Generation 2 Powerdive Toy Review

in 1994, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation 2, Rotor Force

Transformers Generation 2

General Information:
Retailer: General (Toys 'R' Us, K-Mart, Bradlees etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on retailer)
Accessories: Rotor Blade launcher, Rotor Blades x 2

Images:

As Generation 2 moved along, more and more new molds were introduced along with more new sub-groups of Transformers. One of these sub-groups were the Rotorforce, a small group of Transformers (two Autobots and two Decepticons) whose gimmick involved their weapons. Each weapon had a spinning disc that you could turn a few times, press a button and launch, spinning like a blade. Powerdive (aka "Blade" in the UK) was one of the Decepticons in the Rotorforce. It is interesting to note that the initial, very limited, run of Rotorforce Decepticon figures had black discs, but the later (more common) run had red discs. I was fortunate enough to obtain one of these recently so the pictures above show both rotor colors!

Vehicle Mode:
Powerdive's vehicle mode is based on the Boeing AH 64 Apache helicopter. For those who think realistic vehicle sculpts were only found in early G1 toys (and more recent toys such as Alternators), this definitely puts that to lie. While the colors are definitely not very realistic, the sculpt shares many of the design aspects of the real life Apache helicopter. These features include:

  • An angled design on the cockpit cover.
  • A cockpit section designed to be long enough for two people, not just one.
  • A sensor pod is cast into the nose of the vehicle, this is where the real life Apache also has its sensors.
  • Each wing has a round, rocket launcher sculpted onto it. The real life Apache can carry similar weaponry.
  • The tail has one vertical fin and two horizontal fins (but is missing the rear rotor the Apache has).
  • On the sides, there are two rectangular shapes with a point at the end, this represents the twin turboshaft engines on the Apache.
  • There are two blasters mounted on the front end of the vehicle. These represent the guns attached to the front of some variants of the Apache.

Overall, the sculpt on this figure is solid. By the way, don't let the curved helicopter rotors in the photos above fool you. Mine came in like that from ebay (a compromise I was willing to make to get the black blade weapon), the rotors are cast from hard plastic. There is no "soft" plastic on this figure.

Unlike the sculpt, Powerdive's deco is less based on the real life vehicle and more on being a Decepticon. He does have a lot of green plastic and color on him, but it's a different shade than you'll find on military vehicles. It's darker and a bit more bold. Parts of the front and side engines are black and there are purple bits here and there such as the wings and the blasters in the front. A bit of paint comes into play on the translucent red cockpit cover, where green is used on the frame to give it continuity with the rest of the green on the vehicle. Other details are made up with stickers. On each of the engines on the sides, he has a purple sticker with the letters "DC" in white and an arrow in front of it. On each side of the tail rotor is a Generation 2 Decepticon symbol and the alphanumeric code "HD-b93" printed in purple on a bright orange background. The colors all work together nicely, with the brighter colored stickers offering a nice bright contrast to the relatively dark colors that make up the vehicle itself. There is one additional deco that is very much "of the era" which is the G2 Decepticon symbol and the word "Decepticon" tampographed in light purple on a rotor blade. Nowadays decos tend to shy away from this, preferring to keep the "disguise" aspect of Transformers if possible. During G2 however, every vehicle/beast mode practically announced the allegiance of the character and this is no different.

Unlike most helicopter Transformers, you can't really spin the rotor blade here because it is attached to his weapon (which has to be separated to work). Still, this doesn't subtract too much from potential play with the figure since most of what he would do in this mode is blast away at Autobots from above! You can attach one of his discs to the top of the rotor blade section. I've always found this obtrusive looking and prefer it to be left off. However there's really no other way they could have integrated it into the form so I totally get why it was done like this.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the blade and rotor from the top.
  2. Rotate the engines on the sides back and straighten them out to begin forming the robot arms.
  3. Flip the robot hands out from each of the arms.
  4. Swing the tail section back to reveal the robot head.
  5. Pull the middle section out (this is the launcher for the blade weapon).
  6. Swing the cockpit piece up to form the torso.
  7. Rotate the blasters and front end of the helicopter to form the feet.
  8. Swing the wings back.
  9. Attach the blade (and rotor if you wish) to the weapon and place it into Powerdive's hand.

Alternatively, you can take the rotor, position it on the back and swing the wings back over it to keep it in place and then swing the tail piece down. This is my preferred transformation though it isn't really the "official" transformation.

Robot Mode:
As robot modes go, Powerdive's offers little surprises, but it still looks good. Part of the helicopter's front end becomes his torso, and that's to be expected. I did find some of the bits on this figure clever however. That includes having the engines from the sides of the vehicles look so much like their real life counterparts, and then turning into the arms and the use of the blasters in front as balancing for the feet (which on their own wouldn't be able to keep the figure standing). The blasters can be rotated back or forward as needed to keep the figure standing depending on how you have him holding the weapon. Of the newly revealed parts, the most intricate sculpting is found on the legs and head. The legs have a really nice line pattern etched into them, showing where armor panels meet and the head is rounded with visor eyes and a mouth piece that bear a slight resemblance to pilot helmets used by the military. The sculpt is rather blocky and not very fluid looking, but that is by design I believe and not a failing of the figure at all.

The only real articulation on Powerdive are found on his arms, which can move up or down in a complete circle. He can hold his launcher weapon in either hand. The way his weapon works, you attach the blade, then turn it to the left a few times to crank it up. After about five turns on mine, you can then launch the blade. The blade launches by pushing the weapon down in his hand (but you'll have to keep a finger or two below his hand to give it a base to push against). This causes the yellow tab on the weapon to press down on a purple trigger piece that launches the blade. When done right, the blade can really travel! I just tested it during this review and it shot clear across my desk (about a foot and a half of distance). It's a neat weapon but a bit cumbersome to operate.

Final Thoughts:
Powerdive is a cool little toy. Nowadays you can expect to pay anywhere from $15-25 for him loose on the aftermarket. Whether that's worth it to you or not is a very individual choice. This is a figure that's more about the gimmick than articulation or super detailed bits. For its era, it definitely fit in nicely and is worth adding to any collector's army, but it's not for everyone.