Cliffbee.com: Tornado Toy Review

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Name: Windrazor (US) / Tornado (Non-US)
Series: "European" Generation 1/Generation 2
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Leader
Alt Mode: Dassault F-16 Fighter Jet



JET MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 11cm Width: 7.5cm

   A silver F-16 with a blue tail and blue nosetip, Tornado has a red eagle pattern painted on top of the fuselage and some silver star stickers to go with it, which are suggestive of the USAF. The canopy is a transparent fluorescent yellow affair, as on all the Skyscorchers. There are some more silver stickers here and there, including eagle head stickers on the tail. The colour scheme is not something you'd expect on a Decepticon, but it's sufficiently different from that of Skydive, who shares the airframe. Aside from the silly stickers on his tail it's a pretty good colour scheme. You can leave the tail stickers off if you like.    There are no insignias on this mode - his Decepticon stamp is under the right wing. There are three solid cast wheels underneath the jet and while all three retract, he can't stand on his belly so there's no real play value here. I don't mind this, since Tornado's jet mode is very well sculpted for a $5 toy, and is a pretty good F-16 - a lot of the fighter plane Transformers of the era were far worse than Tornado.

   I should point out that this toy was released late in G1 outside the US - after the line was cancelled there - as Tornado, and then released in the US as Windrazor in G2 packaging. Australia received both versions, I actually have Windrazor but loose it makes no difference.

   For a $5 toy I'm pretty happy with this jet mode. It avoided the silly paint job the G2 Aerialbots got, and while the eagle stickers are kinda goofy, the toy is well detailed and the colour set works. While functional landing gear would have been nice, he's more stable that some of the other Skyscorchers.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   More complex than you'd expect at this size. Remove the gun from underneath, fold up the front wheel. Swing the arms out to the sides, lift up the tailwings. Detach the legs and fold down the nose, the fuselage should contort, revealing his head and repositioning the cockpit as the chest, with the wings forming a cape. Clip it all together and give him his handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 8.5cm Width: 7.5cm.

   Again predominantly silver, Tornado's torso is the cockpit, complete with yellow canopy. The feet are the black landing gear while his head is painted bronze and his face is a t-shaped lightpipe (which is well lit by my eMac's screen as I type this - I wonder if the iBook would work as well). The wings sit behind his body at hip level, with the red eagle partially visible. The kneecaps are blue and his gun silver - Tornado is the only member of the set whose gun coordinates, since all four guns are silver. The bronze head works surprisingly well with the silver - it helps that it's a dull bronze and not a brighter gold. The lightpipe is impressive and the USAF theme is still vaguely present.

   There are two aspects that bug me about Tornado's robot mode. Firstly, the torso has huge gaps, between his head, chest and the tailwings that form his shoulders. His backplate (the fuselage) actually sticks up behind his head, in a kind of mini hunchback, which makes the gaps big enough to bug me. The second thing that bugs me is the lack of poseability here. Granted, most G1 toys up to this point aren't much better, but Tornado can only lift his arms up. The upside is that despite the amount of contorting in the transformation, he holds together very well - a trait he shares with Hawk, the other stable Skyscorcher.

   A bit of a mixed bag, really. Tornado's head and lightpipe are well done, but the detailing here isn't as impressive as his fighter mode. The shoulder gaps really hold back the toy, since a toy with no poseability needs to display well, and the gaps hurt the look here.

VARIATIONS

   Tornado & Windrazor differ only in their packaging. No actual variants that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   On the one hand the jet mode is impressive, despite some silly thematics. On the other hand the robot mode doesn't display as well as one would hope, although the lightpipe is a real positive. I like Tornado but he's not the sort of toy worth too much effort to track down unless you're a fan of the F-16 - 5/10

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