"Generations" Combiner Wars Air Raid Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: December 2014
Price Point: $15.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Blaster

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
If you need one warrior to fly into a hotbed of enemy activity, Air Raid is the bot to call. He's at his best when he's a one-bot wrecking crew. There's something about improbable odds that pushes his circuits to function at beyond-peak performance. Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action. This Air Raid figure fires his double-barreled blaster in robot mode, and he converts fast to jet mode whenever his high-diving combat tactics are needed. But he can also become an arm or a leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Superion warrior. (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Air Raid figure is in, he’s going to bring maximum carnage to the fight. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

Air Raid is the "missing Aerialbot" in wave one. Due to production issues, the Stunticon Dragstrip was shoehorned into the first wave which caused fans to go nuts for a while as they waited for a fifth Aerialbot to add to their collections (and form a proper Superion). Wave two of the Deluxe figures included Air Raid (now he is the odd figure out in a wave mostly made up of Stunticons). Air Raid is an extensive redeco and retool of Combiner Wars Skydive, so check out that review too. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release as well as the design elements that make it distinct as Air Raid.

The packaging for wave two of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.

For this wave however a lot has changed. The card now features a repeating pattern featuring "Combiner Wars" characters on it. The back of the card has a brief bio of Air Raid with less legal information all over the place. Laid on top of the card is a comic book with Air Raid's package art. Since the comic adds some extra weight and thickness, the bubble put on top of the card actually wraps around the edges and is taped onto the back to hold it in place. A sticker wraps around the edge of the bubble mentioning combining into Superion. The figure is in a tray inside the bubble in robot mode. There is no more trading card included with the figure.

One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of Air Raid written from the perspective of the Autobot psychiatrist Rung! It really helps give more color to the character's personality and sticks with many G1 elements which is very much appreciated by this old fan. Overall the packaging for wave two of the Combiner Wars Deluxe figures is much more robust than the first wave.

The "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures include a weapon and a piece that serves three purposes: a weapon, a fist and a foot. This piece is rectangular in the middle and angles down to the front. Unlike the hand/foot pieces included with other figures in this assortment, Skydive's accessory has missiles in the front instead of weapon barrels. The back has what is clearly a thumb which doubles as a heel piece. The top has a 5mm peg that allows you to attach it to a figure as a weapon and of course allows it to attach to Skydive when he is in "limb" mode. Flip the piece over and you'll see a piece with four fingers sculpted into it. Swing it out, then swing in the thumb and you form a hand. The thumb swings up and down so this piece can serve as a left or right hand. This piece is sculpted in all black plastic. The piece is a tad smaller than one might expect, but it works well in all its functions. This is the same piece (and color) as the one included with Skydive.

Air Raid includes a dual barreled blaster which is cast in white plastic. This is the same sculpt used for the weapon included with Skydive.

Robot Mode:
Normally a retool focuses on one or two pieces of a figure (example: a new head or a new weapon). However, in Air Raid's case the work is so extensive at first glance you would think this was an all new figure! In fact, in robot mode the only parts carried over from Skydive are the legs, the waist piece, the "connector" piece that forms the center of the torso and the segment that sits between the shoulder and elbow.

The most obvious new pieces are the head, a chunk of the torso and the shoulders. The head has a curved section on top sandwiched between two vertical plates. A brim piece sticks out a bit over the brow and he has a humanoid looking face with two eyes, a nose and a mouth. Coming out a bit on either side of his face are extra panels with line details on them. This design is very much a stylized version of G1 Air Raid's head, with the most distinct parts being the "helmet" section with the panels on the sides and the brim above the forehead.

The torso is another G1 Air Raid homage. While he shares the same center section as Skydive, the parts around it are unique to Air Raid. The designs include a five sided opening on either side of the chest. This is a callback to similar rectangular sections on G1 Air Raid's chest. Even better? Look inside these sections of his chest and you'll see additional sculpted detail that is based off the stickers used on the G1 Air Raid action figure.

Another less obvious design change is the forearm piece. It has many more line details and raised sections on it than Skydive's. Most importantly, it features a sculpted panel on the outside of the arm, which is a call back to the flat panel that sat on the outside of G1 Air Raid's arms. The shoulders are a new, distinct design. Instead of the blocky shoulders of the G1 design, these have angled panels that sweep upward giving him a dramatic outline.

In another design homage to G1 Air Raid, the jet parts sitting on his back have the wings angling out and downward with the nosecone of the jet coming up behind his head. This was an iconic design element with the Aerialbot limbs in both the G1 cartoon and toy line so it is cool to see it carried over here without affecting the functionality of the figure.

Overall, this is a very impressive retool and really shows that with extensive retooling a figure can be very different from its "source" figure.

Air Raid is cast primarily in black and white plastic. White makes up most of the robot mode, with black forming many of the jet parts that sit on the back half of the figure. Red paint is used extensively on the torso, reflecting his G1 colors. It is also used on the top of his knee armor and the middle of the lower legs. You'll also see a tiny red Autobot symbol on his right shoulder. I'm guessing the designers chose not to put the symbol on the center of the chest partly out of concerns that the piece would have to be moved often and thus the symbol could wear over time. A metallic orange color (that looks like a light copper) is found on several sections including the sides of the forearms, the sides of the shoulders and the open areas of his chest panels. Finally, the head has three distinct colors on it. The round part on top is metallic blue, the face is silver and his eyes are light blue. Overall the colors on Air Raid look bright and they definitely pop. In a way, it works out nicely that the parts on his back are black plastic as it provides a nice contrast for the brighter parts in the front.

Air Raid has thirteen points of articulation. This doesn't sound like a heck of a lot, but given that his hip and shoulder joints are ball joints, the range of motion is great. His head also sits on a ball joint so he can turn is head all the way around and even look up slightly. His joints are tight enough that I was able to pose him on a table in a one legged "kicking" pose and the elbow joints are pseudo-ratchet joints with ridges in the joint that help keep them stable and able to support heavier weapons (like say, Powerglide). Unlike Skydive, Air Raid has 5mm holes sculpted into the forearms, allowing you to attach his weapons there and freeing up his hands to...well, hold more weapons!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
  3. Pull the jet cockpit piece a bit and swing it back.
  4. Rotate the robot head around.
  5. Swing the jet cockpit forward and down over the robot head.
  6. Swing the robot arms down.
  7. On each leg, swing out the back panel, then swing both panels forward and connect them together, then swing the rear leg panels down.
  8. Push the robot arms against the sides, using the notches on the forearms to connect to the tabs on the sides of the robot legs.
  9. Swing the wings down.
  10. Swing the horizontal stabilizers down.
  11. The weapons can be attached to the ports on under the wing or on top of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Whereas G1 Air Raid transformed into an F-15 Eagle fighter jet, this new incarnation of the character transforms into a jet inspired by the F-14 Tomcat. The biggest feature that gives his away are the wings, which can sweep forward and back. Of course, due to licensing issues there are some design changes. For one, the rear vertical stabilizers are close together and angled outward instead of sweeping straight up. On either side of the cockpit are rectangular sections serving as "vents" that come from the F-15 design. He also has non-launching missiles sandwiched between the base of the wings and the robot arms instead of being mounted on the wings. Overall however he has enough shades of the F-15 design to make him recognizable as Air Raid.

This sculpt has a lot of nice little details on it. There are the aforementioned missiles under the base of the wing. He also has panel lines across the back of each wing, and some nice details resembling cables on the bottom of each wing. I really appreciate details like this since they're not obvious in either mode really but they add a lot to the overal texture of the figure.

This mode shows off most of the black plastic. The nosecone is cast in soft PVC plastic for safety reasons. Silver is used for the cockpit window, a color callback to Generation One Air Raid. He also has a trio of colors making up lines on the edges of his wings and vertical stabilizers. The colors start with silver, then go to red and finally orange. These are also a homage to G1 Air Raid's wing designs. Each wing has an Autobot symbol in red and silver sitting on top of the stripes towards the middle. This isn't the most complex deco in the world, but really it doesn't need to be. It serves as a modern day homage to G1 Air Raid very well and I love how the silver, red and orange colors pop against the black plastic.

As mentioned earlier you can swing the wings out or back. Indeed, you can actually swing them all the way forward, though that just looks odd. Each wing has a 5mm port in it allowing you to attach weapons. He has another 5mm port on the top of the vehicle. You should have no issues with weapon storage in this form. Thanks to the designs of the forearms, you can attach additional weaponry to them, making Air Raid one loaded up jet! I love this play factor. It's simple, but it works beautifully.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Transform the fist piece into the hand. Flip out the four fingers that are sculpted together, then swing the thumb up to the side you want to form.
  3. Swing the horizontal stabilizer fins up.
  4. Swing each robot arm out to the side.
  5. Open up the halves of the robot legs and swing them down, then reconnect them together.
  6. Swing the cockpit section up and back.
  7. Swing each wing up, the swing them in so they flank the cockpit section.
  8. Swing the shoulder sections up, then fold the forearms up, bending the arm at the elbow. There are notches on the forearms that align with the tabs on the missiles from the vehicle mode.
  9. Swing the robot head down to reveal the limb connection piece.
  10. Attach the hand to the bottom of the feet.

Arm Mode:
One of the things I've liked about the "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures is how thick and robust the arm modes look. The shoulder section contains a large portion of the figures' bulk, so Superion winds up with rather big, beefy shoulders. Even better, the cockpit section of the vehicle and wings wind up on that area, which is a callback to G1 Superion's design where the jet cockpits wound up on his upper arms. The mode also feels solid and not fragile at all. I also dig the way the wings fold up in this mode. Sure it looks like a pile of jet parts, but it's an organized pile of jet parts!

Part of the beauty of the figure design are how many ports you have to attach weapons. There is one built into the Superion fist, but thanks to the way Air Raid is designed there are four more 5mm ports you can use: two from the robot forearms and two from the wings. If you don't want weapons to get in the way of each other, just swing the wings out a bit. It's pretty crazy how much you can load up this figure with weaponry.

There are four points of articulation in the arm. The elbow section can bend in two places and swing outward. The fist can be rotated at the wrist as well (though I confess it's a bit of a cheat). Regardless this is a lot of articulation for a Combiner limb which traditionally had almost no articulation. I love that the waist/leg joints of Air Raid's robot mode are used as articulation points for Superion.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Take the fist/foot piece and push in the fingers (if they're out) and swing the thumb back to form the heel.
  3. Swing the jet cockpit piece back.
  4. Swing the head back and point the connector piece up.
  5. Swing each rear half of the legs back, then swing the legs up on the knee hinge and reconnect the pieces together (as if you were forming the vehicle mode).
  6. Swing the shoulders down.
  7. Swing each robot arm down to the sides, connecting the notches on the forearms to the tabs on the sides of the legs.
  8. With the cockpit sections facing front, attach the foot piece so the rocket launcher details are facing the same way.

Leg Mode:
Traditionally Superion's legs were formed with the jet pieces on the limbs on the back of each leg. However, due to the knee articulation, the jet parts now have to be in the front. Of course, G1 Superion didn't have to worry about knee articulation but the look of having the jet parts in front does seem a bit odd to this long time fan. That said, there really is nothing preventing you from attaching Air Raid with the jet parts in the back or front. Just realize the knee articulation will be compromised if the jet parts are in the back.

From an aesthetic point of view I actually prefer the robot mode parts facing front because the colors are so nice and bright and there's a lot of cool sculpted detail there. The problem is, you'd need to swing the jet nosecone back because Silverbolt's fist gets in the way of that section.

Final Thoughts:
Air Raid is a prime example of what a redeco/retool should be. He has extensive changes and stays true to the original character. I also love the addition of 5mm holes on the forearms so you can attach extra accessories. Highly recommended!

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