Cliffbee.com: Dreadwind & Smokejumper Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Dreadwind
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Stealth Bomber (which is technically a Gestalt of the two toys)

Note: This pair were sold during the Robots in Disguise era, before the "Universe" moniker came along, but they weren't really sold in RiD packaging - they were a random store exclusive.

Thanks to Excelon Zero loaning me Dreadwind & Smokejumper for this review.



STEALTH BOMBER MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 19cm Width: 30cm

   An army green stealth bomber with a transparent red cockpit, silver missiles and a couple of grey and light green elements here and there. There is some transparent red along the wings, but no chrome. This set is a repaint of G2 Dreadwing, sans chrome and stickers. There are four purple Decepticon logos here - one on each wingtip, one on top of the cockpit and one in front of the tail. I understand why there's a few - at least one is visible in each vehicle mode, but I would have preferred Smokejumper's jet to wear his allegiance on his nose so that it would be concealed here. The colours work together, although they're not really what we expect on a stealth jet. I can live with the loss of chrome compared to the G2 version, and the loss of some of the stickers is a good thing, but the profusion of Deception logos is less than ideal.

   This is a big plane, with a lot of good things going for it. Firstly, there's the size. Secondly the thing shoots _twelve_ missiles. Six of these are in the light green Gatling gun underneath, which are released in series when you turn the back of this gun. The other six are under the wings, and pressing on small transparent red buttons on top of the wings allows them to drop, like bombs. I like the fact that these buttons are small, since they don't ruin the look of the wings at all. There are two sets of rear wheels underneath, the front undercarriage is replaced by the Gatling gun, on which it rests happily. So it doesn't roll, but planes like this taxi pretty slowly anyway and it's too big for rolling along the ground anyway.

   The size allows for a fair bit of detail, by G2 standards. This vehicle has air intakes, underwing missiles as well as just a good stealth-like shape. There's a bit of undercarriage rubbish, which is Dreadwind's legs. Otherwise, it's pretty hard to fault this mode. The wingtips fold both up, but notches were added to the mould for BWII's Starscream and BB which stop the wingtips folding down too far. While the green isn't very realistic, it does offer a more sedate colour scheme compared to the fairly typical G2 colours of Dreadwing.

DREADWIND'S TRANSFORMATION TO TANK MODE

   Unclip Smokejumper from the back of the combined jet mode. You'll notice that by himself, Dreadwind is still a mostly complete plane, without tailfins. Remove the missiles or they'll go everywhere. Fold the wingtips up. Lift up the wings (they spring up). Fold up the wheels, swing the Gatling gun right back, and up so it's on top of the fuselage. There's little grey tabs at the back of his robot legs, push then to release the tank treads, and click these into place. You can place the missiles into the Gatling gun on top, but you don't have to.

DREADWIND'S TANK MODE
Height: 12cm Length: 17cm Width: 11cm

   An army green and grey tank, with the same transparent red cockpit as the combined mode, and with silver missiles (if you decide to use them). The grey is far more prominent here, the treads and the sides of the tank itself (which are the undersides of the wings) are grey. The light green is limited to the big gun on top, which can swivel in two directions and shoot at pretty much everything.

   This mode is easily the weakest point of this package. It's not that it's terrible, but so much of Dreadwind goes into the Stealth Bomber that the tank looks like it's been fashioned out of a bomber. The cockpit makes this rather obvious, being atop a pointed nose. The treads are somewhat thin, from the front it reminds me of a catamaran. On the upside, the green makes far more sense here than it does on the other vehicles, and a green tank makes more sense than the blue does on his G2 counterpart.

   The gun, as mentioned, can point pretty much anywhere, and can shoot missiles all over the room. The bomber's wheels are underneath the rear of the treads and there are small wheels under the front, this tank mode can roll, in fact it does so much better than the bomber. So while it may not look like a normal tank, it has better play value as a tank than most TF tanks that do.

DREADWIND'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the missiles or they'll go everywhere. Lift up the air intakes and swivel them so they stick out at the front. There's a panel to the right of the Gatling gun - fold this up. Then fold the spot where the Gatling gun attaches to the body to the right until it clicks (this is inside the toy, where Smokescreen fits. Fold the treads back onto the legs then fold down the legs, Swing the hips in and click them into place. Fold the feet into place and position the knees. Fold the nose down halfway, fold out the head and then fold the nose right down to form the chestplate. Swing the arm intakes to the sides for form the arms, and them lift the outer parts of these out to the sides till they click to reveal the arms themselves. Swing the Gatling gun un to form a shoulder cannon. Attach missiles if desired.

DREADWIND'S ROBOT MODE
Height: 18.5cm Width: 15cm

   A big, stocky army green, light green & grey robot. Dreadwind's lower legs and forearms are light green along with his shoulder cannon. The torso and deflectors attached to the forearms are army green while his shoulders, thighs, feet & head are grey. The eyes are transparent red, with a great lightpipe. The Decepticon logo now sits on his groin.

   As mentioned, this guy's stocky. We're not talking nightclub bouncer, we're talking professional Sumo wrestler. He's very wide and has a big round head, which is pretty much dome shaped. There's no waist either, which along with the head, makes Dreadwind look very bulky, hence the sumo motif.

   Not only is he big, but he's poseable. He has hinged knees, ball jointed hips, two joints at the shoulders giving full poseability, hinged elbows and a head that turns. While he's a tad back-heavy, he's got big enough feet that he can stand in pretty much any pose with a little work. The cannon on the right shoulder is _huge_ in proportion, and is able to point pretty much anywhere, although it's slightly limited by the wing sitting behind it to the right. But it spins and when it does so, it'll send missiles all over the Autobots (or your living room).

   Poseability, a kick-ass shoulder cannon.. and you can give him one of Smokejumper's missile launchers, since he has holes in his hands. These holes are too small to use the missiles as clubs, but when you've got a rapid fire shoulder cannon, your enemies shouldn't be getting close enough for you to need a club. In essence the deflectors on his forearms become redundant as shields, because noone'll get near him. But they look awesome.

   This is a great robot mode - poseable, good colours, great weapons, an effective lightpipe and a nice strong look about him. The duller missiles actually reduce the visual impact of the shoulder cannon a little compared to Dreadwing or BB, but Dreadwind still looks great.

SMOKEJUMPER'S TRANSFORMATION TO JET MODE

   Unclip Smokejumper from Dreadwind. Fold down the undercarriage. Either remove the missile launchers or add missiles to them.

SMOKEJUMPER'S JET MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 15.5cm Width: 8cm

   Aa army green jet with light green bits on top of the fuselage and a grey underside. The cockpit is transparent red, and there's enough of it for it to stand out on it's own as red, rather than be miscoloured by the plastic behind it. There's a small Decepticon logo stamped on the nose, while the larger Decepticon symbol on the back looks very forced. It's not necessary here, nor on the stealth bomber, so I'm left wondering why it was included. Otherwise the colours here are nice, but that logo really does look forced.

   The wings are swept back, and the tailfins point out to the sides slightly. The nose is long and pointy, making this jet look very aerodynamic, which is enhanced by the swept back wings. The wheels are moulded and do not roll, so this jet doesn't do much other than stand there and be a jet. It looks good, though. The missile launchers can be added to the sides, and although personally I prefer to leave them off, they do give some play value. On Excelon Zero's Smokejumper, at least, the robot legs don't clip in under the wings very well at all - they tend to float under there, and tend to move out of position.

   A regression despite the loss of bright plastics, since that forced Decepticon symbol really does look bad and the mould has degraded, causing the robot legs to float loose under his wings. It's still a decent mould, but the mould doesn't work well here.

SMOKEJUMPER'S TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold up the wheels, grab the legs underneath the jet and swing them forward as far as they go. Push down on the tailfins and the arms pop out the bottom. Swing the arms out to the sides. Turn the nose & legs around 180, then fold this assembly up between the shoulders to form the robot and reveal the head. Swing the tailfins out, fold out the feet and attach missile launcher.

SMOKESCREEN'S ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 8cm

   Similar to Dreadwind, Smokejumper is army green, grey & light green. There's more light green on this figure, however - on the shoulders, forearms, lower legs. & mouthplate. The feet, thighs, upper arms & head are grey, the torso army green and the eyes transparent red, with another great lightpipe.

   While Dreadwind is big & stocky, Smokejumper is small and slim, even lanky. The robot mode looks pretty good, and is reminiscent of a Cyberjet. In fact it's pretty obvious by the transform that Cyberjet Strafe is designed by the same person who designed this toy. The head is strangely reminiscent of Optimus Prime, for some reason.

   There are more mould degradation issues here. The backpanel doesn't clip in well at all, instead it tends to pop out of place with the slightest touch. This piece seems to be composed of a softer plastic than on Smokescreen, which I suspect explains the problems with the legs staying attached in jet mode - since they clip into this same piece. The thighs have been resculpted, the difference being that the legs are forced to stand apart. Without ankle joints this causes Smokejumper to either stand legs apart, on the inside edges of his feet, or with arched legs on flat feet. Neither option really works well.

   This is probably G2's finest moment in terms of poseability, although the Laser Rods & Cyberjets are pretty much on par. He has ankles and heelspurs with their own 'ankles', knees with two joints each, ball joint hips, two sets of joints per shoulder and hinged elbows. The head turns, also. About the only things that could have moved but don't are the wrists. The missile launchers, one for each hand, are pretty big, because they're designed to work with Dreadwind also. They add to the play value of this toy, however.

   The mould is great but the minor changes here really hurt this robot mode. The colours are good and the lightpipe works really well but the change of plastics on his backplate coupled with the detrimental tweaking of the thighs really hurts.

VARIATIONS

   None that I am aware of, although as mentioned this set is a repaint of a G2 set, with Dreadwind being a repaint of Dreadwing and Smokejumper being a repaint of Smokescreen.

OVERALL

   A good repaint of Dreadwing as Dreadwind is coupled with a really sloppy repaint of Smokescreen as Smokejumper. The basic idea of the repaint is good, but some adjustments to the plastic on Smokejumper really hurt. The decision to force a Decepticon logo on the back of the fighter was a dumb one, and only serves to compound the sloppiness of Smokejumper. It's still a good mould overall, but Smokejumper feels cheap. Both robots are poseable and have great weapons, but I'd easily recommend the G2 set or the relatively inexpensive BWII set over this duo - 6/10, and much of that is for Dreadwind.

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