Dark of the Moon Air Raid Toy Review

in Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, MechTech, Revenge of the Fallen, Seeker

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: May 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster/Battle Axe weapon

Images:

*Images and text in italics from the Official Transformers web site:
Flying high above the fray, AIR RAID provides a high-precision picture of the terrain, DECEPTICON troop movement and any other details of the battlefield that may hinder an AUTOBOT assault. His battle shield converts to a powerful ion pulse blaster when his fellow AUTOBOTS are in need of some high-altitude reinforcement!

Spring into action with this vehicle-to-robot hero! Convert your mighty AIR RAID figure from recon jet mode to battle-ready robot mode. Then convert him back to vehicle mode so he can chase down his enemies! As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth, so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him! Shield converts to assault blaster! Ages 5 and up.

The name "Air Raid" has been part of "Transformers" lore since Generation One when the Autobot Aerialbot of the same name was introduced. In the live action movie universe, the name "Air Raid" appeared again on a few different figures including this one from 2007's live action movie toy line. With "Dark of the Moon" one of the later releases in the line was another Air Raid. Whether or not this is meant to represent the same character as the other figures is uncertain as his tech spec wasn't made certain in countries outside Japan. In Japan however he was called "Seeker" Air Raid, indicating he was one of an ancient line of Transformers sent out in the universe to "seek" energy sources far from Cybertron. Being a "toy only" character, I'll let you make the judgement on just "who" this character truly is.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support.

Air Raid comes with a Mech Tech weapon that serves a triple purpose, quite unusual among the Mech Tech weapons. Its first funciton is a rotodome radar dish for the vehicle mode. It has the characteristic rounded edges of the radars from the Boeing E 767 plane that Air Raid is based on. On the back, you can swing down a handle that allows the radar dish to act as a shield. Swing that handle back up and you can push the ridged section of the radar forward, swinging out a blaster barrel to create a third form. Unfortunately, the radar dish cannot lock in its blaster form, but it can stay in its "shield" form since that only involves moving one hinged piece.

Vehicle Mode:
As mentioned above, Air Raid's vehicle mode is based on the Boeing E 767 plane. it has that plane's distinctive cone shaped body, back swept wings with single engines attached. The back has a single, tall stabilizer and two smaller horizontal stabilizers. Perhaps the most distinctive feature is the radar dish mounted on the top of the vehicle towards the back. Some of the smaller details from the real life vehicle carry over as well including doors sculpted into the sides of the vehicle's front end and points on the ends of the wings that sweep back.

There are some definite differences between the Boeing and Air Raid's vehicle mode however. The front cockpit section is a bit thinner in the front than the real life vehicle and there are two large air intakes on the top of the vehicle. These air intakes have raised armor panel details on the sides and unlike the real life vehicle, the edges of the engines have distinct, raised notches on the front edges. These added details do a great job of making Air Raid look sleeker and distinctive from the vehicle it is based on.

Air Raid is cast in green, light silver, dark green and clear plastic. The green makes up most of the central section of the vehicle from the cockpit to the rear stabilizers. The wings are cast in dark green while hints of light silver appear on the hinges near the wings. A dark metallic grey is used for the radar dish. The paint decos on this figure are mostly silver, with only small dark grey paint details in front of the cockpit windows. The silver is used mostly along the sides of the main body of the vehicle, with some smaller patches on the stabilizers, engines and an Autobot symbol on the top of the cockpit. Considering the real life Boeing E767 is usually painted grey, this color scheme manages to convey a military vibe while looking interesting at the same time.

As part of the Mech Tech line of figures, Air Raid was designed for interactivity with weapons from other figures in mind. This is most notable in the design of his wings. Each wing has two spots where you can connect "C Clip" weapons, one on the end of the wing and the other on the back of the wing. On the underside of the vehicle you can connect a standard 5mm peg weapon on each wing. Finally, there is a hole for a 5mm peg weapon right behind the cockpit section on the top of the vehicle. Want more firepower? Flip up the panels on the sides right behind the cockpit and you can attach two more 5mm peg weapons! If you load this guy up with weapons he winds up looking quite powerful, doubling as an attack and early warning and control plane.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the radar dish and set it aside for now.
  2. Lift up the side panels near the cockpit.
  3. Swing up the panel behind the cockpit.
  4. Swing up the top half of the vehicle to begin forming the robot legs.
  5. Swing the robot legs forward and swing back the heel pieces. Rotate the legs so the feet point forward.
  6. Collapse the panels from step three and swing the cockpit section up against the back. This will cause the head to "auto morph" and rise up.
  7. Swing the wings back.
  8. Swing the robot arms down and rotate them around.
  9. On the right arm, collapse the horizontal stabilizers against the vertical one to form the blade weapon.
  10. Swing the ends of the wings up on the back.
  11. Attach the shield/weapon to the left hand.

Robot Mode:
If we were to accept the conceit that Air Raid is one of the original "Seekers" along with Jetfire, then it would go a long way to explain his very unusual robot mode. At first, I was rather taken aback by how rather...ancient looking his robot mode was. Most of his parts are rather thin lookingf and his head design resembles a helmet from some ancient empire with its high crest and curved "helmet" section. He also has a U shaped piece on his waist/hip area that resembles armor from ancient armies on Earth. Add to that his axe weapon serving as one hand while he holds a shield in the other and the result is a warrior that looks like he came to Earth thousands of years ago and adopted a robot form based on what he saw instead of more modern looking jet-based Transformers such as Starscream. The more I look at it however, the more the look grows on me. I don't love the look, but I definitely see its appeal and artistic intent.

This form shows a nice break up in the distribution of Air Raid's colors from the vehicle mode. The darker green color now shows up on his back in the form of the wings, his shoulders, hips and on bits of the torso area. The green plastic is still the primary color, showing up on his arms, chest and legs. The lighter silver is used for joints including the hips and the hinges on his right arm. The paint decos are really what make the figure however. His crest and the engine-like details on his chest are painted gold, offering a bright, bold color to catch the eye. Silver appears on his face while green paint is used for detailing on his upper to mid body. The gold is probably my favorite out of all the colors on this guy. It adds to the feel of him being an ancient machine and helps bring out the sculpted details in those parts nicely.

Air Raid has nineteen points of articulation in this form. The articulation in his arms are uneven since each has its own design. The axe weapon o his right arm is hooked up to two hinges, allowing for nice posing possibilities. His Mech Tech shield can transform into a blaster, but it won't stay locked, something that I found most unfortunate. If you want to hook up extra weapons to Air Raid, you have a few spots to do this. You can mount weapons on his wings, effectively giving him over-the-shoulder weaponry. You can also attach blasters from the Cyberverse line to his upper arms. Finally, the hole from the top of the vehicle mode's cockpit winds up on his back, allowing you to use it for weapon storage on his back.

Final Thoughts:
One note about this figure. Some fans may be wondering why it took me so long to review this guy. The one you see in pictures above is actually my second Air Raid. When I opened my first one, the "U" shaped pieces broke off during transformation. Never mind that I'm not all into the aesthetics of the figure, but making a part such as that so delicate really just put the figure in a bad light for me. I'm kind of glad this guy was pushed towards the end of the line, but it bugs me that he made it out to North American stores while cooler figures like Que and Soundwave did not. I think this figure can definitely appeal to a segment of the collector base, just not to this reviewer. Not recommended.