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

Name: Dreadwing
Fuction: Aerial Warrior
Subgroup: Movie Deluxe

Dreadwing isn't terribly intelligent, so one's certain where he got the teleportation technology that allows him to warp up to two and a half miles instantly. He sure didn't invent it and no one else has it, so he must have stolen it, which makes sense. He is, after all, a born thief. Sneaky and greedy, he pranks and steals from his fellow Decepticons as often as the Autobots. No one likes him, so he spends most of his time alone, plotting grand schemes and spiking other robots’ gas tanks with sugar.

The name Dreadwing originates from the combined form of two Decepticon Powermasters: Dreadwind and Darkwing. After that he surfaced in the Generation 2 toyline as a stealth bomber with partner Smokescreen, who could attach to the rear of the larger jet. In the G2 comic, Darkwing appeared in the form of the stealth bomber toy, but was given no dialogue. He was portrayed in four issues on a single page, and no mention was given of Dreadwind. The name Dreadwing would continue to appear in various forms in RiD and in Energon.

This version of Dreadwing is part of the second Wave of Movie toys to hit stores, and like many figures in Wave 2, he appears in the game as a drone for both Autobot and Decepticions. If you’ve read the Movie Prequel comic, Dreadwing also appears in the task force that attacks Bumblebee’s squad.

Alternate Mode:

In vehicle mode, Dreadwing is based on a Russian MiG-29 “Fulcrum” aircraft. This particular version of the plane is mostly a blue-grey, a dark grey, and a white arranged in a camouflage pattern. Silver paint is used for the area just behind the thrusters, which are black, and silver is also used on the undercarriage (which I’ll get to in a moment). Black paint appears on the forward air vents on the top of the plane and on the ends and sides of the undercarriage. The nose cone is made from a soft rubber. Purple Decepticon symbols appear on the dorsal tail fins. The cockpit is made of transparent plastic; inside is a pilot’s chair and a control panel.

The plane itself is nicely detailed, rivet and panel sculpting abounds. Turn the plane over and find more intricate wire detailing, though here the sculpt has a more alien feel to it, hinting at Dreadwing’s true nature. Also underneath the plane is the bit of undercarriage junk one expects from a Transformers jet. Here, however, Hasbro has found a way to make the robot parts less obtrusive. The real life Mig has two large air intakes running beneath the plane, and the pieces that become Dreadwing’s robot arms manage to mimic the intakes tolerably well. Their true function is still obvious, but the toy designers get an A for effort (or is that an E?). The robot legs, on the other hand, are folded in such a way that they are hidden nicely as a large cylinder that hangs between the arms/intakes. The cylinder does look odd, but I think of it as a large bomb that he’s prepared to drop on his enemies. Appropriate for a Decepticon jet, and one named Dreadwing no less.

Dreadwing doesn’t have any action features in this mode. Two sets of wheels mount on either end of the cylinder allow him to roll and stay in a flat position without landing gear. He also comes with two missile accessories that are molded from white and orange plastic to resemble jets of flame. In this mode, they can be inserted into the thrusters to give the plane an appearance of flight or speed. I don’t personally like this, but it does add a bit of play value to the toy.

Overall this is a very solid vehicle mode, and is a lot of fun.


Robot Mode:

Like many of the movie figures, Dreadwing has a none-standard robot mode. In this case, he looks like something of a combination of Armada Thrust and Movie Starscream. His plane wings end up on his back, the nose cone forms his head, and the plane’s thrusters become his arms. Yet, his arms and chest are large, while his waist and legs are small. Besides these details, he also appears to have a faux cockpit set in his chest. I like to think this is a nod to the G1 Seekers whose chests were formed from the plane’s cockpit. However, unlike Starscream who looks rather menacing, Dreadwing ends up looking comedic, in no small part due to the giant lens that makes up the entirety of his face. While I am a fan of the cyclopean head design a la Shockwave, I am NOT fan of the lens-head look. Especially considering that this figure could have looked a lot better with a serpentine or perhaps Horus-themed head. On the other hand, this is the head that the figure had in the game, so it does retain fidelity to its media appearance.

The same colors that were present in vehicle mode are still present here, albeit in different proportions. The cameo pattern has largely been replaced with blue-grey, while a bit more black and silver stand out on the hips and legs. One new color, purple, is used to color the joints.

As with the colors, very little new sculpting appears. We do get to see some nice details on his upper thighs, and on the inside of his arms, but the most new detailing comes on his chest. During the transformation, his chest splits, revealing a cockpit-like sculpt placed over a fan detail, both cast in the same transparent plastic as his plane cockpit and lens-eye.

Compared to other Movie toys, Dreadwing has amazing articulation. His shoulders and elbows both contain ball-joints, while his lower arms can aim up and down. Hinging joints make up his legs, but they can move to the side, backward, forward, and can bend at the knee. He even has waist articulation, something that is sadly absent from most other Movie figures. His neck also contains a ball joint, and his head can swivel up and down; however, his side to side motion is restricted due to the large pieces of his plane mode that frame his head. In a motion to give him some semblance of dexterity, the sides of his thrusters can be pulled away slightly to form hands of sorts.

Dreadwing also has impressive balance, and I’ve been able to get him into a variety of poses, including one were he is standing on one leg, and one were he is doing a handstand.

My figure also has two problems that may or may not be unique. The socket in his right shoulder is not deep enough to completely accommodate the corresponding ball-joint, so it often pops off while I’m articulating him. Secondly, his right leg is a slight bit shorter than his left leg, causing him to lean to the right if I stand him up straight.

The plastic missiles he comes with can be inserted into his thrusters/hands, and fired by pressing the purple button on the top of his arm.

Overall a great robot mode!

Transformation: Dreadwing’s transformation is fairly simple compared to other movie toys, but it is also fresh and interesting. He doesn’t have any automorph features, just a nice traditional transformation. 4/10

Durability: Aside from the arm problem mentioned above, I have occasionally had a wing pop off, but it does right back on. 9/10

Fun: Although I don’t care for his robot head sculpt, he has great articulation and superior posability. 10/10

Price: $9.99 US. Pretty standard for a deluxe and definitely worth it. I don’t know that I’d pay any more for him unless it included shipping. 7/10

Overall: I wasn’t sure I was going to like the figure at first, but I really think that he’s one of the stronger Movie figures to come out. He has a solid vehicle mode, an interesting transformation, and a posable robot mode. If you can get past his dumb Lens-Head, then he definitely belongs in your collection! 9/10

 
 
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