"Generations" Combiner Wars Silverbolt Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Aerialbot, Autobot, Combiner Wars, Generation One, Generations, Voyager

Generations

Silverbolt General Information:
Release Date: December 2014
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rifle, Shield/wings

Official images with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The leader of the Aerialbots forms the core of the team's combined form, Superion, a single-minded force bent only on Deception destruction. The Combiner Wars are heating up and your 2-in-1 Silverbolt figure is ready to lead the way one more time! This powerful leader of the Aerialbots is a terrible powerhouse in robot mode, launching his cannon against the Decepticons. But he can attack unexpectedly from above in soaring jet mode! He's also got the power to combine with other bots (sold separately) to form a massive Superion figure. Convert, combine and attack with your awesome Silverbolt figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

One of the first Voyager Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" is Silverbolt, the leader of the Aerialbots. Silverbolt has popped up a couple times here and there in the "Transformers" toy line over the years. He appeared in the "Energon" toy line (basd on Superion from the Superlink series) and as recently as an Ultra Class figure in the "Transformers Universe" segment. This is the first version of the character to come out in years that can combine with others to form Superion.

Packaging:
The packaging for "Combiner Wars" creates a very clear delineation between the main "Robots in Disguise" toy line for 2015 and the more collector oriented "Generations" segment. While the packaging uses the same basic "Transformers" logo as the "Robots in Disguise" line, it is set against a black background instead of white on the right side of the box. Above that is an Autobot symbol with the word "Generations" indicating the segment of the line. The figure itself is on display in robot mode through a window. On the lower left side is artwork of the figure with the words "Combiner Wars" below it and the name "Optimus Prime" below that.

The back of the box features the toy in both modes with a small write up in multiple languages. There are sadly no tech spec stats. The right side shows a schematic of Silverbolt in torso form. The "limbs" in the first wave are also shown as cosells (including Dragstrip as a leg).

The "Combiner Wars" figures all come with collector cards printed on thick cardboard. The artwork featured on the card is different than the artwork on the backing card for the toy. The box features artwork based on the toy itself. This card art is actually from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app card game. I do find myself wishing that the cards had been used for tech specs (the back only features generic logo art) it is a nice "add in" and utilizes the amazing "Legends" art outside the game, something I've wanted to see for quite some time now. It's a cool way to reuse the artwork outside the game.

Accessories:
Silverbolt comes with two accessories, though they appear as one out of the box. Both come together to form his weapon, a long rifle with a base section with a raised section in the middle and wings on the sides. The design is quite appropriate for a character that transforms into a plane. One would be justified in wondering just why the barrel of the weapon is so darn long. In the original "Transformers" series, Superion had a long barreled blaster connected to his arm, so while it looks kind of crazy long on Silverbolt, it looks just right on one of the larger fully assembled Combiners. Mitigating this length a bit is the ability of the rifle to separate into two pieces. Pull the back piece a bit and the barrel separates, forming a long rifle and a shield. It's a neat way to give Silverbolt more than one accessory and I appreciate how much the weapon resembles its G1 counterpart.

Robot Mode:
The design of G1 Silverbolt was one of those cases where the action figure and animation model were very similar to each other. For the most part, the comic book/cartoon model took details from the action figure and streamlined them or simplified them. This figure bases its design primarily on the comic book/cartoon model and by extension, it also has details from the G1 action figure. These include:

  • The head sculpt has the distinct design of G1 Silverbolt's head, with two panels on the sides of the head and a crest protruding forward in the middle. He even has sculpted lines in the middle of his cheeks, a feature found on the comic book/cartoon model.
  • The chest design comes from the cartoon/comic book model, including panels that angle down and extend forward.
  • Each shoulder has small wing designs on them. These are carry overs from the chest armor worn by the G1 Silverbolt action figure.
  • There is a "V" shaped design in the middle of the body that is analogous to a "U" shaped design on G1 Silverbolt.
  • Each forearm has a distinct set of three lines on them. While these are angled, they are inspired by similar details on G1 Silverbolt.
  • The knee armor are rectangular panels that extend forward from the lower legs a bit.
  • On the back Silverbolt has parts of his vehicle mode wings hanging off sort of like a cape.

On top of all these G1 details in the figure are really nice, small details. These include some in the middle of the torso that resemble wires. There are also some nice layers of armor panels on the sides of the forearms and the thighs have some angled line details on them. Overall the sculpt looks great and pays great homage to G1 Silverbolt.

Silverbolt is cast mostly in off-white/grey plastic. He also has red, black, white and orange parts. Most of these colors are inspired by those on G1 Silverbolt. . This plastic is found on smaller pieces like his shoulder and hip joints. The paint colors on the figure include silver, blue and orange. The silver is used on the chest and robot face. On the chest it forms an Autobot symbol in the center, a design element borrowed from G1 Silverbolt. His eyes are light blue. The orange color is the most heavily used color. You'll find it on the upper arms, mid-body, forearms and thighs. The orange color is meant as a modern replacement of for the gold parts found on G1 Silverbot. It's probably not the first color I would've chosen (I would have gone for a straight up metallic gold paint). Finally, some white can be found on the sides of the lower legs. While there aren't a ton of paint applications on the figure, the way the various plastic parts break out help keep the figure from looking dull.

There are twenty one points of articulation on this figure. This includes four in each arm and five on each leg. I'm also counting the ability of his feet and heels to move since you can use them to help pose the figure. Several of these articulation points are ratchet joints, including the shoulders and hips. This is important as these joints are critical for stability when Silverbolt is in torso mode. Silverbolt's hands each have a 5mm hole in them, allowing you to attach weapons with 5mm pegs. He also has 5mm holes on the sides of his forearms, allowing you to attach even more weaponry.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon/shield and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out all the limbs.
  3. Swing the chest panel forward, then swing the head back behind the chest panel and swing it back into place.
  4. Swing the plane's cockpit section up.
  5. On each leg, swing the panel on the back of out, then collpase the heel pieces into the feet and swing the feet into the opening. Swing the panels back.
  6. Rotate the lower legs inward, then swing them up, connecting them to form part of the vehicle's rear section.
  7. Rotate the robot arms inward, then bend them at the elbow. There is a notch on each forearm that connects to a corresponding tab on the underside of each wing.
  8. Swing the vertical stabilizer fin up.
  9. The rifle can be attached to the underside of the cockpit section or to the holes on the forearms.

Vehicle Mode:
In the original Transformers series Silverbolt transformed into a Concorde supersonic airliner. This vehicle mode appears to be a reimagnining of that famous jet (allowing for some creativity on Hasbro's part, but also avoiding licensing issues). The main feature that links this jet to the Concorde is the middle section. It looks like one long tube extending from the front to the back of the vehicle. The front comes to a very fine point with curved windows in the forward section. Running along the sides of the middle section are a line of small windows, another distinct feature of the Concorde. Silverbolt also has a vertical stabilizer similar to to G1 Silverbolt's. Now, the Concorde has curved wings which start close to the central tube and then curve outward to the back of the figure. This figure has similar designs, but instead of curved wings the wings angle outward close to the central tube, then angle outward, then angle back in at the back. The wings aren't curved, but the design heritage of the Concorde is definitely there.

There are some great details added on to this mode to give it a more scifi appearance. The front has small horizontal stabilizer fins while there are angled fins on the back. Each wing has an air intake with two thrusters at the back. The wings all have an intricate series of lines sculpted into the top. Overall this is a very cool looking jet. I appreciate how it gives a nod to the old Concorde, but goes into into a design direction all its own. Now, some folks are going to scream because a lot of the robot parts wind up creating "undercarriage" junk on the jet. Frankly, it's hard to find a Transformers jet/plane figure that doesn't have some type of undercarriage junk, and if they don't have it, they're likely not figures that have to do triple duty (forming a robot, vehicle and Combiner torso). I have no problem with the robot parts in this mode since frankly they have to go somewhere and a lot of those parts need to form a solid torso for Superion.

This mode mostly uses parts that were on Silverbolt's back in robot mode, so there is a lot of off-white/grey plastic in this mode. The front of the nosecone and the tip at the rear of the vehicle are cast in rubbery black plastic for safety reasons. Most of the robot mode parts wind up on the underside of the vehicle, so you'll find a ton of color there including the black, red and orange parts. The windows on the cockpit are black. The sides of the middle section have a long line of orange color painted from the front to the back, inspired by G1 Silverbolt. The thrusters in the back are painted gunmetal grey. On each wing has tampographed Autobot symbols in silver and red. I like the deco on this figure a lot. It pays great homage to G1 Silverbolt and looks nice and clean.

There are two pieces of "landing gear" sculpted into parts towards the rear, bottom section of the vehicle. Under the front section is landing gear that can swing down (but you have to detach the weapon to do it). In an interesting design choice, the rubbery nosecone piece is on a hinge, meaning you can swing it down slightly to make it look similar to the beak like appearance of the original Concorde jet.

Transformation to Torso Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the panels on the back of the lower legs out, then swing the robot feet and heels together and swing them into that slot.
  3. Swing the chest panel forward, swing the robot head back then push the panel back into place.
  4. Rotate each robot arm up, then swing the fists back.
  5. Swing the panel that forms the mid-body and waist out, revealing Superion's head. Swing the head up.
  6. Swivel each lower robot leg in, then swing the lower against the central body. There is a tab on each of the lower legs that slides into a notch on the central part of the vehicle mode.
  7. Swing the knee armor panels on each lower leg down.
  8. Swing the panel that forms the center of Silverbolt's chest up.
  9. Push the two halves of Superion's torso armor together.

Superion Torso Mode:
Silverbolt's torso mode is based on Superion's appearance on the cartoon/comic book model from Generation One. The biggest give away is the design of the head. The "helmet" section features two antennae and a large crest in the center (features it shares with the G1 toy). However the face is distinctly based on the cartoon/comic book model. The design includes a thick "visor eye" and a small nose that leads down to a mouthplate. The G1 toy had a mouth and much more angled visor eyes, but I think I prefer this look.

The armor on the torso also takes several cues from the G1 design. The chest has angled panels that bevel outward. The waist area has a "U" shaped design and the sections near the shoulders have what appear to be blasters or missiles on them. All these designs come right out of the G1 model, though in some cases such as the chest armor there are a few more line details thrown in to modernize the design. The waist area has indented sections on the sides and the hips are wide enough to keep the leg pieces from smacking into each other. Some of the line details on the thigh sections recall similar details from stickers on the G1 Silverbolt toy, so that's a nice callback. Another neat callback to G1 Silverbolt's toy are raised sections on the hips that echo raised rectangular areas on the G1 Superion's upper legs.

There is one unfortunate consequence of this design however. The ends of the "blaster/missile" design on the shoulder area can break off. I don't particularly abuse my figures but somewhere between transforming the figure and carrying it around in my book bag for a couple days one of these tips broke off. The one you see in the photos is actually a second one I purchased just to photograph. This doesn't affect the functionality of the figure at all, but it does mess up the symmetry of this mode. This is not a rampant problem (meaning I haven't seen lots of fans complaining about it) but it is worth noting.

Another point that I'm going to caution fans on are the antennae on Superion's head. Both are made out of soft plastic, so be careful about bending them. I don't think they'll fall off, but they could easily be warped if stuck in an odd position for several hours. They are also painted the orange color used on the rest of the figure so I fear bending them could cause the paint to crack or rub off. I want to stress none of this has happened on my copy of this figure. I'm just trying to think ahead.

Superion's color scheme reflects the colors used on G1 Superion. The head is black with red eyes and a silver mouthplate. The chest armor is red and the middle of the torso is off-white/grey. The waist armor is red and the thighs have a combination of black, orange and off-white/grey. A silver Autobot symbol is painted on the right side of the chest. These colors align nicely with the layout of colors on the G1 Superion.

The interesting thing about the way Superion is designed in this version involves the legs. While the arms are very "classic Superion" with the jet parts on the outside of the arms, the legs actually reverse the way the legs are attached. Instead of having the jet parts in the back, they are in the front in this mode. Why? Well, it has to do with the knee articulation on Superion. G1 Superion didn't really have knee articulation, so the jet parts could be on the back and it looked and functioned just fine. However, in this iteration he does need to be able to bend at the knees, so the jet parts would just get in the way. After seeing Superion a certain way for decades, this is going to take some getting used to, but the reason behind it makes perfect sense.

Superion's limbs each have their own articulation (generally 2-3 points worth), but the torso piece itself has articulation as well. The head can turn and each thigh/hip section provides three points of articulation. The thigh/hip sections utilize ratchet joints, allowing for stability in the combined form. As a bit of a bonus, the sides of each thigh have 5mm holes in them for you to attach additional weaponry. Also the back has the nosecone from Silverbolt's vehicle mode on it, so you can use it for weapon storage.

Final Thoughts:
Silverbolt is a really awesome update of the original character with modern day design flourishes. He'd be close to a "highly recommended" grade but the antennae concern me and the piece that broke off is another concern. Still, I think you should add this guy to your collection - just keep my warnings in mind!