Cliffbee.com: Superlink Firebolt Toy Review

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Name: Firebolt
Series: Superlink (Energon)
Allegiance: Cybertron
Alternate Mode: Fighter Jet


The US version, Windrazor.


Note: I have the Japanese version of this set, so I'm going with the Japanese names partly because of the G1 links and partly because Hasbro's reuse of names in this set is pathetic. Firebolt is the Japanese name for Fireflight.

JET MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 11.5cm Width: 10cm

   A red fighter jet with grey wings and tailfins, Firebolt has a fair slice of white paint on his air intakes and tailfins, as well as some highlights elsewhere on his fuselage. The airframe has elements of the F-22 and the Stealth jets and looks like a hybrid of the F-22 and a Stealth bomber - not that you'd find a red Stealth jet. This isn't any real model of military aircraft, but it's got bits and pieces to the point where it looks like it _could_ be, which keeps me happy. His canopy is a dark transparent blue, which stands out amongst the light colours that dominate this jet (there is some black at the base of the wings, incidentally). There's a red Autobot symbol behind and to the left of the canopy, with is moulded (and the relief is white), while he sports a spark crystal at the back between the tailfins facing backwards. While it's not a perfect homage to Fireflight, the red and white do make this a fairly obvious homage to the inattentive Aerialbot. This is a decent colour scheme in it's own right, mind you - since red and grey always work together.

   There are some elements here that wouldn't work on a real jet fighter, of course. The most obvious are the holes in his wings, which are designed to allow Firebolt to attach his cannons - they go right through the wingtips and would wreak havoc with his flight capabilities. Otherwise the rest is minor - the spark crystal and robot arms tucked underneath. Firebolt is actually capable of resting on his arms if his landing gear is retracted, which I suppose makes them somewhat useful. Of course, you're meant to lower the front wheel and side wheels for this mode. There's a nice balance of jet bits here and there, such as plane lines on the fuselage, Stealth-jet angles on the nose and flaps on the wingtips. He even has a little seat inside the cockpit.

   Firebolt's cannons can clip underneath or on top of his wingtips, but I'd strongly recommend against the latter. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of placing them underneath, either, since you end up with transparent blue sticking out the back as well as the front. You can also attach them to his fists, underneath the jet, but there's not really much point. These weapons represent the play value of this jet mode, so I should be disappointed that they're so lame. Thankfully Firebolt has other stuff going for him.

   Despite the silly weaponry, this is still a good jet mode. The colours are good, and the G1 homage is nice. There's quite a lot of detail in the mould, and aside from the holes in his wings - for him to carry those weapons - this jet looks realistic enough. While it doesn't work quite as well as Sling or Skydive as a jet, the light colours work as a great foil to the darker Air Rider, who shares this mould (with a different paint mask).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Retract the landing gear, unclip the wings and fold them back to form his legs. Unclip the panel holding the tailfins and spark crystal and swing forward to form his backplate. Lift the arms out to the sides, fold down the nose to form his head and reveal his head. Swing down his arms, lift up the feet and position his limbs as desired - you can even attach his weapons if you want.

   For some reason, the wingtips now form winglets that stick out from his knees, and these winglets are on ball joints. These ball joints have no apparent purpose, but if you like you can rotate the winglets downwards. I actually rotate them down on Firebolt - who shares this mould to differentiate the two (it looks better on Firebolt's paintmask than Air Rider's).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 5cm

   Again red and grey, although the grey really comes into it's own here. Firebolt's torso and head are red, the limbs mainly grey, with black feet and forearms, as well as some black on his knees. The canopy on his chest is transparent blue along with his eyes - and there's a very effective lightpipe which will cause his eyes to glow if there's even an indirect lightsource behind him. The face is grey, which brings out his moulded nose and mouth quite well (better than on Air Rider, actually). That moulded Autobot symbol now sits on the left of his chest and really belongs there. The prevalence of grey hurts the G1 homage here - although the colours are actually a very close match for G1 Skydive. Still, the red, grey and black go well together and I love the lightpipe to bits.

   Firebolt's torso is essentially the front of the jet - which is a tried and tested formula for jet Transformers. The winglets on his knees also allude to his alternate mode, without getting in the way. The limbs feature angular lines that match the angular torso (and it's stealth lines). The head is also quite angular, as is the single eyepiece, which is a two-plane visor. The face is excellent all round, really, right down to his black forehead.

   The forearms have moulded pistons inside them, which are unpainted grey amongst the black painted surrounds. Firebolt's feet have well-designed heelspurs which do a great job of a anchoring him whilst not sticking out that far. The backpack that is the tailfins sits flush against his back and is a non-issue in terms of weight balance. G1 fans might notice that this backplate is in itself a homage to the G1 Aerialbots.

   The head turns, the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips are all all joints and the ankles hinged, giving Firebolt great articulation for a basic (especially one that becomes the limb of a Gestalt). The heelspurs really help, since most poses are stable providing you get the feet right. It's just a shame that Firebolt doesn't come with better weaponry to help show off his poseability.

   Those silly missiles that Firebolt comes with can now form either baton-like melee weapons or tuning-fork like double-bats (if you fold up the transparent blue ends). The handles are grey, meaning these weapons aren't interchangeable with Air Rider's (which have baby blue handles). While it's possible to lift one end up and leave the other down, the effect fails to look like a firearm since the raised arm is too long. Granted, the melee weapons aren't a total loss, but I'd much prefer a ranged weapon. There's also a grey connecting piece that comes with the twin-weapons - it's exclusively for Superion limb mode, in case you wonder why I haven't covered it.

   Ignoring the weaponry - which you can of course substitute for other Energon weaponry if you like - this is a good robot with great colours. Firebolt is poseable and stable with a sculpt that suits his airframe well. The G1 homage isn't quite as good as that of the jet mode, but this robot mode has a charm of it's own anyway, and a lightpipe that simply kicks ass.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of, although as mentioned the US name is Windrazor.

OVERALL

   While he's perhaps overshadowed by Air Rider - who has a better colour scheme - Firebolt is a good toy and the two have vastly different paint masks and colour sets, so I'd really recommend both anyway. The sculpt is great, the robot mode is very playable and the plane mode solid, and of course you'll need him if you want to complete Superion. Two solid modes make him worthwhile even if his weaponry sucks - 8.5/10

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