Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Combiner Wars Powerglide & Viper

Combiner Wars Powerglide

Powerglide hasn't done too badly in recent years: he's had a Universe Ultra, albeit in a more real life accurate vehicle mode colour but a bit of an odd one for the character, which got a more character accurate Japanese USA Edition repaint and then another as a Wal*Mart exclusive which is even closer to the original still. Finally Dark of the Moon gave us a Cyberverse Commander.

The Combiner Wars version is a similar size to the DOTM Commander using the slightly bulkier Legends size. He's now attached to the Combiner Wars Aerialbot team and, though not a central component of Superion, does serve a role with the combined robot which we'll come to later.

The robot looks like a slightly beefed up version of the original Powerglide, everything is in the right place, no complaints there. He's got ball joints at his hips & shoulders, bending elbows & knees and, thanks to the Transformation, an ankle that bends forward and is actually of some use posing the figure. The head turns from side to side too, just like the original. His hands have 5mm peg holes so he can hold the standard Transformer gun size.

Transformation: straighten the legs, and tab the lower legs together as best you can. Fold the feet up. Slide the engines up the legs, though many people won't have realised they slide down. Fold the head & back up then forward then down slotting into place to become the plane's nose: there's two tabs on the inner sides of the chest that fit in slots at the bottom of the body. Now is probably a good point to fold the landing gear down too and turn the head 180 degrees to hide the face under the cockpit. Lock the flap over the upper legs. Bend the arms up as far as you can at the elbow then rotate the shoulders back about 45° and place the tab on the inside of the forum into the slot under the wing that forms the sides of the robot's chest. Pull the wings away from the body, they're tabbed in place and fold back with a hole at the base of the wing meeting a peg on the body of the plane.

Powerglide's vehicle mode is, as expected, a burgundy red A-10 Thunderbolt just like the original. No complaints at all on the vehicle design though there's extensive reports of this toy being subject to the quality control roulette wheel in that the legs don't tab together terribly well at the rear of the jet. Sadly I have one that's affected in that way. I can also report a certain amount of difficulty raising and lowering the landing gear in this mode, there isn't quite enough clearance for it to fold past the top of the robot chest in this mode.

On the plus side though, you can tool up the flight mode by taking advantage of some of his third mode features: untab the arms and fold them forward 90 degrees exposing the underside of the forearms under the jet which each contain a moulded missile array!

As intimated above Powerglide has gained a third mode, supposedly for use with Superion but in truth any robot with a 5mm fist can use it: he now becomes a gun.

Gun Transformation: Slide the engines back. Fold the tail fins down. Unpeg the wings, fold forward 90° and then fold into the body tabbing into place. Fold the panel on the back of the jet up exposing the sight. Use the landing gear as a handle for the weapon.

It'd a nice big chunky gun with three barrels, formed from the sides and central engine, a targeting sight, picked out in blue on mine, and two banks of 10 moulded missiles. Yes the QC roulette mentioned above also affects this mode and folding the sight up reduces the rigidity of the front of the weapon, formed from the rear of the jet/robots legs. He's also a trifle heavy for Superion to use as the weight tends to drag the arm down at the elbow and also cause the robot to lean forward. I'm also somehow a little unsure about Powerglide becoming a gun!

Quality Control issues aside it's a nice toy, the robot and plane are spot on for Powerglide and the bonus mode is decent, even it maybe doesn't quite fit the character.

Powerglide was part of the first wave of Combiner Wars toys released in late 2014. He has a Japanese release as Transformers Adventures TAV-19 which features lighter grey plastic and a scannable Autobot symbol on his chest.

Combiner Wars Viper

I like Viper.

Viper is a homage to the 1984 GI Joe toy/1988 Action Force toy The Rattler. Take the Rattler colours, put them on Powerglide with a couple of Cobra air symbols on the wings and you'd think job done.

Oh no. You then transform it into robot mode. I've heard some say they can see GI Joe's Viper in the figure but I can't. Other people say they see the helmet of the Rattler's pilot Wild Weasel in the head and there a certain resemblance there. But for me the entire package almost all blue with a red face looks too much like the Cartoon Cobra Trooper to be a coincidence!

It's not the first Transformers GI Joe homage: that honour goes to Energon Snowcat, a homage to the 1985 GI Joe Snowcat and it's 1987 Action Force equivalent. That itself gets another GI Joe homage in for it's repaint the Universe version in GI Joe Nightforce colours. But in a year with standard retail GI Joe toys Viper was a particularly welcome addition.

In the run up to Viper's launch he was advertised as a troop building figure, ie buy more than one of them. So when Combiner Wars Wave 3 Legends hit it was obvious he was the one to be packed at 2 per case while Groove and Warpath were 3 per case. Would you like to guess which toys were carried over into Wave 4? Yup, that's right, Groove and Warpath, which, made Viper probably the lowest distributed Combiner Wars Legend! If I were in charge Warpath wouldn't have made a second case, especially as he later reappears in Wave 6 and Viper didn't. Don't get people excited about a toy and want to buy multiples when you're going to restrict it's availability.

As you might be able to expect this toy then didn't get a UK release, with us skipping from Wave 1 Legends straight to Wave 4 Legends, though curiously the Wave 3 Legends case containing Viper has been found in abundance on the continent especially in Germany.

Combiner Wars Generation 2 Powerglide

So when Combiner Wars Generation 2 Superion was announced Powerglide was bundled in with it. One small problem: Unlike his original wavemates Beachcomber and Seaspray, Powerglide never had a G2 version. What Hasbro decided to do was follow the pattern set by Sideswipe's transformation into his Generation 2 version and swap the colours over resulting in something that looks a lot like Wikipedia's A-10 Thunderbolt picture and the Universe Ultra!

Slap a G2 symbol on the chest and job done. If anything it isn't quite mad enough!

And now I'm wondering what G2 versions of his remaining wavemates Warpathand Cosmos would look like though I suspect the later wouldn't be too far removed from the repaint we are getting!

It was at the point that I decided to do G2 Powerglide when catching up with my reviews that I realised I'd failed to review the original Combiner Wars version or Viper!

Future Repaints

GI Joe provides us with an obvious choice in the Tiger Rat or the Thunderbolt but any of Joe's other repaint schemes like Night Force, Python Patrol or Sky Patrol would be good.

Powerglides have a couple of repaints during Transformers: the original became the grey and blue E-Hobby Badboy while the DOTM Cyberverse Commander became the green Ultimate Gift Set Powerglide which I need!

Then there are a number of other Transformer A-10s: the blue Micromaster Tailwind and his white and red repaint Hothouse plus Cybertron gives the white and grey/black Wingsaber and the camouflage Jetfire. For more options See the A-10 list on TFWiki,

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