Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Powerglide and Blackout
$7.99 just about everywhere
About the best thing I can say about the 2 previous Michael Bay Transformers movies is that they got us a few really cool toys. Sure, they were mixed in with some of the ugliest Transformers toys ever, but gimme a break I’m trying to be positive here!
It’s really hard for me to give a coherent opinion about the live action Transformers movies(I LOVE the old animated one for some reason). On the one hand they’re full of all kinds of stupid things that I won’t waste your time repeating here. On the other hand you get to see giant robots beating the crap out of each other. My mind goes back and forth between the good and the bad so fast you’d think my mental imagery was directed by Michael Bay himself!
The two toys that I’m looking at today represent the best of both ends of the Transformers movie toys. One of them (Blackout) is decidedly a Bay-former with the insect-like features and claw feet while the other (Powerglide) is a strong update of a G1 favorite. They’re both from the inexspensive, smaller scale “Cyberverse” line and they’re both aircraft, but are either one of them any good?
These are the first figures I’ve bought from the new Dark of the Moon toy line and so they’re my first experience with the new style of blister card. All of the “Cyberverse Commanders” come in the same size rounded front bubble packages that tend to make the pegs look fuller than they really are. Both characters (and all of the figures offered thus far) come packaged in robot mode with a nice shot of the vehicle form to the bottom left of the card for your convenience.
The packaging has a short bio for each figure along with the classic “Tech Specs”. There’s a little blurb on each one detailing their special features, usually a reference to whatever weapon they come with. The bottom of each package shows one other figure available in the wave, this is better than nothing but I still wish the toy companies would give you a handy reference of what figures come in each wave on the packaging somewhere.
A nice feature of these cards is the plastic tray that the figure sits in. The tray slides out easily once you tear the bit that is glued to the card along the top of the bubble and it made this the easiest packaging to get the toy out of in ages. That is, after all, what the package should be: a way to safely get the toy into the hands of the consumer. Not some horrible motor skills and coordination test to ensure you’re qualified to play with the plastic robot!
Both toys do an excellent job of capturing the overall look of their corner of the Transformers universe in small, convenient packages. Blackout is one of the best small scale transformers in the movie style that I have ever seen, while Powerglide ranks right up there with the best classic designs.
The alt modes of each character are based on real life aircraft. Powerglide is an A-10 warthog in a deep crimson red. The A-10 has been on of my favorite planes since I was little kid and bashed my head in on a fireplace playing with my cousin’s Cobra Rattler and it looks super cool. Blackout, on the other hand, is based on an MH-53M Pave Low IV (thank you wikipedia!) which is a big and badass looking machine. That opening scene of the first Transformers movie, free from the goofiness of the rest of the film, showcases Blackout in all his destructive glory and this vehicle mode is just about a dead on recreation of that chopper.
Powerglide’s robot mode has a distinctly humanoid look with even proportions all around. He has defined, humanoid hands and feet as well as a classic looking head that all add up to remind me of the G1 Powerglide while making small improvements to bring him up to snuff with modern toys. The orientation of the main wings is really nice and allows him to get into all kinds of positions without them getting in the way. On the negative side his feet do have a bit of kibble (leftover vehicle parts) sticking out of the back and his feet look a little spindly. The extra parts do give him quite a lot of stability, though, which is really nice.
Blackout has a decidedly non-traditional look to him that’s actually ridiculously close to his movie model considering the small size of this toy. His feet are very mean looking, almost reptilian, and they give him an aggressive feel that’s not there with any of the classic transformers. His chest and arms suffer a little bit from having to be made from a helicopter. The nose cone and radar bumps almost give him pecs or boobs while his arms end up looking very cramped within the space allowed for them. The swept back rotors look extremely awesome, almost like a cape, and the toy captures this look directly from the movie model.
There’s a few really good paint applications on each figure, both are rocking nice silver highlights that make their core colors pop.
It’s kind of a crapshoot how much posability you’re going to get on a transformer these days. In general things are very good, whatever magician is conjuring these things knows how much us robot nerds love to act out soap operas and what have you, but every once in a while you get a lump of dung. Thankfully these two figures have a solid amount of joints.
Powerglide has a fixed head, ball jointed shoulders, hips and knees as well as hinge elbows.. He’s also got a lot of range in the other joints used for his transformation that can give you a little more control over the way you pose him. He’s not going to win any awards for most athletic robot but everything you need to have fun with him is there. The wings are probably the most interesting “extra” joint afforded by the transformation, you can swing them forward and pretend he has some kind of sword weapons going on.
Blackout has the same joints as Powerglide except his knees only hinge. His shoulders are a bit soured by the big shoulder pads left on him by the body of the helicopter, the shoulders joint is put at a weird angle that makes posing his arms a bit frustrating and if you don’t get them posed just right his arms are going to look strange. On the plus side his big claw feet are solidly jointed and let you pose him in a flat stance or up on his tippy toes to add extra height. Another neat extra is the ability to swing his tail rotor back out to the end of his hand, you can use it as a weapon!
Believe it or not, these 2 small transformers actually each come with accessories! This is new to this scale of TF’s and something that’s long overdue. If you look at the available figures in the Cyberverse Commanders line you’ll see that each one comes with an accessory of some kind, whether it’s Sentinel Prime’s sword and shield or Megatron’s twin guns it’s an awesome move on Hasbro’s part and it shows a dedication to this scale as more than just a secondary product.
Powerglide comes with 2 missile pods that attach securely to him in vehicle mode but then fold up to become a pair of unconvincing handguns for him to wield in robot mode. They’re molded in a nice pearly silver that complements his other colors well and they look really nice in vehicle mode. I think this is an example of something that just isn’t going to work as a transformable and while they don’t look amazing as weapons it’s frankly nice to have any guns at all.
Blackout, on the other hand, comes with a grrrreat little accessory, his pal from the first movie Scorponok! Scorponok has been released a couple of times before as his own toy but this is the first time that I feel like they really “got” him right. You see, as cool as Scorponok was on his own, he’s really just supposed to be a helper in the movieverse. This Scorponok is pretty basic but he works nicely in this scale, although I doubt I’ll be using him as a gun the way the instructions show him. He’s made out of a solid plastic core with a flexible rubber set of legs and a tail. He’s sculpted with a lot of detail for an accessory and he can even plug onto the back of Blackout’s vehicle mode to act out his entrance scene in the movie.
The value comes out a little weird on these guys thanks to a re-arranging of the price points and general screwing with things by Hasbro and the big retailers carrying this toy line. The good news is that for the most part prices have gone DOWN in this big shift. Deluxes are down to around $10 which is the thing that’s actually making it hard to judge these Cyberverse Commanders at $8 a piece.
In a vacuum I feel good about the cost of these fellas. They both have interesting Transformations, look really cool in both modes and come with decent weapons. They’re lots of fun across the board. Compare them to the movie deluxes, though, and they seem a little bit lacking. They’re considerably smaller and, if previous deluxes are any indication, have simpler transformations yet they are only $2 less than their bigger brothers.
The good news, I guess, is that so far there are no overlaps between the Deluxe figures and the Cyberverse Commanders. You just have to decide which character(s) you’re interested in and pick those up. If these figures had been Deluxes I’d have certainly picked them up for the slight price jump but I don’t think I got a bad deal as they are.
Whether you loved the first 2 movies or (more likely) hated them with a depth that rivals the endless abyss of Michael Bay’s soul there is no escaping the Transformers: Dark of the Moon media blitz. We’re going to be bombarded by these toys for the next year and a half so it makes sense to look for the silver lining and thankfully there’s a lot to like in the overwhelming influx of Transformers products.
Powerglide is a homerun for me. He captures the spirit of the classic toy, looks cool and has an interesting but not too complicated transformation. I think anyone who’s into robots and jets would have a good time fiddling around with this figure and I definitely recommend checking him out the next time you’re in the toy section (we both know that’ll be soon!).
Blackout ranks just a little bit lower than Powerglide, the weird shoulders and the unconvincing hands take away from what is really a great Transformer over all. His appeal hinges entirely on your feelings towards the movie style and whether or not there’s room in your collection for more than just classic figures. Blackout has a really cool transformation that’s a lot of fun and I think he’s worth a look.