Blackjack's review: Overcast
"Overcast reporting. Initial strike completed. No survivors."
In more recent toylines, there's always the couple of waves which contained mainly repainted and retooled toys with one or two new molds. In the movie toyline, it is the 'AllSpark Power' sub-line. Comprising of a few original molds (Landmine, Stockade, Incinerator to name a few) and a slew of repaints of earlier movie toys and Energon/Cybertron toys for exclusives, Overcast was included in the line-up for this. Portrayed as a Decepticon with extensive amounts of experimental weapons and modifications, including a weather generator, hence the name.
Overcast's toy was a black repaint of Dreadwing, himself a toy based on the jet drones in the game. Dreadwing (and his drone army of lookalikes) was relatively high-profile, appearing in the game, Prequel and Sequel comics both as a character and a fleet of mindless drones. The toy was pretty poorly done for a design which, in my opinion, could translate better into a toy if more thought had been put into it. I mean, the game designers had actually created concept arts of the transformation and everything.
Ah, well. Overcast was a repaint, so the writers were less kind to him compared to Dreadwing. Simon Furman used Overcast in Titan Comics' alternate universe "Twilight's Last Gleaming" series as a relatively minor member of Stockade's renegade Decepticons. He didn't do much, I think, but he helped summon Unicron
. Oh, yeah.
Meanwhile, IDW's comics, set in the 'real' Moviverse continuity, had Overcast appear for all of two panels in two different comics in the Alliance mini-series. Overcast was among the Decepticons sent by Soundwave and Starscream to Earth to search for the Harvester and to cause general mayhem. And to show how effective the human-Autobot alliance can be. Overcast first appeared in Alliance #3, where he was shown flying off the smoking ruins of a Japan air force base (somehow reminiscent of Blackout's attack on Soccent in the first movie), coldly reporting to Fracture that there were no survivors. He was seen later in Alliance #4, in a panel which showed him being shot down by NEST in Europe (Overcast loves to travel). Poor Overcast. The other guys get to be killed by Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide and even Ratchet but Overcast got shot down by humans. Poor thing.
And they gave him a different alt mode with the toy too! Bastards.
To be fair, MiGs aren't exactly abundant in Japan or Europe...
The name Overcast was first used in Armada as a repaint of Jetfire. Why? Because releasing Jetfire in his powerlinx colours as the same character is boring and those little kiddies will buy the garish repaint if it's released in another name, that's why. The Cybertron line used the name Overcast for an original Minicon mold, who transforms into a jet. Then, there's this guy from the Movie toyline, which, so far, is the most prominent Overcast. Not bad for a black repaint.
Overcast transforms into a black MiG jet, carrying what looks to be a large bomb under it. The main colour is obviously black, with hints of silver and a rather off-putting green as secondary colours. Even the cockpit is molded in green translucent plastic. As the gimmick for the AllSpark Power toyline is baby blue (or AllSpark Blue) paint decals, so Overcast had some blue slapped in, breaking his otherwise excellent paint scheme. The tabs on his engines and random details are painted blue.
As with other movie sculpts, Overcast is very detailed, with rivets and bolts molded in. Even a simplified version of the cockpit's interior is present. Two Decepticon insignia are painted in silver on his wings. Overcast has wheels on his 'bomb', so kids can roll him along the floor. However, the, um, codpiece has a tendency to scrape the ground if you choose to roll him.
He has very little robot kibble in his vehicle mode. While most jet-formers have a lot of undercarriage junk (Classics Starscream has his entire chest under him) Overcast's mold changes the junk into a bomb, which is rather original. Still, the shoulders and upper arms are prominent, but they could easily passed off as clamps that hold the bomb together. The aforementioned codpiece could be seen too. From the top, Overcast looks like a normal jet. Almost. The circular drone chest/stomach piece could be seen peeking out in the middle of his body. This could've been avoided by simply adding a little plastic, but no.
His projectiles can attach to his two engines. As a bonus, they are modeled after flames, so even if you leave it in (my suggestion is don't) it looks appropriate.
A rather well-built jet mode, but let's move on, shall we?
Overcast is one of the lens-head drones seen in the game. While there were initially five types of drones, only three retained their lens-heads in toy form. (Longarm was based on his faceplated Autobot form, whilst Dropkick got an original head). So Overcast has a lens-head. Compared to Payload and Swindle, Overcast's head is the worst of all of them. And that's because, like G1 Seekers, he has an entire nosecone hanging at the back of his head. Un
like the G1 Seekers, who had the sense to use the cockpit in the torso, Overcast's cockpit also hangs off the back of his head. This is made worse by him having a FAKE cockpit which appear from the spring-loaded Automorph transformation.
Overcast's robot mode clearly drew inspiration from G1 Seekers and Armada Thrust. The wings and the shoulder thingies (and head placement) are reminiscent of the original G1 Seekers toys, whilst two hands made up of engines are a homage to Armada Thrust.
Now Overcast's legs are a little stubby and he's a little top-heavy. It's a good thing his legs open to the front and back, then. Overcast has a wide range of articulation. His neck (yes, he has a long neck) is on a ball joint, his chin on a hinge joint, his shoulders and elbows are on ball joints, and he has knee and thigh articulation as well. However, due to some odd placement of the elbow piece, the elbow articulation is reduced somewhat.
His colours don't translate too well into robot mode. Too much baby blue and green appear to break up the colour scheme. Also, there's a little purple Decepticon insignia on the faux cockpit.
Overcast's missiles can be placed into his engines (which split up to form pincer-like hands a la BM Thrust) and used to fire them. The flames are appropriate, since Dreadwing uses flamethrowers in the game itself. Unlike the game design (or even the comic designs), however, the Overcast/Dreadwing toy looks goofy and bumbling instead of the more powerful Seeker-esque robot modes seen there. Which is a shame as a little modification to the transformation scheme could've fixed this.
Marks out of ten for the following:
9/10 Overcast's pretty solid. There's the normal problem with the ball joints, as well as losing the missiles, but there's not much else.
5/10 Rather simple for a movie-line toy, but young 'uns would still take a long time to transform him.
9/10 I brought him at clearance and got a Scouts class toy (I think it was Storm Surge) thrown in. Not bad, considering the ever-increasing prices for toys.
6/10 The 'weather generator' power would be fun to imagine, and the missile launchers are neat. He's a decent troop-builder for the Decepticons, and he has gun arms, at least.
4/10 He's a decent toy, with a solid alternate mode and an... adequate robot mode. I certainly like him, but he's not for everyone. Still, he's a repaint and not worth getting if you already have Dreadwing. There are certainly much more interesting toys out there.