Cliffbee.com: Generations Blitzwing Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Blitzwing
Series: Generations
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Ground and Air Commando
Alternate Mode: Tank / Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 21cm Width: 17cm

   A purple and beige fighter jet of indeterminate model, and while this is a swing-wing like design (not the MIG seen in G1), the colours make the character instant;y recognisable. The canopy is transparent yellow and there are red paint apps along the front of his wings. The nosecone is composed of a soft plastic with a grey nose and there are grey connecting elements here and there. While there's more beige on this jet than the original toy, the overall feel of the cloud scheme is the same. There's a Decepticon logo stamped behind the canopy, facing backwards (as it's also there for robot mode).

   Aside the different style of jet, this jet also largely dispenses with the turret kibble. The cannon itself hangs out the back but the underside is clear now. There are "boosters" on top formed from the arms (and this is actually part of the turret), but they've done a good job of reducing kibble. The soft plastic of the nosecone is a slightly lighter shade than the rest of the purple plastic and on some Blitzwings I've heard that the nosecone doesn't clip into place properly but mine is okay if snug. Some of the tabbing that holds this vehicle together can be problematic, although I find once he's tabbed together properly he tends to stay together.

   There's some play value here. The robot mode weapons (a sword and handgun) can clip into holes under his wings and there's a retractable landing gear under his nose that (I'd recommend leaving it out, otherwise he dips forward). The cannon can be pushed forward, releasing it's single missile out the back (I guess to shake off anyone behind him). It's capable of being deployed on top between the boosters (basically in turret configuration) or underneath - the latter is rather crude thanks to jointing & he'll be sloping backwards. In either configuration Blitzwing can still fire his missile. The canopy opens slightly thanks to a hinge at the front. There are beige seat & console details inside.

   A good jet mode with good colours & a strong tribute. It would have been nice if he could deploy the cannon underneath properly & the tabbing/nosecone issues are poor QC - even if mine works well enough. It's a good update on the original jet mode & suits the character well. The play value is slightly less than you'd expect of this price point - but then he is a triple changer so the engineering has other stuff to do.

TRANSFORMATION TO TANK MODE

   Flip the cannon up & in between the boosters. Unclip the boosters & rotate inwards, reclip (they also grasp the back of the cannon). Fold in the tail fins to complete the turret. Swing the canopy underneath into the cavity the cannon was in, spread the air intakes to form the front "fenders" of the tank mode. Pull out & unclip the sides, rotate to reveal treads on the insides, pull out treads & flip out the front sections, fold away the wings into the gap where the treads were. Swing the stabilisers to line up behind the tank. Swing up covering plates on the front (under the cannon) and clip the sides in. Optionally attach a weapon to the hole on top of the turret and you're done.

   Poor quality control means that plugging the sides in can be tricky - both my Blitzwing & Doubledealer require careful lining up, but once clipped in they both stay together.

TANK MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 14cm Width: 10cm

   A largely beige tank with some purple here and there. Blitzwing also sports some grey in places. Again the colours make this instantly recognisable as Blitzwing. The treads underneath are black along with the handgun if you've attached it. There's no Decepticon logo visible in this mode. I would have preferred slightly less purple but this tank mode is going for G1 nostalgia rather than realism & this colour scheme works on that count - and the two colours work well together anyhow.

   Considering he also converts into a plane without much kibble, this is a pretty good tank. There are a couple of issues, however. The front is gappy, as the space between his robot hips is covered by these plates (but they only cover the gap from above, not from the front). The canopy underneath sits very close to the table (and if you leave the nosecone fully clipped in, it'll stick out underneath the treads, causing him to rock around as you move him). There are various other minor gaps here other than the big one at the front, making this Blitzwing's weakest mode. The back end is a mess with the robot feet and stabilisers sort of hanging there. On balance it's not a bad tank mode - some of the tanks we've seen down the years have been far worse than this - and this is a poseable triple changer - but the bar is higher now & like most fans I tend to hope for more from the Generations toys.

   There's some play value here - and more than we saw in most G1 tanks. The turret can rotate through 360 although the cannon is fixed. The swivel is slightly further forward than it should be, but not too far that the effect falls flat. Again pushing in the cannon causes it to release its single purple missile. The missile fires well, though you need to grasp the toy correctly to not shoot your hand. Easy once you get the hand of it. The mechanism is easy to set off during transformation & general play if you're not careful so setting aside the missile isn't a bad idea if you're worried about losing it. As mentioned, the weapons can plug in on top. The sword has both a post & hole (on either side of the hilt), so we can attach the sword pointing forward, the sword with gun on top of the gun. I prefer attaching both as it keeps them together and suits the character (in comparison to the gun only option for Doubledealer). There are also screw holes on either side of the turret which you can plug the weapons into, although it's a slightly tight fit. There are four small plastic wheels under the treads allowing him to roll, although I'd only recommend doing this on smooth surfaces as the canopy is likely to scratch otherwise.

   While it's the weakest of Blitzwing's modes, the tank mode does have some nice features. The play value is good - the turret is actually put together quite cleverly for one that can rotate. The weaponry provides quite a few options also. I dislike the clearance underneath - it's asking for trouble if you play with this toy. Much has been made of his gappiness and indeed the back end is a mess with the front not so well formed either.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach & set aside the weapons if attached. Unclip the sides, swing forward to form his legs. Fold away the cover plates & collapse his hips. Unclip the treads, fold the fronts away & stow the treads - which also partially pushes out the wings. Rotate the treads to form shins - with the treads at the front. Unfold his feet and heelspurs, swing the stabilisers out of the way (either as secondary heelspurs or ankle guards, as you prefer). Unclip the boosters on his tank mode, swing the front parts up and over, forming his arms. They go through a series of pivots to form arms, attaching to the torso. Fold the hardcovers into the insides of his wrists. Fold back the nosecone to reveal his head - which should pop up automatically. Position the cannon so it points up & backwards on his back, place weapons in either hand and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 14.5cm

   A purple and beige robot with black tank treads on his shin and a yellow head with a grey face and red eye visor. The elbows and knees are also grey. His torso is mostly purple with some red vents on either side of the transparent yellow canopy on his chest. His fists and feed are also purple while the arms & thighs are beige. The colours make the character instantly recognisable even if the colour map on the legs actually differs quite a bit. The yellow head really helps nail the character down here, even if the beige and purple do enough anyway. That Decepticon logo is now on his waist, below the canopy. The colours work well here - I would have preferred less grey on the arms but it's a minor thing - aesthetically and as the tribute goes.

   Blitzwing has quite a few aspects that give him an "underdone" feel and a few QC issues, however none are as prominent - or annoying - as the shoulders. Basically the pegs meant to secure them after that pivoting of his arms don't clip in properly as they're too short (or the chest too deep, if you will). The end result is that moving his arms at _all_ causes his shoulders to detach. It's possible to carefully pose him with the clips in place but any movement will dislodge them. There is a fix (which is easy to google) however it involved taking him apart & sanding back the chest to allow the pegs to anchor properly. I have done so and it makes a huge difference, but this is still a major flaw that's very hard to overlook. Another flaw is the yellow painted head - the yellow paint _inside_ the helmet affects his face gimmick - a similar fix can be executed by scraping off paint on the inside of this yellow "helmet". It's not quite the same deal breaking flaw in that you can leave his head static & still enjoy the toy - but like the shoulders it should have been identified & rectified before the toy went into mass production.

   Anyway, visually Blitzwing works quite well and really does a great job of representing the character. The canopy is borrowed from Animated Blitzwing but still works well as an update to G1 Blitzwing since that sort of feature was common in G1. The tail fins now sit on the outsides of his shoulders & resemble the wings protruding behind his arms in G1. The cannon on his back is on an awkward angle although again this is similar to G1. The treads on his shins don't look especially good but don't look bad either. And hey, he now has proper feet & so is easier to balance. His default face is detailed & fits Blitzwing well. You can (ignoring paint issues) rotate the face to reveal a more Animated-style face and the crazy face seen on that character as well. As this is a G1 themed Generations toy, I'm more than happy to leave mine as the default, but it's a non-intrusive gimmick that adds something for those who want it, so I give a lot of credit for the concept (if not execution).

   Play value is centred on that face swapping gimmick. His weapons can plug into either hand and the cannon on his back can still be used (even if it fires the missile behind him & into the air). Poseability is good, although it's severely hampered by the shoulders coming apart when you look at him. His head rotates through 360, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides. His elbows are hinged with rotators while the wrists also rotate (although they're quite restricted). His waist is fixed while hip hips swing and lift out to the sides. His knees swing although the joints are quote tight (as they share a fulcrum with the joints the wings transform on). There are also rotators above the knees, His ankles feature Blitzwing's only ball joints - thankfully they're quite tight. The feet and heelspurs are hinged. Overall the play value is pretty good thanks to good poseability & the novel face swapping gimmick - with the caveat that you've fixed the hopelessly loose shoulders & too tight face.

   A visually attractive robot mode with a bang on tribute, Blitzwing displays really well. Sadly the shoulder joints & facial gimmick needs more work before release, and out of the box they really hold back this mode. They're both fixable although there's a strong argument Hasbro should have ensured this stuff was sorted before release. I've fixed the shoulders (and care not for the face swap) so I'm happy with the robot mode now.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Doubledealer is a retool (with a different head).

OVERALL

   A very ambitious update of an already ambitious G1 triple changer. The design actually manages to transform a robot to a plane and a tank with minimal kibble in both alt modes. Sure, the back end of both has some junk but it's relatively minor. The colours ensure that the character is instantly recognisable in all three modes, and while the tank is gappy, all three modes work quite well visually. The QC issues here then make Blitzwing quite a disappointment. The two biggest issues are fixable, thankfully - and once you fix the shoulders his stock rises quite a bit. The nosecone clipping in is hit-and-miss and is a third bad QC issue, but doesn't seem to affect all Blitzwings. Not recommended if you're unwilling to fix him, but assuming you're an adult collector willing to spend an hour or so remedying his shortcomings, this is a satisfying triple changer on the strength of ambition & character (even if execution still isn't 100%) - 7/10

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