Takara’s release of the Aerialbots arrived yesterday and I have immediately cleared the rest of the week to spend some time looking at these guys. I think the occasion merits it because, holy shit these are the Aerialbots and it’s taken every bit of resolve in me not to knuckle under and buy the Hasbro versions during the long wait for this giftset to release. Yes, I did wind up with Hasbro’s Air Raid, but that was just so I could get the rest of the Stunticons in that wave. Without the US releases in hand, I won’t be doing shot-by-shot comparisons, but I will talk about what’s different. So here’s the plan for the week. Today, I’ll be looking at the packaging and Silverbolt. Tomorrow I’ll check out Fireflight and Slingshot. Thursday will be Skydive and Air Raid, and on Friday I’ll wrap things up with a look at Superion. Let’s go!
The package features a large window box with all five Aerialbots on one glorious tray in their jet modes. The artwork on the front panel is fantastic, projecting a gritty look at Superion ready for action with the individual jets flying in the background. Most of the fine print is in Japanese, but there’s enough English on the box to make it almost pass as a western package.
The front flap is secured with magnets and lifts up to reveal a window showing you the goods inside. Each jet comes with their weapon beside them and the four hand/foot pieces as well. It’s all collector friendly, so long as you’re careful when cutting the tape on the tray. Getting all the jets in this one big box was a big incentive for me to go the Takara route, as it reminds me of the old G1 giftsets, which I have salivated over ever since I was a kid. We’re kicking things off with Silverbolt, so let’s look at his alt mode…
Silverbolt retains his original Concord jet mode, which I’ll concede I prefer over the SR-71 update that a certain 3P gave him. For me, the fact that he’s once again a civilian jet just jibes better with his personality. Yes, this new version is still a plane with a folded up robot on his undercarriage and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even when I paid $100+ for TFC’s Blackbird, I was happy to see they didn’t change his robot kibbly nature. It’s the charm of the design and to change it would be sacrilege.
In keeping with his G1 alt mode, Silverbolt’s jet mode is mostly white with some yellow paintwork on the windows and a little gold on the tail fin. Most of the other coloring can be seen underneath him. You get some gorgeous Autobot logos on his wings and his nosecone, all sharp and outlined in silver. He can rest just fine on his robot kibble, but there is a folding front landing gear if you desire it. You can also plug his huge rifle underneath. It has its own molded bit of landing gear too. It does add some impressive firepower to the jet, but I think it looks rather silly.
Silverbolt’s robot mode is fantastic. The truth is I tend to judge most G1 homages these days on how close they are to their Sunbow counterparts and Silverbolt is as close as I can ever expect these things to get and still transform. The paint apps characterize the big difference between this figure and Hasbro’s. The orange on the biceps, midriff, and upper legs are now a more appropriate yellow and he has gold plates on his knees. He also has some nice silver paint picking out the wings on his shoulders. The center part of his chest is now white, allowing him to have a more traditional red Autobot emblem (as opposed to silver), although he’s missing the silver panels on either side of his chest. So, in terms of the number of apps, it’s a question of a little give and take, but overall I enjoy the coloring on this figure a lot more, mostly because of the yellow.
He has a load of jet kibble on his back, but he wears it well and it leaves him a remarkablyl clean sillouette from the front. The wings can fold all the way back to tab into the nosecone section if you want. I like to angle his wings out a bit to keep him from looking too clean. There are some pegs on his back if you want to store his gun and don’t mind adding a little more bulk to his backpack.
The head sculpt works really well for me as G1 Silverbolt and here’s where there’s no discernible difference between the two figures. He has some nice silver paint for his face and while there’s no light piping, the eyes are painted a bright azure blue and they really pop. Silverbolt has kind of a goofy look on his face, which characterizes him pretty well for me. Oh yeah, see those two gold rods peeping out of the holes in his chest. Those are Superion’s antenna. That’s pretty awesome!
Silverbolt includes his super long rifle, which doubles as Superion’s gun, so you can imagine that’s its rather over-sized for him. Despite it’s ridiculous length, it still works OK for him as a weapon. You can also clip the second piece of it to his other arm as a shield, but I think that’s stretching things a bit. The other option is to peg the rifle into his forearm as an arm cannon. I can’t say it suits the character all that well in my eyes, but it does create the illusion of shortening the barrel and making it more easy for him to wield.
I adore this figure and I couldn’t ask for a better “over-the-counter” retail version of Silverbolt. Even if he weren’t part of a combiner, I think he’s loads better than the Ultra Class version of Silverbolt that we got a few years back. And while I still dig my 3P Silverbolt a lot (he still works best as my Masterpiece scale stand in), I have to admit that had this figure been available back then, I wouldn’t have had any need to pony up the big money for an unofficial version. This guy looks great and he’s fun to play with, and that’s really all I look for in my Transformers. I hope that’s something that Takara and Hasbro will hear often and take to heart. Their best way of countering those unofficial releases is to keep releasing figures like this one. I know I’d much rather pay $20-30 for a toy like this then have to go four times that for somebody else’s version.
Tomorrow, we’ll start looking at the limbs with Fireflight and Slingshot!