"Transformers Universe 2.0" Silverbolt Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: August 2008
Price Point: $25.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Gun, Missile x 1

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Take command of your TRANSFORMERS collection with this AUTOBOT ally figure that converts from menacing robot mode to fighter jet mode and back again! Fire the launching “electrostatic bolt” projectile in detailed robot mode. Change into fighter jet vehicle mode for awesome electronic lights, and thruster and battle sounds! Use your imagination and your advanced-conversion skills while staging your own AllSpark adventures with this futuristic robot character.

Includes 2 “AAA” batteries.

At one point in Transformers history, it was stated more than once that "Autobots don't fly". While on screen evidence ran contrary to this many times, it was undeniable that for a while the Autobots were comprised of warriors who were exclusively ground based vehicles. Even guys who could achieve limited flight such as Sideswipe were still cars in vehicle mode. As time passed, more Autobots began to show up with aerial forms, but it wasn't until the Aerialbots were introduced that we had an entire team of Autobots who transformed into aerial vehicles. The leader of this team was Silverbolt, who transformed into a Concorde jet. Now the Aerialbot leader returns as part of the Ultra class assortment in Transformers Universe.

Vehicle Mode:
In G1, Silverbolt was based on a super fast, high altitude jet, a vehicle seen as one of the sleekest and fastest of its time. Now he takes on a form inspired by another modern day high powered, high altitude vehicle, the XB-70 Valkyrie, an experimental jet designed for the U.S. Air Force. The Valkyrie has a tell-tale triangular shape with fins on the sides of the neck towards the front of the vehicle and two vertical rudders in the back. Silverbolt's vehicle mode takes this basic shape but adds to it with a lot of extra details.

First, the overall shape of the real life Valkyrie is rather flat, whereas Silverbolt has several rasied surfaces including inset blasters on the neck of the vehicle and two large raised sections in the back representing where his engines are. The center neck also extends back, forming a third raised area in the middle. Combined with the undercarriage bits from the robot form and his gun mounted on the underside of the cockpit, he looks a lot more bulky than the very thin real life Valkyrie. What this does is help convey a sense of power and offensive capability. Between the big engines giving him speed and the three guns on the neck of the vehicle, Silverbolt certainly looks like a force to be reckoned with!

Despite his fairly simplistic shape, Silverbolt is not lacking in detail. Almost every inch of the figure is covered in nice line details indicating where panel lines meet on his armor. These lines go from straight lines to rectangles to jagged waves of lines such as those found near the nosecone. The air intakes in the front of the raised engine sections have a nice "W" shape that really looks great as well. The overall effect makes the jet look as if it is moving forward even if it's just sitting on your desk and it adds a level of realism to the figure (despite the many scifi elements added to it).

Silverbolt is cast in light grey, black, translucent blue, orange and red plastic. Most of the red, orange and black winds up on the underside of the vehicle, carried over form the robot form. The main details to note in this mode are the "top side" details that form the jet. The light grey color was used as opposed to the brighter white of G1 Silverbolt due to Hasbro's preference towards using slightly more "realistic" shades of colors for figures. This generally means more muted colors as opposed to brighter, "cartoon" like colors. The windows and rear thrusters are cast in translucent blue plastic and hints of the dark red color from his robot mode peek through in the form of two buttons on the back of the jet (more on those in a bit). True to his name, silver paint is used for several key parts such as the edges of the wings, the area around the thrusters and his nosecone. Winged Autobot outline symbols can be found on his wings with the number "25" inside, denoting the 25th Anniversary of the Transformers line. The words "Bolt-25" are found in the middle of the jet, a reference to the anniversary and the character's name. A bit of dark silver is found on the edges of the engine intakes and the weapons mounted on the neck of the vehicle. My favorite paint decos have to be the neon orange ones used on the back of the jet on the translucent blue plastic that forms the edge of his thrusters. The color really looks like his engines are burning hot and it adds to the illusion of power and speed the sculpt already conveys on its own.

Silverbolt has a red button towards the back of the jet that activates several sound and light features on the figure. One press activates a quick "fly by" sound effect. Another push activates an "engine initialization" type noise complete with orange LED's in the thrusters lighting up the translucent plastic.

A third press activates machine gun sound effects that also activate green LED's in the blasters mounted on the neck of the vehicle. Holding the button down during the machine gun effects keep the noise going until you let go. The sounds roate in order with each button press. My favorite among these is the machine gun noise, partly because you can extend the noise and partly because the LED's keep in rhythm with them.

You can launch the bright orange missile from underneath his nosecone by pressing the red button on the gun. There are also three bright orange landing gear pieces that can be flipped down from the robot body on the underside of the vehicle.

Overall this is a gorgeous vehicle mode. It has fun features and looks fantastic. Yes there is quite a bit of "undercarriage junk", but for the most part this is something that most aerial based Transformers figures have to contend with in some way, shape or form. Bulkier vehicles such as space shuttles can hide a lot of that junk, but with a sleek jet like this, keeping the undercarriage junk as flat as possible and condensed is the way to go.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the gun from the underside of the nosecone.
  2. Swing the vertical rudders down.
  3. Swing the nosecone/neck section back and snap it against the back of the plane using the hook on the neck and the notch on the back.
  4. Close up the landing gear if you have it deployed.
  5. Swing the sides of the robot parts forward and out.
  6. Flip the black ends of the sides around to reveal the robot fists.
  7. Rotate the lower arms so they face forward.
  8. Pull the robot legs out to the sides and then down.
  9. Rotate the robot legs around so they face front, and swing out the foot and heel pieces.
  10. Push the top section of the body down to reveal the robot head.
  11. Attach the gun to one of the fists.

Robot Mode:
Before reviewing the robot mode itself I have to comment on how simplistic the transformation to get to the robot mode is. I have to admit I was astonished when I finished transforming Silverbolt the first time. I kept thinking "Gee...that's it?" and to be honest, even after doing it ten times or so it still feels that way. However, as a homage to the original figure and considering the design, I don't see how it could have been done much simpler without making it unnecesarily complicated. Sometimes the path of least resistance is the best, especially when your target market ranges in age from elementary school and up. However, I did feel that it was worth mentioning that while the figure is larger than say, a deluxe, it's nowhere near as complicated as some of them are. One huge plus though is the activation of the classic transformation sound as you slide the upper body down to reveal the robot head!

All that said, Silverbolt is one pretty amazing piece of sculpting. While many of the Classics/Universe figures have almost totally reimagined their G1 counterparts with some related G1 features, the way Silverbolt is designed allows for an almost complete recreation of his G1 self. Taking cues from the original G1 toy and animation model (more from the latter), this guy is unmistakeable as the Aerialbot leader.

The first element that is very distinctive is the head design. Silverbolt was known to have a "helmet" section with a crest piece that stuck out a bit on the forehead. His face was an odd one, with a regular face (eyes, nose, mouth etc.) but he seemed to have extra panels/layers over his cheeks and jawline, and those elements are present here. Paying homage to the animated series, he has a mouth sculpted with lips rather than just a thin line, a feature his animated model had in the television show.

The main body has a ton of small design elements carried over from G1 Silverbolt. His shoulders have wing designs on them, but unlike the G1 figure where they were part of a chest/armor piece, here they are part of the shoulders, allowing them to move. The upper body is made up of three distinct rectangular sections on the chest, with the designs angling downward to the waist which then flairs out. The way the chest section slopes downward and then straightens out flat comes right from the chest design of the original Silverbolt. Other small details such as the trapezoid with a small triangle on his abdomen and the small grids on his chest are direct carry overs from the G1 figure as well. G1 influences abound on his legs as well, where his knee armor has a square piece that protrudes outward slightly and line details on the middle of each leg (on the outer parts) correspond to details provided by a sticker on G1 Silverbolt's legs.

Silverbolt's colors explode in this form, showing a combination of dark grey, light grey, orange, black and red plastic all in one robot. The dark grey plastic is used for parts like his head, shoulders and upper legs. The dark red is used on parts that correspond to his chest armor in the G1 figure. The orange is used for the landing gear and his upper arms and elbow joints. Black is used for smaller parts such as his gun, fists and feet. Silver and gold paint are used to deco areas such as the center of his body and the upper parts of his legs (matching the G1 figure). The gold and silver are used particularly nicely on the robot head where the gold is used on his crest and brow while the silver is used on his face, contrasting nicely with the dark grey plastic. Silver is also used for the edge of the "V shaped edge on the gun. An Autobot symbol can be found right on the center of his chest in red. While Silverbolt's sculpt and most of his colors look great, I'm really not a big fan of the orange and red used in this toy. The orange doesn't work well with the dark red. The two colors convey a totally conflicting message. Is he a darker toned, "realistic" figure or is he a super bright, 90's European style Transformer in color? It can't seem to decide and that is annoying on an otherwise very well deco'd and sculpted figure.

Silverbolt has seventeen points of articulation in this form. This includes double joints on the arms and legs as well as ratchet joints on his hips, which offer greater stability. Considering his transformation scheme precludes waist articulation, I'm glad to see his arms and legs were made to be able to turn in and out.

You can still use Silverbolt's sound feature in this form. Press the red button on his back and the machine gun noise kicks in. For those curious, the LED's on the neck of the jet do still light up as well.

Final Thoughts:
I'm really quite torn on Silverbolt. One the one hand, he has an awesome looking jet mode with fun light up and sound features. His robot mode is an awesome work of sculpting, representing the G1 character perfectly. On the other, he's no longer a combiner but just a stand alone figure and he has some bad color choices in robot mode. I think the best way to look at this is to really think about what you want. If you want a great looking jet with lights/sounds that transforms into a cool robot, then this is the figure for you. If you wanted a complex transformation for a combiner leader that would hopefully merge with four other figures to form some huge robot, then stay away. Overall, I'd list him as recommended with my major reservation being his price point.

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