Cliffbee.com: Wing Saber Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Wing Saber
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Bomber Plane



PLANE MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 27cm Width: 25.5cm

   A white bomber plane inspired by the A-10 Bomber (think Powerglide) - but not really an A-10. The tail-mounted engines, cockpit and much of the underside are a dark grey, including various under wing weaponry. The nose and wingtips are red while the window panels on his cockpit are a silvery blue. There are some yellow missiletips under the wings while there are mid grey missile underneath the wingtips and a mid grey double barrelled gun under the nose. Wing Saber's colours are quite nice, with the white and dark grey dominating - the other colours are pretty much peripheral. There's not really a strong link with the Energon toy of the same name, although there are similarities.

   While this isn't an A-10, Wing Saber has the same feel thanks to the weaponry arrays underneath his wings and the distinctive placement of his engines. The tailfins are on an angle with the engines sitting above them, there are small dark grey winglets on the sides of the cockpit and stamped Autobot logos on the wingtips.

   Wing Saber has a fair bit of undercarriage, with the weapons under the wings and chestplate underneath the fuselage (between the wings). It's not really a major issue although it is noticeable. His main flaw in this mode relates to the tailfins, which attach to the engines but not to the tail itself - they slot into place but don't clip on firmly, and have a tendency to slide out of place.

   There are three wheels underneath - two trailing wheels attached to Gatling guns underneath his wings and a single forward wheels which folds out of the fuselage. While Wing Saber can rest on his undercarriage junk if the front wheel is folded away, he looks much better with that wheel deployed. There are hardpoints on the sides of the fuselage, just behind the winglets, so you can attach Minicons if you feel the need. There are four weapons under each wing, although the two missile banks and Gatling guns are purely for show. The single missiles under the tips fire and will happily travel a metre or so.

   Wing Saber's Planet key is transparent with a stamped and moulded Autobot logo, while underneath it sports the code uya7. It plugs into a well-integrated slot just behind the cockpit and will happily slot in halfway without activating anything. Push it in all the way and the the outer casing of the front pops sideways and forward. Underneath he has a rather angular inner fuselage which the blurb calls a ramscoop, although all this reconfiguration does is bring the nose cannons into focus. There's a small mid grey button between the key plot and the canopy (which is fixed, incidentally), pressing this button activates his electronics. Wing Saber needs two AAA batteries (not included), if he has batteries a red LED just above the cannons flashes and a machine gun sound emanates. This gimmick is available with the fuselage collapsed, although the LED is obscured by the nosecone (which glows red). The electronics don't really impress me (but then, simple light and sound gimmicks rarely do), but it doesn't get in the way of the rest of the plane, so I'm quite happy with it being here. There's another, almost unintentional, aspect of the play value - his silver wingflaps can lift up and down - something we've never seen before on a plane Transformer.

   A good bomber mode with nice colours and a pretty good A-10 theme, even if Wing Saber isn't actually an A-10. There's quite a lot of play value here and while the key gimmick is simple, the Planet Key looks better when mounted than most others do, thanks to a well placed slot. The tailfins don't quite attach properly, but this a minor flaw really. When you consider that this guy is designed as a backpack for Optimus Prime, this jet mode is very good - you can't really see any compromises.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   The transformation is relatively simple for an ultra - but no moreso than Scourge or Jetfire - and they're not designed around anyone else.

   Fold the front wheel away, lift the front section up onto the top of the fuselage, flip up the rear of the fuselage (minus the tailfins, which simply break away). Lift the chestplate away from the torso slightly, swing down the engines to form legs and rotate the waist. Straighten the legs, flip the tailfins down to form feet and push the chestplate down again. Lift the head out of his torso and rotate around to reveal the face. Fold down the Gatling guns to form forearms, lift the arms away from the wings. There are sliders on the insides of his forearms which cause some gunbarrels to slide back, so that four stay out as digits, one sits back as a thumb and the sixth actually slides right away.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 22.5cm Width: 25.5cm

   Wing Saber's white is no longer dominant, now limited to the feet, elbows, head and thighs. Much of the rest is dark grey with red shins, a yellow chestplate with a nice big chromed Autobot logo moulded in the centre and mid grey forearms. His face is gold with green eyes. The colour scheme isn't really anything special, although it's not a bad colour scheme either. I would have liked to see more white here, but I'm quite happy with the excellent Autobot logo on his chest, which is itself quite decorative anyway.

   The wings emanate from behind the arms and sit out to the sides, and along with the chestplate give Wing Saber some majesty. The wings are again bristling with weaponry, and the missile launchers can detach and plug into the outside of his forearms. The fans of the engines form kneecaps and the double barrelled nosegun sits behind his head. While the colour scheme might not be fantastic, the plane elements carried over to Wing Saber's robot mode are quite impressive.

   The missile launchers, which are designed to augment Optimus Prime, are a rather odd shape (with supporting arms on the back), so you have to clip them to the arms on their respective sides. The wingflaps detach and clip into hilts stowed inside the tail, forming... wing sabers. These swords clip into the outsides of his forearms again - the fixed digits of his hands aren't able to hold anything. While the swords don't look all that impressive as forearm-mounted weapons, the way they come together is quite impressive. The missile launchers look good on his forearms and again the missiles fire a fair distance.

   The front of the plane forms a large backpack (this is a legacy of the electronics), although Wing Saber doesn't have any weight distribution issues. There's a mid grey support bracket behind his head, allowing you to lift up the backpack as an overhead weapon, making sure that Wing Saber's key gimmick is available in robot mode. The ramscoop doesn't make a lot of sense in robot mode, but the cannon looks better with the scoop deployed. The electronics are available again, although the overhead weapon sits at an angle, making the LED of limited use.

   Wing Saber has good if not great poseability, but I'm happy enough it for an "add-on" toy. The head and waist turn while the shoulders lift up and can lift out to the sides a little. There are twin hinges per elbow and a rotator just above them. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees care hinged and there are rotators just below the hips. The ankles are hinged and while the tainfins as feet looks a little unusual, they give Wing Saber very bit footprints, which makes him very stable.

   This has to be one of the best robot modes amongst Transformers that are designed to compliment existing toys - if not the best. Compared to figures such as Godbomber, Wing Saber is absolutely fantastic, with meaningful poseability, innovative weaponry and hands and quite a lot of play value. The colours are decent but not anything special, although the decorative chest and a proliferation of plane elements here still make Wing Saber a fairly attractive robot. While there are some limitations here, Wing Saber doesn't really have any flaws as such.

VARIATIONS

   The Japanese version has gold rather than yellow on the chestplate.

OVERALL

   Perhaps the best thing I can say about Wing Saber is that I got him despite not owning Optimus Prime. While he's designed to compliment the Autobot leader, there's not actually that much of this toy dedicated to that purpose. The aspects that are designed for the combination are generally designed to work for Wing Saber himself - the swords are probably the most notable of these aspects. The plane mode is very good, the robot mode has a lot more play value than you'd expect of a toy of this nature and the key gimmick is decent. The electronics do limit Wing Saber a little but not enough to seriously limit a very good toy. The only real drawback here is the loose connection on his tailfins, but otherwise this is a good toy with or without Optimus Prime - 8.5/10

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