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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's review: Powerglide

Name: Powerglide
Function: Warrior
Motto: "To stop me, you have to catch me first."

Not as fast or powerful as the Decepticon fliers, Powerglide relies on his raw skill as a combat pilot. Where his enemies rely on afterburners and advanced weapons systems, he executes aerial loops, flat spins, and other aerial maneuvers that make even the craziest and most foolhardy Decepticons backfire out of fear. In a sky full of bad buys, you can always spot Powerglide twisting and diving through enemy fire, dodging missiles and generally outclassing even the best among the Decepticon aerial warriors.

This is a review I never intended to write. Why not, you ask? Well, truth be told I never had any intention of buying Powerglide. I've never been one for large Transformers, I never cared that much for him as a character and the pre-release stock photos didn't impress me all that much. When I saw him in person, though, I had to admit that he looked a lot better in person. I was also impressed by how bloody huge he was (his jet mode dwarfs the Classic Seekers the way the G1 Seekers dwarf the original Powerglide, and he even makes a fully decked-out Classics Jetfire look small). And so I got him, and here we are. Did I waste my money? Let's find out!

Alternate Mode:
The airplane that Powerglide turns into should be familiar to anyone who knows the character, because it's basically the same as it was 20 years ago. As a slightly embellished A-10 Thunderbolt he brings a much different look than your standard fighter jet (Starscream, I'm looking at you). The A-10 is designed for ground assault rather than aerial dogfighting, and its bulky, almost ungainly appearance makes that very clear. Personally I quite like the look, but I could see some people -- especially children -- turning up their noses and going for a sleek fighter instead.

Powerglide's colour scheme is basically the reverse of the original toy. Light grey dominates, with occasional red highlights along the wings, tail, engines and nose. He's very well-detailed in this mode, with visible 'rivets' along his wings and fuselage, control surfaces sculpted into his wings and tail fins, and numerous other small details.

Powerglide is packed with electronic lights and sounds. His cockpit and engines both light up and he makes numerous noises when you press a button just forward of his engines. I don't have much patience for electronics in toys at the best of times, but his seem to be very, very hair-trigger -- they went off a dozen times while I was trying to transform him the first time, and only stopped when I got pissed off and took the batteries out (I was impressed to see that they'd put his batteries inside his engines, a neat way of hiding them).

The only real complaint I've got for Powerglide's jet mode is the relative lack of weaponry. Aside from a single off-centre autocannon mounted under his cockpit which doubles (poorly, in this mode) as a missile launcher, he's totally unarmed. That's a marked improvement from his completely weaponless G1 toy, but considering the price point I think it's fair to ask for the guy to come equipped with a couple extra boomsticks. A couple of missile launchers that could mount under his wings would go a long way toward making this guy look imposing. As it is, he's got nothing on Jetfire's "kill absolutely everything in a ten mile radius" arsenal.

The best thing about Powerglide's plane mode, though, is how seamlessly his robot parts disappear. Aside from the arms artlessly folded up under his wings and a head that's only noticeable because it's a different colour from what surrounds it, you really need to stop and think about where the rest of his robot mode is hiding. It's not a flawless transformation, but it's better than 90% of the Transformer jets we've seen to date and miles ahead of Universe Silverbolt, who looks like little more than a jet with a folded-up robot tacked onto the bottom in jet mode.

Robot Mode:
After going through a transformation that's just tricky enough to warrant his size, I found Powerglide's robot mode a little bit of a letdown. Most of his bulk ends up folding into his torso, and from some angles he looks like he's all chest. He comes off pretty good despite that, with a colour scheme that's pretty much the same as it was in vehicle mode. His hips and some of his chest plates are a slightly different shade of grey from the rest of him and he's got some red highlights (most notably his head, his wrists and his, uh, pectoral area), but for the most part he's the same light grey as he is in vehicle mode.

Powerglide's bulky torso gives him a strong, powerful look (one that's belied by his tech specs giving him a strength rating of 3, but whatever...), and once again it's a shame he's so under-armed. His autocannon/missile launcher serves him as a handgun, and that's the only weapon he's got. Another sidearm (or even better, a rifle of some sort) wouldn't have been unwelcome here, because he looks a bit undergunned.

Beyond that he's a pretty good toy in robot mode. For someone so top-heavy he can stand without trouble in a surprising variety of poses, a benefit of having well-designed feet that are actually big enough to provide a decent amount of support. Powerglide is heavily articulated, and although his bulky chest module can make some of his potential poses look silly, he's quite a bit of fun to play around with.

The most notable thing about Powerglide's robot mode, though, is how little it looks like Powerglide. If not for his wings jutting up vertically alongside his chest, he really wouldn't have any visual similarities to the original at all. His head is only vaguely similar to the original, his colour scheme is entirely different and his vehicle mode parts all end up in different places. In fact, he could just as easily have been a new version of the Micromaster Hot House. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is going to be entirely down to how you feel about the original Powerglide, but I for one like the way he turned out.

Transformation: Just complicated enough to make the figure seem like it actually needed to be this big. 7/10

Durability: His wings are connected to his body with a series of joints that don't feel all that sturdy. 7/10

Fun: He's cool and all, but for his size I don't think he's anything special. 7/10

Price: He costs more than twice as much as a deluxe figure, and when you think about how good some of the recent deluxes have been that's a sobering thought. Unlike some other large TFs I've bought, though, he actually feels like he's worth the money. 7/10

Overall: He's no Jetfire, but Powerglide isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. If you're in the market for a gigantic Autobot flier who stands out from the crowd, you wouldn't go wrong with this guy. 7/10
 
 
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