It's been over a freakin' year since we were given our first glimpse of the initial Transformers Combiner Wars line-up, and Silverbolt has remained firmly atop my wishlist ever since. Alongside his wave-mate Optimus Prime, the guys at Entertainment Earth have allowed me to finally give the iconic Aerialbot leader a look. Let's do it!
Combiner Wars Silverbolt blends a close mimicry of the G1 design with a solid handful of proportional improvements. Even with the trademark boxy shoulders and huge honkin' lower legs, he feels downright svelte. That goes double after handling the hulking Optimus he shares the shelves with.
The trim aesthetic is only bolstered by the foldable wings, a carry-over from the original toy. While they tab snugly into the jet's adorable little canards, I prefer angling them outwards for a further dash of old-school character model allure. Fortunately, the joints are more than sturdy enough to keep them in place.
The obligatory backpack-o-plane-parts still isn't much to look at, but you know what? I don't give a single flip. Not one. I don't think I ever look at the backs of these toys outside of review purposes. I can understand if you find it personally off-putting, but don't forget that it could've easily been much, much worse.
When it comes to weaponry, ol' Silverbolt is seriously packin' some heat. His original rifle has been updated into a terrifyingly long-barreled monstrosity whose rear splits off into a spiffy-keen shield of sorts. Unfortunately, a small clearance issue between the fist-hinges and gunstock makes for a loose grip on the primary component.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other options at hand. First up, it's easy enough to just slap the rifle onto the open forearm. Megatron would be proud.
It's pretty impractical to let 'Bolty one-hand the fully combined weapon, but the articulation just barely allows a swanky two-handed sniping pose. You might have to hold your breath for it to line up properly, but it's worth it.
While that was undoubtedly a cool discovery, I'm never content until I've thrown the accessories into every conceivable arrangement. Rest assured, we have more double-barreled Mamow Nadon nonsense on deck.
Shoulder-mounting the rifle is the real star of the futzing-around show however. Never before has a landing-gear hinge been more fortuitous!
And while we're on the subject of unintentionally useful joints, the chest and neck can be slightly unhinged to further enhance the already-excellent articulation. The oh-so-moody "chin down, eyes up" pose above just barely scratches the surface.
I mean, damn! Figure stand aside, this makes me feel downright triumphant.
Side note: I know some would argue that Silverbolt shouldn't be able to fly in robot mode, but I'm here to tell you he totally can. And he hates it.
Either way, that pretty much does it for the fine-ass robot mode. It's time to transform!
But first, I couldn't help myself from trying out a gerwalk mode halfway through the jet conversion. It's not exactly stable, but the option is there if you're into this sort of thing. For now, let's just move on.
Boom! There's no better way to introduce the vehicle than showing off the patented "attack mode." This is an adorably friendly affair made for showering Decepticons with pure, unbridled pain. Outside of that beautiful fantasy, I really just prefer this for its convenience. Why risk losing track of important pieces as they're set aside?
Of course, you might still prefer the "cleaner" sans-weaponry look if your home is somehow free of mystic portals wherein action figure accessories are lost for all eternity. Either way, the trademark boxy Transformer jet undercarriage is in full effect.
There's no way around it; this is often a point of contention for collectors. Personally, I've never been bothered by a little extra junk down there. I don't mind it on Transformer toys, either. (See what I did there? See what I did?!)
In the end, Silverbolt's jet mode is one that does what it needs to do with little fanfare. It's not going to knock off any socks, but it offers a reasonable bit of extra play and converting it back and forth is damn-near effortless. You can even enjoy seconds upon seconds of additional fun with a somewhat-authentic droop-nose feature! Color me satisfied.
We'll get to all of that combining business soon enough, but for now I'd like to remark on how fantastic of a stand-alone toy Combiner Wars Silverbolt is. The sporty aesthetic of the robot mode spruces up the already-gorgeous G1 design with just the right amount of renewed vigor. There's also plenty of fun to be had thanks to the versatile accessories and well-balanced articulation. Any faults (i.e. cumbersome fist-hinges and a static waist) are easily forgiven. In short? I'm a fan.
While Optimus made for a pleasant surprise, there's no denying that Silverbolt is a true gem.
Once again, I'd like to give thanks to Entertainment Earth for giving me the chance to review this guy. If your local stores are light on stock, their handy "Great Deals & Not Mint" section currently features Silverbolt for a 15 percent discount. You should definitely check him out if you've been on the fence!