Transformers Universe Ultra Class
Item No.: Asst. 83679 No. 83784 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Projectile, blaster Action Feature:Transforms from Jet to Robot, electronic lights and sounds Retail:$24.99 Availability:August 2008 Other: Repainted as Darkwind and Skyfall (so far), Japanese version better matches cartoon
I am more than just a little fond of this Silverbolt toy. If memory serves I got it on clearance and it sat around for a bit, as I was in no rush to open it. In 2008 I was a little sour on Transformers due to the "classic" output being less exciting than I was hoping, until a few markdowns brought me back in a big way. Big, expensive recolors of characters I didn't want were lost on me - so why would I want the central body of a combiner, with no limbs? Well, it turns out because it's a well-made toy. Like, an honest-to-goodness fun toy - these are hard to come by.
The robot mode is quite large, as Hasbro was experimenting with electronics and slightly larger price points - Voyagers at $20 in Universe were largely repaints of existing toys, but three all-new Ultra molds - Silverbolt, Onslaught, and Powerglide - added lights and sounds to the mix to keep things interesting. Silverbolt feels like a descendant of the classic Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime, except he's a little more sturdy. This feels like the greatest 1990s Transformers toy never made. At 8 1/4-inches tall at the head, he's an imposing presence with about 17 points of articulation. Joints are stiff and many have a satisfying ratcheting sound, letting you know that this is a toy that's not going to dive off the shelf and crush your other playthings. He has lots of wonderful sculpted detail like vents, panels, intakes, and more vents. Silverbolt also sports a jet-shaped backpack which may be off-putting to you, but I think it turned out well. He's not a perfect match for the original 1986 toy, but I feel he's a lot more stable and therefore more fun.
Transforming the toy is a snap - back in the 1980s through most of the 2000s (really, up until about 2010) almost all Transformers were packaged in their alt modes - part of the fun was that by opening the toy, you get to reveal the robot. Universe toys from 2008 in particular were designed around this idea, as Hasbro placed a greater emphasis on the reveal of the head during transformation as a key process to your interaction with the toy. Since Silverbolt was packaged as a jet, you fold back the jet's cockpit, fold in the landing gear, and pull down the legs and arms. At this point you push the crotch section up into the torso, causing the head to reveal - the head reveal is important - and the classic Generation 1 transformation sound effect plays while his eyes light up in green. It's utterly magical - I normally dislike electronics, but this is so utterly wonderful in every way. When you reverse it, you get the opposite transformation sound. I can't begin to tell you how much I love this kind of thing on these toys - that sound is such an important part of my memory of these characters that I'm a little sad more toys don't include it. I can only think of very few molds that do.
As a jet, he's a jet. He doesn't do much other than play 3 electronic sounds and look cool. There's a lot of detail, including markings of "BOLT-25" and "25" to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the robots in disguise. (More exciting was Onslaught had MONZO written on it to celebrate the great Matt Karpowich.) The deco on the plane is simple, with some clear blue plastic windows and engines. The engines were also capped in some bright orange paint which, OK, it's a little silly - but they light up so I'm good with it. The silver paint is nice, too, and the cannon mounts cleanly under the jet's nose. It's simple - very simple - and that's why I love it. The landing gear pops out of the jet nose and robot shoulders, and also keeps the jet propped up nicely. Oh - and you can totally see robot bits under the plane, but I have no problem with this.
A new one is coming that looks more like the classic designs, but this one? This one is a fun toy and a fun mold. I assume you'll combine the 2015 Silverbolt with limbs as a super robot, so go ahead and get this one to play with. You'll love it. It's simple, fun, and roughly the same size as 2014 Jetfire. You can't go wrong here - it's actually an enjoyable toy that I wish Hasbro would emulate more. I have no complaints.
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