Cliffbee.com: Universe Powerglide Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Powerglide
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Bomber Plane



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

   A light grey bomber plane designed to resemble an A-10 Thunderbolt, without actually needing to license that plane model, Powerglide has some red 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 dark grey ribbing wile there are red 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 decent colour scheme, but it's very much Not Powerglide. Considering the fact that he's on the shelves alongside the green camouflaged F-15, Acid Storm, I don't see why this toy has gone for realism in colours to the point where the tribute is at best mild - especially when it's not actually a realistic A-10 anyway. Aesthetically the colours work, but the colour scheme is definitely a missed opportunity.

   There's a little too much kibble on this plane mode for an ultra, although the basic shape is right. The sides of the fuselage are broken up - they're the robot mode boots. There's a red button on the top of his fuselage which is altogether far too visible. 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 light grey 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.

   While this is a decent bomber plane mode, and would work really well within a line like Cybertron, it falls short in the second coming of the Universe line, and doesn't really work as Powerglide. The sculpt is good and the colour scheme looks decent, but it's not realistic without being the right colour for the character. The electronics aren't that impressive - I'd be much happier if the sounds were stripped down to the machine gun sounds only and the junk on the sides holds this plane back.

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 light grey robot with a red painted head along with red paint on his wrists and ankles, Powerglide has conspicuous orange pieces on his chest, with a stamped Autobot logo between them. There are some black elements here and there while his mouthplate is silver and his eyes transparent orange. Some pieces including his groin and thighs are composed of a slightly darker grey plastic. This colour scheme is very much Not Powerglide - aside from the awkwardly red head. It's a much better match to the Micromaster Hot House, also an A-10 Thunderbolt. While I understand the red head is meant to link this light grey robot to Powerglide, it really does look off here - a light grey robot would have been much better, from a purely aesthetic point of view.

   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.

   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 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... ridiculous.

   This robot mode is very much a case of wasted potential. The head, heart and basic articulation are good, but the colour scheme doesn't work, with the red head looking very out of place and failing to compensate for the fact that Powerglide is no longer red. The torso is a mess, since its weight hampers poseability and the flashing orange breasts are awful. I'm not sure that I want to know what was going through the designers head when this feature was designed. It dominates the robot mode, contributing to the messy nature of the torso and giving him a very tacky gimmick which strikes me as horrendously inappropriate for a child's toy.

VARIATIONS

   TakaraTomy sensibly decided to ditch the quasi-realistic light grey and produce Powerglide in red. It's a vast improvement over this not-quite-realistic not-quite-Powerglide effort. Sadly, that one couldn't get around the flashing breasts.

OVERALL

   Notwithstanding the fact that Minibot is now at the upper end of the size scale, this is a poorly executed tribute. The plane mode is reminiscent of the A-10 Thunderbolt however the red mixed in with the grey, along with some fuselage kibble, ensure that the switch of colour to grey doesn't make it especially realistic. It's more realistic than many recent Transformer plane designs, but I don't think it would have been any less realistic in red. The robot mode colour scheme is less successful, with red robot head looking quite awkward and the flashing orange breasts looking simply awful. 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 sound set is identical to that of Silverbolt, a much simpler toy but a better tribute. The transformation here is clever and the loveheart is a great touch, as is the well sculpted head, but there are too many problems here for me to really enjoy this toy. It's a case of what should have been, I'm afraid - 5/10

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