Much needed Decepticon reinforcements arrive in the form of the Dark Fleet. Comprised of three sea-faring vessels (battleship, aircraft carrier, and transport) that I'm sure also fly in the wonderful world of the Transformers, Tidal Wave is a navy of one. And in true Decepticon form, he has some nasty tricks in his bag of goodies for the Autobots.
Battleship - Mostly dark gray with a dank-green front, the battleship carries most of the firepower of the Dark Fleet. Four purple and light gray turrets, each featuring positional cannons, line the outer corners of the main vessel with four surface-to-air missile launchers in the center near the Decepticon insignia. By plugging a Mini-Con into the Powerlink port between the rear two turrets and pushing forward, the turrets and launchers swivel back and forth with a ratcheting sound. Additionally, each of the front sections, each of which has a static Powerlink port, can launch a large, red torpedo with the press of the red lever on the sides.
Aircraft Carrier - Primarily light gray with some darker gray and dank-green areas along with some red-painted highlights, the carrier features one of the more ingenious ways to incorporate a Mini-Con into the design of a toy. Unfortunately, Ramjet is the only Mini-Con that it works with. By raising the launch platform using the lever on the port side of the vessel, the flight deck raises and flips open to reveal a short, static Powerlink port where you can store Ramjet, in his folded position, for later launch. There are three other Powerlink ports that have no restrictions for usage; two are on the flight deck and one on the control tower.
Transport - The largest of the three ships, the transport is mostly dark gray with a purple front and red, black, and gold highlights painted throughout. Positional wings on either side feature three molded torpedoes each and the rear of the vessel appears to have two batteries of surface-to-air missile launchers, 16 total. The top, flat sections, which each have to static Powerlink ports, can open outward to reveal four pull-down stadium-style seats that are just perfect for Mini-Cons, though some of the little guys can't sit next to others due to their design and some can't sit at all.
To transform into Tidal Wave's larger ship form, start with the carrier. Swing both of the rear engine-like mechanisms out to the sides. Open up the front sections on the battleship and insert the carrier's pegs into the matching holes on the interior of the battleship's sections. Split the transport down the center and angle the sides out. Insert the rear of the battleship into the clasp revealed on the transport and bring the sides of the transport in to hug the battleship. Lock the sections into place and Tidal Wave has completed his first transformation.
Tidal Wave (Ship Mode)
In his combined form, Tidal Wave is gigantic. Being a conglomeration of all three Dark Fleet vessels, he is reminiscent of something the Star Force might have faced during their adventures on the Argo (from the 70's anime "Star Blazers" aka "Space Battleship Yamato"). All the gimmicks, with exception of the stadium-seats still function, though the flight deck feature is difficult to operate since access to the lever is mostly blocked. A total of ten Powerlink ports are available for various Mini-Cons with only one, as described in the battleship section above, being non-static.
Ramjet is a small fighter jet. Mostly purple with red joints and a gray underbelly, he is the smallest Mini-Con to date (2/3 the length of Jetstorm from the Air Defense Team). To transform into robot mode, flip the wings and the cockpit section up, flip the gray underside down and back. Flip up the purple feet and position the arms as desired. Ramjet's face, a mouthplate and two eyes - not how he is depicted in the pack-in comic, is painted red and he features elbow, hip, knee, and ankle articulation. With his lower legs and feet each being one piece, this leaves for very little in the area of posing Ramjet. As in vehicle mode, Ramjet remains the shortest Mini-Con. He even has to look up to High Wire, though the nose cone on his back makes him slightly taller.
Now, back to Tidal Wave... To transform him into robot mode, you don't need to separate the three ships, though you can if you want to. Pull apart the transport sections and lay them out to the sides. Fold the wings up and rotate the halves 180 degrees. Swing the sections down and flip open the purple ends. Rotate the waist 180 degrees. Split the carrier right down the center and rotate downward. Spin the battleship bridge and turret section around 180 degrees. Rotate the front ends of the carrier halves outward and flip the thumbs and fingers out. Pull the robot head up and your one-bot wrecking machine is complete. Sadly, the battleship's torpedoes don't store well anywhere and cannot stay in their launchers due to the pressure on the firing levers.
Tidal Wave (Robot Mode)
At over a foot in height, Tidal Wave towers over most of his contemporaries. he features full shoulder, elbow, and hip articulation and can rotate at the waist. His face is a dark purple, with red eyes. This is not a happy looking Decepticon. His helmet is dank-green and features some silver-gray painted highlights. All ten Powerlink ports are still usable in his robot form, though no additional gimmicks are added. Thanks to Dusty, I've found that the flight deck feature can be used in this mode and looks rather cool, like he's giving Ramjet orders to attack or spy on the Autobots.
In his Dark Fleet form, Tidal Wave can also function as armor for either Megatron or Galvatron. There are tabs that swing sown underneath the battleship that help clasp it to their right arms. Pressing down on the carrier's control tower reveals a similar clamp to attach it to their left arms. The transport, when split apart with the waist piece rotated 90 degrees, functions as a large jetpack for the Decepticon leader(s). It's rather bulky and constrictive since you must have the tank barrel of Megatron or Galvatron facing forward and their chests raised up to accommodate the jetpack.
Tidal Wave is very much worth every penny of the $24.99 (plus applicable sales tax) that he cost. His multiple gimmicks enhance the toy rather than detract from it and he exudes power in all his modes. The only thing I would have done differently would be to add a storage area for the torpedoes when he's in robot mode and to have less ratcheting when moving his joints. Maybe that lends to higher stability, I'm not sure. I just find the incessant clicking a little annoying. Still, those minuses are minor compared to all the pluses Tidal Wave has.
|Reviewer||Richard C. Mistron|
|Date||July 16th 2003|
|Score||(10 out of 10)|
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