If it’s Thursday it must be Transformers time and today I’m ripping into a Hasbro’s second wave of Deluxes from their Combiner Wars line. Hasbro made the maddening decision to mix up the waves by including one Stunticon in the first case and one Aerialbot in the second and that means while I was mainly after the Stunticons here, the convenience of getting them all in one shot meant I had to pick up Air Raid. You may have expected me to jump right into the Stunticons, but I’m actually going to get Air Raid out of the way first. I’ve avoided buying any of the Hasbro Aerialbots in favor of Takara’s Unite Warriors version, but this will give me a little idea of whether that was the right choice or if I should just bite the bullet and pick up the Hasbro versions that are all available now.
What’s this? A comic pack??? I honestly had no idea that Hasbro was going to be incorporating the comics into the Combiner Wars Deluxes, but I’m beside myself with joy that they are doing this. Here all along I was thinking that this delightful duo of comic and toy was getting retired with the Generations line. Needless to say that while I’m still not overly smitten with the packaging deco of this series, tossing in the comic as character art makes up for a multitude of sins. You could wrap the figure in a paper back and as long as there was a comic included, I’d be happy. Air Raid comes packaged in his robot mode, but as usual I’m going to start with his jet mode.
Air Raid’s alt mode is what I believe to be an F-14 Tomcat and I sincerely hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong. With his black paint job, striped wings, and Autobot emblems on the wings, I think he looks pretty close to his G1 namesake, even if the model of aircraft may have changed. In fact, apart from his tail fins being a little too close together, I’ve got no complaints. Sure, he’s a jet with a brick of robot kibble hanging under him, but that is as much part of the homage as anything and I love it. Yes, I will concede a little disappointment that the entire story of this figure’s engineering can pretty much be summed up by flipping the jet over and seeing the robot with his arms and legs tucked in, but there’s enough here tugging at my nostalgia strings to make me very happy with this alt mode. Of course, newer fans who cut their teeth on the more complex Deluxe Transformers of recent years and expect more expertly crafted alt modes may find their mileage varies.
About the only thing disappointing to me about Air Raid’s jet mode is the lack of any fun modular weapons. He is pegged under the wings and on the sides to take weapons, and yes you can peg his double gun into any one of those, but the result is a rather lopsided looking jet. It sure would have been cool if the gun pulled apart to form two guns to mount under the wings or on the sides of the undercarriage. Ah, well. There is a peg on the top of the jet’s back where you can mount the gun and make it look a little balanced, but I’m not a fan of the giant cannon mounted on the back of my F-??. It just doesn’t work for me.
As peeking under the jet suggests, Air Raid’s transformation is as simple as pulling the arms out, unfolding the legs, flipping the jet up into a backpack, turning the head around. You can do it in just a few seconds, which definitely adds to the playability. As a kid, I always enjoyed being able to change my bots back and forth quickly.
In robot mode, Air Raid is superb update to the old G1 toy. And yes, once again that entails having a robot with a jet on his back. I wouldn’t have it any other way! The proportions on this guy are just perfect and the way the combiner port on his chest is hidden in plain sight works beautifully. For whatever reason, I wasn’t a big fan of it on Dragstrip, but I love it here. You even get the same intakes on his chest that the G1 toy had, only here a little more pronounced and stylized. Even the head sculpt here is pure G1 love. Like all of these Combiner Wars Deluxes, Air Raid is a pretty good sized figure. In fact, he’s not all that much smaller than TFC’s take on the character.
One of my early complaints about the official pictures of these guys was the lack of paint apps, but in hand I have absolutely no problems with Air Raid’s deco. The red and white deco is another great homage to the G1 character and the white plastic Hasbro is using here looks and feels great. The extra bits of red and gold are more than enough to carry the day. I only wish they had tampo’d the Autobot symbol on his chest instead of putting a tiny one on his shoulder.
Air Raid’s solid articulation makes for a very fun action figure. You get ball joints in the shoulders, hips, and neck. The elbows and knees are hinged, and he can rotate just below the waist. It’s not mind blowing poseability, but it gives me just what I need. He’s a solid and chunky figure too with great balance.
The accessories include the aforementioned double barreled gun and a combiner part. The gun works much better in robot mode as you can have him hold it in either hand or just mount it to one of his arms. Some paint apps would have been nice, but we all know how that goes these days, right? The combiner part isn’t so useful in robot mode, but we’ll see it again when I finally get some more of these figures and combine them into Superion.
While new fans may wonder what all the fuss is about, I think Air Raid is one of my favorite Deluxes to come around in a while. He’s the perfect update to the old G1 character and toy, taking everything that makes me nostalgic for that design and crafting it into a modern action figure. He’s fun to play with and transform and it’s nice to finally have some Aerialbots that are in scale with my other Deluxes. So did Air Raid win me over to the Hasbro route? Will I be cancelling my Takara Unite Warriors Superion? It’s still too early to tell. Air Raid has certainly impressed me enough that I want to get more and in the end it may just be my eagerness to get all the Aerialbots that leads me down the Hasbro path.