Cliffbee.com: G2 Dreadwing Toy Review

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Name: Dreadwing
Series: Generation 2
Allegiance: Decepticon (the instructions say he's an Autobot!)
Function: Sneak Attack
Alternate Mode: Stealth Bomber (which is technically a Gestalt of Dreadwing & Smokescreen)

(Strictly speaking, the Instructions and Tech Spec treat this entire toy as Dreadwing, and the smaller jet as Smokescreen, leaving the tank somewhat nameless. I'm going to treat the tank as Dreadwing and the jet as Smokescreen, and the combined mode as a Gestalt)

Click here for my fanfic tech spec for Smokescreen.





STEALTH BOMBER MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 19cm Width: 30cm

   A blue, jade and silver stealth bomber, with transparent red cockpit, red missiles and a couple of dashes of black & grey. The silver extends along the front of the wings, the blue is the main colour, with jade limited to some camo on the wings, the Gatling gun underneath and the rear of the fuselage. The colour scheme is fairly muted for G2, though the red missiles are very bright. It's nice, though a darker red would have been better. Taking away the missiles, he's got a very good colour scheme for G2, though it's a bit bright for G1 standards. It has red highlights (in the form of stickers) all over it, but these are subtle enough to enhance the toy's look. And about half of them are faction symbols anyway.

   This is a big plane, with a lot of good things going for it. Firstly, there's the size. Secondly the thing shoots _twelve_ missiles. Six of these are in the Gatling gun, which are released in series when you turn the back of this gun. The other six are under the wings, and pressing on small transparent red buttons on top of the wings allows them to drop, like bombs. I like the fact that these buttons are small, since they don't ruin the look of the wings at all. There are two sets of rear wheels underneath, the front undercarriage is replaced by the Gatling gun, on which it rests happily. So it doesn't roll, but planes like this taxi pretty slowly anyway and it's too big for rolling along the ground anyway.

   The size allows for a fair bit of detail, by G2 standards. This thing has air intakes, underwing missiles as well as just a good stealth-like shape. There's a bit of undercarriage rubbish, which is Dreadwing's legs. Otherwise, it's pretty hard to fault this mode. The wingtips fold both up and down, and there's really nothing to hold them level. I never really cared much for this, but BB (of Starscream and BB - BWII) has notches designed to stop the wingtips folding down too far. It's a fault, but it's more of a retrospective fault highlighted by an improvement of the mould than a glaring problem that ruins the toy.

DREADWING'S TRANSFORMATION TO TANK MODE

   Unclip Smokescreen from the back of the combined jet mode. You'll notice that by himself, Dreadwing is still a mostly complete plane, without tailfins. Remove the missiles or they'll go everywhere. Fold the wingtips up. Lift up the wings (they spring up). Fold up the wheels, swing the Gatling gun right back, and up so it's on top of the fuselage. There's little black buttons at the back of his robot legs, push then to release the tank treads, and click these into place. You can place the missiles into the Gatling gun on top, but you don't have to.

DREADWING'S TANK MODE
Height: 12cm Length: 17cm Width: 11cm

   A blue, grey & jade tank mode, with the same transparent red cockpit as the combined mode, and with red missiles (if you decide to use them). The grey is a lot more prominent here, the treads and the sides of the tank itself (which are the undersides of the wings) are grey. The jade is limited to the big gun on top, which can swivel in two directions and shoot at pretty much everything - this conjures up images of Dreadwing vs a housecat. Hmm... timely, mine just started meowing to be let in the back door.

   Animals aside, this mode is easily the weakest point of this package. It's not that it's terrible, but so much of Dreadwing goes into the Stealth Bomber that the tank looks like it's been fashioned out of a bomber. The cockpit makes this rather obvious, being atop a pointed nose. The treads are somewhat thin, from the front it reminds me of a catamaran.

   The gun, as mentioned, can point pretty much anywhere, and can shoot missiles all over the room. The bomber's wheels are underneath the rear of the treads and there are small wheels under the front, this tank mode can roll, in fact it does so much better than the bomber. So while it may not look like a normal tank, it has better play value as a tank than most TF tanks that do.

DREADWING'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the missiles or they'll go everywhere. Lift up the air intakes and swivel them so they stick out at the front. There's a panel to the right of the Gatling gun - fold this up. Then fold the spot where the Gatling gun attaches to the body to the right until it clicks (this is inside the toy, where Smokescreen fits. Fold the treads back onto the legs then fold down the legs, Swing the hips in and click them into place. Fold the feet into place and position the knees. Fold the nose down halfway, fold out the head and then fold the nose right down to form the chestplate. Swing the arm intakes to the sides for form the arms, and them lift the outer parts of these out to the sides till they click to reveal the arms themselves. Swing the Gatling gun un to form a shoulder cannon. Attach missiles if desired.

DREADWING'S ROBOT MODE
Height: 18.5cm Width: 15cm

   A big, stocky blue, jade & black robot mode. The lower legs and forearms are jade, as is the shoulder cannon. The torso and deflectors attached to the forearms are blue, the shoulders, thighs, feet & head are black. The eyes are transparent red, and have the lightpiping thing happening.

   As mentioned, this guy's stocky. We're not talking nightclub bouncer, we're talking professional Sumo wrestler. He's very wide and has a big round head, which is pretty much dome shaped. There's no waist either, which along with the head, makes the guy look somewhat large, hence the sumo motif.

   Not only is he big, but he's poseable. He has hinged knees, ball jointed hips, two joints at the shoulders giving full poseability, hinged elbows and a head that turns. While he's a tad back-heavy, he's got big enough feet that he can stand in pretty much any pose with a little work. The cannon on the right shoulder is _huge_ in proportion, and is able to point pretty much anywhere, although it's slightly limited by the wing sitting behind it to the right. But it spins and when it does so, it'll send missiles all over the Autobots (or your living room).

   Poseability, a kick-ass shoulder cannon.. and you can give him one of Smokescreen's missile launchers, since he has holes in his hands. These holes are too small to use the missiles as clubs, but when you've got a rapid fire shoulder cannon, your enemies shouldn't be getting close enough for you to need a club. In essence the deflectors on his forearms become redundant as shields, because noone'll get near him. But they look awesome.

   What can I say? It's a great robot mode. Poseable, good colours, great weapons, light piping and a nice strong look about him.

SMOKESCREEN'S TRANSFORMATION TO JET MODE

   Unclip Smokescreen from Dreadwing. Fold down the undercarriage. Either remove the missile launchers or add missiles to them.

SMOKESCREEN'S JET MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 15.5cm Width: 8cm

   A blue jet, with jade bits on top of the fuselage, and a black & jade underside - the wheels are black. The cockpit is transparent red, and there's enough of it for it to stand out on it's own as red, rather than be miscoloured by the plastic behind it.

   The wings are swept back, and the tailfins point out to the sides slightly. On the insides of the tailfins are jade stickers with blue G2 Decepticon symbols, on the outsides are red stickers with "ATB" in blue. Actually these are the same stickers wrapped around. The nose is long and pointy, making this jet look very aerodynamic, which is enhanced by the swept back wings.

   The wheels are moulded and do not roll, so this jet doesn't do much other than stand there and be a jet. It looks good, though. The missile launchers can be added to the sides, and although personally I prefer to leave them off, they do give some play value.

SMOKESCREEN'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold up the wheels, grab the legs underneath the jet and swing them forward as far as they go. Push down on the tailfins and the arms pop out the bottom. Swing the arms out to the sides. Turn the nose & legs around 180, then fold this assembly up between the shoulders to form the robot and reveal the head. Swing the tailfins out, fold out the feet and attach missile launcher.

SMOKESCREEN'S ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 8cm

   Like Dreadwing, Smokescreen is blue, jade & black. There's more jade on Smokescreen though - on the shoulders, forearms, lower legs. & mouthplate. The feet, thighs, upper arms & head are black, the torso blue and the eyes transparent red, with light piping.

   While Dreadwing is big & stocky, Smokescreen is small and slim, even lanky. In fact this is a toy I think looks pretty feminine, and I've always though of Smokescreen as a she. The spec never mentions a gender for either robot, and I've written a spec for her, which can be found here. The robot mode looks pretty good, and is reminiscent of a Cyberjet. In fact it's pretty obvious by the transform that Cyberjet Strafe is designed by the same person who designed this toy. The head is strangely reminiscent of Optimus Prime, for some reason.

   This is probably G2's finest moment in terms of poseability, although the Laser Rods & Cyberjets are pretty much on par. Smokescreen's practically a contortionist. She's got ankles and heelspurs with their own 'ankles', knees with two joints each, ball joint hips, two sets of joints per shoulder and hinged elbows. The head turns, also. About the only things that could have moved but don't are the wrists. The missile launchers, one for each hand, are pretty big, because they're designed to work with Dreadwing also. They add to the play value of this toy, however.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, there's an unreleased recolour called Megatron (& Starscream) in G2, of which only a few were produced. The same colour scheme was used in Beast Wars Second for BB & Starscream, with a small mould change on the wingtips, as mentioned. No idea if this change was present in the Megatron version.

OVERALL

   Dreadwing and Smokescreen take the theory that G2 sucks and tear it to shreds. The bad points in this set are minor, while the good points are numerous. Good colours, poseable robots, great weapons, good vehicle modes.. there's a lot going for them. Unless you've already got BB & Starscream, I can't think of anything that'd count against getting this set. I strongly recommend them (or the BWII recolours). In fact I'm giving it 9.5/10, and only because the wingtips and tank treads hold it back a little

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