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Skyquake87's Review: Combiner Wars Alhpa Bravo

Name : Alpha Bravo
Allegiance: Autobot
Sub Group: Aerialbots
Function: uh, helicopter guy

“I am not Slingshot”*

Bio: Alpha Bravo is the newest member of the Aerialbots. His helicopter alternate mode leaves him the slowest member of the group, and the new recruit consequently feels like he has something to prove to his comrades. Alpha Bravo is equipped with tracker missiles, which can lock onto the Spark of his target. He combines with his fellow Aerialbots to form the giant robot, Superion.

*Possibly not his real motto

What's the betting the other unfamiliar Combiner Wars team members are going to have similar 'something to prove' bios? So, bit of variety then, for the skyborne Aeialbots, with the addition of this little bad ass. In fiction, Alpha Bravo joined the Aerialbots when it looked like not all of Superion's damaged component robots could be saved. The boring real world reason, is that Hasbro had some moulds ready to go before others. Which explains why poor Alpha Bravo has already had people pointing at him and going 'he looks like Blades. And Vortex.' To further cement his I-am-an-original-character-in-my-own-right credentials, Hasbro have done him up in Slingshot's livery. Which is just weird. That's like, “Hi guy, yeah you can be in our club, but only if you dress up like the dead guy. Promise not to ostracize you, honest.”. It's an unsatisfactory bit of bet hedging that seems designed to appease overgrown men children still buying toys. It's a really strange choice and also makes me wonder whether Hasbro's intent all along has been to shake things up a little and bring something fresh to the table as far as Combiners go. Whatever, Alpha Bravo, despite being a great little toy and being a nice addition to the Aerialbots, now whiffs of compromise and disappointment.

Robot Mode: The robot mode is a tidy affair, he's taut and slim despite all the helicopter junk resting up his back. He has this lovely puffed up chest all decked out in baked bean orange and just check out this awesome headsculpt, all scowling face plate and bright blue visor. You can tell that Alpha Bravo's none too happy about wearing Slingshot's colours either. The arms are these superb round orbits that give out to these well armed forearms. Sadly, Hasbro have decked out the missiles and the gauntlets all in gold, so it looks a little less impressive than it should and just a little bit like he's wearing Lion-O's oven gloves. The legs are similarly decent, despite being made up of opened Cornflakes boxes, which gives him these dainty little toes . I'm not overly fond of the two halves of nosecone slapped around his ankles. Brings back memories of that dismal Classics Astrotrain toy. *Shudders* He gets to pack this wicked little rifle too, with its muzzle and intricate pistons and whatnot. I particularly like the moulded magazine which is a nice detail. The combiner fist also pulls double duty as a set of gattling cannons which are passable, although the gestalt fingers rather give the game away.

Alternate Mode: Helicopter mode is pretty righteous, all slick and compact with some nice design flourishes – I love the tail fins and enclosed rear rotor. The join lines are all largely hidden thanks to all the panels he's covered with. Okay, the cockpit on its ball joints is a bit of a giveaway, as are the robot's shoulders. Thankfully, he largely avoids the obvious arm placement problem of the other Aerialbolts thanks to the rockets on his forearms. I also like that the attack mode weapon placement doesn't look hopelessly crap on this guy. The large rotor blades are a tiny bit wibbly, but they spin nicely enough. Only a lack of landing gear stops this being outstanding.

Marks Out Of Ten For The Following :

Transformation Design: It's not mind blowing, or full of sparkling originality, just good fun, quick to do with enough going on - with the legs and clipping the rotor in place in particular - to stop it being boring. The arm placement lets him down though, despite how generally well hidden they are. A sure sign of some of the compromise that's gone into this guy to make him fit with the current ethos – make them look good and transform well, but keep the costs down. 7/10

Durability: Nothing on Alpha Bravo feels fragile. He's tough enough, but if you were really trying, it shouldn't take much to damage the rotor blades and pull the legs apart. 7/10

Articulation: Standard stuff for a deluxe. Movement at the neck shoulders, elbows, hips and knees – enough for what you need in a toy of this size. There isn't really much the figure feels like its missing or needs in addition. 8/10

Fun: Slick helicopter mode and a boss little robot with some cool weapons – Alpha Bravo is incredible fun. He commands you to play with him. “Play with me! I'm ace!”** See? He really does!* 8/10

**Figure contains no voice chip. Your imagination may vary.

Price/Value: My better judgement says that 15.99 is too steep for a deluxe, but I've had the most enjoyment and fun out of Alpha Bravo and Firefly out of the Aerialbots, so in terms of a cost to fun longevity ratio, he wins through. Broader consumers will probably think twice about picking one of these guys up though. 6/10

Overall: Alpha Bravo is magnificent, so its such a shame that having gone to all the effort of creating a new Aerialbot team member – who is just as good as the originals – Hasbro have hedged their bets by dressing him up in one of the other Aerialbots colours. This has obviously been to mitigate fanboy rage and pinch hit for the erstwhile Slingshot, but c'mon - a little variety hurt no one and after 30 years, I think the brand can handle a little refreshing where these 'Classics' are concerned. I like Alpha Bravo being his own 'bot, and he's such fun and makes for a bit of variety in the otherwise slightly dull ranks of the Aerialbots. He needed his own colours though. Hasbro should have been braver with him. 7/10
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