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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Justin's review of: Blitzwing

Name: Blitzwing
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Ground and Air Commander
Sub-Group: Triple Changers
"Destroy first, think later."

Ability as Triple Changer to rapidly transform makes him one of the most dangerous Decepticons. Cruel sense of humor, loud-mouthed, belligerent, and brash. Flies at mach 2.7, range 1500 miles, has heat-seeking concussion missiles as plane. As tank, has track-mounted cannon that fires explosive shells 3.5 miles. As robot has electron-scimitar and gyro-blaster rifle. Often gets stuck in mid-transformation.

I had been searching ebay for a long time bidding on many a Blitzwing in an attempt to get this toy for a good price. My efforts usually ended being outbid by someone by 50 cents at the last minute. Finally however I achieved greatness when I made the winning bid on one of the coolest triple changers out there.

Vehicle Mode:
Picking up a triple changer is always fun because you get 50% more fun with none of the mess. The alt-modes for Blitzwing are sure to strike fear in the hearts of cowardly Autobots such as Huffer who are largely unaware that Decepticon shots rarely hit their mark. These alt-modes are a tank and a fighter jet. The modes are convincing and unique enough to not leave you feeling like you got two modes and a bunch of kibble thrown on to resemble a third mode (Did I just hear someone mention Springer?).

The first alt-mode is that of a fearsome looking tank. Why is this one the first you may ask? The answer is simple: That is the one sitting in front of me. Blitzwing’s coloring in this mode is very close to the sand camouflage color applied to the US Army’s tanks. The treads are molded in and painted gray. The detail work is interesting in that it includes the ribs on the underside of the treads but the wheels that would turn the treads have no teeth. He rolls rather clumsily on 4 small plastic wheels; he doesn’t roll very far and makes a horrendous scraping sound as he goes. Maybe I need to oil mine, but the wheels seem small given the weight of this figure.

The turret rotates 360 degrees and is free to slide towards the front and rear of the tank assuring a clear shot at Autobots on all sides. The turret is well detailed including hatches for imaginary drivers and even rivets. The only things detracting from this mode are the presence of the jet cockpit in the front and jet engines on the rear. Had this figure been designed more recently it would likely include a flip-up panel to cover the cockpit, but given the play value of a tank with swiveling turret and a second vehicle mode this is easily forgivable.

To turn Blitzwing into a jet is a matter of a few simple twists. First grab the front the tank treads and pull them away from the body, next rotate the treads towards the bottom of the tank to gain access to the metal tailfins. Rotate these tailfins towards the bottom of the tank, now turn the purple plastic fins at the rear of the treads out away from the body so that they are perpendicular to the body of the plane. Rotate the treads back to the body of the plane, fold the main wings of the jet into position, flip up the nosecone from the underside and there you have Blitzwing’s Jet mode.

In jet mode Blitzwing’s Primary colors are purple and the sand color of the tank mode, the top half being purple and screams classic Decepticon. Blitzwing is smaller than the seeker (Starscream and friends) mold. The wings do not look very realistic in that they are very thin and lie parallel to the top surface of the plane body (MIG 25 or 31 perhaps?) but are well stocked with extra material on the underside extending nearly their full length. Located under each wing among the kibble is a firing missile launcher. The nosecone and cockpit are painted a light gray which stands out nicely against the purple. The wheels allowing the tank to roll along on flat surfaces are located on the top surface towards the rear of the wings, while visible they are small enough as to not detract from the overall visual appeal of this mode. The only real problem with Blitzwing in this mode is that he has only a front landing gear leaving the rear of the plane to be supported by the turret. The only way the plane will sit level is with the gun barrel pointing towards the rear and the turret slid all the way back on its peg leaving the barrel overhanging the main body by about an inch. Despite the minor imperfections inherent in both modes Blitzwing probably has the best pair alt-modes of ever to enter production for a triplechanger.

Robot Mode:
Let’s talk robotics. If you would like to be spared the details of the transformation go ahead and skip to the next paragraph, I won’t be offended (I like to think of including the description as a way out of your paying 5 bucks for an instruction manual). To begin fold up the landing gear and flip the nosecone back inside the bottom of the jet. After pulling the parts of the wing containing the missile launchers away and folding the small plastic wings into the body; rotate the tank treads towards the head. Now pull the arms out of the sand colored portion next to the purple chest, slide out the hands, and grab and pull out the purple section containing the metal tailfins to give the guy some thighs. Now you should be looking at a fully transformed Blitzwing, if this is not what you are seeing (and you are sure you picked up the right toy) seek professional help.

In robot mode one of the first things to grab your attention about this toy is the yellow on the head. The head sculpt is faithful to the cartoon and comic presentation of the character. Rather than have two distinct eyes Blitzwing has a single red optic more closely resembling a visor. Aside from the yellow head standing out, Blitzwing’s colors of sandy brown and purple complement each other quite nicely.

One of my favorite features of this figure’s robot mode is the purple wings jutting out from his back, just like the seekers and many other Decepticons these make him look like he is coming to your house to break your nice things, blow up your dog, and steal your credit card. There are a couple geometric features that are not as pleasing to my optic sensors as the wings. When I first got this figure transformed into robot mode the arms looked as if they are mounted too low on the body, though not low enough for a full-blown case of gorilla syndrome. After considering their placement for a moment it is obvious that they are at the correct height relative to the head. The culprit making the arms look slightly awkward is the shoulders; as these are actually slightly taller than Blitzwing’s head. The thighs also seem extra thin given the size of this figure’s upper body and legs. The metal tail fins make up the feet. Though they don’t look much like proper feet these help prevent him from tipping over given the girth of the upper body.

The only point of articulation given to Blitzwing in robot mode is where the arms attach to the shoulders. The arms are pretty much useless as far as dynamic poses are concerned, they can be held straight out from the body and cannot be positioned straight down due to the extra length given to them by the hands. The hands themselves are odd in that their weapon mounting holes are on the sides of the hands, allowing Blitzwing the use of his weapons only, unless he is holding someone else’s gun gangsta style. The well proportioned arm length is well worth the small sacrifice in their range of motion since he can hold out his gun and swing his sword a bit. This small amount of articulation allows him to thoroughly trash any charging Autobots which is all Blitzwing really cares about. He is that hardcore, afterall if you don't tell him what's on your mind he will splatter it on the wall and see for himself.

Transformation: 8 - This transformation is not difficult though it is hard to describe. It does a good job of hiding the robotic parts from the top and side views. Neither of the alt-modes seem cheap or tacked on hinting at a very well designed transformation.
Durability: 9 – The turret, weapons, and missiles seem easy to lose if he is treated as a child’s toy. There aren’t any points seeming particularly weak or prone to breakage.
Fun: 10 – Come on, a jet, a tank, and a robot recognizable from his comic and cartoon incarnations. I don’t know how you could not enjoy playing with this guy!
Price: 8 – This one really is subjective. I got mine for a little under $10 without weapons. I have seen them go for $5 less turret, and one even was sold for under a buck with everything. He is reissued right now for about 40 bucks and available MIB for about $125. It all depends.
Summary: 10 - If you are accepting of G1 figures and their tendency to have fixed legs you will love this figure.

 
 
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