Cliffbee.com: Armada Skywarp Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Skywarp
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Jet Fighter

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Skywarp & Thunderclash for this review.



JET MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 21cm Width: 24cm

   A black fighter jet with lots of lilac highlights, as well as some grey that's mainly confined to the nose, Skywarp is a significant retooling of Starscream that's paying a tribute to the G1 toy of the same name. Skywarp has an orange canopy and gold air intakes on top of the jets, as well as gold VTOL turbines on his tailwings. The air intakes are on top of the plane rather than below like on G1 Skywarp, who he is clearly designed to resemble.

   He has purple Decepticon logos on his wings, which were unpainted on Starscream and Thundercracker - Hasbro have finally worked out they look about fifteen times better without purple paint in the grooves - which have been painted white, as has the outside of the logo, which is an added bonus. On the underside, he has no front undercarriage as such, but below each wing is a block with wheels, these blocks have unpainted Decepticon logos on them - which is somewhat strange since they were unpainted on Screamer, painted on Thundercracker and now are unpainted again. It doesn't matter terribly, since the logos on his wings are more than ample. Despite having no nose wheel, he stands up okay, and rolls along about as well as you'd expect.

   Thunderclash can attach underneath the cockpit, and looks really good there since he resembles a weapons array. Adding to the play value are twin missile launchers, that flip forward when you attach Thunderclash (or another Minicon) to a live hardpoint on top, near the tail. They're big and heavy with powerful springs so it's a fun gimmick. Thunderclash tends to catch the missile launchers if he's there, so to activate this you're best plugging him in and removing him again, which will release the launchers.

   There are four sound gimmicks on this toy. Pulling back on the hardpoint on top will produce a swooping sound, holding this trigger back will create a whirring sound that's meant to be some sort of flying sound - not that jets have propellers. Pressing down on the cockpit produces the sound of rapid gunfire, and if you do this with Thunderclash stowed underneath the cockpit, it'll make the sound of a bomb exploding.

   None of the sounds are really that impressive - they're all rather muffled and indistinct - and are identical to those used on both Starscream and Thundercracker. Despite the rather underdone sound gimmicks, this is still a fun toy. The missile launchers are very cool, and the missiles will shoot over a metre. Aside from the two spots already mentioned, you can attach Minicons to the two wheel blocks under the wings, giving him four attachments points, although Thunderclash can't attach to those on the sides, and only Minicons designed for this mould will fit under the cockpit.

   There are four mould changes that are visible in the jet mode. The first and most obvious is the fact he has a totally new Minicon, and Thunderclash suits the mould better than Swindle/Zapmaster. The second is a set of guns on either side of the canopy replacing small stabiliser fins that the others had. There's a spike sticking out from between the two air intakes, which is more for the robot mode, being a mohawk, but is visible here. The final change is the VTOL fans added to the tailwings, which are slightly different to those on the others, on closer inspection.

   This is a nice looking jet mode, and there's a very detailed sculpt, although this is largely lost amongst the black plastic. The paint job is well done and the change of Minicon and VTOL fans are nice improvements. Like Thundercracker, he bears a strong semblance to his G1 namesake, stronger than Starscream's semblance to the G1 Starscream. The missile launchers are a lot of fun and Thunderclash's weapon rack mode is nifty, so overall this is a great jet mode, despite the failure of the sound gimmicks to really contribute.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   The rear wheels fold out to become the robot legs, the wheel blocks underneath the wings fold out to become the arms. The head pops out when you clip the groin into place (and it's possible to leave it out in jet mode). The wings rotate to form robot mode wings, and the left wing can detach to form a sword, something I strongly recommend _not_ doing. Goktimus has left the clear elastic that holds it together in transit on the wing, in fact, and I've done the same with my Thundercracker. The nose folds down to become the robot chest, and the missile launchers can deploy over his shoulders in robot mode. It's a fairly involved transformation, although not a difficult one.

   The canopy sound effect went off three times during that transformation. If I ever get a Skywarp for myself, I'm taking out the damn batteries.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 21cm

   Like the jet mode, this robot is black with a lot of lilac. His torso, lower legs, forearms and wings are black, the elbows, thighs and kneecap tailwings are lilac, while his shoulders and fists are grey. Skywarp has a grey head with black facemask, red eyes and lilac mohawk that's made of the same soft plastic that's used on his tailwings. The canopy is orange, just like his G1 equivalent's is, but the air intakes are gold, which is a departure from the G1 namesake. Also, his face is totally resculpted, so while Starscream and Thundercracker have G1 seeker faces, Skywarp does not. I like this in a way, it differentiate the three characters.

   The wings now sit behind his shoulders, and the two purple Decepticon symbols are clearly visible, and look really good with the white outline - it makes you wonder why Hasbro took three attempts at the mould to do it. It's a nice colour scheme - the black, lilac and grey work well together, and is a nice homage to the G1 character.

   Skywarp has two ways to arm himself in this mode. Firstly, you can attach Thunderclash to his backpack and deploy the missile launchers on either side of his head, which tend to overwhelm his head, although they wont reduce his field of vision anyway since the air intakes act as blinkers anyway. The missiles, as previously mentioned, will fire over a metre away, which is cool. The second way to arm him is to detach the right wing and unfold it into a sword. Thunderclash is unable to clip onto the hardpoints on his arms, which is a real shame since he's make a great arm-mounted weapons array.

   You might remember I recommended against using the wing-sword. There are three things I don't like about this sword. Firstly, it's a pretty strange looking sword, since it's little more than three strips of plastic. Secondly, it leaves Skywarp with only one wing. Granted, the show kept this one-wing look when he was wielding his sword, but that doesn't change the fact it looks awful. Lastly, the more you use this weapon, the weaker the rivet style joint on the wingtip becomes, meaning the wing will fall apart in jet mode - and it's not worth it for such a stupid weapon.

   The third

   Despite the poor sword, Skywarp has pretty good play value. He does lose the ability to attach his bundled Minicon to his forearm, which is a regression from the original form of his mould. He can attach to the hardpoint on the backpack, but he's rather out of the way, making this rather futile. Three of the four sounds can be activated - Thunderclash wont fit under the cockpit now. Sure, the sounds aren't very good, but it's nice that they're accessible. The holes in Skywarp's hands are too small to hold the Star Sabre, but he can hold his missiles as clubs, although they're a little loose.

   Skywarp's shoulders rotate out to the sides and hinge allowing him to lift his arms forward, but he can't lift them above horizontal, since they attach underneath his wingstubs. His elbows are double hinged, so overall the arms are quite poseable. The hips swing, the knees both rotate and bend, so his leg poseability is pretty good. The electronics are stowed in his considerable backpack, so it's a good thing he has big feet and heelspurs, giving Skywarp stability in a wide variety of poses - including standing normally.

   This is a pretty good robot mode. It's nice and big for a mega, the colours work, there's enough play value to keep me happy - even ignoring the sword. It's about the same as Starscream overall, although not quite as nice as Thundercracker - he loses the ability to attach his Minicon but has a better colour scheme than Starscream (it's about on par with that of Thundercracker). The G1 overtones are cool, and round out the trio nicely.


Name: Thunderclash
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Bomber Plane

CAR MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 7cm

   A grey futuristic bomber that's wider than he is long, Thunderclash is unusual amongst Minicons in that he's not meant to represent a real vehicle. The nose is painted black, there's an unpainted cockpit just behind the nose, and at first glance he looks like a drone. The cockpit and wingspan vaguely remind me of a Star Wars X-Wing fighter - which may well have been the inspiration for this plane mode. The wingtips are lilac as are giant cannons on the front of the wings, that can independently swing up and down for targeting.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   The legs fold down from the undercarriage, while the nose swings down to become the torso and the groin folds down. The wing cannons become the arms simply by folding down. Thunderclash's transformation bears a rather amusing resemblance to Skywarp's, although it's a lot simpler.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 7cm



   A grey robot with purple arms and thighs, giant wings across his shoulderblades and a largely black torso, Thunderclash is rather scrawny, although he looks beefier than he is thanks to the wingspan. He has a grey head with an orange eyevisor - which is not the same shade of orange used on Skywarp's cockpit, incidentally. He has no hands, just pointy cannon tips.

   His arms swing up and down at the shoulders, his hips swing and his knees bend. He can stand in various poses despite the wingspan, thanks to big heelspurs. It's an interesting robot mode, although I'm not entirely keen on the grey and lilac.


VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although Skywarp is a retool of Starscream and Thundercracker, as mentioned. Badly recoloured and sold with the Air Military Team as TFU Ramjet.

OVERALL

   Skywarp is an improvement on Starscream and about on par with Thundercracker, while Thunderclash is an entirely new Minicon, whose mould has not been used again. The colours are good, the play value decent and Thunderclash brings something new to this set. Skywarp rounds out Armada's homage to the G1 seekers, which is a reason to get him, although whether or not you want three versions of the same toy is up to you. Thunderclash is interesting, but I passed on Skywarp since I already had Thundercracker and was happy with that. I wouldn't mind Thunderclash, but wasn't willing to pay $A45 for him. Whether ot not you get this set depends on how much you like repaints and whether or not you want to complete the set, so I'll stop short of recommending Skywarp - 7.5/10

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