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Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Look, it's a Firefly you can enjoy without unfortunate connections to the feckless, hateful misogyny of GamerGate.

The only informational text on the back of Firefly's card reads Aerialbot recon specialist, which doesn't really tell us much. So let's turn back to his G1 roots for some more info. If Aerialbots needed pilot's licenses, Fireflight would certainly never have gotten his. He's a hazard in the skies. He becomes mesmerized by the spectacular views he sees from above, and, consequently, often pays little attention to where he's going, leading to near-crashes with buildings, mountains, even other aircraft. Only constant prodding by his fellow Aerialbots keeps Fireflight's mind on his assigned tasks. But they can't get angry at him - they realize his carelessness is a result of what humans would call "a childlike sense of wonder," and they can hardly fault him for that. Still, flying alongside him is definitely unnerving to the other Aerialbots.

Firefly is a "trademark issues" update of Fireflight, and his head is based on the old toy, rather than the cartoon or comics. It's super easy to tell, because the 2D versions of Fireflight had a normal face (eyes, nose, mouth, all that) and a blocky head, but the toy - the old toy and this new toy - has distinctive head ridges and a silver faceplate.

The 1986 figure was basically just a brick, so any fancy designs this one has are pretty much a modern creation. Ignoring the kibble on his back, Firefly has a narrow waist that goes straight up before angling out to a wide chest with a vent on one side and a flat panel where the Autobot symbol is printed on the other. There are raised areas on his shoulders, and small nozzles (gun barrels?) on the back of each hand. Some of the details and color choices, such as the black on the knees, or the blue on the waist and chest, are nods to stickers on the original. For maximum homagery, it would have been nice if they molded his upper legs in red instead of white.

The articulation is plentiful. We get a balljointed head, shoulders, and hips; swivel biceps, waist, and thighs; and hinged elbows and knees. He comes with two weapons, neither of which appear to be the "photon displacer gun" he used to have. The first is a large, double-barreled blaster, while the second... well, it's sculpted to look like it has a bottle on top and a thin arm extending beneath the barrel. It's a flamethrower! Firefly gets to fly and shoot fire! That's a cute touch.

Generation 1 Fireflight's altmode was an F-4 Phantom, but this update has turned him into a Harrier. The important thing is that the colors match: the jet has a red body, black nosecone, a silver canopy, and white wings (and tail) with blue and gold stripes.

A single landing gear folds down from beneath the plane's nose - it doesn't roll, and there are no rear wheels, but it makes the plane look nice when it's at rest. There are ports for weapon storage under the wings, but nowhere that really looks "right" when the guns are plugged in.

The theme of 2015's Transformers is "Combiner Wars," so no surprise that Firefly 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 Firefly serving as the left leg, 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.

I like combiners, but I wasn't sure how I'd like the "Combiner Wars" toys. Firefly indicates they're going to be pretty good. Now all we need is for stores to start putting them on the pegs, so everybody can buy them.

-- 04/28/15

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