Cliffbee.com: Classics Dreadwind Toy Review

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Name: Dreadwind
Series: Convention exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Air Defence
Alternate Mode: Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 21cm Width: 14.5cm (23cm with wings out)

   A white, purple, aqua and grey jet which does a great job of matching the colour scheme of the G1 Dreadwind despite being a repaint of Classics Jetfire. The fuselage is white, the wings aqua with green and grey painted stripes, the nose, tailfins and tail wings are grey. The original didn't have much purple on the jet mode at all, and here it's basically relegated to the add-ons. As much as this mould is based on Skyfire, this toy still manages to pull off being Dreadwind since the designer has really lined up the colours well. Even the canopy is the same shade of transparent green. Of course, there's no Powermaster engine this time - but then this isn't a Powermaster.

   Dreadwind resembles an F-14 Tomcat - the swing wing design means it's closer to Darkwing's jet mode that the fixed wing F-16 on which Dreadwind was originally based. Despite this, the colours do their job again, anchoring the tribute. The two were closely linked anyway since they combined to form Dreadwing. There are twin cannons on either side of the cockpit and grey guns stowed underneath the wings. There's an optional purple backpack and optional grey missile launchers which clip in under the wings - if you them attached you've formed the "Super Mode". The homage is stronger without the backpack, but it's a pretty nice looking backpack, so either way I'm happy. The add ons do bring some play value as well - although I don't know that you'd want to play with such a limited toy. The aft sports two thrusters at the back and there's a rubsign on the back of the cockpit (moved from Jetfire's wing).

   About 30% of this plane is Jetfire, including the basic shape, booster packs on his backpack and swing wing feature. The nose and canopy are those of Skyfire. Yet this thing _looks_ like Dreadwind - which is proof that a good repaint can make a big difference.

   There are three wheels underneath, all of them can roll or fold away, which I'm happy with. The grey guns underneath the wings are nothing more than the halves of the robot gun, hidden away, but they do add to the arsenal of this jet. The missile launchers each fire a transparent green missile. The wings can swing out, as mentioned, while the backpack can detach - which allows you to bring the tailfins up from 45 to vertical. The purple boosters incorporate flip-out grey cannons, which are kept in their stowed position by clever sliders. It's easy enough to deploy these cannons while the sliders hold them solidly in place if you don't want them out. The grey thrusters on the back actually sit on ball joints, which is impressive. Lastly, the twin cannons on either side of the cockpit can swing through about 270, allowing Dreadwind to shoot down at the ground or above him. These cannons are actually the antennae of the battle helmet, but do well as cannons.

   All told this is a pretty nice jet mode. There is some kibble underneath - the arms (which house the weapons) sit under his wings - but not enough to seriously hamper the jet mode. This jet might be a continuation of the Valkyrie concept, but the repaint makes it a great tribute of a character who was an F-16 fighter jet. The play value is great - there are quite a few weapons and action features, but Dreadwind doesn't have any stupid gimmicks (such as a crappy sound which forces him to work around an electronics block). The colours and jet elements are nice, everything fits together well - both physically and aesthetically.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Whilst the transformation is clearly based on G1 Jetfire's, there are some changes. Firstly, remove the gun halves, stick them together and set aside. Stow the wheels. Unclip the forearms from the legs underneath, extend the legs and swing up his feet. Pivot his shoulders up into position. Open the canopy, lift out the head, rotate forward. Split the nose, set aside his helmet and fold up onto either side of the canopy, fold in the back edge of the canopy, fold the canopy down to form his chest, swing up the wings. Optionally attach the helmet and handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 15cm

   A white robot with purple and grey quite prominent, and some aqua hanging around. The robot mode fits Dreadwind's layout quite well, and for the most part the colour map also matches. The forearms, upper head and boots are purple, the fists, hips and feet are grey while there's some aqua on his hips and the canopy on his chest. The shoulders are white instead of aqua - some paint here would have been nice but I'm not really that worried - it's very close really. The head is a great match - and has been resculpted from Skyfire to Dreadwind, with G1-accurate yellow eyes and grey mouthplate. A wonderful tribute considering that they've essentially repainted an unrelated toy - it's obvious the people putting together the BotCon set put some thought into how to repaint Jetfire.

   The standard robot mode lacks the boosters, helmet and missile launchers. The helmet is essentially a Jetfire style head, and while they've applied paint, I'm happy to just leave it aside and let the retooled Dreadwind head take centre stage.The boosters open up and fold out to form over-shoulder cannons. The grey arm-mounted cannons and overhead cannons beef him up quite a bit, and while they don't quite match the G1 toy, they do look nice and (unlike the helmet) don't dilute the tribute. The wings sit behind and above his shoulders, and look pretty good there - again this doesn't match g1 but you can always leave them down during transformation.

   It almost goes without saying that this toy has a lot of play value. The detachable forearm mounted missile launchers each fire green missiles while the boosters reveal the cannons. These cannons feature soft plastic tips and flip out quite powerfully. The poseability is pretty good, the feet and heelspurs can close (they're ratcheted, both the feet and heelspurs move together) while the knees have both hinges and rotators. The hips swing out to the sides and while they don't actually swing, there are hinges immediately below them allowing Jetfire a wide range of leg poses. The wrists rotate while the elbows are hinged with rotators. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides and the head turns, rounding out good poseability. I suppose it would be nice if his waist turned, but I can't see how this could be achieved with the cockpit embedded in the torso.

   On the whole this is a great robot mode. There are no stupid electronic gimmicks, many of which do little more than limiting the articulation of a toy. The only gimmick (of sorts) is the battle armour, which turns the basic Dreadwind-inspired robot into a gun totting walking armoury. Granted the battle helmet looks a little big - and it covers the retooled head - but I'm glad they still included it this time around. The repaint itself is again great - I'm not going to stay hung up on his shoulders, which are a minor detail really.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Being a convention exclusive, Dreadwind is likely limited to one production run anyway.

OVERALL

   A well thought out repaint of a really good toy that does a great job of capturing Dreadwind in a toy that was never designed to looks like Dreadwind. The head is resculpted - and done well - but even before that the repaint itself makes this tribute worthwhile. The jet mode and robot mode are both strong with respectable play value - the launchers, boosters, undercarriage, swing wings, poseability are all givens to an extent - but there are a lot of Transformer toys that lack movement in these aspects. This was already a fantastic mould, and that hasn't gone away in the repainting. As convention exclusives go, he's thoughtful, the work done here really makes me nostalgic for the G1 toy (whom I don't even own). It's a shame he's so limited, since this is a fantastic toy - 10/10

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