Cliffbee.com: Crossblades Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Crossblades
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Ground Reinforcement
Alternate Mode: Dragster



DRAGSTER MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 9cm Width: 5.5cm

   An orange vehicle with some beige and black towards the back and green wings underneath, Crossblades has one of the worst defined alternates modes I've seen - worse than many of the Pretenders of the previous year. The colours work well enough in themselves, however there are no tyres or wheels - only the wings. The cabin is nothing more than an orange bump with blue stickers on either side.

   It's fairly clear to me that this entire vehicle mode is pretty much a footnote - an afterthought to the rest of this toy. Which I can accept, but considering how much it doesn't look like a dragster, it may have better to define it as a plane (like Thunderwing) or a space ship. The wings are positioned low enough that he looks more like a hydrofoil than a dragster.

   With no play value, no wheels and no other car elements, this vehicle is a dragster in name only. It's a very forgettable part of Crossblades, and one that I'm never forming again.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the wing from underneath, fold the back section down. Fold his arms down to the sides, split the legs and fold up his feet.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 8cm Width: 4.5cm

   Crossblades's torso and head are beige while his limbs are orange. His face is painted a dark grey while the shoulder struts are black. There are quite a few red and silver stickers here, adding some detail to what is a fairly simple robot mode. Again the colours work well enough, although it's a little too simple for my liking.

   The facial sculpt here is very simple - a grey mouthplate and a grey eyestrip. Combined with the simple colours and lack of definitive features this gives Crossblades an awfully generic look, even in the relatively unusual orange and beige colours. The bodyshape is okay, but there aren't any exciting features - the closest we get is thruster-like elements on his shoulders.

   The value here is minimal, which is typical of Pretender robot modes. His shoulder swing and he can hold two beige guns in either hand. The legs can split, allowing for a relaxed pose.

   While it's not as insipid as his dragster mode, this is still a very uninspiring robot mode. The colours are fine and the shape is fine, but he's quite featureless without any notable play value.

SHELL JET MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 21cm, 27.5cm combined Width: 11cm, 14.5cm rotorspan

   An army green and beige chopper with either a short green nose or a longer orange nose formed by adding the inner robot on. I'm going to concentrate on the latter since the short nose is pretty featureless and the dragster mode is a write off anyway. The windows and rotorblade are grey, along with the outriggers on the sides. Again the colour scheme works - in fact the three colours combine well here, although the orange is very front-heavy. There are Autobot logo stickers on either outrigger.

   Finally we have a mode that's worthwhile. Okay, this isn't the most realistic helicopter mode we've seen, and there is some kibble such as the shell's feet under the tail, but it's still very obviously a helicopter and there distinct shades of the Apache choppers here. Both the regular and combined choppers work, the outriggers are easy to pick as the shell arms, but they work well as outriggers thanks to the runners attached to the sides. The main failing of this chopper mode is the number of add ons needed to make Crossblades work as chopper. The tail, rotors, runners, twin beige guns, little jetpacks at the rear and of course the extended nose all add onto the base shell. Without these it's not really a chopper. Unlike Thunderwing (but like Vroom), he really relies on accessories.

   There's not much play value here. The rotors don't spin and he can't roll - there are no wheels concealed within the runners. In reality the options we get provide all of the play value. You can detach the front section and try to convince yourself it's a dragster or you can stow it inside the shell. The orange feet of the inner robot will be visible underneath the tail, representing the only orange visible on the smaller configuration of this chopper.

   A decent chopper mode, and a pretty good vehicle mode as Pretenders go, this is probably Crossblades' best mode. There's some kibble and not a lot of play value, but it's a well defined helicopter with good colours. The biggest weakness here is a reliance on so many pieces to make it work - you only have to lose one piece and the chopper mode is a goner.

SHELL'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the extended nose, if applicable, open the cockpit and fold out the head, close the cockpit and fold back the helmet. Detach the tail, fold the legs down into place. Stand him up, rotate the boosters. Detach the runners on his wrists and reattach so that the runners themselves are at the back, place the tail in either hand as a gun, swing back the rotors. Optionally, you can attach the dragster's wingpiece as another handgun.

SHELL ROBOT MODE
Height: 16.5cm Width: 10cm

   A caucasian with a predominantly beige chest, green legs and orange and grey arms, Crossblades wears a chunky green helmet. There are some gold and blue elements on his asymmetrical chest, as well as another Autobot sticker. The colours again combine well, and this is a far more interesting colour scheme than that of the inner robot. The colour layout is pretty good, too, with the orange and blue used sparingly, allowing the more subtle colours to dominate.

   Like Thunderwing in the comics, this mode really should be the anchor of the character, and the entire inner robot pales in comparison, making it dispensable. The beefy armour and various add ons (boosters, runners, guns on his back) really make this guy look like a rugged warrior ready for anything. The rotors on the gun are very much kibble, but if you leave the robot out, you can stow these inside the shell. I'm annoyed that the robot can't hold the wingpiece, because I much prefer the look of this shell _with_ those beige guns on the back - and these are the only handheld weapons the robot has available.

   The play value is minimal, as you'd expect of a Pretender shell. You can play with the configuration of the weaponry - as I've already covered - and swing the arms. There is of course the option of placing the inner robot inside.

   A pretty good Pretender shell, this one has a nice rugged feel about it and a good colour scheme. It's a little generic, but then there are only so many ways you can dress up a caucasian in armour, I suppose.

VARIATIONS

   None I'm aware of. Blue Bacchus, a Japanese toy, is a significant retooling of Crossblades.

OVERALL

   The inner robot and its poor excuse of an alt mode is very forgettable, but the shell and its alternate mode are pretty good. The dragster mode is unrecognisable as such while the robot is just bland. The helicopter mode is good despite a reliance on add on accessories and the shell's humanoid mode is well laid out. This is the weakest of the three Mega Pretenders, mainly because the inner robot is such a write off, but it's still more rewarding than quite a few Pretenders. This is one toy that isn't worth buying incomplete, which dampens my enthusiasm for recommending it. If you can find a complete one at an acceptable price, Crossblades has merit, but incomplete specimens aren't worth the trouble - 6/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.