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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review of: G2 Dreadwing & Smokescreen

Names: Dreadwing & Smokescreen
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Sneak Attack Specialist
“When you least expect it, expect me!”

Streaks in from excessive altitudes while cloaked in stealth armor. Bombs Autobot strongholds without ever being detected. Separates into Smokescreen jet fighter and armored tank to enhance destructive capabilities. As robot – or plane – the giant Gatling gun blasts a multitude of missiles at enemy forces while jet fighter enters dogfights with wing-mounted launchers. Impossible to shoot down; you can't hit what you can't see!

This is in my opinion one of the greatest Transformers molds ever. Not that repaints and remolds really have any bearing on how good a Transformer actually is, but this guy has been available in one form or another FOUR TIMES. This, the original, was released in 1994 as part of the G2 line (NOTE: in Europe he also could be found under the name ‘Ace Evader’ at the same time). He has since been available as BB & Starscream in the Japanese Beast Wars line (1998), Dreadwind & Smokejumper in the RID line (2003) and most recently as Gigant Bomb & Smokesniper in the Robot Masters line (2004). Obviously people keep on buying him! Still, I reckon the original is still the best.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: This guy originally came with 14 missiles. I have since lost a fair number, and only have 9 left. This is because I think that the big plastic red things detract from the aesthetics of the stealth bomber, and so I have never displayed him with the extras attached to his wings.

Alternate Modes:
As this is a team, rather than individuals, and Dreadwing is a Triple-changer, there’s a little to cover here…

Combined mode –

With Dreadwing (the big guy), and Smokescreen (the little guy) combined, you get a really detailed and cool stealth bomber. It’s largely a dark navy blue, with strips of turquoise camouflage along the wings. Chrome really brings out the frond edge of the wings, and clear red plastic ovals can highlight the whole affair, if you spend ages positioning him right! As you’d expect, the G2 Decepticon symbol is on his wings, and his flank. The stickers have a lot of very nice little details.

Overall, the stylised stealth bomber is very realistic, ignoring two features – one being the huge gatling gun packed full of missiles on the underside, and the other being the visible second cockpit from Smokescreen. Still, I don’t see either of these as drawbacks.

As with most plane Transformers, there is extendable undercarriage.

This IS simply one of the coolest alternate modes of any Transformer.

Dreadwing (plane) –

Dreadwing, alone, looks almost identical to Dreadwing with Smokescreen attached, so I’ve not bothered with a photo. Basically, there’s a ‘V’ shaped gap where Smokescreen goes, and the rest is the same.

Smokescreen –

Smokescreen turns into a very nice fighter jet in his own right. He’s a remolded Cyberjet, and so you can imagine, he rules! He has large guns which fit nicely along his sides, which fire spring loaded missiles. These launchers are actually very good, and come second only to the Turbomasters weapons in power.

Dreadwing (tank) –

The big guy’s second alternate mode.

Well, the transformation is pretty simple between plane and tank, as tends to be the case with Tripple-changers. There are fun little spring loaded features which flip the treads out, and the wings up – but that is actually pretty much the whole transformation. It does look like a plane rigged up as a tank. But, as far as extra modes go, it’s pretty cool (as long as you don’t have the missiles attached to the sides, as designed – that just looks daft!).

The gatling gun is amazing, it has to be said. It fires out the missiles at a great rate, and nicely far. It’s good that it’s available in all modes – including the robot.

Robot Modes:
Once again, we have two robots here, so we’ll deal with them individually.

Dreadwing –

I won’t bore you with details of the transformation. It’s very nice, but quite simple. The only point worth noting is the narrow panel which moves to allow the gatling gun to swing around onto the robot’s shoulder. It opens, then slides back, hiding how the thing could have been moved. It’s just a nice touch.

The big guy’s robot mode is cool. Now, he is big and stocky, but, hey, I’m stocky too. He looks powerful. I have no doubt he’d be damned lumbering, but man, he’d give you a wallop! Besides, I always see him more as an artillery piece in robot mode, with that huge gat, and the tough armour.

His poseability is very good, even by today’s standards. He has movement in multiple planes all over the shop. But, ultimately, how are you gonna pose something that seems so huge?

There are a few problems. These are the way his torso does not attach to anything, and so can flop around, and the fact he does have a rather precise centre of gravity – i.e. he is very unforgiving when it comes to stances.

Still, he looks amazing. The colour scheme works great (far better, in my view, than any of his more recent incarnations), and the red glowing eyes rule.

And the gatling gun looks amazing on his shoulder, and has a huge range of movement!

Smokescreen –

Smokescreen has the same transformation as the more recent Energon Starscream. A funny side thought is the fact that the Smokescreen mold has itself been used as Starscream in the Japanese Beast Wars line, so he’s had the same transformation twice, in different molds!

But that’s all beside the point.

Smokescreen has amazing poseability. Phenomenal. And there’s just about nothing you can do to get him to topple. He’s a fan’s display wet dream. And, he looks cool! He really comes across as a sniper, with his long guns, and generally slight frame. He has a lot of nice detailing too, and, once again, the glowing red eyes are great!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but Smokescreen does seem to have a very Convoy / Optimus Prime style head. It’s actually very detailed, and looks quite evil in this case, but still, I wonder…

Transformation: 7 – Smokescreen is far more complex than Dreadwing, but both have nice transformations.
Durability: 7 – I think Dreadwing’s totally solid, but Smokescreen always worries me, as he seems to have a lot of small joints, and thin sheets of plastic, albeit made of very strong material. Still, he lasted this long, and he is one of my favourites…
Fun: 9 – Excellent fun in everyway – you just never know how to display them, and then you’re taking them off the shelf every day anyway!
Price: 7 – He goes for between $20 and $40 depending on how you want him, which I’d say is good value!
Overall: 7 – Thios is a damned good team, and I’d say if you come across them for a good price you gotta buy him. That said, if you already have a version, then you aren’t going to get anything new, and, chances are given the number of releases, a lot of you have one version at least.
 
 
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