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Air Raid

Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Here's the only Autobot who's accompanied by his own siren that no one has heard or thought about in 60 years.

If you need one warrior to fly into a hotbed of enemy activity, Air Raid is the bot to call. He's at his best when he's a one-bot wrecking crew. There's something about improbable odds that pushes his circuits to function at beyond-peak performance.

Wow, look at that, there's actually information about the character on the back of the card! What a unique experience! Granted, it doesn't tell us everything - like that Air Raid is the youngest of the Aerialbots, and the reason he engages in such reckless behavior is that he finds it fun. And while sometimes his choice of tactics gets him in trouble, it's far more common that he saves his teammates with these crazy acts of valor.

Air Raid's head is based directly on the old toy. It's incredibly square, so it ends up looking like he's wearing a box on his head. Back in the '80s, he was designed that way because his head served as the peg that allowed him to combine into Superior; this time, the peg is hidden in his chest, so the head design is just a design. A nice throwback.

The figure shares some parts with Skydive - the legs, elbows, and combiner peg - but still looks unique. The sculpt of his chest is based on the stickers seen on the original 1986 toy, with sunken panels on both sides of the chest and a waist that sweeps out like wings. The angled points on his shoulders are a new feature, and he has orange armor plates on his forearms. He's ready for some action!

Skydive's guns have been reused, too: the black missile launcher, and the double-barreled gun. The gun is now white instead of black, but it's definitely the same mold. It's probably meant to be his "torque rifle," which causes balance problems for his enemies. And he's got enough articulation to pose with them nicely, thanks to a balljointed head, shoulders, and hips; swivel biceps, waist, and thighs; and hinged elbows and knees.

Generation 1 Air Raid turned into an F-15 Eagle, but these days he does not. He's more like an F-14 Tomcat, but the colors are right: black body, with silver, red and orange stripes on the wings and tailfins.

The plane's wings are adjustable, but it has no landing gear - just solid chunks of plastic that touch the ground. They're not even shaped like wheels!

The theme of 2015's Transformers is "Combiner Wars," so no surprise that Air Raid can become a limb of Superion, just as he did in the '80s. Also, just as in the '80s, he can become either an arm or a leg, "Scramble City"-style. The packaging shows Air Raid serving as the left arm, though you can obviously make him whatever you want. The large black gun can turn into either a hand or a foot, depending on your preference.

This series of figures also goes back to including comics. Air Raid comes with Combiner Wars #7, which seems like a pretty high number to start with. Shouldn't he come with #1? Or 2? Or something else much lower than 7? The best part is the back cover has additional info about Air Raid, in the form of a psych report from Rung. Fun!

Thanks to Air Raid, I'm one step closer to completing my first Combiner Wars combiner. Come on, Quickslinger! Show up already!

-- 07/07/15

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