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

Name: Fireflight
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Unknown
Sub-Group: NA

Fireflight is the second repaint of the mould that began life as the basic-sized Vehicon aerodrone Spy Streak. Spy Streak was a late Beast Machines figure, and like several other BM entries he was reused in the Robots In Disguise line (as an Autobot named Nightcruz). Both of Fireflight's predecessors had very dark colour schemes (red and grey-green for Spy Streak, black and white for Nightcruz) so it's not surprising that the mould's Universe release received a light colour scheme. As most of you probably know, the name Fireflight originally belonged to one of the Generation One Aerialbots. Since Universe figures generally have no biographical information, it's impossible to know if this figure is meant to represent the same guy.

Fireflight comes with two Minicons: Thunderwing (a repaint of the Air Military Team member of the same name) and Firebot (a repaint of the Emergency Team member of the same name). I have to say, it's a bit of a stretch to sell a basic figure and two minicons at the Deluxe pricepoint, so this set had a strike against it even before they came off the card.

Vehicle Mode:
In this mode, Fireflight is a streamlined jet somewhat reminiscent of an SR-71. His primary colour is white, with red, blue, gold and grey highlights. Interestingly, the white isn't uniform throughout; parts of the figure are pure white, while others have an ever-so-slight blue tint. The leading edges of his wings and nosecone are silver-grey, with asymmetrical waves of red forming a border between the grey and white and also bordering the front half of his cockpit (which is a deep blue). He carries two translucent red missiles in under-cockpit launchers. All in all, the effect created by the design and paintjob is quite alien and very striking. [As an aside, the original Fireflight was also mainly red and white; however, red was his dominant colour with white serving as the main highlight colour].

About half-way between Fireflight's cockpit and his tail end, you'll find his spark crystal [though as is standard for Universe figures, it has an Autobot symbol stamped over it]. Since this mould was created for a later BM figure, the crystal can be used to trigger a special feature. In Fireflight's case, pushing the spark holder towards his nose cone will split his fuselage into a claw-like device. Pressing it forward slightly more will reputedly fire his missiles, though in actual fact that only happens about 50% of the time. To be honest, this feature is somewhat redundant in jet mode anyway, since having the claw open totally ruins Fireflight's sleek look.

Robot Mode:
Since this mould was originally a Vehicon, it shouldn't surprise you to hear that Fireflight's robot mode is quite unconventional. However, unlike some of the earlier Vehicon moulds, this one has a recognisably humanoid form to it. It is, however, still quite bizarre. Fireflight's legs and torso are slender, while his arms are huge and adorned with large chunks of equipment. His double missile launcher is attached to his right arm, albeit in a somewhat off-center manner. His jet-mode fuselage is joined to his left arm at the elbow for use a battle claw [opened by sliding the spark crystal, as in jet mode] or a shield [when the claw is closed]. Unfortunately, the arm adornments have the effect of making the figure very top-heavy.

Fireflight's colour scheme has undergone quite a change from jet mode. The primary colour is now dark grey (his torso, head and parts of his arm equipment), with dark blue colouring his shoulders and thighs. The white from his jet mode carries over to his lower legs, missile launcher and claw, and some red highlights are still visible on those parts. His chest plate and missiles are translucent red. His colours bear little resemblance to the G1 character, though that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

One thing of note: Fireflight doesn't have any hands, per se. His claw could be used for gripping, I suppose, though it's a little cumbersome for that. Instead, the place that would normally be occupied by hands is taken up by the air intakes from his vehicle mode. However, in what is either a case of brilliant design or absolute dumb luck, the air intakes are moulded to look like rudimentary hands. They can't be used for anything, but I'm glad that the effort was made.

Fireflight features articulation at the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and head, in addition to his spring-loaded claw. Considering how top-heavy he is, he can hold a surprising array of poses. One simply must balance the weight correctly (usually a matter of having one of his arms thrust forward and one backwards).

If you choose to pose Fireflight with his claw closed, it makes one hell of a nice shield. Nearly as tall as the figure itself, it has something of a teardrop shape. In some poses, the bottom of the shield can act as an additional support for his weight. Mostly white, with blue and red paint apps carried over from jet mode and adorned with his spark crystal, the shield looks exceptionally cool. As such, this is how I usually have my Fireflight posed.

One final, but noteworthy, piece of trivia: with thin legs, a sleek, bullet-shaped head, dual missile launchers on his right arm and shield on his left, Fireflight is bizarrely reminiscent of Robots in Disguise Prowl.

Thunderwing:
In vehicle mode, Thunderwing is some sort of heavy stealth bomber. His main colour is a dull gold, accented by salmon. For whatever reason, his cockpit is unpainted. In robot mode his main colour is still the dull gold, while his forearms and lower legs are white. This makes him look somewhat like a toned-down Sunstorm. He can also turn into a spinning blade weapon of some sort.

Thunderwing is articulated at shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, which is quite a feat for such a tiny figure.

The colour scheme really doesn't flatter the mould, and to be perfectly honest I can't imagine why Hasbro thought it was a good idea. I've also noted that his joints seem to be looser than on the original version. All in all, this incarnation of the Thunderwing minicon leaves a lot to be desired.

Firebot:
Firebot's alternate mode is a blocky yellow truck. His robot mode is equally blocky, and again is mostly yellow (though is this time augmented by maroon on his massive shoulders). He can also turn into a (non-functional) missile launcher of some sort.

Firebot is articulated at shoulders, hips and knees. Unfortunately, his legs are so tiny that the articulation there is meaningless.

His paint job is certainly more apt than the one Hasbro puked onto Thunderwing, though to be honest that isn't all that hard. The mould itself, though, isn't one of the best. Firebot is at best an average Minicon.

Team Summary:
Though Fireflight is thoroughly awesome, he is left in the unfortunate position of having to carry this entire set by himself. I fail to see the logic in including Minicons with a figure that can't use Minicons, though my objections would be a lot less strenuous if Thunderwing and Firebot were any good. It would have been neat if Firebot and Thunderwing had been given the same colour scheme as Fireflight; that would have at least made sense. As it stands, this set is made up of three totally unrelated figures.

I'm also still not convinced that I'm not being price-gouged by Hasbro. A year ago, I could get, say, Armada Wheeljack and his personal Minicon for a Deluxe price. Now I'm paying the same amount for a Basic figure and two Minicons. The math just doesn't add up.

Transformation: 6 - Simple as pie after a few run-throughs, but unconventional enough to cause problems the first few times you try.
Durability: 8 - The Minicons have quite a few small moving parts that could be snapped if you aren't careful, but Fireflight looks pretty sturdy.
Fun: 9 - Fireflight is fun enough for the whole set.
Price: 5 - Somewhat overpriced for what you get, though not so much that I'd consider returning the set. I've paid more for less before.
Summary: 7 - If I was writing a review solely for Fireflight as a Basic figure, this would read 8.5 or 9. However, the Deluxe pricepoint makes that impossible to justify. The inclusion of two poor Minicons simply doesn't make up for the extra money you have to spend. Recommended with mild reservations.

 
 
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