Thursday, 20 June 2013

TransFormers Collectors' Club 2007 Exclusive (Timelines) Airazor

I'll be perfectly frank here - there was one reason that I joined the TransFormers Collectors' Club, and that reason is this model. The moment I saw it, I thought it was awesome. It takes one of the quirkier molds from the Energon line and turns it, quite successfully, into one of the coolest characters from Beast Wars.

Slugslinger may not have been the obvious choice for this accompaniment to the Dawn of Futures Past BotCon set (made, as it was, largely from Galaxy Force/Cybertron models), but it was one of my favourites... surely this is ideal stuff for an exclusive?

Packaging:
Probably one of the smaller display boxes from FunPub (albeit still deeper than it needed to be), Airazor comes in the standard foam insert with an excellent painting (by Chris Appel) - very true to the toy and, just for fun, depicting her in a pose that's actually (mostly) achievable by the toy. As usual, there's an instruction sheet and a bio card, which names her 'Chromia-10 Pilot' rather than Airazor... Could it be that there might have been problems using the name?
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Vehicle Mode:
There's no getting away from the fact that this is a pretty bizarre jet mode... it doesn't even fit the traditional interpretation of a Cybertronian jet, not least due to the two separate cockpits in its two separate nosecones. Weirdly, looking at this, there's the sense that it would look like the perfect pre-Beast Wars Airazor alternate mode if it only had the one nosecone - it'd be a sleeker, slimmer jet, ideally suited to the character.

The colourscheme is largely excellent - two or three shades of metallic brown plastic, complemented by silver and gold trim, with the transparent green cockpit canopies presenting a nice contrast (not to mention referencing the Beast Wars toy's eye colour). What little orange is visible somehow manages to blend with the browns well enough. It's something of an oversaturated halfway-house between the 1997 and 1998 versions of Beast Wars Airazor, but it suits the mold - almost making the vehicle look Steampunk - and is actually far more consistent than the crazy mix of colours used by Slugslinger.

As with the original use of this mold, Airazor's head is quite plainly visible poking into the rear of the jet, though her antennae almost make it look like part of the jet.
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Robot Mode:
I know this is just a different colourscheme and a new head, but Airazor couldn't be more different from Slugslinger. The colours are very cleverly applied to evoke the bird's-head chest design of the Beast Wars model and the complementary colourscheme works well. It's almost tempting to wish that the nosecones were molded in the same orange as the body, thighs and arms, since that would make it all the more authentic.

Beast Wars Airazor's wings weren't held aloft like this, but that minor deviation doesn't harm the look of the model - again, the colourscheme makes them look more like the original character's wings. The strange mountings on her elbows even look feather-like.

The over-the-shoulder cannon doesn't exactly fit with the tiny, claw-shaped blaster Airazor used in Beast Wars, but it's a cool feature of the mold (despite the hair trigger), and it's not as if FunPub would remove such a detail in the name of improving the homage.

Timelines Airazor's head sculpt is pretty awesome - quite close to the CGI of the TV series, albeit without the feathers, but it also looks pre-Beast Wars enough to fit with the rest of the mold. I'm not sure if the antennae are supposed to be curved - probably not, I suspect, but that's as a result of being molded in tough rubber rather than solid plastic... One of the main drawbacks of this mold is the extent of the rubber parts.
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Transformation is obviously the same as Slugslinger, though I think the shoulders might peg together a little better on Airazor - they're still prone to popping apart, just not quite so much.

Considering the Beast Wars toy was composed almost entirely of ball joints, it's nice that this 'Cybertronian retrofit' is one of the more poseable models, and it really is an awesome homage. If there's any problem, it's that this mold is far taller than the one used for DoFP Tigatron/Cheetor, while the accompanying comic clearly shows Airazor being dwarfed by Tigatron.

As I said right at the start, this is the exclusive that compelled me to join the TransFormers Collectors' Club. While I might have some reservations about recommending the Club these days due to the expense (though that may change when I finally start receiving the Subscription Service toys this year!), snapping this figure up is not a decision I regret. It's an excellent homage to Airazor and to Beast Wars in general. TFCC/Timelines Airazor is also the evidence in favour of FunPub making all its Club Exclusives extensions of each year's BotCon set... assuming it's a decent set, that is...

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