Cliffbee.com: Classics Dirge Toy Review

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Name: Dirge
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Warrior
Alternate Mode: Modified F-15 Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 17cm Width: 12cm

   A blue F-15 fighter in the spirit of the original toy, Dirge is actually a straight repaint of Classics Ramjet. The wings are painted bronze to match the original Dirge toy, and while the wing shape isn't quite the same as on the original, the character is unmistakable. Unlike Ramjet, there's no random fuselage spillover, which helps to differentiate him from Ramjet. The shades used are pretty much spot on compared to G1, although the bronze is no longer metallic (which essentially makes it a mid brown, but I'm sticking to bronze). Dirge sports a rubsign just behind the portside air intake, the same spot the G1 seekers had their rubsigns. The canopy is a smoky transparent plastic and the nosecone is dark grey, rounding out an excellent G1 match. The colour scheme itself is quite attractive, and the red and white lines running down the front of the wings are pure Dirge.

   The basic Classics seeker is a fairly realistic F-15, and forms the basis for Dirge - the modifications here invariably affect this realism. The wings are vastly different, tapering to the back of the jet like a space shuttle rather than sticking out to the sides. There are no winglets in front of the wings, nor the stabilisers at the end of his wings, and he carries Ramjet's tailfins, mid wing. The bombs under his wings are of the thicker variety - which suit Dirge better than the other "conehead" seekers. The changes are carried over from G1 Ramjet, although the bombs aren't quite as impracticably large this time. The other change here is new - the nosecone is shorter than an actual F-15's, which is a by-product of the robot mode being designed as a conehead (unlike G1 Dirge).

   The bombs underneath his wings are actually missile launchers, the missiles fire about a metre, and aren't susceptible to popping out the moment you touch the triggers, which I appreciate. The launchers detach for his transformation, but I'm happy to report that the wings and tailfins do not - fuselage-only G1 Seekers are far too common, but this guy won't be ruined by a missing tailfin. There are four pseudo-tyres underneath - moulded lumps rather than wheels, and Dirge sits flat on the table. The missile launchers are the same mould as on the other Classics seekers. From what I've heard quite a few Dirges came with two identical launchers - although mine is okay.

   While the mould is essentially Ramjet, the colour scheme is dead on for G1 Dirge - and this is the first time Hasbro have revisited the G1 Dirge styling in a Transformer (there has been a figurine). The colour scheme is vibrant, the missiles work well for Dirge and since the colours are a closer match than Ramjet's were, I don't mind the mould being Ramjet rather than Dirge - since this jet really feels like Dirge. It's a good retooling anyway, and the jet mode is pretty good, although the shorter nose does look a little odd. I like the fact that there are few detachable parts - the bombs do detach but don't fall out as easily as the bombs did in G1. A wonderful jet mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Flip over the wingstubs attached to the torso (most of the wings stays attached to the boots). Fold down the feet and stow away the front wheels. Stand him up, swivel the wings up. Fold out the chestplate, rotate the canopy and pivot down to form the centre of his chest, rotate the nose to reveal his face. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Dirge his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional arm bombs or as handheld missile launchers.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 11.5cm

   A blue and black robot with bronze wings hanging off his boots and tiny bronze winglets behind his elbows. Dirge has a black face with gold eyes, a silver groin and some red painted details here and there, on a complex paint job. Other than the silver groin, this is a fantastic representation of G1 Dirge as we saw in the cartoon. The black air intakes are now on his shoulders, the canopy is integrated into his chest, as on the original. Unlike Ramjet, the underside of the wings are painted here - which really helps separate the two, since the wingstubs work as his winglets and the undersides of his wingtips bear the white and red pattern seen on Dirge's wingtips. One of the best G1 tributes, and of my favourite Decepticon. Excuse me whilst I wipe my chin...

   There are several improvements in this design compared with the original seeker design. For starters, this Dirge has thighs. He's also more poseable - the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. The wings are no longer detachable - and hence can't be lost. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. Adding to the play value of this improved Dirge are the missile launchers, which not only fire missiles but can be held in his hands. As I've already mentioned, the bombs are closer to Dirge's original weapons than any other seeker. The conehead - which is now by design rather than retro-engineering, looks much better than the (unofficial) conehead of the original, since it's not quite so tall. This does impact on the jet mode, but I'd rather a slightly shorter nose than a Dirge who looks like he's wearing a witch's hat.

   As with most Classics figures, Dirge lacks any true gimmicks - instead the toy focuses on being a good Transformer. The added poseability, solid build, hand weapon option and thighs are enough for me. We do of course get firing missiles - and these weapons look much better than the originals, but they don't really qualify as an added gimmick.

   While it's simple in many ways, this is a solid robot mode without any significant flaws. The poseability is good, with the tailfins on the back doing a good job as heelspurs. The weapons are very nice, the conehead actually looks good and the G1 tribute is superb. Other than the silver groin, this is a perfect tribute.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Dirge was only released at BotCon 2007, so was most likely produced in a single production run.

OVERALL

   Much has been made of the fact that the wings haven't been remoulded here. It's a non-issue in robot mode, and not a huge detraction in jet mode, since the colours used here are so well chosen. As a huge fan of Dirge, I don't mind the borrowed wing design, since both modes capture the character so well. I would have paid the premium for retooled wings, but also appreciate that retoolings for limited production toys don't come cheap, and given the result without retooling, I agree with the decision to retain Ramjet's wings. Amazingly, this is the first retro Dirge Transformer we've ever had - every other seeker has been revisited in a G1 theme at some stage, and even Sunstorm has been revisited. I'm very happy with the end result, and if you can find this toy for a decent price, I'd recommend him - 10/10

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