Saturday, October 1, 2011

Transformers Dark of the Moon: Air Raid (Hasbro)

Presenting the new Air Raid from Transformers Dark of the Moon (Deluxe Class). Let's make it a bit clear that this is the Hasbro release of Air Raid. Though I have not seen an actual piece, there is supposed to be a Takara released Deluxe Class Air Raid (the gray guy to your right) that's basically a re-paint of Thrust and also has a MechTech weapons system attachment..

Sadly, neither of the Takara version nor the Hasbro version - which is a new mold by the way, not a re-paint - look anything like the Air Raid that appeared as one of the bosses in the Transformers DOTM video-game - which was a prequel of the movie.

At any rate, here he is. DOTM Air Raid transforms from a... I really don't know what he transforms into. DOTM Air Raid transforms into a reconnaissance jet with a huge AWACS (Airborne Warning |And Control System) dish up top. Unfortunately DOTM Air Raid is kinda small. At best he's a small hybrid between a Northrop Grumman E-10 (Which is the only AWACs bearing airplane in military service today with twin jet engines) and a Gulfstream - I'll have to ask my friend who worked for the US Navy to confirm.

But I feel that, given the weird location of the intakes (on top of the plane) and the fact that an airplane with a Control System requires more space as it's supposed to coordinate other aircraft, that this probably just fell out of someone's imagination in Hasbro and is not based upon anything real.

It's also a bit ironic that an Autobot whose primary function is, therefore, recon - watching people from a distance - should have a robot mode that specializes in close combat. DOTM Air Raid has in fact been described as a Gladiator. And given the high roman-like crest atop his head and the fact that he is missing a hand - which has been replaced with a very wicked looking morningstar - it's easy to see the resemblence. DOTM Air Raid's "Buckler" completes the look nicely. Oh! Note the Decepticon-like golden crest on his chest. It's almost as if DOTM Air Raid is wearing what he kills. 

DOTM Air Raid's blister card reads "Flying high above the fray, Air Raid provides a high-precision picture of the terrain, Decepticon troop movement and any other details of the battlefield that may hinder an Autobot assault. His battle shield converts to a powerful ion pulse blaster when his fellow Autobots are in need of some high-altitude reinforcement!" 

What's to like about DOTM Air Raid?

I have to say I'm loving the Emerald and Gold that DOTM Air Rad sports. It's not a color combination that you see every day and I'm glad that someone at Hasbro stepped out of their comfort level to give us the combination. 

Now there will be a lot who will argue that DOTM Air Raid looks like a spindly Tin-man. And I have to say that I initially agreed. He looks so scrawny - almost like a desiccated skeleton of a Roman Centurion risen from some long forgotten grave in the Tuetoberg Forest where 20,000 Roman Legionaries perished under the leadership of Varus. Keep that thought in mind and DOTM Air Raid starts to whet one's appetite. 

DOTM Air Raid does look like a dead Roman Warrior and that just makes him even cooler in my opinion. He also reminds me very much of what a Battletech Hatchetman would have looked like in robot form.

And there's more! DOTM Air Raid is quite flexible. He cannot twist his torso as most transformers cannot do, but because of the ball joints on his hips you can actually pose DOTM Air Raid so that it appears that he is properly adding force to his blows from the hips. 

I have to say that I'm not a fan of morning-stars, and I certainly would not opt to have my hand replaced by something so unwieldy. But it works for DOTM Air-Raid. DOTM Air Raid can even kneel as you can see to the right.

Now let's talk about that buckler that's formed out of his AWACS dish.

I love it!

It's mechtech so it obviously transforms. There are people who will ask why he bothers with a shield that converts into a ion pule blaster and I actually thought of a nice scenario as to why a buckler that transforms into a blaster would make sense: It's an energy absorber! Imagine that DOTM Air Raid's shield soaks up every physical blow and bit of energy thrown it's way. When it's full, DOTM Air Raid spins his grip on the buckler and fires!

The Ion Pulse Blaster even works for DOTM Air Raid in recon-plane mode. 

What's not to like about DOTM Air Raid?

Well DOTM Air Raid is a recon plane. It just doesn't seem right that one of the most fearless and iconic members of the Aerialbots should end up as a recon-plane and not as a jet fighter. It's just so.... demeaning. Especially to those who love the Aerialbots.

Further, while the AWACS system is attached to the back of DOTM Air Raid, he's back heavy. So if he wasn't leaning against the wall, DOTM Air Raid tends to go nose up. If you want him to land, remove his AWACS disc. Also his rear landing gear have no locks to keep them in place. You can even extend them and flatten them to the side so that it doesn't support him at all.

There is an oddity though that I noticed with DOTM Air Raid. He actually has what appears to be weapon hardpoints on his wings and a strange hole above his cockpit. True these may just be for other mechtech weapons, but perhaps they're meant for greater things - like maybe a future Superion? ( One can dream)

This particular DOTM Air Raid was purchased at Toys R'Us for PhP 699.75 (Roughly US$ 16). He's available on E-bay for PhP 750. Unfortunately it is not available on Amazon. DOTM Air Raid is definitely though one of my favorite Autobots now. 

For the full gallery and review, please click HERE

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