In the original Transformers toyline the Aerialbots was the first Combiner team for the Autobots, an attempt to counter the Decepticons’ Constructicons while said Decepticons were also working on their own ground-based team. Most Autobots by this point were based on cars and that left the heroes with little air support against the mostly flying vehicle villains. So their first team were aircraft. The toys use a style of combining fans refer to as “Scramble City”, based on a Japanese special that showcased the Combiners for a “Scramble City” subline (the US didn’t start using sublines for a long time…even the Headmasters and Targetmasters were considered part of the same line, just a different gimmick.)

I never had the Aerialbots as a kid so when I came across the Quick Change Robot Fighter knockoffs as an adult collector. As usual this series is hard to research but with a different group of knockoff robot aircraft from this company I couldn’t even tell you what the name of this group is. But that won’t stop me from reviewing it.

Silverbolt was afraid of heights. Not the best choice for a supersonic transport (SST).

The “Scramble” style Combiners had a core robot and four limbs. The core was the leader, which in this case was Silverbolt. It’s not a bad-looking plane, although the tail fins are missing (unless SSTs don’t have those), which might get in the way given how the tail transforms into his other modes. One of those is the “base mode” that the Scramble cores have but the knockoff doesn’t have the ramp so I won’t show you that mode in this review. Here’s what it looks like if you’re curious. There are only three flaws and only one of them is minor, the sticker on his left wing is just a mirror image of the one on his right. So he has “ASU” on one wing. One of the two major issues is just past the nose of the plane, that thing sticking out. I don’t know if that’s supposed to add support to base mode or not but it doesn’t work because the tail section really doesn’t lie flat. I don’t know if that’s a knockoff problem like the wing or if the original toy had that as well.

You can probably see the other flaw very easily, his hands are sticking out for everyone to see. There are sliders but it only extends the fists further, although the hands look small enough to retract into the arms. I think that’s for not-Superion mode and it is a design flaw from the original. And it’s not the only one.

The chest piece usually is only used in combined mode. Here it’s a requirement according to images I’ve seen.

Silverbolt’s biggest problem (or at least his knockoff’s…the actual toy might not have had this problem) is that he cannot stand. His feet look like they shouldn’t have that much trouble but he’s more backheavy than he looks. I had to one the doll stand just to take the picture. He also only has articulation in the elbows to fire the gun he doesn’t have, but a quick test shows that if you extend the hand there is a peg on not-Superion’s gun that allows him to hold that. And it even helped with the backheavy problem, sort of.

You can better see the vac-metal gold on his lower arms and upper legs, but there really isn’t much to him. It’s not bad for the era not-Silverbolt comes from but I think his portrayal in the cartoon and comic stands out more than he does. Which is more than I can say for his comrades.

I have so little to say about them I’ll actually be going over them at the same time.

The plane modes do admittedly look nice, although the white plane’s robot arms can’t lie flush like the others. My favorite is plane #1, not-Skydive, but plane #2, not-Air Raid, also looks cool. #2 is not-Slingshot, a plane I never liked the look of, and not-Fireflight, who resembles his Autobot original (unless you want to get nitpicky about the origins of the Transformers line but most of you reading this site probably don’t) well, rounds out our cast of knockoffs. The plastic quality is quite good. By knockoff standards Quick Change Robot System is usually pretty good at this. Their stickers aren’t the best (not-Skydive also has a couple mirrored stickers on him and remember the stickers fell off of Animal Robot during the review) but the toys themselves, while not up to par with the original toys, is still surprisingly good. All the problems I have with this set come from the original engineering. I do like that they all have a working landing gear.

“So do we use knockoff jet fuel?”

There are limits to the transformation, but with the other one I have features a different transformation for each robot, making them look unique both in robot mode and in combined mode. Maybe it’s because they’re all jet fighters and Takara couldn’t figure out a way to make them all unique but the transformation is all the same way. The nose and tail come together on a lever system, the legs extend, the wings fold back (giving more stability since the nose and tail combine on their backs) and the arms come out. Despite attempts to give some differences (again, not-Slingshot gets the short end with the arms) there isn’t a lot of individuality to them. Compare them to, say, the Protectobots, and they look rather basic really.

My favorite G1 Combiner (of the ones I own) are the Protectobots. It’s a great use of the “Scramble” gimmick, and like the Mini-Cons was never fully realized in the media. Even that Scramble City special I mentioned, where they at least acknowledged that any limb can go anyplace not only on their core but any other core, didn’t showcase that which limb robot is playing the arms gave special skills to the others. I’ll go more into that when I get to that review, or Energon Optimus Prime, who was given a similar gimmick with his drones. Not that it matters here mind you.

One problem that might be exclusive to the knockoffs is that the nose and tail on the limbs don’t stay together very well. It makes not-Superion here look a bit silly.

Because it doesn’t matter who goes where on this group. I mean, Hasbro and Marvel both came up with a “default” sequence. But honestly it doesn’t matter who you use for which limb (although only not-Silverbolt can form the body of course). Because they’re all basically the same, no not-Aerialbot adds anything different in a different spot. Even the possibility of using the plane’s weapons are lost given how the planes are pointed. I find that to be a huge disappointment after realizing the advantages of different positions offered Defensor (the Protectobot’s combination mode), which I only figured out after seeing it on Energon Optimus. It’s almost like the Aerialbots were a prototype even at the toy stage, and the designers then figured out the advantages of different vehicle and weapons to different limbs…which Hasbro, Takara, and Marvel never took notice of. I’m sorry if this is your favorite but to me it makes Superion the weakest of the Scramble Combiners.

That’s not to say not-Superion is bad-looking. He actually looks quite cool and powerful. He also only has arm articulation. But this is a knockoff of a G1 Transformer figure so I’m not all that surprised. It’s just compared to others he doesn’t quite measure up.

Decision: Stays

I have no desire to pick up the Aerialbots (at least the G1 version) after owning this toy. Even with reissues I don’t feel it’s worth the price by today’s toy standards. For the time it was pretty cool though, and having a representation doesn’t bother me. The jets and not-Superion look good, it’s just the robot modes are bland and the Scramble combination is useless compared to others. But he does look cool combined and once this collection is cleaned-up they might be worth displaying in the two good modes.