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First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 29, June 1987 / Issue 43, August 1988
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 88, November 22nd 1986 / Issue 283, August 18th 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 30 (Season 2 #14), September 25th 1985 / Episode 70 (Season 3 #5), September 19th 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1985
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - Hasbro
Toyline - Generations
- Added a Decepticon symbol to the cockpit, covering the tampographed one
- Added a Decepticon symbol to the gun barrel
- Added a replacement head and missiles from the SXS Upgrade kit
When I was a wee strip of a lad I remember eagerly picking up my Transformers issues from my local corner shop and I still remember seeing issue 123 and thinking what a cool cover it was. The tagline was 'Trouble...Times Three!' and it featured the three Decpticon Triple Changers. Although I never tracked down Octane, Astrotrain and Blitzwing were 2 of my favourite figures. 'Blitzwing' could very well be in the top 5 of the best names ever, so hats off to Budiansky for that one. As the name suggests, this is a military character; while the other Triple Changers sported at least one civilian alternate mode, both of Blitzwings modes were instruments of death. 'Blitz' because the tank he could transform into would not have looked out of place on the battlefields of WWII, and 'Wing' because he also transformed into an awesome Jet (albeit one with a tank turret hanging off the bottom of it). In 2006, I was obviously chuffed when a new version of Astrotrain appeared. I assumed that Blitzwing would be along directly. Only he wasn't. Then we got Tankor, who was the new version of Octane. This renewed my hope that Blitzwing would be next. But then months turned into years and still no announcement! Just when I had given up hope and I got ready to send FansProject an email begging for their intervention, Hasbro finally came through with an updated version of the character! But was he worth the wait?
Appearance (Robot Mode) 8/10
There are a few issues with this robot mode which prevent it scaling even greater heights, but in the main, Hasbro have done a great job. Blitzwing is a suitably imposing figure, and is instantly recognizable as the character of old. His chest cockpit looks great, as do the moulded tracks on his legs. He still retains the iconic tailplanes, which jut out from his broad shoulders. Unfortunately the Headsculpt is quite poor. I replaced the head with the SXS upgrade kit which also incorporates some additional weaponry and a shoulder fix. Unfortunately the colour purple the kit is cast in is incorrect. This does not affect the headsculpt though, which is improved and features decent light-piping. The detail on the face could afford to be a little sharper, though. When you put this chap next to Astrotrain and Octane you realise how large he is. He is a generous Voyager figure, while the other two are average deluxes. While this isn't a flaw in the figure as such, it is galling that he doesn't really fit in so well with his team mates. Perhaps this is an example of Hasbro learning that decent-looking triple changers at deluxe size are very hard to pull off. Blitzwing also comes with a curiously small rifle and his iconic sword is also present, hooray!
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 8/10
I would say of the two modes that the jet mode is more successful, so I will start with that. I actually think that the jet looks fantastic. It is large and imposing and has space to store both weapons in a way which actually enhances the look. The purple and beige colour scheme work so well in this mode, with excellent accents on the wings picked up in red. This plane looks brutal and functional, which suits the character perfectly. The tank mode is quite good, the barrel can be moved up and down and rotated, and also fires a missile when the barrel is 'pumped' (for want of a better word). The main problem with the tank modes is that articulation though, because rotating the barrel reveals a big gap of nothing towards the rear of the vehicle. While this is annoying, it is certainly no disaster, and Hasbro have really excelled in producing 2 alternate modes which have very little incongruous kibble on them. Certainly a step up from the likes of Octane and Astrotrain!
This is where things go slightly awry for Blitzwing, for a start it is a real challenge to push the head in to the correct position to allow the nosecone to be put in place. The default head is rubbery and sits on a powerful spring which you have to push down whilst simultaneously trying to slot the nosecone into a tab. The entire nosecone is made of rubber also, so this is tricky indeed. the 2 rubber surfaces catch on each other and make it hard to get the clearance required. This is why I feel the replacement head has really improved things as this whole affair is much easier. The shoulders also have a habit of moving out of position which means that when transforming the arms, you have to readjust the shoulders continuously. These gripes aside, thing are much better elsewhere. The hands are covered by panels secreted in the inside of the forearms. The arms form the top of the fuselage in aeroplane mode, and the turret in tank mode. The legs form the bottom, with the leg transformations reversed to fulfill both modes.
Blitzwing has decent articulation, having head swivel, lateral and side-to side movement in the shoulder and the same in the hips. However, his shoulders have a mind of their own, and frustratingly pop out of position. He also has bicep and thigh swivel, elbow and knee joints as well as wrist swivel and poseable feet, being that they are comprised of the lower tailplanes. The only meaningful articulation Blitzwing lacks is a waist joint, as well as more movement in his head. There are no balance issues thanks to the articulated feet, so hats off to Hasbro again, it seems. His thighs are a little odd, though, being proportionally too stumpy when compared to his super-long lower legs.
The stock head of my figure had already lost paint, due to the incredibly awkward act of getting the nosecone into the right place. I now use a slither of paper in-between the 2 surfaces to minimise friction and paint loss during transformation. Even when in place, the nosecone feels like it is being stretched out of position, with a nasty gap where the tab engages. Again, I would recommend the head upgrade to alleviate this issue. Elsewhere, the quality of plastic feels decent, not necessarily up to the standard of 5 year old figures but good nonetheless. The weak tabs holding the shoulders in position are another cause for concern.
Overall - 37/50
I wish that Hasbro had ditched the face-swapping feature as I feel it forced them to compromise in ways that have ultimately made the figure worse. That is not to say that this is a bad figure by any means - it is certainly a massive improvement on Hasbro's other attempts at Triple Changers in recent years. I am so happy to finally have this figure, and I feel that overall Hasbro have done a great job of representing the original character.