Cliffbee.com: Air Military Team Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review






Name: Gunbarrel
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Bomber Plane

PLANE MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 7.5cm Width: 7cm

   A murky grey bomber with rust paint on his wings and nose section, Gunbarrel is a four-turbine bomber with the traditional outstretched wings, looking very much like something out of a World War II book. His tail slopes upward, but he's able to lay flat on what will later become the robot chest, underneath the fuselage of the plane. Under his wings are black bombracks and on top of the fuselage he sports a Minicon symbol. There's a split in his tail which looks a little odd, but otherwise this is a pretty powerful little bomber mode.

   The colours work quite well, especially the rust paint. By murky grey I mean the sort of greyish brown you get if you mix a bunch of water based paints together, although this is a lighter shade than that would normally produce. It's a perfect canvas for the slightly metallic rust paint.

   There's not really any play value here, but then the play value is in his weapon mode, which is equally as impressive as the bomber mode. The lack of play value is offset by some nice moulded details like cockpit windows and a nose-gun as well as blades on all four turbines.

   The colours work and this mode does what it has to do. I love the powerful look it has, despite the size, although I'm slightly put off by the weird gap in his tail.

WEAPON MODE

   Essentially, you fold the wings up and flip back the nose, revealing two more turbines. The six turbines then become a hexagonal gun array, which is quite impressive for such a small weapon. The flat stand that is the robot chest is again able to support this weapon in a standalone mode, but where it really comes into it's own is on the arm of a larger toy - Gunbarrel looks awesome attached to the forearm of Thundercracker (or another toy of that mould), and this alone makes Gunbarrel worthwhile for me.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Flip back the nose, rotate the stand into chest position, which will reveal his head, swing the legs down to vertical from their sloped position as the tail, swing down the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 7cm

   Again the base colour is that murky grey, with rust highlights and the addition of silver paint on his chest and face and black plastic on his arms. Gunbarrel's thighs are a light grey, although this colour tends to blend into the background somewhat. The mouthplate itself is silver while his cheeks are black and eyes orange, and it's a typically Minicon face, really. The wings don't actually fold away in this mode, giving Gunbarrel a pretty expansive wingspan, which is impressive, although if you don't like the effect you can actually fold them back into their weapons mode position, although the fists will then face out to the sides.

   It's obvious this is the third mode, what with the wings hanging out the sides, and the shoulders that swing out to the sides rather than back and forth. What I don't quite get is why they didn't mould the fists differently, allowing the wings to swing back and the arms to swing properly - it would have been easy enough. The feet are tailfins, similar to those of Powerglide, the hips are restricted ball joints and the knees hinges that bend maybe 40. This lack of leg poseability is more proof that the robot mode comes third here. The chestplate is big and bulky, and it's the main reason why his hips are restricted, so you might wonder why it's there. It's reason for being is to give him somewhere for his powerlinx socket, needed if you want to attach Gunbarrel to someone's hardpoint. This last one is actually worthwhile, since the compact little gun mode is worth mounting.

   The robot mode is easily the weakest link, and I don't think the designer really put too much effort into it. He comes out okay, thanks to nice colours, but this really isn't the point of the toy.

VARIATIONS

   Redone in black with some white highlights in the X-Dimension set in Japan.

OVERALL

   While the robot mode is limited, the good colours and decent bomber mode help Gunbarrel a lot. The weapon mode is the best of the set, and makes this Minicon worthwhile on it's own - 6.5/10
Name: Terradive
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Spyplane

SPYPLANE MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 8cm Width: 5cm

   A black and metallic blue spyplane with a silver canopy area, some orange highlights on the engines and metallic blue painted wingtips, Terradive is a good spyplane with a grey plastic front wheel underneath, which is solid moulded and retractable - although you're not meant to retract it until you transform him, since he'll sag forward otherwise.

   While there are some minor blemishes this is a sweet plane overall. A screw and some hinges on top are all that detracts - the colours work, there are plane lines all over and the wings and stabilisers work visually. Two stabilisers moulded onto the sides of the fuselage look especially cool, even if the Blackbird he's so clearly inspired by lacks them.

   As you'd probably expect there's no real play value here, but then at this size I can only expect a triple changer plane to look good, and Terradive achieves this.

   My favourite of the three planes modes of the set since it works so well visually. Two powerlinx sockets underneath mean it can attach to larger toys. The hinges on top have a tendency to crack, which impacts slightly on the look, but the hinges tend to push the cracks closed.

WEAPON MODE

   Essentially the plane mode with the sides swung up. the end result is a three pronged claw that's meant to be a ranged weapon. It looks more like a melee weapon, and works well if attached to the arm of a larger toy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold away the landing gear, fold down the legs and fold all three claw prongs up onto his back. The two side prongs are attached via those likely-to-crack blue hinges, so I'd advise being careful. If they pop out, pushing them back in will likely crack the hinges.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 8.5cm Width: 5cm

   Metallic blue and black, Terradive's black dominates while the blue is on the sides of his torso. The blue sides of the nose stick up from behind his head, and contribute 2.5cm of his height. The groin and thighs are a light grey plastic. He has a very angular silver face with triangular orange eyes. The face really gives him an evil look, reinforced by the black and blue colour scheme. There's a moulded Minicon symbol in the middle of his chest which is actually quite easy to miss since it's black on black. Despite this lost detail, it's a good looking robot mode.

   Terradive's wings sit on the outsides of his shoulders and his fists are quite cleverly moulded underneath the engines, visible in robot mode but concealed in jet mode. Again, being black on black, the moulded fists can be missed, but don't totally disappear like his faction symbol.

   Terradive features the best articulation of the set, with ball jointed shoulders and hips, bending knees and hinged heelspurs. The weight of the jet nose on his back restricts posing somewhat, but the jointing is still nice.

   While this robot mode suffers from the kibble on it's back, the aesthetic works and I like the articulation. Personally my favourite of the three robot modes in the set, even if transforming him can be a pain.

VARIATIONS

   Redone in black and white in the X-Dimension set in Japan.

OVERALL

   My favourite of the set, and while the weapon mode is kind of weak, both robot and jet modes are quite strong. Flawed engineering holds Terradive back, unfortunately, and keeps a good Minicon from being a great Minicon - 6.5/10
Name: Thunderwing
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Stealth Bomber

BOMBER MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5cm Width: 8cm

   A darkish grey flying wing - as Stealth Bombers tend to be, with gold paint on his tailfins and along the front of his wings. Thunderwing's nose is made of a soft gold plastic for some reason, and he has a very narrow canopy with black painted windows. This is probably the most boring plane mode of the set, but it's still a good one with lots of moulded plane lines on his wings and fuselage.

   Thunderwing has two moulded bombs under each wing and a lot of undercarriage junk, which is mostly hidden but still manages to be an issue. Basically, he rests on his powerlinx socket with protrudes further than the robot bits around it, giving him an annoying tendency to keel over and rock backwards. This limitation is caused by his weapon mode design, and I'm not sure the weapon mode is really worth it.

   There's really no play value here - Thunderwing sits there being a Stealth. While I don't really expect much play value, a more stable base wouldn't go astray.

   My least favourite plane in this set, but it still has it's positives, such as the mould detail and the bombs under the wings. Other than the unstable powerlinx socket support, there aren't really any flaws.

WEAPON MODE

   By swinging the wingtips back and resting the robot arms on top, Thunderwing becomes a throwing star, with a rotating powerlinx socket underneath so you can attach him to larger toys. The right wingtip actually forms the point at the rear of this four-pointed star, while the left one tucks away for symmetry. The arms on top don't quite work visually, and I suspect would affect the flight of this star (I'm not going to throw him at a wall to test this theory). This is a novel idea but it doesn't end up being anywhere as nifty as they probably thought it would.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the legs from underneath the plane, swing out the arms and fold down the jets to form his chest, which will also reveal his head.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 8cm

   A dark grey robot with metallic blue forearms and boots, a black head with a gold face along with various other gold highlights. The wings sit behind his shoulders and work fairly well as wings for the robot mode. The black head doesn't quite fit, but it doesn't stand out either so I'm not really worried.

   What does worry me is the very disjointed torso - below the line of the engines his torso is more or less hollow, with the hardpoint forming the central torso, with nothing on either side, except for the backplate which consists of some rather unappealing hinging and other stuff you don't want to see. The groin is grey and the soft nose of the plane mode forms a tail of sorts. As with the bomber mode, I'm not sure that the problems caused by this rotating socket are justified by the weapon mode.

   The poseability is okay. The shoulders and hips swing while the knees and elbows bend. All of these joints are needed for the transformation, so he doesn't have any jointing purely for the sake of his robot mode, unlike the more versatile Terradive. Thunderwing also lacks the heelspurs of his teammate, and with small footprints he ends up having no useful leg poseability, although you can pose the arms.

   The worst robot mode of the set, with slightly incongruous colours. The wings are a nice touch but the mess that is his torso really hurts.

VARIATIONS

   Redone in black in the X-Dimension set in Japan. This version has a really nice white paintwash and the black helps mask some of the robot mode flaws.

OVERALL

   The worst of a fairly good bunch. The weapon mode is inventive but ultimately ruins Thunderwing's robot mode and limits an otherwise cool bomber mode, so I'd probably like this toy better if he didn't devote so much of himself to a weapon mode that's only of limited value anyway - 5/10
TEAM OVERALL

   All three toys have their strong points here. Gunbarrel and Terradive are good, despite some flaws and Gunbarrel's weapon mode is awesome. Terradive's robot mode is the best of the set and all three have good plane modes. If Thunderwing was a little better I'd really recommend this set, but as it I'll stop short of gushing praise. Certainly they make a great accessory set, and if you like Minicons they're worth picking up - 6/10

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