Release Date: September 2014
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword, Sheath
*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Hasbrotoyshop:
When given the opportunity to join the Autobot cause, Windblade jumped at the chance. The Autobots were more than happy to welcome her to their ranks. Her near-telepathic link to the Titan Metroplex is a remarkable power that holds untold potential. Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! This Windblade figure is the first fan-built bot ever, and she's some kind of fierce in robot mode with her mighty Stormfall Sword. When she needs to take the battle to the skies, she can convert to VTOL jet mode! Whatever mode your Windblade figure is in, her enemies will think twice before taking her on! Includes figure, comic book and accessory. Features: -2-in-1 Windblade figure is the first fan-built bot. -Robot or VTOL jet mode. -Figure comes with Stormfall Sword. -Comic book included. Series 2 #019 Windblade Ages 5 and up. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
Windblade is a unique "Transformers" figure. The character was the first "fan built bot", meaning fans voted online to decide several features of her character. From April 18th to May 5th 2013 her faction, alternate mode, signature weapon, color scheme and personality were chosen. From May 10th to May 17th fans voted on her name, gender, city of origin and specialty. At San Diego Comic-Con 2013 the first official drawing of Windblade was revealed. Concept art showed some more Roman and European armor stylings, but the Japanese motif on the final figure was ultimately decided in-house by Hasbro (I speculate this was a homage to the country of origin for the "Transformers" line as a whole). In 2014, Windblade became the subject of her own comic book mini-series and quickly became a fan favorite character.
Windblade is packaged in the same fashion as most of the "Generations" 2013 and 2014 figures. She is carded with a comic book featuring her prominently on the cover. However, much to my surprise the issue included is not one of the issues of the "Windblade" mini-series but rather an issue of the "Dark Cybertron" series which barely features the character, go figure. The packaging also indicates that Windblade is #30 of the "Thrilling 30" campaign.
Windblade's design is very clearly meant to be a female Autobot. Her body is very slender with several curved sections such as the legs and upper arms. Her chest protrudes out slightly (but not to a ridiculous degree) and her waist is rather thin. Her feet have heels and angled feet, but they're wide enough to support the figure. In many respects, her design echoes that of "Transformers Prime" Arcee. Mounted on her back are the wings from the vehicle mode, echoing the design of the Seekers such as Sunstorm. Truth be told, the body design is a very standard "female Transformer" body design (with wings). What makes the body design very unique is the head sculpt. Based on the warrior class from Japan known as "Onna Bugeisha", this head has a distinct design with what appears to be hair tied up into a "bun" which flares out to the top and sides of the face. The face itself is curved in an oval shape with distinctive lines etched into the cheek and chin area. The back of the head has a fan attached to it with small line details etched into it. It's a really cool head design that's very distinctive and I appreciate the homage to female warriors from Japan's past.
True to the fan poll, Windblade's primary plastic colors are red and black (note: this is actually the color scheme I voted for so I'm happy it won). Most of her torso, legs and forearms are cast in red. Other smaller parts such as her shoulder armor and head are cast in black. The wings on her back are also black plastic. The fan attached to the back of her head is clear plastic. There are quite a few paint applications on this figure, something nice to see in an age of shrinking paint applications. The colors used include metallic blue, red, black and silver. Black is the most heavily used color. You'll find it on the center of the torso area and on sections of her legs. The metallic blue paints smaller details such as her wrists as well as lines on her head and around the collar area. The face is painted silver and has an intricate combination of blue, gold and red details inspired by those found on Kabuki masks. The fan is painted gold and a bit of red is used for a small Autobot symbol at the middle of her collar area. It's a fantastic deco. I love the design of the head deco in particular and the accents on her arms and torso are simple yet effective.
Since Windblade's weapon was actually a subject of the fan voting, it's no surprise that a lot of effort went into this accessory. Instead of being a throwaway blaster or blade, the weapon is a really nice piece of work. The sword comes with a sheath. The blade is curved and translucent plastic with some purple on it that gives it the appearance of glowing energy inside the blade. ending in a black handle. The hilt of the blade has a VTOL fan blade design in it that echoes Windblade's own vehicle mode. The sheath has a 5mm peg at the end for it to connect to the vehicle mode. It also has a curved section towards the top that allows it to slip snugly into either of Windblade's hands. Don't want Windblade to carry the sheath? Use the angled tab on the side of the sheath to attach it into the rectangular groove on either side of Windblade's hips. You can also attach it using the same tabs to a groove on the side of the nosecone on her back. Give the sword a slight pull and it slides right out of the sheath. It fits nicely into either hand and looks brilliant.
Windblade has fourteen points of articulation in this form. This doesn't sound like a lot, but consider her shoulder and hip joints are ball joints and her range of motion is actually pretty wide. I'm also happy to see that her wings can be swept back, allowing her arms more room to move. Be warned however, her heel pieces have a tendency to swing in a bit so you'll need to adjust them as you stand her up for display. If I were to log any type of reservation about this mode, it's the heels. They should definitely be tighter to offer more stability. The fan attached to the head can detach and be held in her hand as a weapon (and I'm sure it's no coincidence that the fan choice figure has a fan as a weapon). Also note: while her hands are sculpted to hold the rectangular tabs of the sword handle and fan weapon, they are 5mm ports as well so she can hold standard 5mm peg weapons.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Remove the weapons, sheath the sword and set it aside for now.
- Swivel each of the heel pieces on the feet inward and swing the heels up.
- Push the two tail fin pieces together (in between the lower legs).
- Pull the shoulder sections out to the sides.
- Pull the back panel out.
- Swing the robot head back, then swing the back panel back up.
- Swing the nosecone from the back up and over.
- Swing the front panel of each lower leg forward.
- Push each arm/shoulder section down, then tab the small curved piece on the top of each wing under the sides of the sections near the base of the nosecone.
- Push each wing against the sides.
- On each wing, swing the small panel with the tabs on them into the notches on the black portion of the lower robot legs.
- Swing each robot arm to the sides and connect the robot hands to the tabs on the underside of each wing.
- Attach the sword/sheath to the 5mm port in the middle of the jet's underside.
Windblade's vehicle mode is a VTOL jet. While she has the sleek lines of a jet fighter, there are no real outward signs of any type of weaponry. There are no missiles hanging off her wings or machine gun ports by the cockpit. The only possible exception are some small tube shaped details pointing forward on either side of the nosecone section. This is not surprising as it fits with the character's more peaceful origins in the comic book. The front end looks like a pretty standard jet with a sharp nosecone and a cockpit on top. The middle section is more unusual. The middle area has, what are very obviously the robot legs on it. I kind of wish the foot pieces would swing down but I guess if you use your imagination you can imagine them as being some type of stabilizer. The wings each end with a small, triangular vertical piece at the ends. In the middle are VTOL fans which looks really cool. The back has a central vertical stabilizer fin with two horizontal ones set at angles. There are two thrusters in the back as well. Smaller details include rivet circles along the wings and nice line details etched into the armor of the jet.
The jet mode shows off much more black plastic than the robot mode. The only real red parts that are obvious are the panels from the robot legs on the rear section. The cockpit window is cast in translucent yellow. Black paint is used on details like the lines that run across the cockpit window. A really beautiful pearl white is used on the fans on each wing. With all the black coloring, I'm really had the nosecone and VTOL fans are a nice white color as it offers some contrast and makes the vehicle more visually interesting.
Functionally, you can swing the landing gear from under the cockpit down to match the ones on the rear section (which are permanently set in the "down" position). Also, you can move the fans on the wings as each one is on a hinge. You can point them forward or at angles. It's a neat little extra function that adds to the fun of the vehicle. The only issue I have is that the tab clips on the sections that are supposed to attach to the base of the nosecone section don't hold that well. They will "tab in" into that spot, but they pop out fairly easily. This is perhaps of the greatest weaknesses of the figure.
Windblade is a very cool figure and stands out as a somewhat unique figure in the "Generations" line in that she's not a homage to anything or anyone that came before. She is an original creation based on fan input, and truly represents how far fandom has come since the early days of the toy line. That said, she's not perfect and I've singled out what I perceive to be the flaws of the figure above. However the good far outweighs the bad and she is worthy of being in any "Transformers" collection. Recommended!