Release Date: December 2014
Price Point: $15.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Blaster
*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This Skydive figure fires his double-barreled blaster in robot mode, and he converts fast to jet mode whenever his high-diving combat tactics are needed. But he can also become an arm or a leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Superion warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Skydive figure is in, he's going to bring maximum carnage to the fight! 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.
The character of Skydive was one of the original Aerialbots in Generation One. This team of Autobots was one of the first to feature aerial alt modes and they could combine into the giant known as Superion. Skydive has popped up here and there over the years in the "Transformers" toy line, but usually as a redeco of another figure (and the name was re-purposed in "Beast Machines" as well).
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. The words "Combiner Wars" are set across the top and dramatic, painted artwork is heavily featured on the card. The figure is set against it in a bubble, showing off the figure in robot mode and its accessories. The bubble features a sticker showing Superion. Overall, this look is very akin to the "Star Wars" Black Series line of figures, also aimed at older collectors.
The back of the packaging features photos of the figure in both modes with a very brief note on the character. Sadly, we have lost tech specs for the most part. There are no statistics or much of a personality. I suspect part of this is due to the multi-lingual packaging which features four languages now. To the right of the packaging is a drawing of Superion (using Drag Strip as an arm due to him being in the wave of figures) and cosells for Drag Strip (named "Decepticon Dragstrip" for trademark reasons), Silverbolt, Alpha Bravo and Firefly himself.
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 backing card features artwork based on the toy itself. This card art is actually from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app card game, specifically from the "Eagle eyes" event. 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.
The "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures include a weapon and a piece that serves three purposes: a weapon, a fist and a foot. This piece is rectangular in the middle and angles down to the front. Unlike the hand/foot pieces included with other figures in this assortment, Skydive's accessory has missiles in the front instead of weapon barrels. The back has what is clearly a thumb which doubles as a heel piece. The top has a 5mm peg that allows you to attach it to a figure as a weapon and of course allows it to attach to Skydive when he is in "limb" mode. Flip the piece over and you'll see a piece with four fingers sculpted into it. Swing it out, then swing in the thumb and you form a hand. The thumb swings up and down so this piece can serve as a left or right hand. This piece is sculpted in all black plastic. The piece is a tad smaller than one might expect, but it works well in all its functions. It is worth noting that among the first wave of "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures, this piece is unique to Skydive.
Skydive includes a dual barreled blaster which is not a homage to his G1 counterpart's weapon as that figure came with a single barreled blaster. Among the original Aerialbots it was Fireflight who came with a dual barreled blaster. In another interesting note, Skydive shares this weapon sculpt with the upcoming Air Raid figure, which is largely a retool/redeco of Skydive.
When updating characters in new forms, the "Classics/Generations" line of figures generally takes one of two approaches: design a figure that is very close in design to the G1 source or come up with a whole new form for the character. Skydive represents a middle ground between the two. He has several elements from the original G1 Skydive design, but others that are specific to this incarnation of the character. First, let's go into the G1 design elements:
The head sculpt is directly influenced by G1 Skydive, with a relatively narrow section on the top of the "helmet" leading down to widening parts on the sides of the helmet that flank the head. The top of the head also has a small crest inside a notch in the center. The eyes on the face are also relatively narrow, similar to his G1 cartoon appearance.
The middle of the torso has three distinct, rectangular sections. Each of these has a corresponding design on the G1 cartoon and comic book model.
The shoulder design angles upward, similar to the G1 Skydive toy.
On either side of the "abdominal" area are two vertical lines of ridged details. These call back to a similar detail set on the G1 Skydive toy and animation model.
The forearms seem to borrow a piece of design from the G1 Skydive toy, where a flat panel formed the outer part of the arms. Here, a relatively flat panel is found on the outside of each forearm.
In terms of more modernized designs, much of the chest/shoulder area is very wide and angled, quite different than the more square and rectangular shapes used on G1 Skydive in that area. Also, the leg design is very modern and doesn't really call back to G1 Skydive at all. This includes diamond shaped designs at the knees and intricate mechanical design sculpting towards the ankle area. The feet kind of resemble the feet from the stickers used on that area on the G1 Skydive toy, but the level of detail even on the feet is far above what was seen in G1 Skydive (in toy or animation form). Overall the sculpt looks fantastic and I think he looks great.
One area where Skydive stays true to his G1 roots is his color scheme. He is cast mostly in black and grey plastic, the same primary colors as G1 Skydive. The parts are distributed in an alternating patter, for instance the upper arms are black while the forearms are grey, the thighs are black and the lower legs are grey and so on. The torso section is painted a shiny red. This shine mimics the look of the die-cast metal parts that were painted red on G1 Skydive. While this figure is all plastic, I appreciate the effort to echo the older figure in this way. The paint colors used on this figure include copper, blue, red and black. The copper and blue are used for the face and eyes respectively. The red is used on the torso (as discussed above) and the black is found on his forearms and feet. You'll also find a tampographed Autobot symbol on the left shoulder (this is a call back to the placement of the Autobot symbol on G1 Skydive). Overall the colors on this figure look great and pay homage to G1 Skydive nicely.
Skydive has fourteen points of articulation in this form. That sounds a tad low for a "Generations" figure, but it is important to note that four of these points (the shoulders and hips) are ball joints, so his actual range of motion is really great. This also includes waist articulation, something that has slowly become more common in recent years. His fists each have 5mm ports to allow him to hold both his weapons. You can also store away his weapons on the back thanks to the 5mm ports on the underside of the vehicle mode wings. I found the knee joints on my copy of this figure slightly more loose than the shoulder joints, but he stands and poses just fine.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms, legs and head.
- Pull the jet cockpit piece a bit and swing it back.
- Rotate the robot head around.
- Swing the jet cockpit forward and down over the robot head.
- Swing the robot arms down, taking part of the section that connects to the chest with it.
- On each leg, swing out the back panel, then swing both panels forward and connect them together, then swing the rear leg panels down.
- Push the robot arms against the sides, using the notches on the forearms to connect to the tabs on the sides of the robot legs.
- Swing the wings down.
- Swing the horizontal stabilizers down.
- The weapons can be attached to the ports on under the wing or on top of the vehicle.
Skydive's vehicle mode appears to be a cross between an F-18 Hornet and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The front end looks mostly like an F-16, with the distinctive shape of the cockpit section and nosecone along with missiles mounted under the wings. The F-18 influence comes in on the rear of the vehicle which features two horizontal stabilizers and two angled vertical stabilizers. Also, like the F-18 there are large vents right under the wings. The result is a vehicle that looks like it could plausible as a disguise for Skydive while allowing him combat capability in vehicle form.
G1 Skydive had one of the most distinctive decos via his stickers. This was largely due to a series of yellow "lightning bolt" designs on his wings, stabilizer and sides. For this incarnation of Skydive, the designers to do something a bit less dramatic and instead used gold as the visual allegory for the lightning bolts. To that end, the middle of each wing is painted gold and angled lines on the vertical stabilizers are gold as well. The edges of the wings are painted black, and there are silver and red Autobot symbols on each wing. The vents under the wings are painted silver. The cockpit has a dark, metallic blue color that looks really rich.
As mentioned above, there are three connection points for 5mm peg weapons: the undersides of the wings and the middle of the top section.
Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):
- Detach all weapons.
- Transform the fist piece into the hand. Flip out the four fingers that are sculpted together, then swing the thumb up to the side you want to form.
- Swing the horizontal stabilizer fins up.
- Swing each robot arm out to the side.
- Open up the halves of the robot legs and swing them down, then reconnect them together.
- Swing the cockpit section up and back.
- Swing each wing up.
- Swing the shoulder sections up, then fold the forearms up, bending the arm at the elbow. There are notches on the outside of the forearms that align with the tabs on the underside of each wing.
- Swing the robot head down to reveal the limb connection piece.
- Attach the hand to the bottom of the feet.
Thanks to the way his joints come together, Skydive is really solid in this mode. I'm particularly happy that the designers set up his arms to connect to the wings to form a solid shoulder section. I also appreciate the way the shoulder section is bigger than the forearm, making it look like the center of strength for the entire arm. The way the wings stick out to the sides look like some type of shoulder armor as well. Add to this the thick hands which which look like they're meant for some Decepticon destruction and this is one solid looking limb.
Unlike his G1 counterpart, there's a lot of posability going on in this mode. Altogether you can pose the arm in five places. The first is the connector piece that links him to a torso piece. This has a ratchet joint on it allowing you to move the arm up and down. Then the waist of the robot mode allows the arm to move in and out. The robot legs themselves allow for two more points of "elbow" articulation while the fist can be rotated. The fist itself also has a point of articulation with the thumb, which can be moved side to side and upward. A 5mm port inside the fist allows weapons to be attached. You can also hook up extra weapons to the wings and fists in this form.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in robot mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Take the fist/foot piece and push in the fingers (if they're out) and swing the thumb back to form the heel.
- Swing the jet cockpit piece back.
- Swing the head back and point the connector piece up.
- Swing each rear half of the legs back, then swing the legs up on the knee hinge and reconnect the pieces together (as if you were forming the vehicle mode).
- Swing the shoulders down.
- Swing each robot arm down to the sides, connecting the notches on the forearms to the tabs on the sides of the legs.
- With the cockpit sections facing front, attach the foot piece so the rocket launcher details are facing the same way.
Like the arm mode, a lot of the design of this form is solid, which is not only cool but necessary since a larger figure (and arms) have to be supported by this limb. This is partly achieved by having all the parts from the robot mode condense including the legs being up against the torso and the arms connecting to the legs on the sides. Technically you could combine this as Superion's leg with the cockpit in back (which is more G1 accurate), but that interferes with Superion's leg articulation a bit, so I can see why the "official" mode has the cockpit in front.
Skydive's leg mode allows for three points of articulation. The connector piece can turn side to side and provide knee articulation. The third point is, I admit, a bit of a cheat in that you can move the foot piece into different positions as well.
Skydive is a fantastic update of the G1 Aerialbot. I've knocked a few "points" off for the slight looseness of the legs and frankly, I want lightning bolts on the deco! These are minor quibbles however. It's a great figure, go get it!