Cliffbee.com: Cyberjet Air Raid Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Air Raid
Series: Generation 2
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Warrior
Alternate Mode: Stealth Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 10cm Width: 7cm

   A black stealth fighter jet with a transparent yellow cockpit, a blue paint wash on the back of the wings and some matching blue undercarriage kibble. While it's something of a departure from his Aerialbot days, this jet mode fits Air Raid fairly well. The colour scheme is actually a hybrid of his original and G2 colours, which is nice although I suspect it wasn't intentional. He has a black missile launcher sticking up in place of a proper tail - the tailfins are integrated into the launcher, which sports a long white missile. It's a nice colour scheme that suits both the character and the mould, and is the most realistic of those given to the Autobot cyberjets.

   The missile launcher is connected to the airframe through two ball joints, so it's limited only by the wings in terms of movement. You can point it backwards or position it underneath the jet itself or point it sideways. If this were a real jet I'm not sure it'd fly so well with the tailfins underneath or sideways, and even if it could it'd lose any semblance of stealth. Luckily for Air Raid, he exists to provide play value for kids (and collectors), so being able to evade radar isn't as important as having a cool missile launcher. The white missiles can also clip underneath each wing, incidentally. Whether the missile are in the launcher or under the wings they really contrast with the black of the jet.

   The black landing gear underneath is retractable, although the front one can be a little tricky to fold down if you don't have fingernails. He'll happily sit on his belly if the wheels are folded away. The missile launcher will fire the missile around a metre, and you can tap the missiles out as (somewhat long) bombs if they're underwing. The missile launcher is a ball-pressure affair. Basically, you push on the back of the missile until the ball slips out of the claw and the missile flies across the room. The upside is that there aren't any moving parts to wear out, but these aren't as powerful as spring launchers.

   Air Raid has no Autobot symbols on him anywhere, although there are stickers on either side with the words "UNITED STATES" in red lettering, as well as a USAF badge on the portside wing. Considering that Jetfire and Strafe have _Decepticon_ symbols on them, I'm not at all bothered that Air Raid missed out in faction symbols.

   The black and blue works really well, and the stealth jets are underused by the Transformers line anyway, so it's a good jet mode, visually. The missile launcher works very well - important it's the whole point of the jet mode, really. Lastly, this is an appropriate reuse of the character.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Involved for a small Transformer, and difficult to really describe adequately. Essentially, the legs fold out from underneath, the missile launcher becomes the right arm while the left is the core of the jet. The nose of the jet becomes his torso (a triangle shaped torso, of course) and the wingtips become a cape rising behind his shoulders.

   The collar section is a little unstable, and will often unclip during transformation back to jet mode, detaching the arms and backplate from the rest of Air Raid. This central joint relies on a very small hinge, and while it's easy enough to reattach it takes the fun out of the transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   Again black with blue accents, Air Raid still has a nice colour scheme, although if anything it's a little dark. The shoulders and thighs are blue, and the missiles white, but otherwise he's black. The window on his waist and his face are transparent yellow, but since they're surrounded by black they would have been better being painted yellow for this mode. The face, a t-shaped piece embedded in his head, should in theory function as a lightpipe, but the cape behind it ruins this. His black head ends up being lost amongst the black of the cape. If the head was a little more prominent, I'd really like this colour scheme, as it is the best I can say is that it's nice but should have been a lot better.

   The cape formed by his wings is cool, and gives Air Raid a somewhat regal look, yet sits far enough back that it doesn't hinder his shoulder joints too much, The missiles can be attached to the wingtips again, although this _will_ impact on shoulder movement, so I recommend leaving one in the launcher and the other either aside or grasped in his left fist. There is a fair gap between his chest and the cape, which is somewhat gappy, but the fact it's entirely black masks the holes well enough. There is a strut just behind his head, to the right, which is part of the asymmetrical arm transformation. Again, being black it conceals fairly well.

   The missile launcher - now his right forearm - works just as well now as in jet mode, and if the missile is removed, gives Air Raid a claw-hand. The tailfins on the side get in the way slightly, but they restrict some poses rather than ruling them out.

   No Aerialbot has ever had articulation like this. His head, shoulders, hips, knees and right elbow are ball jointed, and while the head and shoulders are somewhat limited, there's a wide range of poses available. The left shoulder is hinged, I suspect because the hinge is smaller than a ball joint would be, and this arm has to fit inside everything else in jet mode. The hinge is really the only disappointing aspect of Air Raid's poseability, not that it bothers me much since he's so far ahead of most Transformers where posing is concerned.

   Other than the fact he's swimming in a sea of black, Air Raid's other main flaw is a tendency to pop apart. There are two notches on the blue groin section - which is behind the nose - into which the backplate clips, holding him together. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much for the backplate to pop out, since the notches are maybe 2mm deep. While he won't crumble, if the backplate detaches here it'll flop around and he won't look quite right.

   The unclipping is a minor flaw, but the head lost amongst black is a bigger one. It's a decent mould needlessly brought down by bad colouring. The poseability is great and it's still worthy of being called Air Raid, but this is the weakest of the three Autobot cyberjet robot modes. If he had a blue head, I'd be a lot keener on this robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although he is a repaint of Skyjack. The mould was later revisited in the Transformers: Universe line, this toy was also called Air Raid.

OVERALL

   This is the weakest of the three cyberjet moulds - although it's still a pretty good mould. The jet mode is great, the choice of a stealth fighter is appealing and welcome, and the colours work well. The transformation isn't as elegant as the other two moulds, and the robot mode has some flaws - some preventable, some a result of the complex engineering. Air Raid is probably the better version of this mould (both are black, incidentally), and is worth picking up. It's a good choice of character, and it's nice to see some variation in character reuse, so despite being the worst of a good bunch, I recommend Air Raid - 7/10

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