Cliffbee.com: Henkei Powerglide Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Powerglide
Series: Henkei
Allegiance: Cybertron (Autobot)
Alternate Mode: Bomber Plane

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Powerglide for this review



PLANE MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 24cm Width: 23.5cm

   A brick red bomber plane designed to resemble an A-10 Thunderbolt, without actually needing to license that plane model, Powerglide has some light grey painted highlights - the outside of his tailfins, leading edges of his wings, the back of his engines and some others here and there. His canopy is transparent orange with gunmetal ribbing wile there are grey badges on either wing with "9G" in a black, stencil, font. There are stencilled registration numbers on the sides of his fuselage, engines and the outsides of his tailfins. It's a good colour scheme if not especially realistic, and it's a very good match for that of G1 Powerglide - and a much better fit to the character than the grey colour of the Universe equivalent.

   There's a little kibble on this plane mode, although the basic shape is right. The sides of the fuselage are broken up - they're the robot mode boots. There's a fluorescent red button on the top of his fuselage which is fairly visible (although it works better than the same red button on the Hasbro toy). On the other hand, the arms underneath his wings are well integrated - and resemble those on the Minibot. The sculpt itself is quite detailed with seams, rivets and hatches. While the detailing isn't perfect it's quite plane-like for the most part.

   There's quite a bit of play value here. There are fold down wheels underneath the wings and cockpit, and Powerglide will happily lie on his belly or stand on the wheels. In theory he can roll along on his wheels, but they're too small for a toy this massive - he'll just slide. There's a red gatling gun underneath the nose - and you can turn it around 180 as a missile launcher with a single black missile. There is the obligatory electronic gimmick set here. Pressing the red button lights up red LEDs within the cockpit and within the orange at the back of the engines. While these LEDs are flashing there are three different sound effects which will cycle each time you press the button. One is a short missile firing sound, the second is a machine gun fire sound which will continue as long as you press the button and the last... sounds like a key in the ignition - I'm not really sure what it is meant to sound like.

   A good decent bomber plane mode, and while it's not quite an A-10 in colour or shape, the brick red colour very much makes this toy Powerglide. The sculpt is good and while electronics aren't that impressive, this is a much better offering that the Universe version. There is some junk on the sides holding this plane back, and Powerglide probably should have been a deluxe, but this plane mode works very well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There's a fair amount of torso manipulation here so I'll summarise. The sides of the fuselage end up as the legs while the torso is formed from the fuselage and wings with the engines ending up as... breasts. The head is stowed under the tail while the arms are underneath the wings, which end up protruding on either shoulder as in G1. As you transform him into robot mode you'll activate a transformation sound with a rising pitch, and in the other direction he emits a transformation sound with a falling pitch. The weapon ends up as a handheld missile launcher

ROBOT MODE
Height: 21cm Width: 15cm

   A brick red robot with light grey paint on his wrists and ankles, Powerglide has conspicuous orange pieces on his chest, with a stamped Autobot logo between them. The waist and groin are grey plastic which matches the painted grey nicely. There are some black elements here and there while his mouthplate is silver and his eyes transparent orange (with no lightpipe). Again, this colour schemesuits Powerglide, even if the layout of grey differs from that seen in G1. His head is painted red, and this red paint matches the red plastic nicely. It's a well done paint job overall - it looks like Powerglide while using a subtle red that doesn't overpower the senses.

   This robot mode is a mixed bag. The head shape is clearly Powerglide, with a gently tapered shape and big silver mouthplate. There's even a small antenna on the left, designed to resemble the plane-mode gun on the Minibot's head. The legs and arms are fairly slender while the torso is bulky and somewhat disjointed. The wings have folded up on either side of the torso, in a similar fashion to those on G1 Powerglide. The torso is proportionally wider, so the effect isn't quite the same, but there's a clear homage intended. And then there's the breasts.

   The defining feature of this robot mode is the pair of round orange protrusions on either side of the chest. No matter how you look at them, they look like breasts. Big, orange, prominent, breasts. On the vehicle mode they sit at the back of the engines, but here they dominate the robot mode in a very awkward manner. I'm not sure what the designer was thinking here, but I can't see how (s)he could have failed to notice that he was designing a well-endowed robot. At least they're on a red background this time - they stand out far more on the grey Universe toy. They're still awkward, but they're not verging on tacky softcore porn as those on Hasbro's version are.

   The play value here is pretty good. Powerglide's heard turns and can tip forward a little. His shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are all articulated in two planes of direction although his waist is fixed. The feet and heelspurs are a single piece each and are hinged, allowing for some posing. The torso is fairly heavy, what with the electronics, some plane kibble on the back and those D cups (actually, they're much bigger than that), which limits the range of stable leg poses. His missile launcher can be placed in either hand. The Autobot logo is placed on a panel which lifts up to reveal an unpainted (red) loveheart - a nice tribute The Girl Who Loved Powerglide. Pressing down on the folded up tail behind his head will activate the machine gun fire sound, for as long as the button underneath remains pressed. At the same time, his eyes and breasts flash. While the eyes flashing is nice, the flashing breasts are very questionable.

   This robot mode improves on Hasbro's but still has problems. The head, heart and basic articulation are good and now the colour scheme works very well. The torso is a mess, since its weight hampers poseability and the flashing orange breasts are very poorly conceived. They don't dominate the robot mode thankfully - something they very much do against the neutral grey backdrop of the Universe toy - but they're still a major feature and an unfortunate one. It's a decent robot mode, if not a great one.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Notwithstanding the fact that Minibot is now at the upper end of the size scale, this is a poorly executed tribute. Takara did their best to negate the shortcomings of Hasbro's product, mind you. The plane mode is reminiscent of the A-10 Thunderbolt and while there's some fuselage kibble, it works well for the character. The robot mode colour scheme also works despite the breasts. The electronics in plane mode cycle through two poor effects for one good one - in robot mode only that better one is available, but the flashing breasts that accompany mean it's wasted. So the electronics are largely a write-off, with the rising and fall transformation sounds being the highlight. The transformation here is clever and the loveheart is a great touch, as are the well sculpted head and well matched paints. It's still not a fantastic toy, but it's a solid one despite the size issue. Whether or not it's worth importing to tower over the other Classics toys is up to you - 7.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.