Uranos: AV-88 Harrier by TFC, Part 1

Wow, it’s been a long wait, but the folks at TFC have finally shipped out the next figure in their Project Uranos (aka Not-Aerialbots) line and it is Harrier (aka Not-Slingshot). The delay of the releases since Blackbird had me a little concerned, but I’m glad to see things pushing along once more and I’m still counting on getting the last figure, Eagle sometime later this month. Anyway, today we’ll check out the packaging and the jet mode, as well as do some comparisons with Phantom, and tomorrow we’ll transform him and check out his robot mode.

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TFC has kept the packaging on these figures uniform so if you’re like me and have tendencies toward OCD, you’ll be happy to know that they all look great lined up on the shelf. The presentation here is as great as ever. You get a big collector-friendly window box that shows off the figure in his robot mode beside his two fuel pods and his combiner hand piece. The line art is fantastic and the back of the box shows the toy in its different modes. Inside the box, you get a collector card, a poster, and the folded instruction sheet. Harrier is built off the same body as Phantom, so if you’ve become familiar with transforming him, you probably won’t need the instruction sheet. Let’s open him up and as usual, we’re going to start out with his jet mode.

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When I was a kid, I used to love Harriers. I can remember first reading about them and the idea of a jet that could take off and land like a helicopter blew my little mind, because I happen to have a big helicopter fetish. Not in the sense that I get sexually aroused by helicopters, but I just think they’re really cool. Wait, what? Oh yeah, Harriers! I loved them as a kid and I can still remember building a bitchin’ Revell model of one. I put an insane amount of work into that thing and I had it kicking around for a long time after until one day my brother got mad at me and threw it at my head. So, yes, I was pretty excited to get Harrier.

First things first… Like Phantom, Harrier comes with a sprue of little plastic plugs you can insert into the screw holes to cover them up. I thought it was an awesome idea originally and I think it still is. Oddly, you still get four plugs and I can only see two holes to plug up on this new mold. Moving on…

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I am extremely happy with the look of this jet. It’s impressive how much remolding has been done on the Phantom figure to make it work. You can see all the similarities in overall structure, but the toy still comes away as a very convincing Harrier. The cockpit, nosecone, and tail fins have been completely redesigned to great success. I would have preferred some sculpted vents or something in the intakes near the front, but the grey paint works well enough, I suppose. The wings are ever so slightly down swept, and each has a fuel pod that plugs in underneath. Unlike Phantom, Harrier has enough clearance so that he can rest comfortably on his landing gear with the pods in place.

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Speaking of landing gear, one thing worth noting is that one of the tiny landing gear wheels is missing from my Harrier’s left kneecap. Apart from a minor stray paint mark on Blackbird, this is the first QC issue I’ve seen with any of my TFC figures. I’m not going to lose my shit over it because in reality, I don’t even get why these landing gear are there in the first place. Harrier has a set that folds out from his wings that work in conjunction with the one under the cockpit for the jet to rest on when it’s grounded. The set on his kneecaps aren’t even necessary. Yes, a real Harrier has a fourth landing gear, but it’s a big set of two wheels that comes out under the middle of the aircraft, not two little sets like these. For a moment, I thought they were vestigial remnants from the Phantom toy mold, but nope, he doesn’t have them at all. Weird! Anyway, I just popped the wheel out of the other kneecap to keep him symmetrical and I’m fine with that.

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The deco of the Harrier mode relies mostly on molded white plastic with some black accents from where the hinges and connecting pieces are. There are red and blue painted stripes on the wings to drive home the homage to the original Slingshot toy, although the striping here is more subtle, which I find to be an overall improvement. The only thing missing is a couple of repro Autobot insignias and you’re good to go! The cockpit is tinted yellow to match the other Uranos jets and he has some registry numbers painted on, which includes the “S5HOT” on the tailfins. What could that mean?

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As with the previous Uranos releases, the plastic on this release is very good quality and heft for what is essentially a Voyager sized toy. At this point, four releases in, I expected nothing less, but since it’s a third-party release, it’s still worth commenting on nonetheless. That having been said, the thin connecting rods for the wing landing gear probably demand a careful touch, as I could see them stressing pretty easily. Other than that, I don’t have any concerns over breakage.

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The coolest thing about Harrier’s jet mode is how distinctive it turned out. You can park him right next to Phantom and if you haven’t transformed either one, you might not catch on to just how much engineering is shared by the two toys. In fact, it isn’t until you transform them and stand them next to each other in robot mode that you really start to see all the similarities. I’ll be back to do just that tomorrow!

2 comments on “Uranos: AV-88 Harrier by TFC, Part 1

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