Cliffbee.com: Henkei Dirge Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Dirge
Series: Henkei
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Air Warrior
Alternate Mode: Modified F-15 Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 14cm Width: 12.5cm

   A blue F-15 fighter in the spirit of the original toy, Dirge is a retooling of Classics Ramjet. The wings are composed of a bronze plastic which closely matches that on the original. The blue is a duller, darker, colour than on the original and the air intakes and nosecone are a dark grey rather than black - however this is unmistakably Dirge. As on the original, he has swept back wings towards the rear and smaller winglets at the front. Both sets of wings feature blue and white stripes running from the front point out towards the rear. There are rear facing Destron logos stamped on either wing and a smaller one on his nose. The inside of his cockpit and part of the grey missile launchers underneath the wings are chrome silver while the canopy is colourless plastic. This is an attractive colour scheme, and while the stripes on his wings, switch to grey and lack of white & red on the wingtips are variations on the original, this is a very strong tribute.

   The basic Classics seeker is a fairly realistic F-15, and forms the basis for Dirge - the modifications here invariably affect this realism. The wings are vastly different. The bombs under his wings are of the thinner variety - unlike the thicker ones on Ramjet. The other change here is new - the nosecone is shorter than an actual F-15's, which is a by-product of the robot mode being designed as a conehead (unlike G1 Dirge).

   While there are a few differences compared to the BotCon exclusive Classics Dirge, they're both strong tributes. This toy has wings specifically designed as Dirge, whereas the BotCon toy sports Ramjet's wing shape. The blue on this toy is a little duller than it should be, and doesn't contrast with the grey much at all - the brighter blue and black of the Classics version has a much nicer colour scheme in this respect. The bronze plastic here is closer to the original than the painted wings of the Classics toy, although the wings are less accurate here. Essentially one has a truer mould and the other truer colours - but I'm very happy with both.

   The bombs underneath his wings are actually missile launchers, the missiles fire about a metre, and aren't susceptible to popping out the moment you touch the triggers, which I appreciate. The launchers detach for his transformation, but I'm happy to report that the wings and tailfins do not - fuselage-only G1 Seekers are far too common, but this guy won't be ruined by a missing tailfin. There are four pseudo-tyres underneath - moulded lumps rather than wheels, and Dirge sits flat on the table. The missile launchers are the same mould as on the other Classics seekers.

   While the colours aren't as vibrant as they probably should be, they do a great job of the tribute, and the stripes on his wings are a nice idea. The retooled wings are pure Dirge and this is the only version of this well-used mould to feature Dirge's wing layout. The chrome feels a little gratuitous but is always a welcome addition. I get the feeling the guys at TakaraTomy were making a point of differentiating this toy from the BotCon toy as much as possible - and they deserve full credit for the wing retooling. I would have preferred some more vibrant colours, but I'm not unhappy with the colours by any means. An excellent jet mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the missile launchers, extend the rear to form the boots. Flip over the wingstubs attached to the torso (most of the wings stays attached to the boots). Fold down the feet and stow away the front wheels. Stand him up, swivel the wings up. Fold out the chestplate, rotate the canopy and pivot down to form the centre of his chest, rotate the nose to reveal his face. Flip out the arms and fold the chestplate back into position. Flip out his fists, give Dirge his weapons, either on the upper arms as traditional arm bombs or as handheld missile launchers.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 13cm

   A blue and grey robot with bronze wings hanging off his boots and bronze winglets behind his elbows. Dirge has a dark grey face with red eyes, a largely grey torso groin and some red painted details here and there, on a complex paint job. This is a fantastic representation of G1 Dirge as we saw in the cartoon, even if the colours are a little murkier and the wings have added stripes - which are identical to those on the other side of the wings. The grey air intakes are now on his shoulders with gold insides, the canopy is integrated into his chest, as on the original. The arms and feet have more blue than they should, but the murky colours help blend that away from your attention - they're not grey but the colours are very close anyway. A great tribute with an excellent colour scheme.

   There are several improvements in this design compared with the original seeker design. For starters, this Dirge has thighs. He's also more poseable - the head turns, the shoulder swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. The wings are no longer detachable - and hence can't be lost. The hips are ball jointed and the knees have both hinges and swivels. The waist is fixed - but I don't mind. Adding to the play value of this improved Dirge are the missile launchers, which not only fire missiles but can be held in his hands. The conehead - which is now by design rather than retro-engineering, looks much better than the (unofficial) conehead of the original, since it's not quite so tall. This does impact on the jet mode, but I'd rather a slightly shorter nose than a Dirge who looks like he's wearing a witch's hat.

   The differences between this toy and the Classics toy aren't as pronounced here. The BotCon toy has black feet and forearms, gold eyes rather than red (matching the G1 toy rather than the cartoon) and of course the Ramjet-moulded wings. In this mode there's not as much difference between the wingshapes, so I do prefer the other toy for its more vibrant colours, but it's a close thing.

   As with most Classics figures, Dirge lacks any true gimmicks - instead the toy focuses on being a good Transformer. The added poseability, solid build, hand weapon option and thighs are enough for me. We do of course get firing missiles - and these weapons look much better than the originals, but they don't really qualify as an added gimmick. One shortcoming of this version compared to the BotCon toy is a lack of heelspurs, but he's still quite stable.

   An excellent repaint with a great paint job anyway, Dirge has attractive wings and great poseability. Compared to the original toy the thighs are a blessing and the play value here is great. He's not really any better or worse than the BotCon toy,

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Dirge was a Ganbo store exclusive, sold only in Japan.

OVERALL

   A great retooling which represents Dirge very well. Many will embrace the retooled wings - something the BotCon toy missed out on. The BotCon toy's wings work well enough for me (considering the cost of retooling for a small run), but I'm thrilled with the wings on this toy. The blue and dark grey aren't as vibrant as I'd like but they still do a great job of the tribute and the bronze is spot on. While it's no secret that I'm a fan of this character, I would recommend this toy to anyone who is a fan of G1/Seekers in general, given the opportunity to buy it - it's an amazing tribute and a good mould anyway - 10/10

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