans complain about was that 1- the turret couldn’t be flipped over his shoulders so that the missiles could be launched forward (I agree), and 2- the wings are attached to the back of the upper arms rather than the torso and don't lock into place (I agree). Some have also complained about how his hands are open-palmed, which totally goes against his character as a berserker (yeah, that’s a problem). Assuming that the joints weren’t so pitifully weak, I’d praise this mode for the excellent range of motion. The face changing gimmick is nice, but the cog on the back is actually too tight, so it becomes a lot easier to just slide the faces around simply by pressing on his giant chin(s). (A shame, really, ‘cause that’s actually a nice gimmick and characteristic.) Why again do those purple panels along the outside of his forearms click like that?
This is another one of those times where I’ve intentionally sacrificed a fixed amount of money because I liked a character more than I did their toy representation. I’m also not a big fan of Transformers triple- and quad-changers because all their modes often don’t work out for the best when they need to. So, while a total pain to work with and a ripe candidate for being doused in gasoline, I can’t say I want to sell my Voyager class Decepticon Blitzwing just yet… but I’m considering it. I think I might actually prefer a super-sized bootleg of his G1 predecessor over this. Recommended with prejudice, and only then for purists or parents who just want their kid to shut up.
|Posted 27 February, 2011 - 20:34 by EVA_Unit_4A|