The TF: Prime pegs here may be crammed with nothing but Bumblebees and Cliffjumpers, but the Voyagers have certainly been arriving in a timely manner. Much to my wallet’s chagrin, I was able to find both Bulkhead and Dreadwing sitting on the shelf the other day and I couldn’t help but grab them both up. Dreadwing seems to be the hotter of the two, and definitely the one I was most anticipating, so let’s check him out, and we’ll look at Bulkhead tomorrow.
Dreadwing comes in the same style window box that we saw with Megsy, Prime, and Screamer. He’s packaged in his robot mode, which is a great choice on Hasbro’s part. I defy any Transformer collector to see this guy standing there in the box and not have to take him home. The window has the “Try Me” hole for the token shitty Mech Tech style weapon. The fact that it lights up just draws attention to how horrible it looks and we will speak no more of it. The side panel features a little bio on Dreadwing and the back shows him in both his modes. I know, I usually do the alt mode first, but the transformation and alt mode really irk me, so I’m going to get all the gushing out of the way first.
In robot mode, Dreadwing is an example of all that is right with this line. He’s a satisfying size for a Voyager class figure and I’m pretty sure he’s meant to be based on the Skyquake character in the TV show. The coloring is a pleasing mix of deep blue and light grey with some translucent yellow parts peppered about, including the cockpit on his chest. The head sculpt is fantastic and the face is beautifully painted gold with red eyes. He’s a great mix of organic curves and jagged plates and I really dig the way his jet exhaust hangs off his back like a jetpack. Dreadwing also comes with a sword, which he can hold in either hand.
So about the transformation… I love figuring out the transformations on these guys by myself, and that’s a good thing because Dreadwing’s instructions not only suck, they are downright misleading. The changeover to jet mode features a lot of stuff moving at once, but for the most part it is surprisingly intuitive, until you get to the part with the tail section. Looking at it, it’s easy to see what’s supposed to happen and where everything pegs in, but when I set that up Dreadwing’s hands were just hanging there about half an inch past the exhaust of the jet. “That can’t be right,” says I, “Let’s consult the instructions.” No, really… I said that! Sure enough, the instructions indicate I’m doing it right, but it doesn’t show the robot hands hanging off the back. I had to go online and find some gallery pics to show me that the instructions are pretty damned misleading, and that I was doing it right all along. While omitted from the instruction illustrations, and carefully hidden in the product pics with tricky perspectives, the hands really do hang off the back end of the jet. I call bullshit, Hasbro!
Overall the jet mode looks pretty great from almost every angle, just don’t look at the back. Sure, there’s a lot of robot kibble on the undercarriage, but you know what? That’s a fact of life for most Transformer jets, and I’m fine with that. The blue and gold deco looks very nice and really reminds me of Revenge of the Fallen Dirge. The wings on his Decepticon insignia are a nice touch that reminds me of the Cybertron Defense emblems used for some of the Autobots in the Cybertron line. Dreadwing holds together very well and sits nicely, provided you can get his front landing gear down, I had quite a struggle with it. Nonetheless, those hands hanging off the back are just terrible. It really feels like they either just ran out of money while engineering the toy, or they got that far and just said, screw it… that’s good enough. Either way, it’s one of the most overt examples of rampant robot kibble in a Voyager alt mode that I can remember since Hasbro just left poor Energon Ironhide’s head sitting right on top of his roof.
I think the biggest shame with Dreadwing is that 99 percent of this figure is so damn good that those hands hanging off the jet mode just makes me weep. Even if you could just pull them off, it would have been an improvement. Ultimately, the good still outweighs the bad here, and I say that mainly because I display my Transformers in their robot mode and damn if Dreadwing isn’t one great looking bot. Tomorrow, we’ll see how Bulkhead fares!