Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Generations Combiner Wars Alpha Bravo

Alpha Bravo

Alpha Bravo is the cuckoo in the nest in the team of Generations Aerialbots replacing the missing Slingshot. The name is a bit of a play on words: Alpha Bravo is the phonetic alphabet for AB as in AerialBot. He's a major departure for this team as he transforms into a Helicopter rather than a Jet like the other original Aerialbots did. To be fair there is a precedent for this: Universe Micromaster Superion, a repaint of Operation Combination Sixwing, has a helicopter member: Rotor, a repaint of Chain Gun.

Alpha Bravo's robot mode doesn't help it's cause because it's got a strong resemblance to the missing Slingshot with a red/orange chest and orange paint covering it's faceplate and the top of the head. There's lots of white, grey and black on the rest of the toy but probably the defining feature of the robot mode is the gold/orange missiles moulded round the forearms and hands. The tail and rotor blades for his vehicle mode are sitting on the robot's back. The head is on a ball joint, as are the shoulders, He's got a bicep swivel, bending elbow, turning waist, ball jointed hips, thigh swivels and bending knees. He comes with his own single barrelled hand gun, with a massive ammunition magazine, and the dual cannon which serves as his combined mode foot & hand.

Transformation: rotate 90 degrees at the waist. Peg the legs together. Open the back of the lower legs and fold the upper legs into it and close. Although Alpha Bravo has the same transformation in the legs as the other Aerialbots he's the only one where the legs form the front of the vehicle mode, the others have the legs form the rear of the jets. Fold the nose halves round from the side of the legs and bring together. Fold the top of the cabin down onto the nose. Fold the tail back into place over the head. Straighten the arms so the missiles point forward alongside the side of the helicopter. Straighten the rotor blades.,

Alpha Bravo has decent enough helicopter with a peg hole underneath for the double cannon and either hand peg hole, facing down, can hold the gun. The rotors spin just fine. The problem is that now we see the helicopter mode it's shouting other characters at us. The missiles on the side, the shape, indeed how it transforms and what the robot looks like put us in mind of Combaticon Vortex. On the other hand a mainly white Autobot Helicopter makes us think Protectorbot Blades, and Production sketches show a red version with a new head. Then you looks closely at the shape of the nose and start thinking "Is a Combaticon Blast-off remould possible?" You almost wonder if they had to remove Slingshot, and you wonder if they did given Firefly's jet shape, why they didn't just replace him with Blades and have done with it?

Alpha Bravo can also function as a limb for Superion or any other Combiner Wars combined robot:

Arm mode: From robot mode fold the head back revealing the combiner peg and peg the legs together to form the lower arms.

Decent arm providing the Combiner wars standard of a turning and raising shoulder, a bicep from the robot hip, double bending elbow and rotating wrist. The colours on him are a good match for Silverbolt's white & red and the large amount of red makes him a good arm for Optimus.

Leg Mode: From helicopter mode fold the tail onto the back of the vehicle revealing the head. Rotate back 180 degrees to reveal the combiner peg. Pull the top of the cabin up, then fold the sides of the nose out and back into the position the occupy in robot mode. Peg the dual cannon into the foot. Slot into a Combiner Wars Voyager leg port.

Solid lower leg which provides a thigh swivel, bending knee and rotating ankle.

only real complaint about the limb mode is one I forgot to make for the other Aerialbots: the dual cannon is, like the rest of the Aerialbots, black, giving Superion black hands & feet. In 1986-8 all the combiners had different colours for their hands & feet: Superion's was white while black was used for Defensor.

Decent helicopter and robot and limb. But it feels too much like a different character and a substitute for one that should be there.

Alpha Bravo is numbered 4 in the Aerialbot set and was released with his team-mates Skydive & Firefly and the Stunticon Dragstrip in the first Combiner Wars wave that arrived in late December 2014.

Future Repaints/Remoulds

As I mention above it looks like Alpha Bravo is destined for several reuses: Production sketches show a red version with a new head which could well be the Protectorbot Blades which Wal*Mart computer listings have revealed. As yet no Combaticons have been announced but the helicopter and robot modes are very close to what you'd expect for Combaticon Vortex. The long nose of the helicopter is also reminiscent of Combaticon Blast-off so a as that may be on the cards. A yellow repaint as Evac or Sandstorm is a distinct possibility but I think the shape of the Helicopter isn't quite angular enough to do Whirl, Springer, Spinister or Bulkhead/Quickstrike. Finally the Combiner Wars Optimus torso brings Energon Optimus to mind and Alpha Bravo would make a good helicopter drone Op 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment