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Powerglide

Transformers DOTM
by yo go re

After several years of using standardized terminology for their various Transformers size classes, Hasbro apparently forgot the basic simple premise of "it's good enough, leave it alone," because now they've changed them. Legends are "Legion Class," Scouts are "Commander," and both of them are wrapped together under the Cyberverse banner, with the idea that they'll generally be in scale with one another.

Human pilots have traveled thousands of miles just to study the moves Powerglide executes in midair. His acrobatic aerial accomplishments impress all who see them - friend and enemy alike. His skill is the only thing that has kept him alive, since his light armor makes him a soft target for his Decepticon foes.

That bio is very similar to the original G1 Powerglide, who recently received an update in the Universe 2.0 line. That was a very big toy, though, and the original Powerglide was very small. Thus, it's nice to see him return as a Scout Commander figure, even if it is in the movie continuity. But if you wanted to have him be a G1 stand-in, would he work? Let's find out!

Powerglide has a nice robot mode. He's a constant mixture of spindly and bulky, but it works out for the design overall. For instance, super scrawny feet, huge shins, thin legs, etc. There's good mass in the upper chest, so he looks strong, and the head is a reference to the G1 design - it's got the same faceplate, and even the "gun" on top.

He's got great articulation, too. Swivel shoulders, balljointed biceps, hinged elbows, balljointed hips and balljointed knees. It's often impressive how playable the small, simple toys can be. There really isn't any logical pose you'd want to get him into that you can't, even though he doesn't have a waist. There's one substantial difference between this Powerglide and the original, and that's the placement of his wings: rather than being between the shoulder and the body, they're mounted on the forearms; it's an unusual choice, but the only thing that could really be said to be "wrong" about it is that it's different than we're used to.

Changing Powerglide to his altmode is a bit more complex than you might expect. There are a few tricky steps, but nothing so bad that you won't have the hang of it after one or two changes. Gotta admit, though, looking at the wings and the way they attach, there's no reason they couldn't have been inside the shoulders. I know, I know, I just got done saying the change is fine, but darn it, I would have liked him better if the wings went where they're "supposed" to.</fanboy>

The altmode is, of course, an A-10 Thunderbolt - a modified version, clearly, but still recognizable. There's no mistaking those big engines on the back. There's no ignoring them, either, because they make the plane back-heavy, and the rear landing gear is too far forward, so Powerglide tips backward when you have him on display. Sometimes you can fiddle around and get all three wheels to rest on the ground at once, but most of the time it looks like he's taking off.

The main complaint about Universe 2.0 Powerglide was the color - for whatever reason, Hasbro forewent the familiar red and instead painted the plane white. No worry about that here! The fuselage is a fine dark red, with a few silver details on the wings, engines and tailfins, and black for the cockpit. The Gatling gun under the noseis a slightly darker red, nearly brown. His Autobot symbols have small wings of their own - he;s in the Autobot Air Force!

Powerglide gets a few removable weapons, as well. There's a bundle of missiles under each wing, and they're two different sculpts: rather than being symmetrical, each one is a unique design. And hey, since the weapons are attached in front of the landing gear, they add a little extra weight to the front of the plane and keep it from tipping back on its bottom! Hooray! You can fold the missiles around and combine them into this really goofy handheld weapon for robot mode - it looks like Cable's idea of a Derringer.

So, Powerglide: he's packaged as a movie toy, but if you need a version for your Classics collection, he'll be right at home there. If you got the 2009 Powerglide, it's the wrong color - this one isn't. If you bought one of the red versions of that mold, it was still too big - this one isn't. Though it's ostensibly part of the Dark of the Moon universe, he doesn't really have the "movie" aesthetic: you know, the "animalistic" shapes the movie characters tend to have; so while he has a lot of technological details, it's not that different from what you'd expect in Classics or Generations. The toy isn't perfect (those wings!), but for just a few dollars, this is a very good Powerglide - movie or Classics!

-- 06/07/11


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