"Transformers Universe 2.0" Autobot Blades Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: July 2008
Price Point: $19.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Cyber Key, Missiles x 2, Rotor blades

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
 AUTOBOT BLADES carries powerful wire-guided missiles and a photon laser that can bore a hole through DECEPTICON armor at 200 yards, but he rarely uses either. He considers ranged combat to be unfair, which is funny because up close he’s just about the dirtiest fighter there is. He’ll use his rotors to kick dust and debris into his opponent’s optics, then kick the poor guy right in the exhaust port, and keep on kicking him when he falls down. It’s not that AUTOBOT BLADES likes to fight; it’s just that he really, really likes to win.

Insert the activation key and unlock all kinds of cool features in both robot and vehicle modes! This battle-ready AUTOBOT figure features flip-out plasma launchers with firing photon projectiles and spinning quick-blades in robot mode! Convert the mighty robot figure to a fierce fighting helicopter in vehicle mode and activate the working winch! In either mode, this action-packed AUTOBOT BLADES figure means business…are you ready?

Robot-to-vehicle figure comes with a winch weapon and an activation key.

While the original Classics line that inspired Universe 2.0 was made up of all original sculpts paying homage to classic G1 characters. When Universe 2.0 was given the go ahead, the line was going to be rather large so it was decided to use many previously released figures from other lines as the base for redecos that would represent G1 characters in new forms. One of these was Autobot Blades, who is a redeco of Cybertron Evac. Check out Evac's review for a detailed review of the toy's functions and transform. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

During G1, one of the most beloved concepts among Transformers fans is the "combiner" or "gestalt", where more than one Transformers combines with others to form a giant robot. Most of the time, these teams had some theme linking them together such as military vehicles for the Combaticons. In the case of the Protectobots, each became a rescue vehicle. Blades was the aerial member of the team who transformed into a helicopter. This made him a natural choice as a character to be reinvented in Universe 2.0 using the Evac sculpt.

Vehicle Mode:
In G1, Blades' color scheme was a fairly even distribution of red and white colors with a bit of grey and black mixed in. Since the Evac sculpt primarily uses one color for its vehicle form, it's no surprise that a bulk of the color in this form went to red. It's a very striking base color to use that also stands out strongly inside the packaging on the shelves. Smaller parts such as the front end of the vehicle, the landing gear, missiles and rotor blades are cast in black. His front windows have been cast in translucent blue plastic, which works better against the red plastic than I would have originally thought. Small pieces of white plastic are present as well, each used for a trigger mechanism for this missiles and rotor blades.

Unlike Evac, where a color pattern was painted over a significant portion of the mid-section, most of Blades has been left red. Black, white, blue and silver paint have been used for paint applications. The apps are sparse, but they work really well. White is used on the top of his engine section as well as on the circular part of the winch. A white line runs along the side of the vehicle. White is also used on a small portion of the tail section as well as the circular section on the tail, right where the rear rotors are attached. Black is used for the words "Costal Rescue", which can be found on the left side of the vehicle right vehind the side window. His nicest detail is a symbol for the "Autobot Coastal Rescue" which looks like a life preserver with two anchors running through it. A small red Autobot symbol is in the center, and it really gives it a look of a vehicle you'd find in a real life emergency rescue team. This symbol can be found on both sides of the tail section.

While it could be argued that more white may have been used to give him a greater resemblance to his G1 counterpart, I think this even color distribution works a lot better. If you're going to do a redeco, I always prefer the new scheme be different than the previous releases. It would have been lazy of the designers to just take Evac's color pattern and just swap out colors. The uniformity of the red works well here, especially since the small decos help break up the red in strategic places. I also liked the use of the white strips on the sides as they remind me of silver stripes running along the sides of G1 Blades in vehicle mode. Definitely a nice touch.

With its sleek, and modern appearance, I think this vehicle choice perfectly matches an updated Blades. Also, the Cyber Key activated weapons feature suits the character as well. In G1, Blades had a cannon mounted on either side of the vehicle mode. The missile launchers here are like a natural evolution of those weapons, looking both sleeker and more compact.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Blades shows off a lot more color distribution. While red is still the dominant color, a lot more black plastic bits show up. Black plastic is found on his arms, upper legs, feet and bits of his shoulders. Paint applications make up the rest of his detail, including white on his chest and face and blue on small details such as a trapezoid on his chest and his eyes. Black paint is used as well, both on the chest and waist. The white stripe from the sides of the vehicle mode wind up on the front of the legs, keeping those parts from looking dull. Again the color pattern used here is different than the one used on Evac, and I think that works very well. Like the vehicle mode, it's understated but the colors are perfect for the character. Part of me would have liked to see the face painted light blue for homage sake, but the blue eyes set against a blue face would have probably looked rather bland.

One thing that always "got me" as a kid was that G1 Blades' tech specs indicated he liked slicing up enemies with his rotor blades - except the G1 toys' rotor blades were stuck on his back. I remember spending a good five minutes trying to figure out a way to remove them and have him hold them as a kid. I ultimately gave up and wound up having him plow into crowds of Decepticons in vehicle form, figuring his blades would take out anyone around him that way. With this incarnation of Blades, now you can detach his rotor blades and have him use them on enemies. Even better? The winch on his other arm can easily be seen as a way of him dragging enemies towards him and then getting sliced up, just the down and dirty fighting style that works for the character!

Both the winch and rotor mechanisms still work well, and all of his joints are very tight. The Cyber Key feature still works as well, which shouldn't come as a surprise since this is only the second use of this sculpt so far.

Final Thoughts:
Autobot Blades is a fun toy to begin with. However, I was struck by how utterly appropriate so many of the design elements of Evac were to Blades that I give this an enthusiastic thumbs up. This is especially a must purchase if you don't already own Cybertron Evac. Highly recommended!

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