Cliffbee.com: Air Strike Patrol Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Air Strike Patrol
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Espionage
Components: Nightflight, Storm Cloud, Tailwind, Whisper



Nightflight

PLANE MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 6cm Width: 4cm

   A light grey F-14 with a black canopy - you have to wonder why such a light toy is named after the night. That aside, grey with black looks good, and there are two black wheels underneath the rear of the plane along with grey post pretending to be a wheel underneath the cockpit. The wings are permanently retracted - they're not distinct pieces. While there's fairly detailed moulded seams, this jet is pretty much an arrowhead. The light grey brings out the details well, so while it doesn't do much, the plane looks good sitting there.

   This is a reasonable jet for it's size and the choice of colours work, even if the name doesn't quite fit. There are better plane modes amongst the Micromasters, but there are also worse vehicle modes. This is probably the best jet mode amongst the Air Strike Patrol.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the wingtips, unfold the back of the jet to form the boots, flip up the nose and stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   The grey is now limited to Nightflight's limbs, while the torso and thighs are blue. His face is painted red which does a surprisingly good job of highlighting a decent facial sculpt. The colours here seem like something right out of the Marvel comics - and Nightflight is from the right era for that.

   The tailfins sit on the knees, and while the boots are a single piece, they look ok and there's a moulded seam between them. He has beefy shoulders and fairly rudimentary moulded hands. The overall shape is decent even if some of the details are lacking.

   There's not a lot of articulation here - the shoulders swing while the knees bend and hips bend. Since the wheels are on his calves, Airwave cannot sit down.

   By no means a spectacular robot mode, but the colours are good, making this robot mode enjoyable if not remarkable.

OVERALL

   Probably my favourite of this set, thanks to a nice jet mode. The name might have suited Whisper better, but I can forgive this oversight. His jet mode actually puts many of the larger jet modes of the previous year to shame, and while that's not always a feat, it endears this toy to me - 7/10

Storm Cloud

JET MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 6cm Width: 4cm

   A lilac and black Saab Grippen jet, Storm Cloud has a black tail and rear fuselage with lilac wings, front fuselage and nose. The canopy is painted a dull grey and there are two black wheels under his wings along with a false wheel post under the nose for balance. The colours work quite well - sure lilac isn't a colour I expect on a fighter jet but it works for a Decepticon, and reminds of Skywarp.

   The fuselage itself is squashed with rounded sides and twin thrusters moulded on the back while the wings have missiles moulded on the tips. the wings themselves are fairly smooth and devoid of detail, as are the winglets towards the front. Storm Cloud also has a large, smooth tailfin and all told there's too much smooth - some paint stamped onto this toy would have been nice.

   Despite needing a little more in either sculpt or paint, Storm Cloud's jet mode is still good, with interesting colours and a well defined jet type. It's not my favourite of this group, but it's one of the better jets.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold up the wings and nose, extend the front of the fuselage and stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Again lilac and black, with the lilac less prominent, since it's limited to his arms and boots. The face is painted lime green, and is quite well sculpted. The black thighs look a little awkward and aren't helped by the hollow boots, which are a single piece. The basic idea of the colour scheme is still good, mind you, and I really like the contrast between his green face and black torso.

   The poseability is mediocre - the arms lift and that's all we really get. While the knees and hips can bend as one, the false front wheel sticking out from what would be his Achilles Heel ruins any chance of Storm Cloud sitting down.

   The weaker of his two modes, but at a glance the colours make this robot mode better than it should be. The legs are disappointing, but he's easily better than Tailwind.

OVERALL

   A good colour scheme and decent jet mode make Storm Cloud worthwhile, in spite of gimpy legs in robot mode. He's by no means the best member of this Patrol, but is still worthwhile - 4.5/10

Tailwind

PLANE MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A blue A-10 Thunderbolt bomber plane (think Powerglide. There are grey hints at the base of the wings, while he has black wheels under each wing and a red canopy. The blue and red work well but the grey is an unwelcome distraction. There's a little gun under the nose, twin engines behind the flat tail which has two fins on either end. The level of detailing is actually fairly good, although this is wasted since your eyes are drawn to the grey outbursts.

   There's only two wheels here - Tailwind can't roll but he does lie flat on his belly, rather than sagging one way or the other. The plane has no play value but looks convincing enough for a Micromaster plane. Of course, this is a very distinctive type of plane, which helps make this plane mode work.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the tail down to form his boots and straighten the legs. Fold up the wings to reveal his arms underneath, fold the nose onto his back and stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 3cm

   With a grey body, grey thighs and head, Tailwind's blue is now pushed out to his limbs. His face is black, which would ruin his facial detail - if he had any. The blue and grey work much better now, although since this is weaker mode the colour layout is fighting a losing battle.

   The arms are thin affairs with tapering fists that have moulded finger yet the hands don't look like hands. The legs are the underside of the plane's tail, but since there are hollow pieces and the ankle region is almost as thin as his arms, the legs look pretty stupid. Sure, Powerglide uses a similar trick but his legs are far better proportioned, and without the hollow knees we see here.

   The knees can fold back as one (the boots are a single piece) but since the hips don't fold forward, there's no useful jointing in this robot mode at all. Tailwind pretty much stands there looking awkward.

   While he's a victim of trying to use a very distinct plane model, I can't help but dislike this robot mode. The face is a black lump, the boots could have been better with a little more effort. While Micromasters aren't generally terribly poseable, Tailwind has zero meaningful points of articulation, which is very poor.

OVERALL

   The weakest member of the Patrol, and while he _is_ the most ambitious this isn't enough to justify such a poor toy for me. Neither mode impresses - 2.5/10

Whisper

PLANE MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 6cm Width: 5cm

   A black spyplane with a red window at the front, Whisper is easily the darkest member of this quartet, which is fitting of a spyplane, really. It's a good plane mode for a Micromaster - there are stabilisers on the sides of the cockpit, wheels under each wing and a false front wheel underneath the fuselage, just behind the cockpit (which is close to the nose). The tailfins slope inwards and the wings slope down. The black colour scheme isn't inherently interesting, but it's suitable so I'm not complaining.

   There's not really any play value here, but then Whisper's no different to his teammates (or most other Micromaster planes) in this respect. There are jets moulded on the back of the plane and the lilac underneath doesn't stick out at all. Overall this is a decent little jet mode, which is second only to Nightflight's in my opinion

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold up the wings and flip up the nose. Extend the fuselage to form his legs and stand Whisper up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A lilac and black robot with a white face, Whisper's two main colours work well together while the white brings out his facial sculpt well, which is good. The torso, head and thighs are lilac while his arms and boots are black. The wheels hang off his wrists but being black they blend into the arms.

   There are double missile racks moulded on either shoulder, which flank the head and give Whisper some weaponry - not that they actually fire. The shoulders swing, the knees bend as one and the hips swing as one. The leg joints don't really offer any poseability however, so the arms are his only meaningful articulation. The arms are a little narrower than I'd like, which is accentuated in black plastic against the much lighter lilac.

   A middle of the road Micromaster, Whisper's robot mode is nice enough without being terribly interesting. Still, the colours work and he's easily better than Tailwind.

OVERALL

   A good jet mode and decent robot mode make for a good Micromaster. The robot mode has some minor flaws which hold him back slightly, but Whisper is still worthwhile - 6/10

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although all four toys were repainted and sold with bases. Nightflight as Airwave, Storm Cloud as Skyhopper, Tailwind as Hot House and Whisper as Groundshaker.

THE PATROL OVERALL

   Something of a mixed bag, ranging from the awful Tailwind to the appealing Nightflight, the Air Strike Patrol is the only Micromaster Patrol that was totally recoloured. Having said that, the repaint of the strongest toy here was a regression, which almost makes the set worthwhile if you have the four bases that sold with the recolours. Whisper is also good and Storm Cloud has a good jet mode, so if you're a Micromaster fan this set is recommended - 5/10

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