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Windblade

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

#WindbladeGate

When given the opportunity to join the Autobot cause, Windblade jumped at the chance. The Autobots were more than happy to welcome her to their ranks. Her near-telepathic link to the Titan Metroplex is a remarkable power that holds untold potential.

It's not really a telepathic link, she's just been rigorously trained to understand and communicate with the massive and otherwise-overwhelming brain. Her job title is "Cityspeaker," which is kind of like being a translator at the UN: you have to be able to grasp, predict, and convert the information all at once, which is a huge burden to bear. So far Cityspeakers only seem to exist on the world of Caminus, which is named after the Titan who emigrated from Cybertron and settled there, creating the race (or is it species?) of Transformers to which Windblade belongs.

Windblade is the Fan-Built-Bot, the one that was created based on our votes in the polls that ran on Hasbro's website. Granted, "make her look like a geisha" wasn't part of the vote, but it's explained in-story by saying that all the Cityspeakers adopt these kabuki markings in honor of Caminus, who also had them on his face.

The toy was designed by Lenny Panzica (whose voice can be heard on the DotM Leader Class Ironhide) and definitely looks female. She has high-heeled feet; rounded, tapered thighs; a narrow waist; and a distinctive (but not exaggerated) chest. She has wings sticking out of her back like a Seeker, but they point backwards instead of straight out to the sides. There's armor on her shoulders, and a high collar protecting her neck. The shape of her head even looks like a traditional upper-class Japanese hairdo, to go along with her facial styling. This is a terrific-looking robot.

She's armed with what the packaging calls her "Stormfall Sword," which appears to be some kind of energy blade. Like, the handle is solid (other than the turbine in the hilt, which is left as clear, unpainted plastic here), but the curvy purple blade is translucent. It may not be just energy, however, because there's a scabbard that can hang from her hip.

There are hooks on her arms that look like they could be used as weapons in a pinch, and the fan in her hair can be wiggled out of place and held in her hand, as well. To take advantage of all these accessories, she has hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel waist, swivel wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed shoulders, and a swivel neck. The legs don't click together very tightly, though, so her heels have a tendency to fold away when you don't want them to, making her slightly unstable.

Converting Windblade isn't particularly challenging: you fold her head back into her chest, turn the waist around, move the shins upward, and that's really all there is to it.

You do want to be careful with the horizontal tabs that flip over to plug into the legs and help keep the wings in place, however: they're molded with a thin notch near the middle, and it's easy to flex the plastic in ways it wasn't intended to move. I've already got stress marks on my Windblade so you don't have to!

Windblade's altmode is a VTOL jet, measuring 5⅞" wide, 6¼" long and about 1¾" tall. The sheath plugs in beneath the jet, if you want her to carry it, but it's not an integral part of the fuselage or anything. The rear landing gear is molded, but the front one folds down. Both VTOL fans spin freely, and can be rotated to point forward. very cool!

That's not to say the toy is without flaws, however. The most obvious is the color; she's black and red, just like we voted for, but there's way too much black and not enough red in this mode. Looking at the art in the comics, her wings should have a lot more color on them - you'll either have to get the Takara version (which also has a more comic-accurate face) or the Reprolabels set to have her look the way she's meant to. But neither of those options will fix her other issue.

The design was clearly intended to have the robot's toes fold down in jet mode, not stick straight up into the air: the feet are hollow, and wide enough to fit around the sides of the retracted heels; folding them down would make the jet sleeker, and remove the two unsightly holes you can see from behind. However, on the final product, the toes and shins are a single molded piece. This was probably done to save money - ditto the missing paint apps - but it's something that's blatantly wrong and really kind of annoying. Get to work on new, hinged feet, third-party groups!

The figure comes with a reprint comic, but surprisingly, it's not an issue from her eponymous miniseries. Well, the cover is - it's a version of the variant cover from issue 4 - but the story inside is from More than Meets the Eye #26. The choice kind of makes sense (it's her first appearance, and most of the other reprints are from the "Dark Cybertron" crossover), but she doesn't really have very much to do. Parents, be sure to supervise your children lest the BALLS-OUT EXCITEMENT of seeing the character they just got as a toy standing around and looking at things briefly proves to be too much for them!

Windblade is the end result of Hasbro asking fans what they wanted to see in a Transformer - and because fans have never met an idea they couldn't fight about, there were a bunch of them who hated the final design. Once the comic started, those voices seemed to fade out; it's amazing what skillful art and writing can do for a character. The toy is still too new and too popular to find in stores yet, which is why I was lucky enough to find her in-stock on Hasbro Toy Shop. You might want to spring for the Takara version over Hasbro's, though: the paint on that one is simply better.

-- 11/25/14


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