Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 17, June 1986 / Issue 21, October 1986
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 88, November 22nd 1986 / Issue 279, July 21st 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 31 (Season 2 #15), September 26th 1985 / Episode 80 (Season 3 #15), October 21st 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1985
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - Hasbro
Toyline - Generations
- Added a Small Decepticon symbol to the nosecone
Dirge was another of those 1985 characters awkwardly shoe-horned into the cartoon continuity, showing up in Season 2 and immediately getting his butt kicked by Grimlock. He was a fairly non-descript character in all honesty - all of the coneheads seemed to be dumber versions of the original three seekers. But I had a soft spot for Dirge. I had the figure as a child and I always admired the almost electric blue paintjob, twinned with the caramel wings. What can I say, the eighties were an interesting time, style-wise and any colour combination was considered. Hasbro showed us Ramjet very early on in the classics line, and while the figure had its faults, it was really nice to see a conehead again. It would be some time before Hasbro would deliver Dirge, and by then, the seeker mould was already looking a bit old-fashioned compared to more recent figures. So the question is, has Hasbro left it too late with this guy?
Appearance (Robot Mode) 6/10
The seeker mould is long in the tooth and is not without its faults - it is smaller when compared with more recent deluxes, and the forearms are hollow. The forearms are a bit too stumpy as well, and there is no light-piping for the eyes. The 'conehead' headsculpt is a really nice touch though, and actually differentiates the figures properly whereas the G1 originals were probably the first case of a 'fan mode' where the head was deliberately mis-transformed to provide the classic shape. The face is quite grumpy, and reminds me of an 'Easter Island' statue. Also, Hasbro have evoked memories of the original seekers figures very well by ensuring that the cockpit is in place, alongside the shoulder-mounted weaponry and the classic silhouette. Dirge's colour scheme is vibrant, with the bright blue working well against the muted brown. I dislike Dirge's lower legs though, because they are rendered very bulky by wing kibble. I know that this was the original look, but things would have been helped by having the option to move them back a bit, as was the case with Ramjet.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 9/10
I absolutely love the seeker mould as an alt mode. Elegant and sleek, there is not too much robot kibble on display either. Dirge is no exception - I always loved the original figure and here the distinctive profile of the wings has been re-created perfectly, along with very clean paint apps and expertly-applied Decepticon tampographs, which I have augmented with a nice Decepticon symbol on the nosecone. Again, the colour scheme really 'pops' in this mode.
The transformation successfully homages the original, and is a lot of fun. The legs are created by pulling the rear section of the plane out and apart, and the fuselage opens up to allow the arms to be moved to the side, and the fists unfolded. The cockpit and nosecone are 'snapped' downwards and rotated, before the whole assembly hinges and slots back into place with a reassuring click. The tailplanes are rotated into position and the wings are folded up. The difference being on this version of the mould that only tiny parts of the wing fold up to the torso, with the remainder being attached tot he leg. All that remains is to fold in the front landing gear to form the 'robo boobs' and the 'conehead' seeker look is complete.
Quite poor, I have to say. The first issue that this mould encounters is very poor articulation. The head does swivel and the range of movement is better than the 'traditional' seekers because it is kibble-free. The shoulders offer lateral and side-to side movement, and the elbows are jointed but shockingly there is no bicep swivel. There is no useful wrist articulation. There is also no waist swivel. The hips offer a similar range of movement as the shoulders and the knees are jointed, unfortunately there is no thigh swivel but a rather less useful lower-leg swivel is provided. However, because this 'conehead' mould has no significant upper wing kibble, the arms are unimpeded and can be posed in a greater variety of ways. Balance is not fantastic though. Dirge in particular looks pretty daft because the leg kibble has no joint to move it back, unlike Ramjet. You are left with mould which is extremely lacking in versatility and is pretty bad for a deluxe figure.
I haven't had issues with any of the Seekers, but all the joints seem like they could snap relatively easily - there are few ball joints here (there are only any in the hip) which means that if breaking points are reached then you will end up with a broken figure, as opposed to the more recent toys which are designed to pop apart and then can be re-attached. The mould seems a little dated, and is consequently more fragile than later ones.
Overall - 36/50
This Dirge homage is pretty decent, despite being quite weak in robot mode the perennially excellent alternate mode helps things somewhat. There is some added poseability as Dirge is unimpeded by having to have the wings off of his back, but this causes its own problems by making the robot mode ungainly. I would recommend this more highly if you were planning to display it in fighter jet mode!