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Skyquake87's Review: Powerdive

Name : Powerdive
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Day off at the office, so doesn't have one

Bio: Powerdive doesn't mess around trying to be sneaky. As soon as he detects an Autobot he puts himself into a screaming dive directly at the enemy's position. He doesn't care if his target hears him coming – by the time anyone can react, Powerdive will have destroyed his prey and rocketed back up into the sky.

Harking from the Generation 2 era, Powerdive was originally part of the Rotorforce sub-group. These Transformers featured a wind up motor which when activated launched a detachable rotor disc. They were amongst the first new mould Generation 2 toys, after a year made up of recolours of older toys. The launching mechanism has sadly not been carried over to this new Generations toy. He got the clichι of a grandstanding moment in the Marvel Generation 2 comic, where, like a lot of new toys in various Transformers media, he kicked all kinds of ass before largely dropping out of sight. That was pretty much all she wrote for Powerdive, until he was singled out for an homage in the Asian market exclusive Generations line of 2012 and got a Voyager sized toy. This line followed the trend of the '2010' toys, appropriating various moulds for some fan service Classics figures. As such, some of the toys – Powerdive here and the G2 themed Megatron which borrowed ROTF Bludgeon's mould – fell into that same uncomfortable no-man's land as Reveal The Shield's Lugnut, feeling like they didn't quite belong to either the live action Movie feel their toys were aping, nor the neo-G1 of the Classics line. The line itself is more memorably known for the massive strop that all of America had when they learnt these toys were an Asian market exclusive and weren't scheduled to hit US shores. After many dummies were spat out, Hasbro, with what must have been the biggest weary sigh in all of toy retailing, had the toys released with the help of Toys R Us to US markets in 2012 as an exclusive for that store. European markets missed out, as we frequently do, but we survived.

I was originally looking out for mould-mate Hunt For The Decepticons Highbrow (one of those cool looking toys that seems to have come out when no-one was looking), but chanced upon the rather more sexy looking Powerdive and was more than happy to plump for this guy, because as any fule kno, bad guys are way cooler. And by return, that makes me more interesting and dynamic as a person. No, really. Straight away I was a bit disappointed that the whole 'Generation 2' homage hadn't extended to giving these guys the requisite faction symbols (you'll have to go for the eye-wateringly expensive Botcon/ Collector Club G2 homages for that), but it was nice in some way to have some more mainstream recognition of one of the , ahem, darkest hours of Transformers. The bio is sadly the usual bit of pish that you get these days that doesn't tell you much at all about the guy – is he friendly? Mad? Grumpy? Sad? - so its up to you to apply some personality to the toy during play. If, of course you actually use these things for their intended purpose, rather than as some room decoration akin to an ornamental plate. I like to imagine that Powerdive is a sort of 'what-ho' Pathe Newsreel type of aircraft pilot, all stiff upper lip and quiet pride in his work. With purple machine guns.

Robot Mode:
A strange,green gangly insect of a thing, Powerdive has legs as long as he is all tall, which does give him some proportion problems. He has very wide thighs and quite stumpy arms – not too noticeable when he's thrust into all manner of poses, but extremely noticeable if he's just stood still. And on the subject of his legs, my aren't these marvellous looking things? These lithe struts that give way to these great clawed insect feet – with movable toes! Brilliant. Less successfully, the engine turbines and propeller assemblies conspire to give him very awkward looking forearms. The twin machine guns he can wield as weapons in robot mode help patch over this. Just. Were he part of a movie assortment, all this would be given a free pass, given the slightly less humanoid forms the movie lines have given us, but as he's supposed to be part of the Generations (nee Classics) range, these things just look that bit more odd. As a trade off for this, and because his robot form is so obviously indebted to the movie aesthetic, he's riddled with moulded detail. The chest and head in particular have loads of machine parts that all look like they do something, there's some nice faux aricraft parts with vents and whatnot that make up his chest. I particularly like the head with its big Animated style chin and flight helmet look. A nice feature of the head is that his goggles can swing back and reveal his eyes – and the light piping works well enough to show his eyes through the goggles, which is a small, but impressive detail. The wrist mounted rotors may look like an annoyance, but actually make for a fun attack feature. His robot hands tuck into the turbines and he can access the same sort of spinning blade hack 'n' slash action of Incinerator (off of the 2007 Movie line) – thanks to a clever push button gear system activated by pushing the air intakes into the wrists. I also like that the designers thought of something to do with the cockpit. Rather than leave it flapping around his backside, it splits open to reveal a further engine and the sides of the cockpit form sort of Mayfly wings to give him a wee jetpack for enhanced flight capabilities in robot mode. I think the robot mode is actually a really great piece of work, but it'll come down to personal taste as to whether you feel the same 7/10

Alternate Mode:
In vehicular mode, Powerdive is loosely based around the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, a craft with distinctive twin booms (the engine and wing bits) and single central nacelle containing the cockpit and whatnot. The cockpit being sat so far back on Powerdive makes him look like one of the many prototype versions of the thing, which seems to have gone through all manner of wacky Catch The Pigeon designs before entering service in World War II. I have to say, I have a huge fondness for Transformers that avoid the more obvious Car/Tank/Jet staples so this won me over straight away. And its just beautiful. A really sleek, but slightly mad looking plane, with big silly shark face and honking great red rotors matched to this lovely muted military green. There's loads of mould detail – panels, rivets – with just the bumwash of the usual 'can't help ourselves' tampographs to spoil things (These ones say 'DC' for, y'know Decepticon, in case the faction symbol and military themed alt mode didn't give it away. Or you're hard of thinking and find this just 'hilarious' because its all 'nudge nudge wink wink'. Still, at least we're spared the tooth grinding 'Witwicky Sparkplugs' or whatever...). Some well designed landing gear with purple wheels – because why not?- give him some superb support on the ground. He hides the join lines very well and were it not for the giveaway of the red rotors, this could pass muster as a nice scale model, rather than a robot in disguise. The only big facepalm is sticking the machine guns on the engine he can, er, shoot his propellers off for um, something. Because of that, you loose two points, Powerdive. Sorry. 8/10

Transformation Design: This is where Powerdive really excels. The way that slender and wide expanse of aeroplane breaks down and compacts to form a tight looking robot mode is nothing short of one of the very best sequences Transformers has to offer. It looks more fiddly than it actually is, with the rear fuselage splitting away from the front to swing inwards to form the robot mode legs. The arms punch their way out of the twin engines and the head pops out when you crack the shoulders in position to form the torso. The most complex thing you have to do is form the calves and titivate the feet. It strikes exactly the right balance between being enough of a puzzle to make you want to do it again and fun enough not to make it a boring plod that makes you wonder what you're doing with your life. Only forming the calves is anything approaching a ball ache and for that its a 9/10

Durability: Nothing really feels too fragile on Powerdive. That said, quite a few small parts – namely the hip mounted wings and the connecting bar between the tail of the jet – are on pivoting pinned axles that rough-housing would easily damage. Aside from that, there's just the propellers to watch out for which are made of a slightly softer plastic - it feels sturdy enough though. 8/10

Articulation: Neck, shoulders, swivelly, double-jointed arms, hips, knees, ankles toes...joints, joints everywhere and all of it useful and not annoying. Great for striking all manner of poses and just great in general. Definitely at the top tier of the Transformers pile on this front, only bettered by collector orientated figures. 9/10

Fun: Oh good God yes. He's great fun. He's one of those that's got so much going on and very little in the way of kibble that you can't help but play with him. That action feature with the blades is also more fun than it has any right to be. Sometimes, the simple ideas are the best. Coupled with a complex, but well laid out transformation he's pretty much as good as mainstream Transformers toys get. 9/10

Price/Value: If you're in Europe, you're going to be looking at importing in the main. So that's going to knock the value down straight away. I lucked out on an ebay auction and he cost £15 including postage, loose and complete. Most of the aftermarket examples are boxed (no one wants to play with Powerdive, how sad), thankfully, the demand for these 'Generasians' figures has cooled somewhat in the last two years and Powerdive – being a nobody- is definitely at the cheaper end of the spectrum, so expect to pay anything from £10 to £30 for him. On top of that , you'll have postage and the possibility of having to pay customs charges, so taking that into account its 4/10

Overall: Powerdive has a lot in his favour – excellent articulation, a superb transformation and fun action features but he's really not a Generations figure in the same way similar toys appropriated by HasTak into different versions of the same franchise aren't (c.f. all those Cybertron toys unconvincingly sold as Movie figures). This shoehorning to make up the numbers does Powerdive absolutely no favours at all. Stacked in with a bunch of movie figures though, he looks fantastic. His relative obscurity and high aftermarket price do make him a questionable purchase and unless you've got some particular interest in the relatively unknown Transformers toys out there, he's an easy pass. Worth waiting on an affordable loose example or even the more easily available Highbrow version of the mould. 7/10
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