"Transformers Universe 2.0" Powerglide Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: July 2008
Price Point: $29.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Cannon, missile

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Not as fast or powerful as the DECEPTICON fliers, POWERGLIDE relies instead on his raw skill as a combat pilot. Where his enemies rely on afterburners and advanced weapon systems, he executes loops, flat spins, and other aerial maneuvers that make even the craziest and most foolhardy DECEPTICONS backfire out of fear. In a sky full of bad guys, you can always easily spot POWERGLIDE twisting and diving through enemy fire, dodging missiles, and generally outclassing even the best among the DECEPTICON air warriors.

Hear cool conversion sounds as you twist and turn this awesome AUTOBOT warrior from battle-ready robot figure to fighter jet vehicle mode! The roar of the vehicle’s engine lets you know that this fierce “flyer” is ready to roll out into battle. In robot mode, the launching thermal beam projectile helps to keep enemies at bay.

Includes 2 “AAA” batteries.

One of the most distinctive personalities in the G1 animated series was Powerglide, one of the few Mini-Bots in G1 to not get any type of redeco or retooling until over a decade later. His boistrous manner in the original series was fantastic, and now the character is reborn as an ultra sized figure in "Transformers Universe".

Vehicle Mode:
Like his G1 predecessor, Powerglide is an A-10 Thunderbolt fighter plane. Whereas G1 Powerglide was a Mini-Bot, and sort of a "cute" version of the fierce vehicle, this one is much larger and thus more powerful and robust looking. He has the basic framework of an A-10, including a short nosecone leading to a center post running the length of the vehicle to the back. Two wings extend out to the sides at right angles while two large engines/turbines are mounted on either side of the rear half of the plane. On the back, each vertical rudder has a distinct five sided shape, which is a stylized version of the one on the real life A-10. Like the real life A-10, Powerglide has his weapon mounted on the underside of the nosecone, set on the left side which is a homage to a small gun detail found on the G1 Powerglide figure. What's cool is that you can technically use the weapon two ways. Normally you have the end that looks like a gatling gun face forward, but if you want to add some missile launching play into the mix, turn the weapon around and you can fire a missile at Decepticon enemies!

While the A-10 is the base vehicle for the figure, it has many distinctive parts that separate it from its real life counterpart. First, mounted on either side of the cockpit are two huge vents. As you move towards the middle of the figure, there is another set of armor from the robot mode protruding out to the sides a bit, looking like another air intake vent. On his wings, the designers had to find a way to make his arms look good while not too intrusive, so the lower arms of the robot are mounted towards the base of the wings, looking like some type of sensor pod. Next to them are the robot shoulder joints, which ehre resemble some type of camera for reconaissance missions including an extended lense in the front and tubes on the sides.

Powerglide is full of details in this form, quite a bit of an upgrade from his G1 figure. From front to back are raised shapes, vents, circles showing were armor plates connect and tiny circles showing rivet points on the armor plates. Look inside his cockpit and you'll see seats for a pilot and copilot in front of a control panel, another nice touch. Perhaps my favorite details are the pods under his wings which have tubes wrapping around them along with some additional line detail.

Powerglide is mostly cast in light grey, translucent orange and black colors. Most of the body of the plane is grey, with the translucent orange used for parts such as the backs of each turbine and the cockpit cover. Black plastic is used for his missle and the legs of his landing gear (the wheels are in light grey). Paint details are done in red, black, gunmetal grey and bright orange. The gunmetal is used on small details such as the circles around the front of his turbines and the outline of the cockpit cover's frame. Red paint is used on the edges of the wings, the back of the turbines, the sides of his ruddere, the edges of the lower robot arms underneath the wings and the vents on his cockpit section. A slightly darker shade of red can be found on the wings where a silouette of the Autobot symbol flanked by wings can be found with the letters "9G" on it. There are several letter/number combinations printed on the figure. The JJM7128 and B12128 are references to the birthdays of two Hasbro designer relatives. The "M-10 51" on the rudder indicates the wedding date of those two relatives. The "9G" is an arbitrary number assignment.

The red color is used to pay homage to the original Powerglide's primary color. So why wasn't the primary color made red? Hasbro has a tendency towards designs that are more realistic and darker in tone. Having a mostly red plane (especially of this class) seemed unrealistic, so the more neutral grey was chosen instead. Personally I think this was a missed opportunity. As a color, red jumps out at you visually more than grey, which is, in truth, a fairly dull color, especially for a character with personality like Powerglide's. That said, the decos are done well and I love how a Hasbro designer took something personal and made it into military looking details. For those curious, the Japanese release of this figure did make the plane mode mostly red since they are less concerned with "realism" and more concerned with relating to the original characters new toys are based upon.

Pushing a bright orange button on the top of the plane activates its electronic features. First is the sound of a plane starting up. Another is a plane fying and the third is machine gun fire (which repeats if you hold the button down). While the sounds come out, Powerglide also lights up in the cockpit and at the rear of this thrusters. It's a nice combined effect and adds some fun to the figure. A bit more fun occurs when you transform him. Midway through the transformation, the classic G1 transformation effect sounds. Transform him back into vehicle mode and the sound plays in reverse. Under each wing is a pair of landing gear with the third being underneath the nosecone.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach his weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing the top half of the plane's central section up.
  3. Extend the lower portion of the plane's middle section forward (these are the robot legs).
  4. Split the robot legs from each other and fold up each foot.
  5. Rotate the hip piece around to turn both legs.
  6. Swing the rear section of the plane back to expose a small hole in the center, then swing that section down to attach to the black peg on the lower portion.
  7. Swing the rudder section down, and fold each one flat so they are positioned downward.
  8. Swing the robot head up and turn it around to face front.
  9. Rotate each wing up and swing the wings up, attaching them to the clips on the main body.
  10. Straighten out each robot arm.
  11. Extend the fists out on the lower arms.
  12. Place the weapon into Powerglide's hand.

Robot Mode:
Standing at a little over 21 centimeters tall, it is really strikin to see how much of an upgrade Powerglide has received. Just as his vehicle mode is bigger and more detailed than his G1 predecessor, the same goes for the robot mode. Powerglide's original body was mostly made up of the vehicle mode's center section with the wings flat up against the sides. It was a unique and interesting look, but not particularly bulky or powerful looking. With this new design, Powerglide's upper body is comprised mostly of the rear half of the plane, with the engines forming a majority of the bulk on his chest. Paying homage to his G1 form however, his wings are vertically mounted on the sides of his body with his arms extending out from them. His mid-section is a bit small porportionally speaking to the upper body, but when you get to the lower legs his knee armor and the the size of his feet also give the feeling of bulk. Overall, this profile gives him elements of his classic appearance, but with modern design sensibilities.

A lot of details become more visible in this form, and many of them are small ones that work well together to form a comprehensively detailed figure. His robot head is designed to be an updated version of his G1 head, utilizing a trapezoid shape with an oval on his forehead and a small antenna detail on the left side which is analagous to the gun detail that was on the G1 Powerglide's head. He even has a rather distinctive mouthplate that is sectioned into layers. His arms and legs each have raised and recessed details, including vent lines, outlines of armor plating and tubes. His hip section has an interesting detail running across the front that looks like tubes connected to a buckle in the center, giving a very "belt" like appearance. Perhaps the cutest (yes cutest) detail is inside Powerglide's chest. Raise the panel on the center of his chest and you'll find a heart shape sculpted inside. This is a reference to a scene in the G1 episode "The Girl who loved Powerglide"

As with the vehicle mode, the light grey plastic makes up most of the robot form. Red is used for paint detailing on certain parts such as the edges of his lower legs and arms. His head is mostly painted red, with gunmetal grey used for the oval on his forehead and the vents on either side of his mouthplate. This same color can be found on his knee armor. Silver is used for the face/mouthplate section. Smaller parts are made up of silver and black plastic. A large, tampographed Autobot symbol has been placed in the center of the panel that swings up to reveal his "heart". Some translucent orange plastic shows up in this form as well on his chest where the back of the plane engines now face front.

You can still use the sound effects for this figure by pressing the button on his back. His gun fires a large missile or you can reverse the missile launcher to use it as a machine gun cannon instead. Powerglide has nineteen points of articulation in this form. This includes four in each arm and waist articulation. I'm not too crazy about his missile (it's rather generic looking) so I like the optino of turning the cannon around.

Final Thoughts:
Figures like Powerglide often leave me conflicted. I like his lights and sounds. I love the sculpt for its detail, unique transformation scheme and its visual faithfulness to the character. However, the color scheme really hurts it, and that is no fault of the designers, but rather the overriding philosophy of the US market that leans towards "realistic" color schemes. The Henkei! version of this figure is painted mostly red, and it looks so much more "Powerglide-esque" that were it not for its really expensive price I'd recommend buying that one instead (unless money is no problem for you, in which case, go for it). I do recommend this figure since it has more going for it than against it, but the deco is rather bland and could have been much better.

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