"Generations" Air Raid Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: November 2012
Price Point: $14.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword (large), Sword (small), Blaster

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
This AIR RAID figure is just the AUTOBOT to create maximum trouble for his DECEPTICON enemies (other figures sold separately). In Cybertronian mobile artillery mode, your AIR RAID figure has the firepower he needs to defeat his enemies. But in robot mode, his swords will make him nearly invincible in battle – and they combine into a triple blade! Whether he’s in robot mode or vehicle mode, his enemies will think twice before taking him on!

2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios was due to release "Fall of Cybertron" in August of 2012 so a large portion of the "Generations" toy line became dedicated to characters and designs from the game itself.

One of the early releases from the "Fall of Cybertron" game was Shockwave. For a late 2012 wave of these figures, Shockwave was given a significant retool and redeco and made into "Air Raid". I use quotes with that because the figure was originally solicited as the Aerialbot "Fireflight" but due to trademark reasons the name of another Aerialbot, Air Raid was used instead. For the purposes of this review, my comparisons will focus on how this figure represents Fireflight since that's who it was meant to be to begin with. I do recommend checking out my Shockwave review as this review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Robot Mode:
For this sculpt's "new identity", Air Raid has a new head, chest and weaponry. Here's a rundown:

Keep in mind this figure was originally intended to be a homage to the Aerialbot Fireflight, not Air Raid - so this head sculpt is based on the "Generation One" Fireflight action figure (not the animation model, which looked quite different than the toy). The head is a stylized version of the G1 toy's head. This includes angled designs on the top of the "helmet" section and a distinct "T" shaped mouthplate that angles upward towards the outside of the face. His central crest has an indentation in the center similar to the G1 toy. It's a fantastic update of a classic head design.

Instead of the very distinct "Shockwave chest" design, Air Raid's chest panel is made up of three, distinct sections with a raised section in the center. The section in the middle has two panels that come out at the sides, overlapping with the side panels. There are faint echoes of G1 Fireflight's chest design here as his chest also had to distinct panels on the sides with another in the center. What is really nice is how well this panel works wit the stylized details on the rest of the figure. It doesn't look shoehorned in at all.

For this release of the sculpt, the three barreled weapon originally included with Shockwave has been changed. The "cover" piece has been removed from the set and the main weapon itself modified to only have two barrels instead of three. Also included is a large sword with a 5mm peg at the end. However, this piece doesn't have a vertical handle, so Air Raid winds up holding it like a "sword gun".

Another new piece is a small sword, partly based in design on the sword used by Megatron in the "Fall of Cybertron" video game. This sword has a handle that allows Air Raid to hold it vertically. It has a 5mm port on one side, allowing you to attach it to the larger sword if you split the sides of the blades into a "V" shape. This allows you to have him hold the larger blade in a vertical position.

For some more fun, you can combine all the weapons into one "super" weapon. Combine the two swords, then use the blaster to "sandwich" the smaller blade in the middle. The blaster connects by attaching to the bottom of the large sword section. The result is a really impressive looking weapon that looks like it could do some serious damage to any Decepticon at the wrong end of it! Even better? On the larger sword section there is an additional 5mm port that will allow you to attach even more weaponry!

All these changes to the figure are really well done. Even better I have to give the designers kudos for adding in two additional accessories to the figure (albeit with one removed). Having the accessories utilize the 5mm peg/port combination makes it extra fun.

Further distinguishing Air Raid from Shockwave are the colors on the figure. You might expect he'd be red and white, two of the key colors on the original Fireflight figure, however this figure is cast in dark grey, red and translucent red. The grey and the red make up most of the limbs while translucent red is used on the chest panel and the head for light piping into the eyes. A copious amount of silver and gold paint are used for detailing. Silver is used on the head and mid-body to waist area. Gold is found on the sides of the legs and on the edges of the chest. It's also used on the edge of the wings on his back. Overall the colors work very well togethre, it's a very classic color combination and I was honestly surprised how much silver and gold were used. I will say however that the colors aren't exactly what you'd expect from an Air Raid or Fireflight homage, but in this case it totally works.

All the joints on the figure are nice and tight. You can attach the large sword and blaster combined to his back for weapons storage but the smaller sword will have to remain in his hands. Like Shockwave, the blaster weapon can be attached to his forearm if his fist is swung inward.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

Detach the weapon(s) if attached.
The small sword swings out to become "stabilizers" that attach to the top of the vheicle mode.
The large sword and blaster connect to fit in between the robot legs.
Swing the fists in on each forearm.
Swing the shoulders down.
Push the robot head down.
Rotate the chest back.
Swing each of the shoulders up and attach them to the area where the chest/head piece was just sitting.
Rotate the arms around on the shoulder hinge and then connect the two forearm pieces together.
Move the forearm pieces (now thrusters) up so the tabs at the end connect to the corresponding holes on the piece formed by the back and chest sections.
Move the robot legs so they are over the weapon and connect them together in the front.
Rotate the panels on the sides of the legs around so the angled points face downward.
Swing the wings forward.

Mobile Artillery Mode:
Like Shockwave, Air Raid is a mobile artillery unit in vehicle form. It's a tiny bit of a stretch given that I think most people would equate Air Raid (or Fireflight) more with a jet fighter or spaceship of some sort. Still, this "mobile artillery unit" does have many "wing like" designs, just enough that you can buy it as the vehicle mode of a guy who later becomes a jet fighter.

Air Raid has three key parts that differ in design from Shockwave's vehicle mode. The first is the small sword forming a "V" shaped section on the top of the vehicle. next is the robot chest piece, which is now on the top section of the vehicle (though the Autobot symbol winds up in an upside down position). The front section looks mostly the same, but the large sword piece forms a chunk of the center section instead. The net result of these new pieces forming chunks of the vehicle mode is a distinctive appearance for Air Raid in both vehicle and robot modes, something you don't always get with redecos and/or retools.

All the same colors from the robot mode show here, without any one color dominating the other. What you do get to see are a lot more parts that are painted gold from the wings on the sides to the angled panels on the flanks and the front section. The color scheme is different than Shockwave's, with more deco overall. I think it looks great. The gold and red combination is particularly striking in this form.

Unlike Shockwave, Air Raid has two distinct connection points for weapons in this mode. One is the peg you attach the smaller sword to. You can take the sword off and attach another weapon there. Then there's the 5mm port at the front of the vehicle which allows you to attach a different weapon.

Final Thoughts:
Air Raid is a fantastic redeco and retool of the Shockwave sculpt. It may not be an "ideal Air Raid" or Fireflight for that matter, but it is an extensive retool that adds play value with a visually exciting deco. Recommended!

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