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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

Transformers' tech specs used to be self-contained little bios that gave you an idea of the character's personality, but these days, they're more interconnected. Hasbro uses the bios to create a micro-continuity, hinting at events and rivalries for characters who might otherwise never get the spotlight.

Terradive loves to dive toward unsuspecting prey with the sun behind him. The light blinds his target, and the scream of his engines terrifies them, leaving them easy pickings for the blades of his trident. With Jetblade serving as a decoy, Tomahawk will never know what hit him.

See how the bio mentions Tomahawk? You may remember that Terradive was mentioned on Tommy's bio, as well. And yes, Jetblade also references them both. It's all very intricate.

Terradive is based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-47, nicknamed the "Berkut" - "Golden Eagle" - which may explain the bright yellow/orange paint scheme. The forward-swept wings have white at the tips (on the US release, at least - Takara's is red), and there are slimming black stripes running back the length of the plane. The canopy is an opaque magenta, so depending on the angle you're viewing it from and the lighting in your room, it can either look red or orange. There are no rocket launchers or anything in this mode - just flip-down landing gear.

The packaging declares Terradive a Level 3 (Intermediate) conversion, but we're calling shenanigans on that. Honestly, it seems like Hasbro just slaps a "3" on everything, no matter how complicated they actually are. Arcee? Level 3. Leo Prime? Level 3. Hasbro's packaging designers? On crack. The conversion is complex and challenging, but it's worth it to get a really unique robot mode.

When it comes to airplane TFs, we're most accustomed to seeing ones that look like the Seekers - wings hanging off the shoulders, cockpit on the chest, etc. And while Terradive is similar in some ways, he's much more complex than the average. The wings on his back, for instance, are actually the tailfins, rather than "wing" wings. All the unusual twisting and folding makes for a surprisingly spindly robot.

Terradive's head is far from the usual Seeker shape, as well - it's this weird triangular thing that looks somewhat like an evil version of Rattrap. There's a big hunk of clear plastic in his head that was clearly meant to be used for light-piping, but his eyes are painted red, so there'll be none of that!

The figure has been given plenty of articulation, so you can give him some really dynamic poses. His signature weapon is a wicked trident, which is stored beneath the plane in that mode, but unfolds for use when he's a robot. The pointy end of the stick changes from spearhead to fork when you slide it down - it's a simple gimmick, but it works, and it makes sense for a Transformer's weapon. All the robot's joints mean you can make him hold it with both hands, and there's also a clip on the left shoulder so he can store the weapon when it's not in use.

Terradive is part of the "this isn't the movie line" movie line, so his design involves a lot of exposed machinery, primarily in the arms and legs. The various panels on his chest make for nice armor, and if you think he needs more firepower, you can flip the hands around backwards to give him cannons.

It's always terrific to get a random toy that turns out to be a lot better than you expected, and Terradive fits that bill. He's unique and stylish in both modes, and changing between them is involved enough that you won't master it in one go, but isn't complicated simply for the sake of being complicated. Like his rival Tomahawk, Terradive is an excellent TF that deserves some attention.

-- 01/25/11

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