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

Name: Dirge
Allegiance Decepticon
Function: Incompetent Mastermind
Subgroup: ROTF Deluxe Vehicles

Dirge thought the heart of the enemy territory—N.E.S.T. headquarters—was the perfect place from which to launch a secret campaign of terror. A single slip-up revealed his presence, and brought his plans crumbling down. Now he's running scared with Bumblebee and Armorhide on his tail. He's too frightened to land, but so terrified of running out of fuel that he finds himself breathing a sign of relief every time he touches down.

Dirge is a special purchase for me. Not because the character means anything to me — I really know very little about him — but because he helps alleviate some of the symptoms of Broken Set Syndrome. I can now say that I have an incarnation of all of the Seekers, even if they are from wildly different toylines.

As for Dirge himself, he first appeared as one of the second triumvirate of Decepticon jets, known as the 'coneheads'. Otherwise, he hasn't had a large part in any other series that I'm aware of.

Alternate Mode:

I'm not precisely sure what plane Dirge's alt mode borrows from, but the words harrier jet come to mind. Also 'compact' and 'snub-nosed'. Fortunately, not all jets need to look sleek and fast. Convincing, rather, should be his byword, and it should be no surprise that here Dirge follows through. Like the other aerial vehicles in the Movie line, Dirge follows the tradition of having close to zero undercarriage junk. In fact, he does so better than ROTF Starscream and Breakaway, both of whom have a single bit of kibble ruining their disguise. Dirge has a tiny faux cockpit that can only be seen looking directly from the bottom; otherwise, his belly is super smooth.

His colouring clearly homages the original Dirge. A deep navy blue with gold highlights make up the majority of the figure. Black and silver, as usual, fill in details. He does have quite a few Decepticon symbols emblazoned on his cockpit and back (the 'slip-up' in this bio?). More importantly, my figure has a bit of slop around the intakes where some errant gold and silver spot the blue. But overall, some very nice paint work.

For a gimmick, Dirge sports two firing missiles. The missiles are kind of bulbous, but fire with a satisfying amount of force.

Overall, I'm highly pleased by this mode, but, sadly, Dirge would not be the first toy to fail to deliver in robot mode.


Robot Mode:

Like his vehicle mode, Dirge is short and squat. Size, however, is not everything. Dirge has a very nice sculpt that seems designed specifically to homage the original Seeker design. First, he has a conehead and a rather fitting dour expression. He also has clear well lit eyes. Air vents on his shoulders? Check. He even has the round gear-like mechanisms on his chest along with a faux cockpit. Also, wings on his legs, another of the main differences between the first and second groups of Seekers. For a final homage, the missile launcher from vehicle mode can peg into his arms.

Dirge's articulation also does him credit. He has all the normal joints, but has additional hinges in key places like the rockers in his ankles and swivels at his hips. Most of his vehicle kibble remains out of the way, giving him a clean look and freedom of movement. The only bit that is somewhat obtrusive is the rear of the jet, which folds up on his left arm. You could probably get away with terming it a shield, but it's still in the way.

Last, and least, Dirge has a Mech-Alive gimmick. Rotate his shoulders and he the gears on his chest spin....yes, Dirge has nipple spinners....Ahem. Aside from some juvenile humour the gimmick is largely missable, but also unobtrusive, so ignore at your leisure.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: The last Transformers toy I tried to transform was Blazemaster (check out Electric Gecko's review for info on how that went). Dirge, on the other hand, has an interesting but amazingly intuitive scheme. I daresay, he's actually fun to transform. 3/10
Durability: Fewer ball joints than I'd like, but nothing strikes me as being a particular danger spot. 7/10
Fun: Buying Dirge out of a sense of completeness, he surprised me by actually being a great toy. 8/10
Price: One of the better deluxes in the line. 10/10
Overall: I had no expectations for Dirge, but he's probably one of my favorites of the line now. If there's anything I would caution against, it's to check the paint before buying and too remember that he is on the small side. 8/10

 
 
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