If you really want to know the truth, my decision
to skip Alpha Bravo was less because we knew this guy was coming than it was because we knew this guy was coming.
Blades can take his alternate form – a chopper – a little too literally. Sure, he carries plenty of firepower. But he'd much rather shred enemies with his rotors, bringing them down with a whirling flurry of copter kung fu.
Yes, that bio is accurate: Blades has always been kind of a murderous psycho. He considers long-range weapons cowardly, which is why he'd prefer to get right up close; the fact that he's forced to spend so much time fighting from a distance makes him even angrier than he already was, but he's a team player, so he doesn't let it get him down. But any time there's a chance for him to get his hands dirty, he'll jump at it.
Obviously, Blades uses the same mold as Alpha Bravo, which means that in order to avoid buying two of this mold, I bought two of a different mold. Hey, no one ever said my stupid self-imposed rule made any
kind of logical sense. It's a nice design, though it's clear we're supposed to ignore the actual physical edges of the toy and pretend that his sculpted waist is as wide as the toy is (kind of like when female Lego Minifigures have painted divots on their sides). There are silver panels on his chest, just like the original G1 Blades had, but they have small guns above them now. And three missiles mounted on each fist, for super rocket-punching action! The kibble on his back is unimpressively designed, sadly: the tail and the rotors seem very awkward.
His head is a new piece, based on the original 1986 toy - which means it's super, super cubey. There's a ridge over the top, with segmented lines on the forehead portion. The sides of the head are straight and flat, but with two thin horizontal lines sculpted in near the top. His face is metallic blue, and he's got a big sneer.
The articulation on Blades is precisely
the same as it is on pretty much every other Combiner Wars Deluxe. Since they all need to turn into interchangeable limbs, there are some limits to how unique you can make the engineering, which is part of what is contributing to the fatigue some fans are feeling. He comes with the same weapons as Alpha Bravo: a rifle with bullets each as long as his fist, and one of the hand/foot/gun combos.
Blades' first altmode was a Bell UH-1V Iroquois helicopter, but this time he's an Aerospatiale Dauphin (or thereabouts). The important thing is he used to be a red and white helicopter, and he still is today.
Rather than a medevac transport, Blades is now a rescue chopper, like the Coast Guard uses. He literally says "RESCUE" by the rotors and on the tail fins. His faction symbol marks him as part of the "Autobot Coastal Rescue," and if you get out your jeweler's loupe, you'll be able to make out the Latin phrase "semper referemus" ("always bring [them] back") around the Autobot symbol. Cool! Of course, he's still brimming with missiles. Rescue missiles! Whoosh!
The theme of 2015's Transformers is "Combiner Wars," so no surprise that Blades can become a limb of Defensor, 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 him serving as the right arm, like he used to, though you can obviously make him whatever you want.
Blades also includes a comic - apparently Combiner Wars #11. It doesn't feature any of the Protectobots at all, but it does have an oblique reference to the Windblade comic, as well as a bunch of other things I don't immediately understand. Makes me want to find out, though.
I had no beef with Alpha Bravo - not the way some fans did. But I didn't want an army of identical helicopters, so I waited for Blades. The mold is good, though the kibble is annoying, and some of the pieces fit together so tightly that they're hard to get apart again when going back to robot mode. Still, he's going to make one hell of an arm.