Cliffbee.com: Generations Doubledealer Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Doubledealer
Series: Generations
Allegiance: Autobot/Decepticon
Function: Mercenary
Alternate Mode: Tank / Fighter Jet



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

   A teal fighter jet of indeterminate model with lilac wings & stabilisers, a light grey cockpit with transparent red canopy & powder blue elements - most notable the soft plastic of his nosecone. Doubledealer is a repaint & retool of Blitzwing, representing G1 Doubledealer. Given that the Powermaster toy didn't actually have a jet mode, this colour scheme is actually a pretty good match to that toy - and the designer has paid attention to detail with the lilac wings. There's even painted mouth & eyes on the sides of his nosecone to mimic the falcon mode. There's a Decepticon logo stamped on top of the nosecone as well - since Doubledealer's falcon mode is Decepticon. I'm not sure how the paint on soft plastic will go over time, but on mine which has been transformed a few times it's pristine. I'm actually quite impressed by this colour scheme - while it doesn't scream Doubledealer (whose colours aren't that distinct), it's a very good match & the designer as paid attention. Also, the colours & changes to the colour map mean this repaint doesn't feel like Blitzwing at all.

   This jet has swing-wing stylings and black "boosters" on top formed from the arms. There's a tank turret underneath at the back which can be deployed on top to mimic the missile on the falcon's back. On some Blitzwings (and likely Doubledealers) I've heard that the nosecone doesn't clip into place properly but both of mine are okay. 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 as mentioned, it can also be deployed underneath albeit rather crudely thanks to jointing - he'll be sloping backwards. In either configuration Doubledealer 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 pretty good tribute given the mould is designed for someone totally different. I like that this jet doesn't feel like Blitzwing. The tabbing and nosecone issues are poor quality control - even if mine works well enough. 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 teal tank with powder blue, grey and lilac elements. The turret is mostly black with a grey cannon. Again the colours don't make the character all that obvious - but then the G1 toy's truck mode is largely teal & doesn't have a distinct colour scheme. The treads underneath are black along with the handgun if you've attached it. There's now an Autobot logo visible on the front under the cannon. The colours actually remind me of Overlord more than Doubledealer - mainly because Overlord has a tank mode while G1 Doubledealer doesn't.

   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 Doubledealer'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 lilac 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 just the gun as it unifies the turret colour. 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 Doubledealer'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. This tribute is least apparent in this mode - which is mainly because there was no tank on the original toy.

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 teal robot with black tank treads on his shins and a black head with a powder blue face and red eyes (with a useful light pipe). His chest is also powder blue, along with his hands and feet, The upper arms and thighs are teal while the centre of his torso is grey with the red canopy visible. As this is his 'neutral' mode there's no allegiance symbol here (although both are actually visible on the back of his torso). The colour map is actually quite close to that of his (Autobot) G1 robot mode - in fact he's more accurate to G1 in this respect than Blitzwing is. He also dispenses with the grey on the arms that slightly holds back Blitzwing's robot mode colours. Overall this is a great colour scheme.

   Doubledealer 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. It's especially annoying when you consider that they updated the head from that of Blitzwing and left the shoulders as a mess. 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. He no longer has the face swap mechanism that Blitzwing had (replaced with the light pipe - which I actually prefer even if it's very common) so the flaw associated with that isn't an issue for Doubledealer.

   Anyway, visually Doubledealer works quite well and really does a very good job of representing the character - especially for a co-opted repaint. The resculpted head looks generic at a glance, but if you compare it to the G1 toy, it's clearly based on his G1 head. The canopy on his chest is borrowed from Animated Blitzwing but feels natural here and serves as a replacement for the red Powermaster engine Knok (whom this Doubledealer lacks, as he's not a Powermaster now). The tail fins now sit on the outsides of his shoulders while the cannon on his back is on an awkward angle - there's no shoulder cannon option on this Doubledealer. The treads on his shins work better visually than on Blitzwing as the legs are much darker overall & they integrate visually as a result.

   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 Doubledealer's only ball joints - thankfully they're quite tight. The feet and heelspurs are hinged. Doubledealer's play value is nothing special since nothing replaces the face swapping gimmick except a static light pipe. The poseability good once you've fixed the hopelessly loose shoulders.

   A visually attractive robot mode that does a very good job of a co-opted tribute. This robot mode may not be designed for Doubledealer but the colours are laid out well so it really does work as Doubledealer. He loses the facial swap gimmick - to be fair it wouldn't make any sense for the character which benefits from the resculped face - but it's a loss of play value. Sadly the shoulder joints needed more work before release, and out of the box they really hold back this mode. It's a fixable flaw although there's a strong argument Hasbro should have ensured this stuff was sorted before release. I've fixed the shoulders so I'm happy with the robot mode now.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, Doubledealer is a retool of Blitzwing.
OVERALL

   It must've been difficult for the guy at Hasbro told to repaint Blitzwing to find a meaningful recolour that would do justice to the character used & be different enough from Blitzwing to make the toy actually work. As obscure as Doubledealer is as a character, he's actually an inspired choice. The use of allegiance symbols only in the alt modes & the facial aspects on the jet mode show a good attention to detail in executing this tribute. The robot mode colours are a really highlight & while the retooled head mean there's less play value, it also helps the tribute. The design itself is very ambitious but 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. while the tank is gappy, all three modes work quite well visually. The QC issues here then make Doubledealer something of a disappointment. The biggest issue is fixable, thankfully - and once you fix the shoulders his stock rises quite a bit. The nosecone clipping in is hit-and-miss and is another bad QC issue, but doesn't seem to affect all examples. 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. I certainly wouldn't recommend him over Blitzwing - he's no worse then Blitzwing but a far less iconic character & the mould is always going to suit Blitzwing better. I only picked him up because I happened across him on a trip abroad (Generations isn't available here, sadly) - but if you like later G1 tributes or have a particular affection for Doubledealer as a character, it's a pretty clever mould reuse - 7/10

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