Rescue Bots Blades Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot

Rescue Bots

General Information:
Release Date: August 2011
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Transformers.com:
It’s you and your BLADES THE COPTER-BOT figure to the rescue! Your figure easily converts from robot mode to helicopter mode and back again, so it only takes a moment to switch modes when the situation calls for it! Convert your figure from robot mode to helicopter mode and back so he can save the day! Includes figure. Ages 3 to 6 years.

As long as Transformers have been around, there have always been sub-lines of toys dedicated to a younger age group than the main toy line. In 2011, the "Rescue Bots" line takes this role. Focusing around Transformers working with humans on rescue missions using equipment ranging from helicopters to rocket packs. Unlike previous attempts such as "1-2-3 Transformers" and "Go-Go-Gobots" however, this line actually includes Generation One inspired characters in it. This line is firmly aimed at the younger set (ages 3-6 according to the packaging), so I'll say right away that older collectors may find it a bit lacking by their standards.

Most of the time when people think of rescue vehicles, machines like police cars and ambulances come to mind almost immediately but there is another component of course: air support. In the case of the Rescue Bots the air support is Blades, an Autobot who transforms into a helicopter. This isn't the first time a Transformer was named Blades. This goes back to Generation One where the helicopter based member of the Autobot "Protectobots" team was named Blades.

Robot Mode:
When I look at Blades, I am immediately struck by how much like a normal, every day Transformer he looks. Normally with toy lines aimed at younger kids, there is a heavy emphasis on making the figure look overly cute. Bumblebee is a great example of this. In Blades' case however, most of his detailing is what I'd expect from a "mainline" Transformer. He has a head design similar to a pilot's helmet, complete with a central crest, large visor eyes and for a mouth he has what looks like a breathing mask with tubes going out to the side. It's a simple but elegant design that doesn't look overly "cute".

Looking at the body, the theme continues. The top part of the chest looks like the top of a suit, with folds near the shoulders that almost look like fabric. The torso design has layered rectangular designs, tubes down the side and a huge sculpted Autobot symbol in the center. His arms look nice and bulky, giving him a look of strength, something not always common in aerial based Transformers. His legs are somewhat thin since they make up two halves of the vehicle's rear section, but there are distinct feet and ankle sections that keep the figure nice and stable.

The "cute" section of the design is largely based on proportions, particularly the head. Proportionally speaking it's quite large, but if you shrunk it to about 2/3 the size I could easily see the proportions working out to about a "regular" Transformer figure. He's got big feet too, but that's hardly unusual for Transformers.

Blades is cast in light grey, orange and translucent blue plastic. The majority of the plastic is light grey with the other parts in orange. The dome behind the robot head is translucent plastic. Paint applications are done with a liberal amount of dark grey, orange and a spot of yellow. The grey is used for a large portion of his legs, fists, shoulder joints, th elower par tof his face and the tubes on his chest. It's a great contrast and looks great against the orange and light grey. The yellow is used to color his eyes, but since the visor section is so big it's quite a bit for eye detail.

There's no articulation to speak of on this figure as is typical for Rescue Bots figures. However, he does have holes in his fists that allow him to hold the vehicles/equipment found in sets such as the Microcopter. I do find myself wishing the figure would have had elbow articulation built in (since the transformation precludes having shoulder articulation). It's not a deal breaker, but definitely gets some points taken away from the figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
Holding the knob on the top of the helicopter blade, rotate to the right. The following will happen: the arms will swing out, the legs will connect together and a cover will swing down over the head.

This simple type of transformation has a lot to do with the design philosphy behind the Rescue Bots. The idea of each of these figures is to have a child focus on using a certain set of motor skills, but not overly complicated to the point where they're folding panels around and swinging limbs left and right. Here, the motion being emphasized is rotating a knob, and in that respect the figure is very succesful. The gear system that is behind the transformation works very smoothly. It really simulates the visual effect of a character transforming by himself.

Vehicle Mode:
Like the robot mode, Blades' vehicle form skirts a fine line between looking like a "mainline" Transformer and a "cute" Transformer. The vehicle form is very sleek and curved looking. The front cockpit section is bowl shaped leading to vents/engines that are curved. On the sides are skids (or pontoons) and the back is curved as well, with his ankle sections now set up as rear rotors. On the top is a large rotor with angled ends. For the most part, this is a very elegant and futuristic looking helicopter. The "cute" aspect comes in with the proportions. The front section is rather bulbous and large as is the rear section. If these were thrunk down a bit, I would definitely say this was more of a traditional Transformer design.

You can push the rotor to spin it. In vehicle form, you can still connect one of the tools to Blades' fist to give him extra equipment in vehicle mode.

Final Thoughts:
Blades is a cool figure and I emphasize again this is for younger kids. Older collectors probably won't get much out of it, but many younger kids I've given these out to as gifts love them and Blades is no exception. Recommended!