See the Skydive review for more details on the first version of this toy.
In robot mode air Raid and Sky dive don't look too similar until you look closely: it appears that the legs and the gun are the same shape and that's it. Everything upwards of the waist is new. Whereas Sky Dive was a mixture of grey lower limbs, black upper limbs, combiner connector & head and a had a red body Air Raid is all white, bar his body. Compared to the original 1986 Air Raid this looks a decent upgrade to the original. Articulation wise he's identical to Combiner Wars Sky Dive.
Transformation to jet mode starts off the same: open the legs and fold the upper legs in. From here on it gets different. Straighten the arms to the sides of the toy and fold the shoulders down, tabbing the arms into the sides of the plane. Fold the side tail fins and wings out. Fold the wings back.
The original 1986 Air Raid is an F-15 Eagle, the same as the original Decepticon jets and indeed the jet mode bears the same colour, black, as one of those Decepticons, Skywarp. This new version is a quite similar looking F-14 Tomcat. Despite looking completely different in this mode from Skydive incredibly they do share some jet mode parts: the nose cones and upright tail fins are identical. There's hints to a common origin elsewhere in the design, the way the tail fins fold down and a 5mm peg hole on the vehicle's back for their large weapon, a feature absent on Firefly. Like the other two Combiner Wars Aerialbot jets he has a 5mm peg hole under each wing to mount weapons in.
His weapons set is identically moulded to Skydives: the vehicle mode cannon/hand/foot even looks the same, bar a small joint in the thumb which is now white where it was black as is the dual barrelled hand gun. It does mean, with some swapping, that you can now give both jets paired weapons. Here's a summary of the shared parts
Transformation instructions to limb mode is identical between the two figures. It's almost tempting to use them both as the same limb so there can be a dual cannon mounted on each shoulder, like Powermaster Optimus, or each leg, similar to Fortress Maximus.
TOP remould, love him. I've got the first three waves of Combiner Wars toys now. They may have come first but to me the Aerialbots are still the strongest toys in the set and feel like they're punching considerably above their weight.
Air Raid is numbered 1 in the Aerialbot set and sold in the second wave of combiner toys. He is the lone Aerialbot in this wave and comes packed with the three Stunticons who do not feature in wave 1: Breakdown, Deadend and Offroad. This wave is was released in early February 2015.
Future RepaintsThe obvious candidates for recolouring these two toys are G2 Skydive, in silver, and G2 Air Raid, in blue, coincidentally the colours of another early Decepticon jet, Thundercracker.
It therefore makes sense to me that Starscream, Sunstorm and Acid Storm would make good repaints for Air Raid. Thundercracker and Skywarp might be a harder sell given their similarity to the G1 and Combiner Wars versions but could be done if the body parts were changed too. Alternately another wing mould to precisely mimic the F15 would be good.