Series: TFC Toys
Legal stuff first as always. Phobus here is not a figure released by Hasbro or Takara-Tomy and thus not officially a Transformer. He hails from TFC Toys and is clearly meant to be G1 Divebomb
, but for legal reasons he can’t be called by that name.
Phobus’ robot mode is somewhat similar in design to fellow Ares-arm Phlogeus
, unsurprisingly. The torso and legs are of similar design and both figures have their beast heads on their chests. Being a bird-bot, though, Phobus naturally looks quite different overall in that he has a big rucksack with wings on his back, tail feathers as a skirt on his hip, and a different color scheme to boot. Articulation and detailing are of the same high standard we are used to from TFC figures, so no complaints here at all. As far as resemblance to the G1 character go, apart from the fact that he carries his bird head on his chest instead of it forming a helmet around his face, the two figures are clearly meant to the be the same guy.
Phobus comes in the biggest package yet of the TFC toys, simply because he carries the biggest and most numerous accessories. Chief among those, of course, his big winged rucksack, which both he and the combined Ares use. The tail feather skirt on his hip also detaches, as well as all eight of the black feathers on his rucksack, each of which he – or the other TFC-Predacons, of course - can use as a sword. He also comes with a big grey gun, which doubles as a heel spur for one of Ares’ feet, an orange scythe, part of Ares’ big sword, and the big, big black arm blaster for Ares, which he can theoretically hold, but only if someone else helps him stabilize it. So to put it bluntly: Phobus is not hurting for weapons.
Overall Phobus might just be my favorite TFC Predacon in robot mode. Granted, I really like winged robots, so that is no doubt a factor, but even so: I like him. He looks cool, he has numerous weapons, he has wings, and no flaws worth mentioning. So bottom line: both thumbs up for the robot mode.
Phobus transforms into a bird of prey, possibly an eagle (at least that was the official beast form of Divebomb). It basically involves tucking in his arms and flipping up bis bird head from the chest. The result is boxy, sure, but still a cool-looking robotic eagle. The nicely articulated wings come into play here again, naturally, and while there aren't too many cool poses you can do with him standing on the ground, flying poses look very, very cool. You can plug weapons under his wings (the two heel-spur guns, for example) and he can open and close his beak as well. Not much else I can write, hope the pictures properly convey the rest. A very cool bird mode, no complaints.
Phobus becomes the arm (left or right) of the Ares combiner, as well as donating his wings and supplying the big arm cannon. I’ll do a separate review of the assembled Ares combiner soon, now that all five team members have been reviewed.
While Divebomb was just another member of the Predacons in the cartoon, the Marvel UK comics at least managed to give him a bit of characterization. He had an old feud with Dinobot Swoop, whom he defeated twice back on Cybertron and actually stole his name from. While the two clashed again on Earth, their feud was never really resolved. It did manage to give Divebomb a bit of character, though, quite a bit more than any of the other Predacons got.
The TFC version of the character is named Phobus (Φόβος) after the Greek God of horror and fear (the word actually translates as ‘fear’ and is the source of the word phobia), who is the son of Ares and Aphrodite. I guess naming an Eagle-Transformer after yet another of Ares’ fire-breathing horses wasn’t quite fitting.
Overall Phobus is my favorite among the TFC Predacons. He’s got two good modes, a cool look, and his vast array of accessories doesn’t hurt, either. Still, you’ll buy him for the Ares combiner, not for himself. Given that, though, he is probably the second most important team member after Nemean
, simply because an Ares / Predaking without wings is just sad.