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Transformers Animated
by yo go re

Lots of Decepticons have been crazy, but this guy takes it to a whole new level.

Even by Decepticon standards, Blitzwing is totally insane.
He's got three personalities packed into his cyberium-steel chassis, and he argues with himself almost as often as he argues with other Decepticons. The only person he listens to without interrupting is Megatron, because all three of his personalities are terrified of the Decepticon commander. He carries a superheater cannon and a hyperfrost emitter to burn or freeze his enemies.

The original Blitzwing was introduced in 1985, alongside Astrotrain. Being the only two triple-changers, the two were pretty much portrayed as partners, despite the fact that they didn't really have anything in common. A plane and a space shuttle? A train and a tank? Pah! Well, Astrotrain has already been updated in the Classics line, so it fell to Animated to give us a new version of his warmongerish buddy.

Blitzwing is packaged in his jet mode, so that's where we'll start. The plane is about 8" long, 3½" tall and 6" wide. There are two orange plumes of exhaust that you can plug in for some added length, but we're talking "at rest." The body of the plane is designed well, though it is rather strange to see a plane with tank treads instead of landing gear. The entire body of the plane slopes forward, but that wouldn't matter once he's taken to the sky.

The "blitz" to the jet's "wing" is an unsual little tank. Rather than being flat and boxy, it's a squat little pod, 4½" long, 3" wide and just over 3" tall. The jet's exhausts swivel around to become the tank's main guns, and there's a small viewport on the front of the tank. It's definitely not your average armored combat vehicle, but hey, it's the future - and Detroit. Who knows what kind of machines there will be in such an exotic locale? The guns can fire their orange projectiles, of course.

Finally, the robot mode. Reaching 7½" tall, he's a big one, towering over his best friend Lugnut. He's got a decidedly Germanic look, with his helmet being patterned after the familiar Stahlhelm. He has three faces, which rotate to reflect his three personalities: his "icy" persona has a thin blue face with a red monocle; his "hothead" persona is a wide blue face with a prominent chin and a gap in his teeth; and his "random" nutcase personality has a black face with jagged red eyes and mouth. The faces rotate beneath the helmet, a la Man-E-Faces, so you have your choice of which Blitzwing you want to have kicking the Autobots' skidplates.

Blitzwing's color scheme is purple and off-white, so he's paler than his G1 counterpart. His guns point up over his shoulders, but you can't tip them forward to aim at his enemies. He moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders and neck. His helmet is made from soft pvc, so it can flex as the faces turn about (accomplished via a wheel on the back of his head). The figure's been slightly misassembled at the factory, with the upper arms reversed; it's minor enough that you probably won't notice, but it does keep the jet's wings from properly locking into place in vehicle mode. It's simple enough to fix with nothing but a screwdriver, so no worries.

Engineering a triple-changer is no easy feat. Hell, it's hard enough to manage just two modes, let alone a third. And that's to say nothing of the various character models you need to design (that, by the way, is where the names Icy, Hothead and Random come from). So it's no wonder triple-changers have generally been supporting characters, not the main cast. Transformers Animated, however, has made Blitzwing one of the main villains, not a one-off, and Hasbro has made the character into a very fun toy.

-- 04/28/09

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