Release Date: October 2012
Price Point: $22.99-26.99
Retailer: Toys R Us Exclusive
Accessories: Gatling guns x 2
With an ever expanding market in Asia, Hasbro China announced last year the release of several Transformers redec os for the "Generations" line that (at the time) were intended for a purely Asian release. However, fans got one whiff of this and they wanted these toys on the spot! Many of these redecos were rather inspired, while others were head scratchers. Either way, Hasbro US saw fit to find a channel to bring these toys to the US, in new packaging to boot! In an ironic move, while the Chinese versions of these characters were released on purely English packaging, the US releases have Chinese characters on them, representing their "exclusive" origin. You may sometimes hear these figures referred to as "GDO" Transformers. For those curious, this is not a Transformers term, it is an economic one, standing for "Global Development Organization".
While the Scout Class figures in the line such as Dead End and Laserbeak are focused on using Generation One as its "source" material, the Voyager Class figures dive into different territory. One example is Powerdive, whose deco is based on a Generation 2 character of the same name. The figure itself is a redeco/retool of the figure originally released during the "Revenge of the Fallen" era as Highbrow. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out Highbrow's review for a more detailed look at the sculpt.
One of the aspects of a redeco I look for is the "initial impression". Photos are fine, but when you see a figure in person does it instantly strike you as "That figure in another color" or does it come across as an all new character and figure? In the case of Powerdive, I am happy to say he comes off as the latter. Packaged in robot mode, you get a really good look at the spread of colors on this figure and the color palette is different enough from Highbrow's that he instantly evokes a different feeling. What's interesting is that both toys have a base color of green, but Powerdive's green plastic is rather dark and not as "retro" looking as Highbrow's. This dark color is offset in part by light grey plastic found on his chest, shoulder joints, waist and thighs. The colors that really separate Powerdive from Highbrow are purple and red plastic parts found distributed throughout the figure. The purple is used for his wheels (all visible here) and weapons (including his non-firing missiles and gatling guns). The red plastic is used for the rotors on his arms. Adding a slight bit more of color variety or beige joints and parts on his arms and legs. The overall effect of all these colors is a dramatically different looking figure than its predecessor, which is what you want from any redeco.
The key joy to these colors are their association with Generation 2 Powerdive. That figure had almost all the colors noted above, with a focus on the red, purple, green and black colors. In particular I'm very happy with the way the rotors match up in color to the rotors that were such a critical part of Generation 2 Powerdive's weapon firing gimmick.
There aren't a lot of paint decos on this figure, but given how many different plastic olors are used, it's hardly necessary. Gunmetal grey is found on his mid-body area, painting the esries of mechanical details under his chest. The face on the hed is painted silver and the top of his hips are painted gold. A bit more silver is found on the top of his shoulder armor. These details are just enough to make the figure look detailed without going over the top with paint detailing. If there was more gold or silver, it might almost be too distracting given how many different plastic colors there are.
The biggest change in this release is the head, which is a different sculpt than Highbrow's. Still oval shaped, the face has two eyes, a nose and a mouthplate that angles down and forward from the nose. Like Highbrow, he has a "helmet" piece that slides down over his eyes. This piece is cast in translucent red plastic but has green paint on it to match up with the green plastic on the figure. It's a couple shades lighter, but it does the trick. The really cool part about this helmet/visor piece is that it covers his eyes with "visor" eyes, effectively replicating the style of head Generation 2 Powerdive had. It's a great little touch that helps define the figure as a separate character and a homage.
Powerdive's joints are all still nice and tight, no surprise given that this sculpt hasn't been used since its release as Highbrow. The weapons still attach to either his hip armor or fists without a problem and the mechanism that allows you to press the engine pieces on each forearm still spins the rotor blades nicely. Overall I'm very happy with this robot mode.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons if attached.
- Raise the shoulders up so each shoulder armor piece forms a half of the front of the vehicle, push the shoulder armor pieces together.
- Turn the forearms so the rotors are pointed forward, then push the fist on each in.
- Rotate out the blades on the rotors so there are four shown on each side.
- Separate the lower body at the waist, swinging each half out.
- Swing the cockpit piece back and swing each half of the sides together in the middle.
- Push the finished cockpit piece down to lock it into place.
- On each leg, swing the armor on the back of the legs forward and snap them into place on the tabs that are part of the robot arms.
- Swing out and rotate the wings on the sides towards the front.
- Swing each robot foot up, then begin unfolding the heel pieces and connect them together in the middle.
- Swing one 'toe' piece on each foot up and the other to the side to form the vertical and horizontal stabilizer fins.
- Attach the gatling guns to the holes on the top of each wing.
In many respects, this vehicle mode feels like it owuld have been a more appropriate update of G2 Powerdive's fellow "Rotor Force" Decepticon partner Ransack, who transformed into an old styled plane with a rotor in the front. Still, the vehicle mode is very striking looking and I could see a Decepticon trading up a helicopter form for one with a thinner profile and maybe even more speed (that's just conjecture really).
In terms of color, the green plastic color dominates this form. The purple plastic plays a minor role, which winds up being the inverse of how the plastic proportions are on the G2 version of the character. With the rotors deployed, the red plastic in front really makes a visual splash as well. The cockpit is cast in translucent red, taking more color inspiration from G2 Powerdive.
There are a few distinctive decos in this form. The engines behind each rotor and the point of the nacelle in front are painted silver. Silver is also used for Decepticon symbols towards the front and on the rear horizontal fins. On the sections that connect the main nacelle to the engines on the sides are the letters "DC" in white with red arrows next to them. This is a deco borrowed directly from G2 Powerdive. The most striking, and unique deco on this figure is found on the section around the cockpit. There, light blue, light grey, black and white paint is used to paint a big "shark" like pattern complete with an eye and rows of teeth. This looks great and adds a retro touch to the figure. It also helps make it quite unique looking!
Not all Transformers fans agree, but I loved the Generation 2 era. It ushered in a lot of the gimmicks and toy design elements we take for granted today. Powerdive was a big part of that age and I am very happy to see him get an awesome (upgraded) form as a Voyager Class figure. Highly recommended if you're into the G2 era!