Returning to the Micromaster Combiners from the Transformers Universe line we have the Aerialbots. Personally I go with “Skybots” since these aren’t the classic Aerialbots (mine are actually a knockoff so I still in a way have them) and since one of them is actually a space shuttle I’m surprisingly limited in team renames. Plus those characters will show up again and I still wanted to flex my Transformer name-making skills. I have a bunch left but the next choice was given to me right quickly when I saw that these guys were on the list of the Gold Plastic Syndrome I mentioned last week in the Snarl review. Specifically the gun, lower body, and for some reason the hands were made of the same plastic with areas painted white. Why the arms weren’t molded with the feet I really don’t know. I wasn’t there. So I wanted to make sure I reviewed this in case it was a GPS sufferer. Instead we have a tight joint issue on some of these and since I don’t know if Beast Machine Snarl’s damage came from tightness, GPS, or a bit of both I wanted to go over this one while I still had it in one piece. The TF Wiki claims it was the last figure thus far to have this kind of plastic and I hope that remains the case if these are turning to powder.

So…toy history. From the “Operation Combination” line of (formerly) Japanese-exclusive Transformers, this mold began life as Sixwing, a six-team Combiner that has been both Decepticon and Autobot. Given that there is only one Decepticon among the Micromaster Combiners in Universe I wonder if they should have gone with the former. Sure they end up still shorter than the Deluxe class of the time but more enemies to fight is good for bedroom battles. In Europe these weren’t released under the Universe title but Cybertron despite lacking cyber-keys, so for any international readers (I’m sure clutter organizing is universal) there’s your confusion. Here in the US these were KB Toys exclusives but soon ended up in CVS and Big Lots and I think that’s how I got mine.

Oh look, a shorter backstory than the Universe reviews have had thus far. Let’s get to the review!

Some of these vehicle mode pictures are a bit blurry. Sorry.

Starting off our team we have the two that connect to the body. Air Raid is a stealth bomber and Ro-Tor is a helicopter. I can’t find any actual weapons on either of them. I guess Air Raid has his bombs but Ro-Tor (and yes, I know it sounds more like a GoBot name than a Transformer one–and it was one used for the helicopter of the Decepticon Combiner in the first Robots In Disguise line, which I reviewed the knockoff for) has a bit of molding I can pretend is a searchlight. He also has molded jet-like things in the back so he’s also a jet copter. You can also remove the helicopter blade, and that might be why it doesn’t spin very well but it also helps the toy not break so I can’t complain. Air Raid doesn’t even have molded bomb bays because the robot is all underneath but he has some good plane panels molded in. Like their Railbot colleagues the Aerialbots only have their Autobot symbols showing in vehicle mode.

I ended up going with Nightbomb for Air Raid but I’m wondering if “Nightraid” might have been better. I appear to have left Ro-Tor alone but I can’t remember why.

In robot mode there’s no real difference in color for Ro-Tor. And again, all the Micromaster combiners have uni-feet, with little division even in a molded cut or something. Use your imagination, kids. Air Raid at least gets red legs and white arms. He also stands better than Ro-Tor but it means bending his legs slightly. Ro-Tor on the other hand is slightly backheavy, possibly due to his tail rotor not being able to lie flat with his main rotor connected, but you can’t do anything with it removed since he can’t mount it anywhere else. I had to bend his hips a bit more forward so he would stay on the photo platform. The arms move forward and back, and that’s it for articulation for the entire team…and the other Micromaster Combiners.

I like my shuttle’s rename, Starfall. The name of the SST I went with Supersonic, which turned out to be his predecessor’s name in the original Japanese line.

Here we have Skydive and Storm Jet. Storm Jet is an odd name for a space shuttle, but naming your passenger plane “Skydive” especially in light of current events with airplane issues being on the news more often (not necessarily meaning there are more crashes, just more news stories about them), but what I don’t understand is why he isn’t called Silverbolt, because we will be seeing a Silverbolt that’s actually closer to the jet mode of the original Skydive. Somebody didn’t do the homage bit very well.

Again, no weapons (although at least with Skydive I can the sticking-up parts that form his robot feet are some kind of energy disk laser or something) and for some reason everyone on this team has yellow windshield windows. Skydive doesn’t even have molded-in side windows for the passengers while Storm Jet has molded shuttle bay doors. They have a mix of white and red (Skydive’s coming from his can’t hide at this size robot arms though) while Storm Jet also has black heat shielding for his nosecone. Storm Jet/Starfall and Air Raid/Nightbomb are probably my favorites of the team, although Storm Jet’s arms are so tight against his wings that they sometimes make transformation a pain and the arms may have the tightest joints of the whole group, making even posing them a pain.

“Stand up, Storm Jet.” “He renamed me Starfall and I AM standing up. Jerk.”

Yeah, Skydive is the tallest of the whole team, and that  will bring questions later in the combined form. I like how the nosecones form chests on these guys. Transformation is the same for both and similar to Air Raid’s (except Air Raid’s nosecone goes behind him) and it’s a good way to keep them from becoming “robot wearing a plane”. Their tailwings…tailwing, that would be a good plane Transformer name…fold up nicely against the feet while Air Raid’s just lie flat against his body but he forms a chest and these guys form arms. They’re also the most stable of the unileged group and stand up without any of the fight his comrades give me, especially our last two members.

Skyguard and Cloudracer are what I went with here and I think they work rather well.

Finally we have Fireflight and Silverbolt…who again should be Skydive and Skydive should be Silverbolt but since Air Raid is forming the chest it’s all a huge bit of confusion, so that’s where the renaming comes in. The actual toys names are used for clarity. And we finally have actual weapons. Fireflight has guns on his wings and Silverbolt has missiles, although the way his transformation hinge is molded I can see them as guns above the cockpit. They only have two wheels, which means they don’t have a front landing gear. They have those things on the front instead and it means they’re always pointed at the ground when they aren’t in flight. (In other words, when a kid is flying around the room with them, possibly going “wooosh”.) They both have decent molded-in panels but at this size any of these guys getting paint is a bonus.

Now that’s “robot wearing a plane”.

These two transform like Ro-Tor but backwards, like the other two do with Air Raid. And you can see what passes for “feet” on these two as a result. At least Ro-Tor’s one foot looks like a foot, and is still more stable than these two standing on their broken nosecones. It doesn’t help that folding the wings all the way back makes them so back-heavy that “difficult to make them stand” becomes “not a chance they’re standing” so I push the wings back as far as I can and it’s not a bad look compared to the rest of it. Every Combiner team has at least one sufferer of design for the same of the combination and these two are the Aerialbot Micromaster ones.

“Who doesn’t have guns now, sucker!”

Before we get to the robot let’s go over the vehicle. After the combiner that became the Railbots in Universe a redesign happened to the combiner body. Now the parts combine to form a jet vehicle one of the Micromasters can ride in. At least in theory because what you end up with is a large gap in the floor the Micromaster can easily fall through unless positioned just right. The chest robots can easily connect to their peg and just stay in robot mode but it means they’re flying the jet standing up. Also, while the remaining teams are either completely flightless or only have one or two flying vehicle among there ranks, these guys are all jets, which makes this a bit useless. Also, the gun wants to form the nose of the jet but it’s pointed a bit at an angle, which means their aim for the forward guns are not going to be too good.

“Wow, are you guys lazy.”

Here’s an oddity for you. The arm bots can ride on this easily enough but the guys forming the lower legs can only ride in jet mode if they stand on the plane. I can’t even point them so that their guns and missile launchers add firepower, but with three (if you can aim them) guns on the nosecone and two right by the cockpit I think the pilot’s good here. Now on to the combination.

I don’t have any record of a rename here so just marvel at my editing skills actually working this time.

Combined they are Superion, carrying the G1 name over despite the odd homage issues we’ve had with the names. Get used to this body because outside of coloring it’s the same body, with the same jet mode. That means the sixth member is always going to be hanging off his but just in case you were under the delusion that the sixth member was unnecessary on the Railbots but couldn’t get worse. Never challenge worse. It has a lot of beer to be held. Ro-Tor is just plugged into Superion’s butt and he doesn’t even help Air Raid fill in the body. What is even the point of this. Was the Japanese designer not happy with the name “Fivewing”? Also, Air Raid is the chest plate, which looks nice but puts him right in the viewfinder of any Decepticon who wants to take Superion out easily. I’m glad they found a better way to utilize the combiner body for the Micromasters but it has new issues to replace the old one.

Otherwise it actually looks pretty good combined with the Aerialbots. The white unifies the arms while the black chest that actually has Superion’s Autobot symbol stands out better as a result. The gold legs connectors (for as long as they continue to work) also go well with the lower legs, although Fireflight kind of stands out being red with a bunch of white limbs. I know it was to help him stand out in their single forms since Fireflight and Silverbolt look so similar in plane mode but it does cause an odd clash here. Otherwise I like the deco.

“Stay put. I can’t shoot you in front of me.”

Of course there’s the posing issue, which isn’t changed with the new body. The head now connects to the body instead of the smaller robot like Rail Racer’s head did but it doesn’t change that it only turns around and can’t nod or look down. It’s also removable but since in Japan they all came in the same set I can only imagine it’s tied to being able to include the Railbots in the swapping process. Given my worries about GPS and tight joints I’ll have to test and demonstrate that with the next one. Still no knees, and Storm Jet can’t reach around the chest to properly aim the gun. Skydive can, but for a set with so many tight joints he’s surprisingly loose in combined mode. He stays okay but the gun is too heavy for him to hold, and he doesn’t stay at all if you swap positions with Storm Jet. They also can’t swap limbs. When you’re an arm you’re an arm all the way and if you’re humming a tune from West Side Story right now this sentence did its job.

The new body fixes a few issues but creates new ones. The paint jobs are decent for a Micromaster (again, the size of a Micro Machine), and overall okay. Whether not he’s the weakest (GPS aside) we’ll find out when we look at the other two. I’m happy to have this one in my collection…for as long as he lasts.