When I was a kid some of my favorite Transformers were the smallest and simplest ones. For example, my favorite all-time Transformer is Gears, as is evidenced by my multiple reviews of him (review 1, review 2, review 3). Cosmos, Cliffjumper, Huffer, and Windcharger were also favorites of mine. My brother Doug’s favorite minis were Bumblebee, Warpath, Seaspray, and Powerglide. The reason that all those characters were so pint-sized and cute when compared to larger figures like Starscream and Optimus Prime is because they were originally part of a completely different Japanese toyline. The mini vehicles were from a line called Micro Change while the larger figures were originally Diaclones.
One thing I found very appealing about the mini figures was that they were so easy to transform. Two or three quick flips would take you from vehicle mode to robot mode and back again. A negative side effect to those simple transformations however was that the figures were not very posable. Most Transformers weren’t very flexible back in the day but the little ones were particularly rigid. The original 1985 Powerglide is a good example. He was cursed with a dreadful case of uni-leg, that thing when your legs are fused together into a solid stump of plastic. At least he had elbow joints and a swivel neck which were extremely rare for an 80s Transformer toy his size. I still think the ‘85 Powerglide is a neat figure, it oozes nostalgia and it’s totally adorable, but it’s pretty far from what I would consider “cool”.
Hasbro released an updated Powerglide in 2008 and I considered picking it up because he’s one of those classic characters that I wanted a modern version of. They updated Seaspray around the same time. The problem with those figures is that, even though they were “cooler”, they were too far removed from the originals. Both were much larger and more detailed than their vintage counterparts but Powerglide wasn’t the right color and Seaspray’s face looked nothing like the original’s. I passed on both of them. I ended up paying a ridiculous price for an unofficial, third-party produced, Seaspray as a means to have a modern version of the character on my shelf that retained the classic look. I figured I’d have to do the same for Powerglide if I wanted an appropriately-sized, red and grey version of him in my modern Transformers collection. Multiple third-party companies produced awesome versions of Powerglide that met all my criteria but they were so damn expensive that I held off on buying any.
I’m glad I waited because Hasbro has finally produced an updated Powerglide of their own. I think some of the third party ones were superior but this is a still a very good figure. It’s small, red and grey, and it has all of the iconic Powerglide design elements such as the nosecone shaped head and the upward pointing wings on the shoulders. The icing on the cake is that he’s fully articulated. Powerglide can finally kick.
This little fella is brand new and is included in wave 2 of the Combiner Wars series. I got Doug hooked on Transformers again for the first time in nearly 30 years when I showed him my wave 1 Combiner Wars figures. He bought up all of wave 1 a week or so ago and then began the hunt for wave 2. He emailed me on Tuesday to say he found wave 2 at the Walmart by his work. I made the trek over to Dartmouth as soon as I could but the wave 2 figures were completely gone by the time I got there with the exception of Powerglide.
Powerglide himself was never a member of a combiner team before and even now he doesn’t merge with anyone to form a larger robot but Hasbro has cleverly added a neat little gimmick to tie him into the popular subseries. Besides transforming into at jet he also has a third mode that makes him into a double barrelled shotgun that can be wielded by Superion or one of the other Combiner giants. The gun mode is pretty lackluster in design but I think it’s a cool option to have. My Powerglide will be displayed in his robot form anyway so his other modes don’t concern me too much. I will say that the airplane mode is quite nice and very reminiscent of the original.
This Powerglide isn’t perfect (I find his head too small) but it’s pretty darn good and for $12 who can complain. 7 out of 10.