Air Strike Patrol
Series: War for Cybertron: Siege
The Decepticon Air Strike Patrol was among the first Micromasters appearing in 1989 and featured prominently in the Marvel Comics. Sadly only two of them have made it into the Siege toyline so far, Stormcloud and Visper (formerly Whisper, whose original name would be kind of hard to copyright). Guess Tailwind and Nightflight might or might not come later. Weíll see. Anyway, of the three Micromaster duos (kind of hard to call two guys a Ďpatrolí), Visper and Stormcloud are the only bad guys so far. So letís see how bad they really are!
Visper and Stormcloud are two Micromaster-sized Transformers, meaning pretty small, roughly the same size as the Battlemasters. Despite their small size, though, these two are pretty nicely detailed and amazingly well articulated (again, for their size). Both of them have knees, ball-jointed legs and shoulders, and Stormcloud even has elbow joints. Okay, he doesnít have hands, which is kind of a pet peeve of mine, but the figure still works very well.
Not really that much more to say here. Both robots are a very close match to their G1 counterparts
, but slightly bigger and far better articulated. Both have no trouble standing and posing, so complaints there, either. Bottom line: near-perfect robots given their size and price point.
Stormcloud transforms into what I guess is the slightly Cybertron-y version of a Dassault Rafale fighter jet. Visper, on the other hand, becomes a Cybertronian jet based on a stealth bomber based on the hypothetical F-19 fighter whose existence (if it exists) is still classified. Both transformations are fairly basic, though vastly different from each other. Visper becomes almost twice as long as the robot mode due to the long cockpit, while Stormcloud makes use of his elbow joints to make his arms become the jet engines. Overall both jets look pretty good for their size, so no complaints here.
Visper and Stormcloud can combine into a weapon called the Circuitstream Spyblade that looks like it should be called the Dark Saber (or Dark Starsaber). The two jets basically link up exhaust to exhaust and Stormcloud folds back his cockpit to unveil a handle. The Spyblade can be held by any figure with 5mm fist ports and looks pretty cool. Despite being made from a mere two bots instead of three, itís not really that much shorter than the Armada Star Saber
. Iím not sure you can actually cut anything with it, mind you, but itís still a pretty great weapon mode. No complaints. Can we have Nightflight and Tailwind become a shield to go with the sword?
Whisper, Stormcloud, and the rest of the Air Strike patrol never appeared in the cartoon, but played prominent roles in the Marvel Comics (for a time, at least). They secretly worked for Megatron who was conspiring to pit rival Decepticon leaders Scorponok and Ratbat against each other. Stormcloud even competed against Autobot Micromaster Roadhandler in a wrestling event (it was the late 80s and Hulkamania was still running wild). The Air Strike Patrol met a rather sorry end, though, when they clashed with Hector Dialonzo, a member of the human superteam The Neo Knights. Hector used his energy-channeling power to destroy all four of them in quick succession.
While I was never that big a fan of the Micromasters, it does tickle my nostalgia fancy to see them return for the Siege series. I hope weíre going to get the other halves of the various patrols, too, at some point, but even without Nightflight and Tailwind these two little guys here are pretty cool. Good robot modes, good jet modes, and a very good weapon mode. So bottom line: well worth getting. As mentioned above, pretty perfect figures considering the size and price point.
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