On the last Transformers Thursday I made a much deserved detour to take a look at MP-22 Ultra Magnus, but now I’m back on track to checking out the first Wave of Legends Class Combiner Wars figures. The line had a strong start with Bombshell and today I’m opening what is actually my most anticipated figure in this assortment: Powerglide. And away we go!
Here’s the new Legends Class packaging. I can’t say I love it, but I don’t hate it. It’s just different. You do get some very nice character art, which is also included inside as a trading card. Hasbro has taken a few stabs at doing Powerglide in recent years, but never quite with lasting results. The Universe Ultra Class release was an interesting figure with a good sculpt, but the size was all wrong and it always baffled me as to why Hasbro decided to color it white. Back in 2011 we got a Cyberverse version, which at the time I was rather smitten with, but I can’t say as that figure has aged all that well. So, here we go again, but there’s something about just looking at the packaged toy that tells me that Hasbro might have done it right this time. Powerglide is packaged in his robot mode, but we’re going to start with his alt mode.
Ah, the A-10 Warthog! It’s design inspired both the Cobra Rattler and the alt mode of good old Powerglide here. This version hits all the right points, but it does suffer from a few issues. The profile is there and the deep red plastic drives the G1 homage home. On the other hand, there is a lot of ugly jointing on the top and the gray plastic in the middle of the body looks rather out of place. The hinged rear stabilizers don’t lock in so they have a habit of getting knocked out of alignment, and you can clearly see his hands peeking out under the fronts of the wings. Jets with hands seems like a recurring theme in the Combiner Wars. I realize I just nitpicked a lot of stuff on this little jet, but this is a Legends Class figure, so I’m willing to cut it a lot more slack than I would a Deluxe or Voyager. Especially when the robot mode looks like…
THIS! Awww, yeah! Slap a dress on me and call me the girl who loved Powerglide, because this is one awesome homage! The transformation is quick and easy, and yet if still features some clever moves and the robot mode’s proportions are fantastic. He’s got a nice broad, barrel chest and I really dig how well the wings peg into his shoulders so securely. The arms look really close to the Sunbow animated design as does the magnificent head sculpt. There’s not a lot of paint work on this figure, and that usually bugs me, but in this case the red and gray plastic is really all it needs, plus the blue eyes and the little bit of black here and there. Also, that huge Autobot emblem on his chest is gorgeous. I have to imagine that this is about as close as we’re going to get to the Sunbow design in action figure form, unless Hasbro actually learns how to do mass-shifting and get rid of those big engines on his legs.
Speaking of the engines, the official robot mode has the engine pods shifted upward so the stabilizers can swing back behind his feet. I like it, but I think I like leaving them down even better. It adds a little more bulk to his lower legs and a cleaner profile above the knee.
Even the articulation on this guy makes for a really fun action figure. You get ball joints in the shoulders, hips, and knees, and hinges in the elbows and ankles. The head can also turn as part of the transformation.
It sounds crazy to say it, but this little Powerglide figure is possibly one of the best G1 updates Hasbro has done in a long time. Yes, the jet mode lacks some of the polish that the robot mode has, but when the robot mode looks this good, I would have it no other way. The only stumbling point here is that he doesn’t scale all that well with other lines. As one of the original Mini-bots, I can make Powerglide with some of my Classics figures, but not so much with the other G1 Mini-bots, like Bumblebee or Warpath, that got proper Deluxe Class upgrades. It’s a tad frustrating, since I think this figure could have been up-scaled to work as a Deluxe with very little tweaking. Nonetheless, as a stand-alone figure, this little guy simply can’t be beat and Hasbro seems to be channeling some of their best work into this Legends Class sub-line. Had I featured him last year, he probably would have found his way onto my Favorites of 2014 list.