The 2008 Universe line, the second iteration of the Classics line, was filled with an inordinate amount of Energon and Cybertron toys repainted to homage classic generation one characters. One of the store-exclusive repaints is the Energon-era Aerialbots (well, air team) repainted in G1 colours, to go with the Combaticon set. I’ve already reviewed this set in the past, and this is a bit of a rewrite to update my old work, but mostly because I dug them out and found that some of my opinions have sort of changed regarding them.
To be honest I’ve never been big about the Aerialbots as a set. They keep showing up but neither their designs nor stories held any appeal to me – whereas I found the other teams like the Technobots and Protectobots just more appealing visually. Among the Aerialbots only Silverbolt with his hilarious fear of heights and the bookish strategist Skydive really held any sort of appeal character-wise… the rest of the team is just generally a big heap of m’eh. The other four all look identical, only with different robot heads and alternate modes, which certainly doesn’t help in making them look distinctive.
I did end up buying and owning this set, though, so let’s start with Silverbolt – a redeco of Energon Storm Jet.
Silverbolt transforms into a futuristic fighter jet with a long nosecone. It’s… it’s actually not a bad looking jet, with a nicely defined general shape. When I started to turn it around and around in your hand, all his problems will stand out. There’s the small idiocy of only painting the tail wings only on the inner portion, and his robot legs are just a bunch of messy shapes in the middle on his main body. He’s coloured mainly in white and red, with a bunch of yellow randomly on the sides of the nosecone’s cockpit, and a mass of grays and blacks and random connector blue on the back. It’s not a particularly spectacular jet – it doesn’t look particularly good, but it’s not horrible either as far as these things go. It is, however, the better of Silverbolt’s three modes which is telling just how horrid the toy is.
Silverbolt’s robot is a mess. Sure, he might look cohesive in pictures, but believe me, the thing is a mess. He’s a deluxe class toy, and stands around the size of what deluxe class toys have been up until now, but thanks to misassembly of the mould and generally poor design, Silverbolt is just a big heap of terrible robot-ness. He doesn’t look too stellar either, with those massive, blocky arms and shoulders that look too low. The space between his big fat nosecone chest and the flat piece that forms his back? The space in the middle is hollow, and a messy hollowness thanks to the random pieces of flat black and white plastic that try futilely to cover the gaps and utterly failing. The nosecone doesn’t manage to plug into the chunky crotch piece well either, and the crotch piece doesn’t like to stay in place. The problem is further compounded by the sides of his head, the space between his head and the shoulders, being pretty loosely hinged. Overall his main body is just a mess. The lower body? The knees are misassembled, so Silverbolt doesn’t have knees. You can swing the inner legs out and bend them backwards to find that, yeah, they misassembled this toy. Not that it’s going to be any good if the knees are properly assembled – the lower body itself isn’t anything to write home about.
Silverbolt’s colours end up looking boring as hell, with the main white looking extremely dull and the red, gray and black highlights not helping matters out. His head is also a generic looking thing, and Silverbolt in general is just a boring-looking mess of a toy.
Marks out of ten for the following:
2/10 His robot mode is a messy clusterf*ck and he doesn’t form the most stable of combiner torsos either – he can’t properly become a combiner without favouring a leg, and his many hinges generally wants to move and fall apart.
3/10 Superion’s rubber horns are thin and made of softer plastic. Those little panels on his chest can go missing, and he generally feels like he’s made of lower quality plastic in general, further compounding my hate for him.
2/10 He’s a m’eh jet, but a flat-out ugly and boring robot.
3/10 He doesn’t have much going on even before they nullified his knees – his arms are okay, and so’s his head, but the lower body is just pretty messy overall, with thin feet that doesn’t really support balance well.
I’ve became rather acquainted with the Energon Warthog mould thanks to owning the Fun Publication stories that feature one of the uses of it, Skyfall, and reading it quite a lot when I was young. The original uses of this mould in Energon are named Sky Shadow and Terradive – which I will never remember after posting this review. In theory these two Aerialbots are supposed to homage G1 Aerialbots Fireflight and Skydive, but thanks to whoever is in charge of making their decoes, they look absolutely nothing like Fireflight and Skydive’s original paint jobs. So since there’s nothing particularly tying them to the original Aerialbots I’ve been referring to them as Brownie and Pinkie… looking it up, apparently Brownie is Fireflight and Pinkie is Skydive. Hopefully I’ll remember them for the rest of this review.
These two dudes turn into A-10 Warthogs, one of the nicer, bulkier fighter jets and a personal favourite of mine. It’s a pretty good rendition of the Warthog as well – sure there’s a bit of chunkiness on the rear part with what’s obviously the robot mode chest, and the little energon star stuck there, but it’s otherwise a pretty good Warthog toy. There’s a cute little machinegun turret thing on the tip of the nosecone, the turbines and the wings are sculpted well, and the energon weapon even makes sense if plugged on top of the jet. I also do like how the robot head, which isn’t terribly obnoxious like some Energon-era toys in the first place, ends up like this little gun turret under the jet, which is fun.
It’s the colours that bother me a lot. It’s not even that Hasbro is trying to make their paint schemes look realistic, which it is not… but they went from Skydive’s glorious thunderbolts on his wings and Fireflight’s fun little red-and-white paint scheme and turned them into the most boring and ugly messes possible. It’s not even that they are not colourful – they each have a lot of colours, but the arrangement of the colours are so boring and the particular shades used are so dull that they end up being unattractive.
Fireflight, or ‘Brownie’, is coloured mainly in a shade of brown except for his nosecone, which is a dull blue-gray. Random splotches of dark red, silver, bright yellow and blue dot his body… Fireflight is definitely the better of the two Warthogs, even if the main brown and blue-gray colours clash very badly. Skydive, or ‘Pinkie’… ugh. Skydive is mainly this very light shade of pink you’ll find on cough mints that guarantee it’s left in the sun for too long – it’s a very unattractive shade of pink. Skydive’s wings are mainly a very boring shade of light blue bordered by an even more boring shade of gray, and like Fireflight he’s got random reds, blues and yellows dotted all over him. Skydive is an absolute mess, and so is Fireflight – which is a pity since all the previous uses of the mould make it look pretty good.
The Warthogs’ robot modes are a bit better, insomuch that it’s almost uniformly banal instead of clashing badly with each other. Which is a shame, because the mould is pretty decent… the wings can splay sideways or be bent backwards to give them some variation, I do like how the fist-holes are enclosed within the turbines like gauntlets – that would certainly make punching someone pretty painful. The chest is decent with details, there’s a nice little Seekeresque shoulder thing going on, and I do like how asymmetrical the legs look with one leg being made out of a cockpit and the other made out of the machinegun. And what made me fall in love with this mould is the headsculpt with its crazy pilot’s goggles that can swing up and down and double as eye-machineguns. I do find the whole concept about those goggle-guns daft but fun.
They also come with these massive double-barreled guns those top can flip out like some kind of shield. Or something. The guns look pretty great as weapons… don’t really have any particular feelings about these guns.
Articulation wise, for basic class toys the Warthogs are pretty great as well! They’ve got rotating necks and waists, and all the necessary bits are ball-jointed or hinged: shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles. They’ve got more articulation than some modern deluxe class toys… so what’s wrong with them? Well, again, it’s their colours. The colours make them look just so unattractive in this mode. Fireflight is now equal parts brown and gray, but that’s because a lot of red and yellow creep into his paintjob. Skydive, meanwhile, has all his previous colours – that faded-out ugly pink, light gray, light blue, red and yellow, all of which kind of melt together to create the most unattractive faded-out paint scheme ever pockmarked with splotches of bright red and yellow.
It’s a massive shame because I really, really like these moulds but these things are just so damn ugly.
Marks out of ten for the following:
8/10 Fireflight and Skydive are designed with pretty great transformations between alternate and robot modes, making them pretty great-looking toys to muck around with.
7/10 THOSE GOD DAMN GOGGLES KEEP POPPING OFF I SWEAR THEY POP OFF AT THE SLIGHTEST NUDGE. Err, um, Brownie and Pinkie are otherwise pretty durable toys.
2/10 It’s a shame… the sculpts are really good and I really do want to like them, but the stupid paint scheme they’ve chosen for them – Pinkie in particular – makes them look really horribly mind-numbingly dull as hell.
10/10 The mould has pretty good articulation that rivals and even surpasses some deluxe class toys. Definitely surpasses the Silverbolt in this set, for sure.
Air Raid and Airazor are redecoes of the Treadshot/Windrazor mould, with Airazor supposedly representing Slingshot, a trademark Hasbro has lost since around 1992 and still haven’t gotten back – Airazor’s only one of the many pseudonyms Slingshot has gone by in recent years. There’s really not much to say about them.
Air Raid and Airazor transform into some kind of futuristic version of a fighter jet. They look okay-ish, even if their wings do look too dinky for them to fly. They’ve got pretty decent moulding despite the rather oddly snubby nosecones – energon stars attach to the space between the tailwings and it’s distracting. I generally remove them. Nothing too spectacular. I like Air Raid better – he’s dark grey and black, with blood-red highlights and that’s it – no fancy yellows and light blues splotching everywhere like the rest of his team. It’s a little bonus that Air Raid is the only one in this set that remotely looks like who he’s supposed to represent. Airazor is a bit less nice, though he’s still the second-best-looking Aerialbot in the set. He’s mainly white, with red and yellow bordering his wings and nosecones, but his nosecone and what are obviously his robot legs are coloured grey, making the dinky wings look even smaller thanks to the comparison. Overall, though, the two do look pretty okay if average.
Their… whatever the weapons they come with, those breadstick-looking things. What the hell are those – double-barreled guns? Tuning forks? Darth Maul lightsabers? Whatever they are, they can stick underneath their wings so they can shoot forwards and backwards at the same time. Whee!
Air Raid and Airazor has pretty clean robot modes and end up looking pretty great – unlike the rest of their team, their colour schemes translate extremely well here, and both of them look pretty great. They’re not quite as posable as the Warthog moulds, lacking a waist joint and the hip articulation compromised somewhat by the fact that their waist sometimes popping off from into two halves, but they are otherwise really decent little robots. They are articulated in the head, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles… pretty great stuff for a basic class toy. The really basic Cyberjet transformation works pretty well to deliver a nice looking robot.
And, of course, they can wield those breadstick thingies. I still have no idea what they are supposed to be. You probably have to set the connectors aside, though, but whether you want to interpret them as some kind of wacky double-barreled gun that can shoot in multiple directions or, as I prefer it, as Darth Maul-style lightsabers.
Marks out of ten for the following:
9/10 Simple and sweet. It’s nothing groundbreaking and both modes do look a little generic, but it’s a functional transformation that works well.
8/10 Air Raid, 6/10 Airazor. The duo are mostly solid, but for whatever reason, the ball joints in Airazor has gone a bit loose and is showing the clear plastic beneath. No such problem exists on my Air Raid, so maybe it’s just my Airazor being a bit of a party pooper.
8/10 Air Raid, 7/10 Airazor. They’re pretty great little dudes, and while they can stand to be better I really like Air Raid as a toy.
8/10 Pretty decent for a basic class toy, and they have a pretty wide range of motion to boot.
Good lord, Superion is a mess. Fireflight and Skydive are pretty basic ‘fold everything together to turn it into a block’ scramble city limbs. You can muck around with their nosecones depending on whether they become a leg or an arm, but it’s basically the same thing. They form pretty ugly arms, though, with the energon weapon basically looking like a double-thumbed mitten. As boots… the legs look really skinny and unwieldy. Air Raid and Airazor kind of split apart in the crotch and are held into position extremely tenuously by positioning their robot arms and legs just so
, and the setup with the combined energon breadstick weapons? Good luck getting that to click on without causing something else to pop off. And, of course, whether they form hands or feet, they really like to pop off from where they are attached to Air Raid/Airazor, and they look ridiculously moronic to boot.
All that end up being minor problems compared to the sheer idiocy that is Silverbolt, though. In addition to forming the most horrid looking combiner chest ever
, with that ugly yellow-horned head, having a good chunk of his chest being just white – the painted sides of those chest-wings end up being in the side we don’t see – and generally being unstable because, as I said earlier, the nosecone and the crotch doesn’t peg together well. In theory, like Onslaught, Silverbolt would’ve had knees to allow Superion to bend his knees (and subsequently have all his Air Raid/Airazor fingers fall off because of the movement) but it can’t even do that. And Superion is physically incapable of planting both feet securely on the ground, having to lean on one feet – this is even when I tried putting Combaticon limbs on him.
Overall Superion is a massive disappointment of a gestalt that keeps feeling like he’s going to fall apart at any time, from the little fingers to the torso… and he does, by the way. It takes massive patience just to set Superion up for display because of how likely it is for him to just tumble apart.
Marks out of ten for the following:
(as a set) 5/10 Silverbolt and Superion are massive duds, but the other four Aerialbots are really fun little basic toys. This mark would’ve gone higher if the set merely contained the four smaller Aerialbots and was priced accordingly, but no.
(as a set) 3/10 Again, while the smaller moulds are pretty good, how badly they fare as a set, and just how problematic Silverbolt is in general, and how so many problems plague the Aerialbots…
(as a set) 3/10 Bleagh. Again, it’s not the fault of the moulds, but you’re better hunting down the smaller Aerialbot moulds from the Energon line or whatever instead of trying your luck with this monstrosity. Brownie and Pinkie look horrid
, Silverbolt looks horrid and is a horrid toy himself, and as a gestalt Superion ends up being so unstable and generally a pain in the ass that buying the set for the two good-but-not-spectacular Air Raid and Airazor isn’t really worth it. The repainted Combaticons may be monochromatic and have realistically military colours, but at least they aren’t as horrid-looking as these dudes.