Thursday, 3 February 2011

Power Core Skyhammer & Minicon Airlift

Power Core Skyhammer

Skyhammer is a fighter jet and your guess is as good as mine as to what sort of jet he is. Actually if Kaptain Karl, my military aircraft expert is reading, could he tell me? Ta! His nose isn't pointed like many jets but looks like there's a chunk cut out of it. He has a pair of main wings, followed by a set of horizontal and a set of vertical tail fins. Both sets are hinged for the transformation so you can have fun altering Skyhammer's design geometry. The main wings can raise up too putting me in the mind of planes I saw being carried off to the Falklands years ago on carrier ships. He has a fold down landing gear under his nose and moulded down landing gear under the body, which is quite a solid affair but does feature moulded guns on the centre pointing forward. The bulk of the jet is grey/blue but there's some orange as well which can be found on several pieces including the Minicon peg that folds out of the jet's back. Blue and orange on a Decepticon jet immediately makes me think Dirge.

Transformation: Fold the wings and side tail fins up. Look at the underside of the aircraft with the nose pointing up, and fold away the landing gear. Slide the sides of the body out to the side taking them off their tabs then fold them back, with the rear of the undercarriage, to become the legs and waist of the robot. Fold the feet down at the front of the leg and the blue Power Core Block at the back to act as a heal spur. The centre of the undercarriage is the arms: Unpeg the hands off the posts near the back of the jet and fold each arm out to the sides at the shoulder. Fold the nose under the cockpit. Fold from the wings forward down 90 degrees, opening the hatch in the middle of the jet and revealing the single robot head which folds up, Fold the cockpit down 90 degrees and slot the tab at the bottom into the waist. Fold the arms down and pose. Fold the wings down 45 degrees between horizontal and vertical.

Skyhammer's robot mode isn't setting my world on fire. There's very spindly limbs attached to a scrunched up jet. As ever we welcome the lightpipe, in clear orange, and I'm pleased to see fold out Minicon pegs on his back (the same one located in his jet's back) and front (which was hidden in the cockpit, but not revealable in jet mode). The head & shoulders are ball jointed but the shoulders are on a hinged panel that isn't secured so they move about as soon as you touch the arms. The elbows bend at the top and have a ball joint at the bottom. There's no wrist articulation so his 5mm peg hole hands have to stay in line with the forearms. The waist is fixed.... well I say fixed, it's on a hinge connected to the back as part of the transformation and has the cockpit pegged into it. Touch the toy and the cockpit will unpeg and the waist fold down. This is the second toy I've seen behave like this recently, but I can't for the life of me remember what the other one was. Skyburst possibly.... Hips turn and fold out to the sides while the thigh swivels and the knees bend twice.

To transform into Torso mode, bend the lower knee joint back and then fold the upper knee joint forwards till the peg on the top of the kneecap slots into the hip. Fold the foot up and the blue Power Core Block heelspur down. Fold the wings up vertically. Fold the arms back at the elbow joints, so fist is in front of shoulder, than fold back pegging the inside of the forearm into the underside of the wings. Fold the Power Core blocks under each wing down round the fists. Open the helmet up behind the robot head, fold up against the back of the head and close.

Skyhammer's combined mode is dominated by the head, formed from the robot head and covered by an extra helmet, complete with flying goggles, which is a lovely touch! Nice to see the undercarriage guns finding a place to sit in this mode pointing forward, It's reasonably stable standing even when deployed with the notoriously difficult air drones who, despite their allegiance, would seem to be his natural companions. I've got the Fighter Jet and AWAC drones on him together with their respective repaints to make an all plane combiner (The helicopters from the same sets are all on Searchlight - that worked less well !) Unfortunately the combined mode again relies on the waist holding together which it completely fails to do especially if you try to do something silly like pick the toy up or raise one of it's arms. However it's easy enough to reattach when this happens but it occurs so often that it gets really annoying. He can still connect Minicons to either his front or his back Minicon pegs.

Very good jet mode, so so robot mode and a combined mode spoilt by the waist joint. Hasbro: when making joints like this that peg in and need to stay peg in please make the connectors large enough for them to hold together. This really needs a 5mm peg to make it work.

Power Core Minicon Airlift

Robot Mode: Airlift is the Minicon supplied with Power Core Skyhammer. His body and lower legs are cast in clear orange plastic while his upper legs, arms and head are solid black plastic, with most of the head covered in a layer of metallic paint. The arms are each a gun, moulded to resemble a chain gun. The knees, hips and shoulders are ball jointed plus the waist turns and in a neat twist (ho, ho) the head turns with it (Thank you to Mr Marshall for pointing this out to me on Saturday. In centre of his chest is a Minicon socket, while on his back is a Minicon peg.

Armour Mode: Bend the legs at the knee and the hip. Raise the arms up about 45 degrees and fold them out to the side by the same amount. Yeessssssss. Attached to a Power Core Commander it makes it look like the Minicon is doing something very naughty with the larger toy.

Vehicle Weapon Mode: Fold the legs back at the knees and the hip pegging the tiny pegs on the heel spurs into the back of the upper body. Raise the arms straight up and attach onto a Minicon post using the hole on the robot's chest. For an alternative weapons mode fold the barrels back 180 degrees so the majority of them runs alongside the bulk of the Minicon. Yes it is a box with gun barrels but the adaptability is nice.

Robot Weapon Mode: From robot mode turn the waist 180 degrees. Fold the legs up at the hips & waist pegging the tiny pegs on the heel spurs into the front of the upper body. Either point the arms straight up or fold the arms down to the sides. Yes, it's essentially the vehicle mode weapon again but I like the little twist to the transformation that results in the Minicon post not the socket sticking down.

I'm liking this toy. OK the armour mode isn't greet but the head turning with the waist and the way the weapons are similar but don't transform identically appeals to me.

United Targetmaster Micron Recoil

To launch the Transformers United range in Japan a promotion was run releasing recoloured Power Core Minicons as the Targetmasters for United and Henkei characters. Airlift was used as a new version of Recoil, Kup's Targetmaster. The black arts were kept but the clear orange was swapped for a more traditional solid grey, while the portions of the head that were coloured on Airlift now look like they're chromed. While a little different in form from the original Recoil the United Micron retains the dual barrelled design.

Recoil was a Toys R Us Japan exclusive sold on January 1 2011 with the purchase of Y3000 of United product: A United deluxe has an RRP of Y2300 and a Voyager of Y3600.

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