Cliffbee.com: Darkwing Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Darkwing
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Aerial Assault
Alternate Mode: Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 20cm Width: 14cm, 20cm with wings out

   A grey swing-wing jet with a single aqua tailfin and purple wings and tailwings, Darkwing has a transparent blue canopy and Throttle is in his socket, a blue engine block in the middle of the fuselage. The dark grey base contrasts fairly well with the cast of bright colours supporting it, all are light except the dark purple (on his wings, of course). There are big silver and yellow stickers on his wings with Decepticon symbols, these are aligned so that they face backwards when the wings are stowed, and face out to the sides slightly when his wings are extended.

   As easy as it would be to shoot down the idea of a fighter plane with a combustion engine block on it, I'm not going to. There are twin thrusters on the back of the plane, and if you believe the comic's explanation of Powermasters - Nebulons as energy absorbers - then this little block makes sense, mechanically, if not aerodynamically. Of course, you can always remove Throttle and the panel underneath springs up, preventing Darkwing from having a gaping hole. Personally I'm fairly neutral on this gimmick, so I'm glad they built in the spring-loaded panel.

   Darkwing's fuselage is covered in plane lines, as are the wings, although on the whole there's a little too much undercarriage kibble for this to be considered a realistic jet mode, even allowing for the unlikely colours. Still, this jet mode has to accommodate the Powermaster gimmick and combination with Dreadwind to form Dreadwing, so I don't know that realism was their first priority.

   As you'd expect, the ability to connect and remove Throttle in engine mode is the main play value of this mode. But Darkwing's not content to finish there - the wings of course swing, there are four small wheels underneath which allow him to roll (although there's no front wheel as such). It's actually possible to stand him on the aft as if he's going to launch like a rocket - I doubt this was deliberate but it's kinda cool. If the wings are extended his guns can slot into holes just in front of his tailwings, or you can pop them into the robot fists under the wings so they're sticking out from underneath his wings.

   Sure, the colours are weird, but they tie in with what they're trying to do. It's a decent jet mode which has a lot of play value for a -master toy. It's by no means the best plane mode G1 has to offer, but there's enough here to keep things interesting.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the wings and tailfins up, flip up the nose section. Rotate his robot-section, which is a block underneath the remaining fuselage, 90 clockwise, which will push his head out from inside the chest. Extend the thighs, swing down his legs, then fold down the ankles and flip out his feet and heelspurs. Swing forward the arms, flush with his shoulders. Give him his weaponry if you feel so inclined.

   Darkwing is unusually asymmetrical for a G1 toy, it wasn't until Beast Wars that this sort of asymmetry became somewhat common, although in BW an asymmetrical transformation usually meant one or two asymmetrical modes, yet Darkwing has two symmetrical modes.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17.5cm Width: 8.5cm

   With a blue chest, blue forearms, aqua thighs, feet and upper arms, a grey head and grey lower legs, Darkwing's colour scheme has a different feel now. The purple is confined to the wings on his back, while the reduction in grey makes him lighter. Not really dark, without wings, but hey, this colour scheme works well. It's clear that the guy who thought up Darkwing also thought the Seacons - all he needs is pink and Magenta and he'd have the same colours as Piranacon.

   Darkwing's face is aqua with a moulded mouth and chin, while the upper half is a grey mask with purple eyes. The mask gives him a cyborg sort of look, which makes some sense since his legs are blocky and angular while his arms are rounded. The shoulders are level with the top of his chest in a straight line, which gives Darkwing a stocky feel.

   Poseability is pretty much what you might expect of a mid-sized G1 toy - the shoulders rotate and his elbows bend. The wrists also rotate, which is slightly better than G1 toys offer. You have three options with his guns. You can place one in either hand or you can join them together and place the rather bulky twin-barrelled rifle in one hand. The third option is clipping them into the holes behind this arms on the tailwings so they flank his upper arms. I'm not sure the last one was intended, but it works fairly well. There's not really any connection to Throttle in this mode, so you can either set the engine aside or transform Throttle into robot mode.

   Thanks to the nice colours, decent poseability, versatile weapons and a nice big Decepticon logo on a sticker in the middle of his chest this a pretty good robot mode. It's even better when you compare it to some of the other Transformers out at the time - many of the Pretenders and spark gimmick TFs of 1988 come nowhere near Darkwing.

Throttle
   His engine mode I've largely covered, but I'll expand a little to say that it's got aqua, blue and grey on it. The humanoid mode has grey limbs, a blue torso and blue head. For some reason, Throttle's head is that of a fish monster, the randomness of which annoys me, and is enough for me to dislike this figure. Basically I leave him in engine mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A pretty good toy for what he is, Darkwing has good play value for a G1 toy, the jet mode is decent and the robot mode quite good. Of course, the play value is partially dependant on possession of Dreadwind, but even on his own Darkwing's a good toy. While the Headmasters and Targetmasters of the previous year were generally of a higher standard than the Powermasters, Darkwing's not far behind them - 6/10

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