Having missed out on G2 Dreadwing and Smokescreen, and having passed on BW2 BB and Starscream in favour of other items at the last three Botcons, I think it's great that Hasbro has now re-released the pair as Dreadwind and Smokejumper. A mild shame that they're a Target exclusive, and that there aren't any Targets in Canada, but that's where having friends in the States comes in.
Bomber Mode: Dreadwind is a Northrop B-2 stealth bomber. Measuring about 16 cm(6.3") long with a 30 cm(11.8") wingspan, his main colour is army green with olive green and silver parts and translucent red windows. He also has red, black, and silver stickers and three purple Decepticon symbols, one on his cockpit and one on each wingtip. Looking inside the cockpit, one can discern a pair of seats. He also has flip out landing gear with spinning
By far the most noticeable feature on this aircraft is the ginormous, six-barrelled green launcher mounted beneath. With such heavy armament, there¹s no way Dreadwind will be able to avoid detection by enemy radar, but somehow I don¹t think he cares. Dreadwind comes with a complement of 14 missiles, 12 of which go to him. Six fit into slots on the underside of his wings, six load into the launcher. Whereas G2 Dreadwing's missiles didn¹t
actually lock into his launcher, and thus had an annoying tendency to slide
out, Dreadwind's have been remoulded so that they lock nice and securely into the launcher. Turning the end of the launcher clockwise unleashes a barrage of missiles for about two feet, decimating Autobots or scaring the hell out of your cat! And if a few Autobots manage to survive the initial barrage, Dreadwind can use the missiles on his wings like bombs. Simply push the translucent red buttons on his wings to unleash even more death from above. Sometimes you don't even need to push the buttons, since the
missiles don't stay in too well.
Finally, Dreadwind can accommodate his buddy Smokejumper. Just slide the little guy into the space at the big guy¹s rear, and try to overlook how compromising they appear.
Tank Mode: Fold up Dreadwind's wings, swing the launcher out from under him and rotate it around so it's facing forwards, and press the small gray buttons behind each set of thrusters to spring out the tank treads, and you've got . . . the weirdest-looking tank anyone's ever seen. The moulded treads look nice and it's certainly well-armed, but it doesn't look like it could stand up to much punishment. Suffice to say, I don't use this mode much.
Transformation: Involved, but not terribly difficult. From tank mode, the treads fold back up and swing out to become legs, the arms unfold from the top of the tank, the front flips down, and the launcher comes to rest over the robot's right shoulder.
Robot Mode: Dreadwind stands about 16.5 cm(6.5") tall at the head, 19 cm(7.5") including his missile launcher. His colours go together very well in this mode: gray head, upper arms, thighs, and feet, army green arm gauntlets and main body, and olive green forearms and shins. His head is rounded with a crest and translucent red lightpiping that causes his eye visor to glow before strong light. This ominous feature, along with his massive chest, heavy arm gauntlets, trunk-like legs, and, of course, ginormous shoulder launcher, makes him look like one serious Decepticon villain.
Dreadwind's poseability rivals most Beast-era toys: head, shoulders (hinge & swivel), elbows(hinge & swivel), hips, and knees. His fist holes can accommodate Smokejumper's twin launchers for added firepower. Unfortunately, he lacks heel spurs and is very backheavy, so you usually have to bend his knees forward a little to keep him from falling over. Also, his chest doesn't lock in place or anything, so it has a tendency to swing up during
play. Oh, and you might as well leave the missiles off his wings, as they tend to get in the way and they're bound to fall off anyway.
Jet Mode: Smokejumper measures just over 15.5 cm(6") long and has a wingspan of 8 cm(3.1"). He doesn't seem to have any real-life counterpart, although some fans have noted that if you were to give him larger wings, he'd resemble an F-22 Raptor. His main colour is army green with olive green and silver parts, a translucent red cockpit, Decepticon symbols on his nose and back, and red and black stickers on his wings and stabilizer fins. His armament consists of two heavy missile launchers with a range of about two feet. He also has flip-out landing gear, however, the wheels do not spin.
At first, the name "Smokejumper" may sound made up, but it's actually the term for wilderness firefighters who specialize in parachuting to fires in remote areas. But since Smokejumper doesn't have a parachute, and since Decepticons aren't known for engaging in heroic activity like putting out a wildfire, why Hasbro gave him this name is something of a mystery. It's a neat name though.
Transformation: Fairly clever and complex for a toy of this size. The arms unfold from the rear, the legs swing out from the sides, the front of the jet swings down, rotates 180 degrees, and folds up against the bottom of the rear section. Make sure to line up all the tabs and slots for a stable robot mode.
Robot Mode: In robot mode, Smokejumper stands around 12 cm(4.7") tall at the head. He's considerably sleeker and more proportional than his big buddy, Dreadwind, with longer limbs and a thinner torso. His colour scheme in this mode matches Dreadwind's for the most part: army green torso and back, gray head, upper arms, hips, thighs, and feet, and olive green shoulders, forearms, and shins. Like Dreadwind, his head features translucent red
lightpiping that causes his eyes to glow before a light. Interestingly, his head and face closely resemble that of Optimus Prime's, with antennae, a rectangular crest, and a mouthplate. Prime's rebellious teenage son perhaps?
Smokejumper's articulation exceeds Dreadwind's: head, shoulders (hinge & swivel), upper arms, elbows, hips, knees(hinge & swivel), and ankles. And unlike Dreadwind, Smokejumper has nice, long heel spurs to allow for a wide range of active poses. Annoyingly, the forearms on mine were installed on the wrong arms (and numerous other fans have reported the same with theirs). But it's not too much of a hassle to simply pop them off and re-install them the right way, thankfully. Smokejumpers' twin missile launchers can either be gripped in his fists or attached into small holes at the end of each elbow.
Overall, Susp Sez: Again, I'm positively thrilled that Hasbro has re-issued this duo. Great bomber and jet modes, poseable and powerful-looking robot modes, passable tank mode, good colours, awesome missile-firing gimmicks. Definitely worth picking up. 10/10
Thanks to Jennifer "Trixter" Ulm for sending me this set, and for forgiving me about the late payment. ;)
"When you least expect it, expect me!" -G2 Dreadwing
|Date||July 20th 2003 |
|Score|| (10 out of 10) |