Cliffbee.com: Whirl Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Whirl
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Aerial Assault
Alternate Mode: Apache-style Helicopter



CHOPPER MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 26cm Width: 9cm (body), 22.5cm (rotors)

   A big, baby blue helicopter, Whirl is a Bandai design, and it shows. While pretty much all the original 1984 & 1985 Autobots where Takara's handiwork, Whirl has a fair more angular design than Takara was creating at the time. He's also not as detailed, although this is mainly due to the fact that it's a rather plain mode. So you've basically got a blue copter, with single blade rotors. There's black air intakes on the sides of the cockpit, and the cockpit is a smoky brown transparent plastic, with a black seat inside. if you're lucky, the cockpit will be caged, most Whirls have smooth cockpits.

   As mentioned, it's a rather lacklustre chopper, but there wasn't really all that much more Bandai could do with it - most stealth aircraft are very smooth. There is actually an attention to detail, such as the attachment of the rotor blade to the roof, with those little supporting arms that anchor the blade to the shaft present, and subtle patterning on the fuselage. The runners seem a little bit too far back, but I suspect this is a combination of an unnatural gap above them where the ankles are and the tail being thinner than a real Apache's him look front heavy.

   Whirl's got a fair bit of play value for a TF chopper. Both the main rotor and the tail rotor spin, though the main one is actually two halves that fold up and they have a habit of doing so if you try to set it in motion. The cockpit opens, with a hinge at the front. There's a seat inside, as mentioned, and it rotates up, so your imaginary pilot can look forward in robot mode. There are no wheels, which is perfectly understandable for a helicopter on runners.

   Basically, it's good for what it is, but it's a little boring. Mainly due to the fact that there's so much of one colour. The stealth thing is always going to reduce the detail, but 90% of this mode being one colour just makes it worse.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   One thing worth mentioning here is that I've always found Whirl's transformation be very intuitive. Sure, it's simple, but it all seems to make sense.

   Fold the runner assemblies forward, extend them and fold down the actual runners to form the feet. Fold the tail down, slide the end in. Folding the tail down will reveal his head, there's a small antenna on the right side of his head you should probably lift upwards. Fold the rotor halves on his back together - if gravity hasn't already taken care of this for you. Lastly pull the arms forward, extend them at the elbows and pull out the claw-hands.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 7cm

   Well, after relatively few steps, our baby blue helicopter is now a rather lanky baby blue robot. Whirl should consider a career with the Memphis Grizzlies, he's tall and light blue - and with those claws he's going to suck at Basketball (my apologies to Memphis fans!). He'd also be great at search and rescue, since he's so skinny he'd be able to fit into all sorts of places.

   Again we're faced with light blue in abundance, but there's a mid-blue introduced on his head and in his elbow joints. The face is a single red eye, he's a cyclops like Shockwave. The tops of his shoulders and his claws are black. He's got die cast thighs and the smoky cockpit is about half of his torso.

   Two things become really obvious in this mode. The first is that Takara had nothing to do with this toy. The second is that the people responsible for Macross had a lot to do with it. It just _looks_ like something out of Robotech. This isn't a bad thing in itself, although Whirl does look kind of out of place amongst his Diaclone-based buddies.

   The colour scheme is reasonable. There's certainly nothing horrible happening, although it's still a bit drab. He is more interesting in this mode, though. The yellow is pretty much sitting on his back, but the extra blue, black and metal help a fair bit. Oh and the big red eye - he's got a skinny head so the eye is massive in comparison.

   One thing which Whirl does hold over a lot of toys of his era is poseability. He's got ankles and hips that swivel, he's got softish-plastic claws which allow some give, and he has proper ball and socket shoulders. They're a little restricted, but in 1985 any ball joint was terrific.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, there's a common smooth cockpit and a somewhat rare caged cockpit.

OVERALL

   While technically a good toy, Whirl suffers a few setbacks. The first is the fact that he's just _simple_. The colour scheme, detail and transform are all simple, even in comparison to Roadbuster, the only other Transformer taken from Dorvack. His chopper mode is well done but boring, his robot mode is skinny and still not all that interesting. There is an elegance in his design, but for a toy this size, I can't help wishing for more. 6/10


Want more on this toy? Read Goktimus Prime's Whirl Profile

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