Thursday, June 27, 2013

3rd Party Transformers - TFC F-4 Phantom - Not SIlverbolt

Joe here! Back again for some more 3rd Party Transformers goodness. Today we're going to take a look at piece #2 of the new TFC Uranos combiner, SR-71 Blackbird, or... Not Silverbolt. As you know, Silverbolt is the part to which all the others attached to give us our behemoth of a combiner. Hercules was quite the figure in terms of "Modern Era" combiner and TFC is looking for a repeat win. While Blackbird is only the second of the five we will be getting, we can start seeing how Uranos will come together.

Take to the skies after the jump!

SR-71 Blackbird is the TFC Uranos homage to the G1 Aerialbot Silverbolt.

As with Fireflight, Silverbolt made his first appearance with the rest of the Aerialbots in the 2 part episode 'The Key to Vector Sigma". Megatron had created the Stunticons and Optimus Prime answered back with the creation of the Aerialbots.

Siverbolt, as the central piece of the combined mode, is the leader of the Aerialbots...

The central bot being in the command role seems to be the norm in Combiner Teams... with the exception of the Constructicons, whose leader is Scrapper, one of Devastator's legs.

As the leader, Silverbolt is always trying to put forth a strong, decisive, and courageous front to set an example for his fellow Aerialbots. But, what most Autobots don't realize is that a lot of that front is to hide Silverbolt's intense fear of heights. Optimus Prime, seeing Silverbolt's potential, placed him in the leadership role hoping that his concern for the others Aerialbots would outweigh his fear of heights. Thus far, Optimus Prime was right as Silverbolt makes an excellent team commander.

SR-71 Blackbird comes packed in the what seems to be the standard packaging for TFC's figures. The box is amazingly detailed; a full-color window box adorned with excellent art and shots of the figure in all it's modes. Not only do we get Blackbird, but a second, smaller figure as well. This second figure, X-47 Phantom Ray, is used as Uranos' chest shield in the final combined mode.

Inside the box, we find Blackbird tied into a plastic tray which is in turn nestled into a card tray. The card tray has some modified artwork printed into it.


Underneath, we find a bag with full color instructions, a poster, and a Tech-Spec card.

With Blackbird and Phantom Ray from their tray, I found that Blackbird is a faithful representation to G1 Silverbolt. Like his fellow teammate Phantom, and the Hercules team, Blackbird is a solid figure. He has a nice heft and all his joints are smooth and move well allowing him to take and hold many poses. Phantom Ray isn't bad either, but I found him to be a little on the loose side.

Phantom Ray is basically a bonus figure. Instead of making some large chest shield like the G1 combiners had, TFC went a whole other direction. They took the opportunity to give us just that much more with Phantom Ray. He's definitely not in scale with the rest of the figures, but his purpose is clear. Molded in red and white plastic, he's well jointed with hinges and ball-joints. He has a few small paint apps, namely call-sign markings on his wings, but very few others.

By manipulating the Alt-mode, Phantom Ray becomes Uranos' chest shield. Through some posts and holes he connects to Uranos' chest. Badly... but I'll get to that in a moment.

As I said, the joints and articulation are excellent... the joints being nice and tight and allowing him to hold quite the variety of poses. Molded in the same white and red as Phantom Ray, we get a little extra in our larger Bot in the way of yellow and black added into the mix. There are a few silver and yellow paint apps and some call sign markings on the vertical fins of the Alt-mode.

Aside from being packaged with Phantom Ray, the other accessory that Blackbird has is his gun... his ridiculously... huge... gun. Now, while I understand that this gun is used by Uranos himself, on Blackbird it's just comically big. The other reason the weapon is this large is that it actually makes up the nose and cockpit section of Blackbird's Alt-mode.

As a kid, the only complete combiner team I had was the Predacons. I had parts of some of the others, but never a complete second team. One team was the Aerialbots, the only piece of which was Silverbolt. I recall him having a fairly good transformation... with the exception of all the kibble underneath that made up his Bot-mode. It would appear that Blackbird has some of the same issues.

Getting Blackbird into his Alt-mode is fairly intuitive and eerily similar to his G1 counterpart. His head rotates downward, his arms fold up and in, and his legs rotate and fold out and up to the body. His wings and engines have a little more to them than the G1 Silverbolt, but nothing difficult to figure out.

Transforming Blackbird's gun and attaching it to the front of the Alt-mode completes the transformation.

Sadly, with all this kibble at the back of the Alt-mode, Blackbird is rather ass heavy and does not 'sit' naturally without a little support. I found this to be the only real drawback to an Alt-mode that otherwise looks pretty darn good despite the exposed kibble.

To get Blackbird into his combined mode as Uranos' head and chest, you have to get him into a modified Bot-mode. Instead of the arms folding upward, they fold in toward the body to make the shoulders. Uranos' head is folded out of Blackbird's chest and the legs are half transformed, exposing the connection posts.

The worst part about this transformation is getting Phantom Ray to stay connected as Uranos' chest plate. There are only 2 small post/post-holes that allow for the connection... and it isn't a solid one. Pahntom Ray's legs hinder his staying in place and more often than not, merely moving the end result causes the chest plate to fall off. I'm not happy with this... at all. While the overall look is nice, it's just such a pain in the skid-plate to keep on.

Now that we have a torso and head, let's add on Phantom as the arm. The connection for the limbs is akin to Energon series connection posts and receptacles. Merely pop it on. The connection is solid and even with the weight of the arm, still remains in place when rotated. So far, Uranos doesn't look all that bad. He's starting to look a little bulky for my taste, but he looks like he could give Hercules a run for his money.

So... we're two pieces in. Next up is Uranos' right leg, F-15 Eagle... or Not Air-Raid. We'll finally be able to get Uranos on his... foot... and see just how big he is in comparison to some of my other combiner, so stay tuned.

Pics, words, and Lockheed Martin air speed record by Scion of Primus.