Cliffbee.com: TFU Air Raid Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Air Raid
Series: Transformers Universe
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Stealth Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 10cm Width: 7cm

   A dark blue stealth fighter jet with a transparent yellow cockpit, red nose and wing stripes, silver wingstripes, a red stamped Autobot logo behind the cockpit pea soup green undercarriage. The colour scheme isn't really Air Raid, even if the mould is. This is not a bad colour scheme mind you, although the maroon tail/missile launcher and pea soup missile are an odd combination. The end result is a mish mash of dark pastel colours, and it works better than it's entitled to.

   The missile launcher is connected to the airframe through two ball joints, so it's limited only by the wings in terms of movement. You can point it backwards or position it underneath the jet itself or point it sideways. If this were a real jet I'm not sure it'd fly so well with the tailfins underneath or sideways, and even if it could it'd lose any semblance of stealth. Luckily for Air Raid, he exists to provide play value for kids (and collectors), so being able to evade radar isn't as important as having a cool missile launcher. The missiles can also clip underneath each wing, incidentally. Whether the missile are in the launcher or under the wings they really contrast with the rest of the jet. He comes with two launchers (there are three in the pack, the instructions and card suggest Air Raid gets two of them and Wind Sheer the other, although they make no mention of the fact they can fit in his launcher).

   The landing gear underneath is retractable, although the front one can be a little tricky to fold down if you don't have fingernails. He'll happily sit on his belly if the wheels are folded away. The missile launcher will fire the missile around a metre, and you can tap the missiles out as (somewhat long) bombs if they're underwing. The missile launcher is a ball-pressure affair. Basically, you push on the back of the missile until the ball slips out of the claw and the missile flies across the room. The upside is that there aren't any moving parts to wear out, but these aren't as powerful as spring launchers.

   The Autobot symbol is a nice addition to this mould - the original didn't sport any allegiance symbols (although it did sport the words "UNITED STATES"). The sculpt is about as complex as you could really expect of a stealth jet of this side, and his air intakes are painted silver which is cool - and shows more attention to detail than is typical of the TFU line.

   I'm not really sure why they went with these colours. I don't mind them, but the combination is weird. I'd probably like the scheme more if it didn't have the red on it, although I'm glad the red (and silver) has been kept simple. The missile launcher works very well - important since it's the whole point of the jet mode, really. I'm not sure this colour scheme really suits Air Raid (or a stealth jet!) but this is still a pretty good jet mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Involved for a small Transformer, and difficult to really describe adequately. Essentially, the legs fold out from underneath, the missile launcher becomes the right arm while the left is the core of the jet. The nose of the jet becomes his torso (a triangle shaped torso, of course) and the wingtips become a cape rising behind his shoulders.

   The collar section is a little unstable, and will often unclip during transformation back to jet mode, detaching the arms and backplate from the rest of Air Raid. This central joint relies on a very small hinge, and while it's easy enough to reattach it takes the fun out of the transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   Again dark blue, Air Raid now has a lot more maroon. The blue and maroon interplay quite well here, making this mode's colour scheme better (the red is also more sparse, which I like). The shoulders, thighs and right forearm are black and the missiles that weird pea soup green. His feet and left hand are painted dark grey and his shins silver while there's some red on his face and chest. The window on his waist and his face are transparent yellow, but since they're surrounded by dark blue there's no lightpipe. The face was kind of lost amongst the black of the original, but the (slightly) lighter blue and red details make the head easy to discern. The face is a t-shaped piece embedded in his head with a dark blue cape behind it, formed from the back edge of the jet. In some ways this is actually an improvement on the original colour scheme - it's nowhere near as dark and the head comes out a lot better. The Autobot logo is now central on his chest which works really well, the pea soup missile actually works okay here since it's now the only prominent light colour (the silver takes a backseat). The interplay between maroon and blue really sells this mode for me.

   The cape formed by his wings is cool, and gives Air Raid a somewhat regal look, yet sits far enough back that it doesn't hinder his shoulder joints too much, The missiles can be attached to the wingtips again, although this _will_ impact on shoulder movement, so I recommend leaving one in the launcher and the other either aside or grasped in his left fist. There is a fair gap between his chest and the cape, which is somewhat gappy, but it's masked by the dark colours around it. There is a strut just behind his head, to the right, which is part of the asymmetrical arm transformation. This is fairly obvious - moreso than the black of the original.

   The missile launcher - now his right forearm - works just as well now as in jet mode, and if the missile is removed, gives Air Raid a claw-hand. The tailfins on the side get in the way slightly, but they restrict some poses rather than ruling them out. Incidentally, the card pictures portray the launcher-arm as grey for some reason.

   Even by today's standards this toy has great articulation for a basic. His head, shoulders, hips, knees and right elbow are ball jointed, and while the head and shoulders are somewhat limited, there's a wide range of poses available. The left shoulder is hinged, I suspect because the hinge is smaller than a ball joint would be, and this arm has to fit inside everything else in jet mode. The hinge is really the only disappointing aspect of Air Raid's poseability, not that it bothers me much since he's so far ahead of most Transformers where posing is concerned. There's little mould degradation on my Air Raid, so all of this poseability is as effective as on the original. In fact the back clips on better than on the original, so if anything it's more stable.

   Despite the weird colour choices I can't complain about this mode. The colours manage to work well together and bring out a lot of details better than the black of the original. The unstable backplate seems to be fixed and the Autobot symbol on his chest is a great addition. A clear improvement on the G2 version in this mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although he is a repaint of an earlier toy of the same name, as mentioned.

OVERALL

   While this is probably the weakest of the three Cyberjet moulds, they've fixed the main physical flaw of the mould, so the good play value is better than it was in G2. The colours used are simply bizarre and hopelessly unrealistic for the jet mode, yet they come together okay in jet mode and really work in robot mode - the Autobot symbol is a great addition. If you missed the original Cyberjets, I recommend grabbing Air Raid (and Wind Sheer) - 8/10

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