Cliffbee.com: Energon Dreadwing Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Dreadwing
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Speedboat



SPEEDBOAT MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 25cm Width: 11cm

   A baby blue attack speedboat with a black bow, some cobalt blue foils on the stern and a dark grey front deck, Dreadwing has some transparent purple here and there, most notably on the bridge windows. There are some gold highlights here and there, on top of the bridge he sports both a purple raised Decepticon symbol on the port side and a Decepticon spark crystal in the centre. This is a very nice colour scheme, about ten times better than the colours used on Mirage, of whom he is a repaint (I skipped Mirage). The colours evoke memories of Scourge, although I'm not sure the homage is deliberate (indeed the prototype on the box is grey and not blue).

   Long, sleek and armed to the teeth, this is a vessel designed to zoom in and sink the enemy. Dreadwing has twin missile launchers on either side of the stern and a rack on the deck with two more missiles. The missiles are long cobalt blue affairs, that work as gunbarrels and will fire about half a metre. There are also four grey missiles on the underside of the foils at the bow, which can detach and drop (with some effort) but do not fire. They're mainly for decoration and add to his arsenal.

   There are six wheels underneath the boat, allowing Dreadwing to roll along the table. I'm pretty sure he doesn't float, and with the circuitry inside the toy I'm in no hurry to find out. There's a small grey button between the launchers that lay flush on the deck, pressing it back will cause the launchers to pop up on their purple supports. Once the launchers are loose, pressing it again will activate a firing sound (if you have two AAA batteries inside - not included). I'm not a fan of electronic gimmicks in general, but with four useful launchers and wheels, the electronics are really a bonus on a boat that has a lot of play value already.

   The boat mode holds together quiet well, and while the sides are little more than giant panels, they do the job. You can detach the rear panels and fold them out to form wings, but the powerlinx ports on top of the stern to which they attach will flop around, making the wings somewhat loose. I guess this is the reason they called him Dreadwing - he could easily pass for a spaceship now, incidentally. Hey, at least there's a reason they reused a name here, unlike on Mirage. I doubt there's a real boat that looks like this, but it's believable enough as an attack boat of the future. The only real break in the hull is the back, but then you're not going to display this guy stern forward anyway.

   This is the best Transformers boat mode ever. Mind you, the only competition is the wildly coloured Mirage and the G2 racing boat Manta Ray. In the past we've seen two hydrofoils - Waver of the Multiforce and Seawatch of the Rescue Patrol - and some hovercrafts (notably Seaspray), but boats have proven rare. It's not perfect, but this is a fairly detailed toy with lots of play value and nice colours, and it's a very worthwhile boat mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Complex. The bow of the boat unfolds into backpack and side-plates, while the stern ends up becoming most of the robot itself. The head and legs are tucked underneath the stern, the arms are the top of the bridge while the bridge itself becomes his chest. The bow panels end up on his forearms. Far too complex to explain here, and trickier going the other way since you have to fold the arms just right.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18.5cm Width: 15cm

   Again mainly baby blue with light grey feet, fists, elbows and thighs, Dreadwing's face is black with red eyes. The cobalt blue is still present, on his shoulderblades and the missiles in the bow launchers that now hang off his forearms. There are purple highlights here and there, notably on his forehead and shoulders. The Decepticon symbol and spark crystal are now on his chest, the bridge is his waist. The gold has mostly disappeared. Again this is a nice colour scheme, and easily beats the mess that was Mirage's robot mode colour scheme. The mild semblance to Scourge has now pretty much evaporated.

   Well proportioned with a tall crown-like forehead, Dreadwing looks powerful with the launchers hanging off his forearms. You can extend the wings on his forearms if you like, and the deck launchers can also deploy overhead. The wings don't really add anything other than width but the overhead missilerack looks awesome - it's meant to be a powered-up mode thing, but I'd recommend deploying them as standard, since the pop-out rack trick doesn't really bring any play value now.

   Ignoring the various weaponry Dreadwing has twenty-four points of articulation, which is pretty impressive. What really impresses me is that most of it is useful, thanks to the bow-panels which hang off his waist and can act as stabilisers. The head and waist turn, there are two joints per shoulder, _four_ per elbow, two per knee and hip and hinged ankles (with useful heelspurs). The button on his back can activate the firing sound and all four launchers are usable in this robot, making for a very playable robot mode.

   The face is very evil-looking, which is appropriate for a Decepticon with such a menacing arsenal. The torso is a weird fusion of panels, including the electronics pack, but it comes together fairly well. The giant bow panels hanging off his waist are big and kibbly, but from the front they don't really detract and as I've already discussed they do a lot for Dreadwing's stability. The grey missiles on these panels are a non-event now, but then with the kick-ass overhead missile launchers, that's no loss.

   A very well done robot mode with great colours and amazing articulation that translates into great poseability. Sure there's some kibble but it's well dealt with and assists stability. There are no real flaws here - the only possible shortcoming is the obvious kibble on his waist, but it's been used very well.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, but as mentioned he's a repaint of Mirage. He also shares the mould with BotCon 2009 Banzai-Tron.

OVERALL

   Transformer boats are a rare thing, so I'm happy to report that Dreadwing's boat mode is strong. In fact both modes are well designed, the play value is excellent in both modes and the electronics are a nice addition rather than a central gimmick that holds him back. The colours are a vast improvement over those of Mirage. The Transformation is complex although not difficult as such, making Dreadwing a very satisfying Mega. I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of the larger Energon toys in general but I'm glad I bought Dreadwing, who is better than he looked in box - 9/10

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