Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Skydive Review

Skydive pounds the ground!

My review of the first wave of Combiner Wars figures continues, this time with Aerialbot grey jet guy - Skydive.
You can check out the Voyager Silverbolt review here and the Deluxe Drag Strip review by clicking here
Hit the button below to see the Skydive review

 Jet Mod
Transformers Skydive in jet mode

Skydives jet mode is based on his original G1 toy,  being primarily grey and black. Whilst his wings and nose are unique, the tail section is the same as the upcoming Air Raid figure, being as they share parts of a mold.

So instead of the single tail fin Skydive comes equipped for two for bonus aerodynamics or something.

A side view of Transformers Skydive

Like all of the Combiner Wars figures, it is a very tight and compact alt mode. All of the pieces snap together, and hold firmly – so they will stand the test of kids using them as darts.
I suspect though, these are going to end up in the hands of more manchildren than actual children.
Which is lucky as the rubber nosecone is quite pointy and it all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

As an Aerialbot, it does have the signature feature of being a jet on top of a robot in a box, which all Transformers jets aspire to have. 

As a toy it works, and instead of being a slavishly accurate jet model, you get a fun, solid, chunky toy to fly about. It really calls back to the G1 play style, and personally I don't mind jetformers being robots with jets stuck on their backs as long as they are fun, and this is.

However I do wish they could have done something about the arms being stuck on the sides of the jet. Maybe some booster detailing on the reverse of the forearms would have helped, but it makes the toy feel a tad unfinished just having the arms sticking out there.

The same feeling bugs me about his robot mode feet, which confusingly do not fold up. That is just something I naturally expect in a Transformer, but here they are molded in place.
It saves on landing gear (he has none), and allows his combiner foot/fist peg hole to be used by flight stands (probably not intentionally), but it does again feel a teeny bit like they just gave up.
Combiner Wars Skydive pursuing Combiner Wars Drag Strip

The deco has been updated from G1 with the same broad colour scheme of Grey, Black and Red being used, The wings are now decked out in a nice shiny gold which feels very Generation One even though it is not accurate, as the original toy had crazy lightning bolt decals on his wings (paging reprolabels).

The gold is also used on the molded plastic missiles under his wings which a fair amount more detailing than you would expect.
Combiner Wars Skydive in jet mode with cannon

Yes, for all those 4 folks wondering he does indeed have weapon storage. You can peg the gun on the top which looks surprisingly cool, as a throwback to the old G1 Scramble City ground vehicles and there mounted double barrelled cannons.
There are also peg holes under the wings if you wanted to attach weapons there, which is begging a 3rd party to make more missiles for him.

Despite the feet and arms not being hidden, I love Skydives jet mode. Sure it is not much of an accurate vehicle, but it is a super fun toy that calls back heavily in nostalgia to not just the original character, but the whole style of the Scramble City limb bots.

Skydives transformation is really simple and intuitive, again calling back to the original combiner toys. You pull his arms out, rotate the shoulders up on a hinge (the only place the transformation differs from Firefly) then flip the nosecone back, untab the legs and open them up unfolding them on a hinge.

You can choose to fold the wings up if you wish, or leave them out to mimic his cartoon look.

It is beautifully simple, and crucially - very quick.

Robot Mode

Skydive in robot mode

Once you have completed the glorious transformation (and probably done it again a couple of times because it is so fun), you have a very cartoony Skydive. There is much more red here, covering the majority of his torso with thick paint.

It is a fantastic looking figure, totally capturing the character and being so G1, but the shoulders are an odd choice. They give him Ape like proportions as they are positioned a bit far away from the body.

Not sure why this is, as they could have molded the intake design to the top of the shoulders and just and still had them on a hinge doing the same job during the transformation. The extra red pieces inbetween the shoulders and the torso seem superfluous, but I guess they differentiate him from Firefly and Air Raid, both of which share similarities with the molds.

transformers generations skydive facesculpt

The headsculpt is heavily based on his cartoon animation, instead of the blockhead of the G1 toy. He has an almost Megatron like helmet, guarding his bronze face. and cheek guards behind his...cheek guards?

Kind of makes his face look puffy, as if when he talks he would just be spitting food everywhere - if he ate food.

I was quite emphatic in Silverbolt review about how happy I was that they had not given him a daft giant robo-chin/beard, but sadly they have reverted to that with Skydive. It is not as bad as on other bots fortunately, and is mitigated by his face being quite small so you don't notice it quite so much.

I do love his blue eyes, and the way the paint is applied perfectly, very pretty indeed.

combiner wars skydive vs generations drag strip

For a figure that is not falling over itself with articulation, it is striking that one of the first things you notice when you pick it up is how fun to pose it is.
Skydive has a decent range of movement, and you can get some spectacular poses, but it is driven by the decent articulation and the character of the figure, rather than it being a super articulated toy.

You don't notice the lack of ankle movement, or other bits of articulation, which is its greatest achievement. It is so unbelievably poseable, and the designers at Hasbro have worked some magic to get this figure to strike such brilliant poses but requiring so little effort.

All of the joints are tight, but move smoothly which ensures Skydive is well balanced, and not like a drunk sailor on a pirate ship.

Helping the poses no end, is the port on his back which is perfectly placed for a figure stand - something seems keen to embrace with recent figures.

aerialbot skydive

Skydive comes with a large double barrelled cannon that seems a bit over sized for him, but does help thicken up Superions thighs in combined mode.

He also comes with a foot/hand that has two missiles molded into it. Hasbro have given all of the limb bots completely unique hand/foot pieces when they could have gotten away with just doing a couple of different ones and repackaging them.

Transformers Generations Skydive

The quality control on mine is excellent, and the only thing I noticed is a tiny scratch to the paint on his chin, which was only picked up whilst taking photos for this review. My eyes can't really see it in hand, so it is no problem at all.

Skydive is a fantastic figure and I hope Hasbro can keep this run of form going. Despite him being so similar to Firefly (Fireflight!) and Air Raid, he manages to look different and stand on his own merits as an excellent figure to add your collection. 
The transformation takes a matter of seconds providing a play pattern of fast and fluid conversion which gives them that feeling of dyanism.

Hasbro have achieved this without sacrificing very much, and it is a path I hope they continue along as Combiner Wars has given me the most fun figures I have experienced since the first run of Classics figures.

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