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Air Defense Team - Armada - Figures

Now THESE guys are more of a step in the right direction. While definitely not the greatest figures in the world, they're definitely a bit more of what I want to see from this line than the Street Action Team was.

Runway

The package calls him Runway. The catalog calls him Runway. The instructions call him Jetstorm, but I'm calling him Runway. His jet mode is a... Um.... Well to be honest, I have no idea. Both Runway and Jetstorm have very similar jet modes. One of them is supposed to be a Concord, that much I know, but I have no idea which. Runway is the super sonic jet with the dual tail fins and the two fins on the neck of the plane. While it's certainly a neat little plane, there's a lot of under carriage junk that composes the arms and legs in robot mode. Looks like the arms are supposed to be fuel tanks though so it's not like they didn't try at all to hide it. Honestly though, what can you expect for a toy of this size?

That's not my main problem with the vehicle mode, however. My main gripe is the fact that damned near the WHOLE THING is made of translucent plastic! There's a couple silver paint aps here and there, but c'mon... The whole thing? All I can say is that the Star Saber better look fan-friggin-tastic with light going through it, because it really looks kind of chintzy without any paint on it. Interesting note though: He's got TWO Powerlinx plugs.

Transformation is achieved via unfolding. Unfold the arms, unfold the legs, and presto, you're most of the way there. Folding down the rear section of the plane to form the chest though was kind of anxious for me though, since it really didn't feel like it wanted to give and I felt that I was going to break it. I didn't though, and all is well.

Thankfully most of the robot mode bits are made of gray plastic, not translucent. It's not like it disappears, mind you, but it's a hell of a lot less prevalent. Personally I kind of like his robot look. Looks like he's got his arms bent slightly like he's about to go and kick someone's ass (Pretty tough talk coming from someone so dang small. Heh heh.). You can move his legs forward and backwards at the hips and knees (His knees bend backwards like a birds. Technically that would be a bird's ankles, but I don't want to go zoological on you or anything), and he can kind of move his arms forward at the elbow. I say kinda, because the chest gets in the way, so they can't go very far. Lack of poseability aside, I rather like Runway.

Just don't tell him he's got 90% of a jet hanging off his backside (Although it DOES grant him a kind of tripod stability...)

Jetstorm

Actually very similar to Runway in a lot of ways (Perhaps that accounts for the confusion between the packaging and the instructions.) Very similar in jet design, Jetstorm has only one tail fin and now fins on the neck of the plane. Still composed of a large amount of translucent plastic, but also happens to feature quite a bit more paint apps too, so it's not as conspicuous. The fact that the assemblage of limbs under the wings make them look a little more opaque goes a long way in helping too. He also happens to share tiny little landing gear, how neat is that?

Transformation is also similar insofar as that it consists of a lot of unfolding of limbs. It's a bit more complex than Runway's though, and there's also the additional folding back of the front end of the plane and folding the tail fin over his head to form the chest. It looks kind of silly to have the thing sticking off as his chest, but actually it helps a lot in his stability because he's rather top heavy otherwise. Watch for the front section of the plane though, it likes to snap off pretty easy, and it's small and easy to loose.

Robot mode isn't quite as neat as Runway's... Translucent plastic is in fact MORE visible in this form (Indeed, parts of the limbs are made up of it now), and he's slightly shorter. Plus that tail fin really does look goofy on his chest. Feel free to skip that part of the transformation if you like.

Jetstorm sports a bit more articulation than Runway. His legs move back and forth at the hip and knee, but also side to side at the knee. His arms can move back and forth a lot more at the elbow, plus can move side to side at the shoulder.

Sonar

Sonar is the shuttle one, and is actually my favorite of the bunch. Even though his vehicle mode of an experimental shuttle doesn't exactly seem to mesh especially well with the others in his group, he's still a neat little figure. Annoying thing though, the "handle" part of Star Saber is supposed to be stored on the under side of the shuttle, which makes it impossible to sit flat since it's rounded. But other than that, he's got no under carriage junk. I suppose you can rotate it to the topside, but that just takes out one more step of the transformation. Your call.

Speaking of transformation, Sonar is the most involved of the three. Not saying much, but it's more than just unfolding limbs, you have to separate the front half and extend it, then twist the feet around, plus flip the head and unfold the arms. Spiffy.

Sonar's robot mode is probably tied with Runway's as my favorite he's the shortest if you go by head height, but those wings on his arms are just too neat. His arms and the wings can rotate independently of each other, haven't quite determined what the purpose of that is. He can rotate his arms around his shoulders and move his arms back and forth at the elbows. His legs move side to side at the hip and knees. He stands up pretty well, but I would consider him perhaps the most unbalanced of the three in robot offered. Still he's neat, and a great indication of what the others might have looked like if they'd gone lighter on the translucent plastic.

Star Saber

Someone asked about how flimsy the thing is. I can safely say that it is fairly solid, and the jets hold together pretty well. Doesn't look much like a sword though, it just looks like... well, a bunch of jets stuck together. From the top I suppose it's passable, but looking from the side or the bottom will reveal that it is most definitely un-sword-like in nature.

Another concern is that for all the translucent plastic they used on Runway (Who forms the end of the sword), there doesn't seem to be any direct connection between the light piping going through Sonar and Jetstorm to Runway. I suppose the gap is enough for the light to jump or something, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that the light up gimmick was a lame duck.

Maybe I should dig up Laser Rod Optimus to test it out or something...

Overall
Get 'em. Get 'em now. Or as soon as possible, since it's not available in many areas yet.

Images courtesy of TRANSFORMERS.COM.



ReviewerMike Miksch  
DateJuly 5th 2002  
Score 9 stars (9 out of 10)  
Reads3421
Link  




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