Cliffbee.com: Universe Darkwing Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Darkwing
Series: Universe 2.0
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Stealth Jet



JET MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 25.5cm (28cm with weapon attached) Width: 14cm

   A dark grey supersonic plane, Darkwing's colours are a good match for those of his G1 inspiration - his wings are purple, tailfins are light grey and powder blue while the cockpit windows are transparent purple. The edges of his wings are painted gold and there's a purple Decepticon logo stamped on the cockpit roof. He's a repaint of Universe Silverbolt, but does a good job of looking very different, since these colours really nail the Powermaster tribute. The nose is composed of a soft plastic and there's a grey gun mounted underneath this with a baby blue missile.

   While it's not a Concorde, it's a very similar airframe. The slight divergence helps this repaint work as a character other than Silverbolt, even if it's clearly not the swing wing fighter jet that G1 Darkwing is. Darkwing has a long nose section and sweeping wings (actually, the rear section is a wedge shape). There are moulded seams here and there, tailfins and air intakes on the front of the jets. The underside is clearly a folded up robot, but there's nothing really sticking out here. There are three retractable powder blue plastic wheels underneath, along with the detachable gun.

   While the wheels provide some play value, the gun fires a single blue missile, adding some more play value. A cobalt blue button at the back activates three light and sound gimmicks, which alternate. The first (which is an arbitrary tag) is a machine gun firing sound, accompanied by flashing red LEDs nestled within the small air intakes. This one will continue as long as you press on the button. The second sound is a wooshing sound, with no lights, that goes for about a second and that's all. The third is what sounds like an ignition sound which also lasts around a second, accompanied by flashing red LEDs at the back of the jets. While the first sound is impressive, the others aren't. I'd be far more satisfied if you could select _which_ sound you'd like to activate, rather than being forced to cycle through the crappy ones.

   This is a big, simple toy with a robot tucked away underneath. While not really fitting Darkwing, this jet mode still works and the colours do a great job of making the tribute work. I'm not impressed with the underwhelming electronics, which _force_ this to to be simple. While this plane mode isn't as good as that of Silverbolt, it's still quite successful as forced repaints as this go.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the gun, fold up the wheels. You're meant to fold down the tailfins, but you don't actually have to do so. Fold the nose back and down, clipping it onto a hook on the rear of the fuselage. Unclip the arms underneath, pull out the legs from under the front and slide the groin into his torso. This will generate a traditional transformation sound (think G1 cartoon), push the robot head out from within the fuselage and cause his eyes to flash red a few times. When reversing this step, the rising pitch of the transformation sound is replaced by one with a falling pitch (and no LEDs, since the head ends up stowed). Rotate the boots, fold out his feet and heelspurs. Rotate the forearms, flip out his fists and place the gun in either hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 24.5cm Width: cm

   A cobalt blue, powder blue and dark grey robot with a purple cape. Again the colourmap matches G1 Darkwing well. His torso and forearms are cobalt blue while the head, hands and boots are grey, the upper arms, thighs and feet are powder blue. The mouth is powder blue while his eyes are transparent red. There's a silver patch in the middle of his chest sporting a purple Decepticon logo, this is flanked by two powder blue patches (the only major addition to Darkwing's colourmap). The knees are silver along false sliders on his forearms. The colour scheme looks nice and again does a good job of making this robot look like Darkwing and not Silverbolt - no easy task given the difference in head features and the distinctive winglets on his shoulders.

   Again, it's not hard to work out that Darkwing is a robot with a plane on his back. Which isn't to say that he couldn't have been more complex if the electronics were left out, but he was always going to end up with the alt mode on his back in some form. There are few plane elements on the robot mode - only the pseudo wings on his shoulders.

   The electronics here are more limited. When the head is out, the button on his back will only activate the machine gun sound - I'd love to figure out how to force this onto his plane mode. The dead blue button on the front of the plane actually works to activate this machine gun sound now. The LEDs in his eyes only activate during transformation. We do have access to the missile launcher now in his hand, of course.

   The poseability here is good, with a couple of caveats. His head turns, but it's looking down slightly for some reason, which rules out some more interesting poses. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows are hinged with rotators. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees are hinged with rotators. The feet are designed so that Silverbolt stands with his legs apart slightly - which I like, while his heelspurs are quite small and close to the line of his body - which I don't like. Silverbolt will do relaxed poses, but dynamic shooting poses are out, since he'll either be looking down, or falling backwards. With so much backpack, I fail to see why the designer gave him such limited heelspurs.

   A good robot mode that does an admirable job of making a mould designed for someone else entirely work as a tribute to Darkwing. The poseability is good, but still disappointing because the limitations on his heelspurs and head should have been improved upon early in the design process. The backpack is a slight negative but the electronics come into their own here.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of Silverbolt, as mentioned. No actual variants that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A very simple ultra centred on an electronics block, and the repaint attempted is risky, but this is one occasion where a repaint of a toy specifically designed for one character succeeds for the other. Sure, the mould clearly suits Silverbolt, but the colours are done very well, allowing the tribute to work well. He's still a simple toy, mind you. While the poseability is good, the electronics are fairly poor (despite the transformation sounds). I guess this gives us a Darkwing to compliment Classics Dreadwind, although wanting the pair side by side would be the only reason I'd recommend him over Silverbolt. Mind you, the colours here are much closer to G1 than Silverbolt's (unless you grab Takara's Silverbolt) - 7/10

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