Cliffbee.com: Superlink Afterburner Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Afterburner
Series: Superlink (Energon)
Allegiance: Cybertron
Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Space Cruiser


The US version, Stormjet.


Note: I have the Japanese version of this set, so I'm going with the Japanese names partly because of the G1 links and partly because Hasbro's reuse of names in this set is pathetic.

SPACE CRUISER MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 17cm Width: 16cm

   A red and white space cruiser with some grey, black and transparent blue here and there, including his cabin windows at the front. Afterburner is the only member of his set not named for a G1 Aerialbot - since the name Silverbolt had already been used in Micron Legend for Armada Blurr, and Takara didn't want to use the same name in the continuity twice. This space cruiser doesn't bear all that much resemblance to G1 Silverbolt anyway - although it doesn't really look like Afterburner either (he's a bike). Personally I'd have liked to see this figure named after Scattershot, but I digress.

   The red and white theme fits in with the rest of the new Aerialbot team, and works for a heroic space cruiser. Afterburner's long fuselage is red and white, while the wings are at the back - the overall shape is a flying wedge with a long nose at the front. The wings are rather broken up, since the robot arms form the wing, and don't fold up seamlessly. The wingtips and tailfins are composed of a soft white plastic, which means it's harder for a kid to put their eye out, and it also makes it a lot harder to snap these pieces off, which is nice. There are also winglets on either side of the cabin composed of this soft plastic, but since the toy's base rigid red plastic is underneath, this plastic generally wont flex. On top of the cockpit is a moulded Autobot symbol, and the raised parts are painted red (over the white paint) which looks _really_ good. Not far behind this is a spark crystal, buried inside a red circle that hides it.

   There's not really much play value here - the front wheel folds up underneath the cockpit, the rear wheels fold up under the wheels and there are hardpoints to the outsides of the tailfins. I don't expect much of a jet that also has to become the central piece of a gestalt, but the lack of a missile launcher (or any other ranged weapon) hurts here - Afterburner does not have any weaponry.

   While the basic idea here is quite good, the rear of the jet is a little too broken up for me to heap praise on this space cruiser. That's not to say that it's a bad mode - but better wings and a ranged weapon could have turned a decent cruiser into a great one.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold away the landing gear, swing out the grey engines to form his legs, which extend through double hinging rather extending. Fold the fuselage up, rotate the cockpit, fold it down to form his chest. Unfold the arms, which will unlock black panels which swing around to become inward pointing waistpanels. Fold down his head, flip out his collar plates and clip them into his shoulderplates. Rotate the arms around into position, rotate the boots and fold out his feet and heelspurs. It's quite an involved transformation for a deluxe, but not difficult once you get the hang of it.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 8cm

   Most of the red and white that formed Afterburner's cruiser mode is now confined to his torso, with his shoulders, head, thighs and feet all black and his forearms and shins grey - with blue painted fists and kneecaps. The face is painted white and his eyes are transparent blue - the lightpipe is actually quite effective but there's jet kibble behind it so his eyes might as well be solid. There's some khaki on his wrists, knee and elbow joints which probably doesn't need to be there. While the Autobot symbol on his chest and detailed facial sculpt are nice, this colour scheme is just too busy and broken up. With white, red, khaki, grey, blue, transparent blue and black there's no real theme. Getting rid of the khaki and replacing with with grey would have helped, but I also question the use of blue paint (surely black would have worked better).

   Afterburner's torso is hollow, and there are gaps on all sides. The waist plates seem to serve no real purpose, since they fail to close the sides, although they do reduce the size of the holes. The cabin and nose on his chest work well, but there's a lot of jet shell kibble behind his shoulders and head, and the chestplate doesn't sit in place very firmly. The fists are sort of buried in his forearms which have too many gaps for my liking.

   Of course, it's not all bad news. The legs themselves look good, the facial sculpt is decent and the Autobot symbol as a centrepiece works well. The spark crystal is now on his back but it's not really missed - Afterburner's robot mode doesn't want to be any busier anyway. It's also a pretty poseable robot mode.

   The head turns, the shoulders rotate, the elbows are double hinges with rotators above and below them, the hips rotate on two planes, his knees bend and there are rotators above the hinges. The ankles and heelspurs can only fold up, but the long footprints make for a very stable toy, and with all that limb articulation you've got a lot of meaningful poseability here. It's just a shame he doesn't have his own weapon to give him while posing him.

   While the basic idea is pretty good and the articulation very impressive, Afterburner still underwhelms. The colour scheme is unfocused although thankfully not a mess, and the disjointed torso really drags down the robot mode. And of course there's really no excuse for him not having any sort of weapon.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, called "Storm Jet" by Hasbro.

OVERALL

   The worst of the new Aerialbots, although I wouldn't quite call this a bad toy. There's a lot being asked of this toy - he's the core of a poseable gestalt and needs to have an articulated robot mode of his own. While I can partially excuse some of the weaknesses in the engineering, I'm not so forgiving about the robot mode colours and downright annoyed this toy has no weapon. Yes, you can give him one of Air Rider's or Firebolt's weapons - but they suck anyway. Given better colours and something to hold, I'd call this a decent effort, but as it is I can only really recommend him as the integral part of his combining team - 5/10

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