Alternate Mode: SR-71 Spyplane
Thanks to Excelon Zero loaning me Fireflight for this review.
Height: 4cm Length: 13cm Width: 9.5cm
A white spyplane with red on the nose, grey on the fuselage and transparent red tailfins, Fireflight is a repaint of Spy Streak. There's a grey and gold piece on top which sports a transparent red dome, itself stamped with an Autobot logo. His canopy is painted black while there's some silver on the top of the nose and the leading edges of the wings. It's generally a good colour set, although the gold bump looks bad and the red dome really needed to be painted over entirely. I'm not sure that a spyplane should be white, but this mould had already been done in black, so white it is this time around. The colours aren't quite Fireflight, but it's not a horrible choice of name.
I should point out that he's not actually an SR-71, rather a very close approximation. Close enough, certainly, to pass for one at first glance. Being a Beast Machines mould, it's meant to be a Cybertronian vehicle, but the designer's inspiration is obvious. I don't mind one bit, since it's a nice plane model to use as inspiration. The spark crystal dome on top is an awkward element, and while I can understand the mould not being changed, it's not at all hidden by the colours.
Fireflight has no wheels underneath, instead he has two large transparent red missiles under his cockpit, with rounded tips. There are two pseudo-wheels at the back and a ridge on the missile launcher, so he will happily rest on a flat surface. Despite coming with two MiniCons, there are no hardpoints.
The spark crystal holder is actually the trigger for both of the gimmicks of this toy. Sliding it forward will cause the two sides of the fuselage to part and push forwards and out to the sides. If you keep pushing, eventually it'll hit an internal trigger and fire the missiles, then spring back into position. If you push the missiles in while activating the claws, the claws will click into an open position and hold there. The two halves of the nose itself are actually serrated, so the claws have teeth! On Excelon Zero's Fireflight at least, the missiles have a tendency to fire without the trigger being activated.
There is a lot of detail in the mould - which is to be expected of Beast Machines mould. The paint job here isn't really designed to bring out the detailing, and in place it ignores the sculpt, but in white the detailing is fairly visible, at least.
While the gimmick is nice, the plane itself is decent and the sculpt is good, the paint job is sloppy, really. The colours are okay, but whoever applied them wasn't really paying attention since they go against the concept of a spyplane and the paint job pretty much ignores the features of the mould. It's not an awful colour scheme, but the colours here are weaker than on either Spy Streak or Nightcruz.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Swing the wings out and back to become the legs, with the wingtips becoming kneecaps and the tailfins on his calves. Flip his feet up, split the claws from the missile launcher on his underside, and bring the claws down to become his left hand while the missile launcher assembly becomes his right hand. Slide the red chestplate up to reveal his head.
Height: 10.5cm Width: 10cm
The white gives way to a lot of grey and cobalt blue here, making the name usage just plain poor now. Much of the robot is a mix of these two dark colours, with the claw-forearm on his left side and the boots offering us some white. His chestplate is transparent red along with the eyes, which have a useful lightpipe. The face is silver and the red missiles are on his right forearm. The colours here feel very uneven, and while nothing clashes, it's a bad colour scheme by virtue of poor layout.
Fireflight's hands are kibble rather than hands, but this is a deliberate design choice. He has a giant claw for a left hand and a twin missile launcher - with missiles that come up to his chest
- for his right hand. You might notice that the trigger on the underside of the claw is nowhere near the missile launcher in this mode. It still activates the claw, but no longer activates the missile launcher. On the underside of the launcher are two small blue tabs, right next to each other, which activate the missile launcher. The reason for two tabs is so that each missile can be fired independently, although with the tabs being as small as they are, it's easier to just activate both.
Fireflight has excellent articulation - his head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides, his elbows, hips and knees are ball jointed and his ankles hinged. The arms are very heavy - about 1/3 the mass of the toy, but the feet have built in heelspurs and with a little care, he can be made to stand in a lot of poses.
While the robot mode is well engineered and the two gimmicks work fairly well without hindering the articulation here, Fireflight's colours really hold this figure back, visually. The unbalanced layout really does not work and the profusion of blue and grey makes a mockery of the name reuse. I don't hate this robot mode, but again it just doesn't stack up to the two previous versions of the mould.
Alternate Mode: Fire Engine
FIRE ENGINE MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 2cm
A yellow fire truck with a gunmetal front windscreen, A silver hose-gun on top of his left door, a brick red coloured panel on the roof and brown rear fenders. He has six wheels, all are black plastic and all roll. It's a fairly average fire truck mode, really, and it has been used many times. While yellow fire trucks do exist, they're usually a brighter yellow than this shade which makes far less sense than the red of the original did.
TRANSFORMATION TO WEAPON MODE
Fold the sides of the roof down to the sides and rotate 180°. Open the waist up, there's a giant hinge which reveals two missile racks. Stand him alone or attach him to a connector on a larger Armada toy.
With a total of 12 missile tips, all painted brick red, he certainly looks imposing. From the front, this mode is all firepower. It does look kind of odd as a standalone, but makes a nice arm mounted weapon for a bigger toy. Not that you can plug it onto Fireflight!
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold down the sides of the roof and rotate 180° to form the arms. Fold over the front section to form the legs, fold the hose-gun out to the side. Stand him up and fold down the transparent blue chest panel covering his face.
Height: 6cm Width: 4cm
Easily the weakest mode, Firebot's robot mode has shoulderpads so big you can barely see his head. They're 1cm tall blocks on top of his shoulders, which hurts on such a small toy. They're brown with three silver spots each. The central grey panel below his head is nice, although I can't really see why it needs to fold down, it only serves to cover his face from the underside of his truck mode - and there's heaps of robot kibble under there anyway.
He has yellow red arms and feet while his thighs are black. His legs transform like 90% of Micromasters, so he has huge feet and small thighs. And the brick red panel from truck mode is on his left knee. Firebot doesn't have hands, not even moulded ones traced on the insides of his arms. It's like they took the worst aspects of Micromasters for this guy. The shoulders are swivel joints, but that's really it for poseability. The transformation joints in his knees can move, but if you try position him he's likely to topple over.
Terrible name, which keeps being reused on this mould - surely they can come up with something better. The colour scheme is okay, but it doesn't really work on a fire truck. The vehicle mode is ok, if uninspiring. The weapon mode is actually pretty cool, but doesn't really add much to this mashed set. The robot mode is a bit of a write-off, I'm afraid.
Alternate Mode: Stealth Bomber
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5cm Width: 8cm
A metallic light brown flying wing, in a colour which reminds me of brass (but isn't quite there), Thunderwing is done in a colour you're unlikely to find on a stealth jet. The leading edges of his wings, the tailfins and the soft plastic of his nosecone are all an ochre colour. The narrow canopy is unpainted, which is lazy and looks really poor - brass coloured class isn't the preferred option of most pilots. The lighter colours bring out the sculpt better than on the earlier version of this mould (most of which are similar to the black original), but the ridiculous choice of colour means that this extra clarity on the sculpt is pointless.
Thunderwing has two moulded bombs under each wing and a lot of undercarriage junk, which is mostly hidden but still manages to be an issue. Basically, he rests on his powerlinx socket with protrudes further than the robot bits around it, giving him an annoying tendency to keel over and rock backwards. This limitation is caused by his weapon mode design, and I'm not sure the weapon mode is really worth it.
There's really no play value here - Thunderwing sits there being a Stealth. While I don't really expect much play value, a more stable base wouldn't go astray.
A decent mould with the stability issue, but the colours here are hopelessly random (as is so often the case in the Universe line), which really ruins this jet mode.
By swinging the wingtips back and resting the robot arms on top, Thunderwing becomes a throwing star, with a rotating powerlinx socket underneath so you can attach him to larger toys. The right wingtip actually forms the point at the rear of this four-pointed star, while the left one tucks away for symmetry. The arms on top don't quite work visually, and I suspect would affect the flight of this star (I'm not going to throw him at a wall to test this theory). This is a novel idea but it doesn't end up being anywhere as nifty as they probably thought it would. Of course, it can't attach to anything else in this set, since none of these figure were really designed to go together.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold down the legs from underneath the plane, swing out the arms and fold down the jets to form his chest, which will also reveal his head.
Height: 6cm Width: 8cm
A metallic light brown robot with white boots and forearms, Thunderwing has a black head, ochre eyes and ochre patches on his shoulders. The white reminds me of boots and gloves, so he looks like a bad pimp in cowboy gear. The black head doesn't fit into the rest of the colour scheme here - why didn't they use the black on the canopy? This is probably the best robot mode colour scheme in this set, but that's only because the others are worse.
Thunderwing has a very disjointed torso - below the line of the engines his torso is more or less hollow, with the hardpoint forming the central torso. There's nothing on either side, except for the backplate which consists of some rather unappealing hinging and other stuff you don't want to see. The soft nose of the plane mode forms a tail of sorts. As with the bomber mode, I'm not sure that the problems caused by this rotating socket are justified by the weapon mode.
The poseability is okay. The shoulders and hips swing while the knees and elbows bend. All of these joints are needed for the transformation, so he doesn't have any jointing purely for the sake of his robot mode, unlike the more versatile Terradive. Thunderwing also lacks the heelspurs of his teammate, and with small footprints he ends up having no useful leg poseability, although you can pose the arms.
A fairly poor robot mode to begin with, now in colours seen on Telemovies set in Texas. The choice to paint his head black backfired, since the black doesn't match the rest of the robot.
None that I'm aware of, although as mentioned Fireflight is a repaint of Spy Streak, while the MiniCon moulds have both been used several times.
Three randomly done repaints, randomly thrown in together. I'm not sure why a basic Beast Machines toy was lumped in with two Minicons featuring weapon modes - Fireflight can't use these weapon modes. There's no consistent theme here, and while none of the moulds used are bad, a badly repainted basic and two badly painted MiniCons at a deluxe pricepoint is hardly appealing. Unless you can't find Spy Streak or Nightcruz, I'd skip this set (and even then I can't recommend it) - 4/10