So, Windblade. The fan built bot. The one we created. The one initiating all the stupid gender debates. Obviously, this figure has a lot of build up and anticipation. Does it live up to it?
Like all the IDW Deluxes, she comes with a comic. So before we get to the toy, let's briefly touch on it. This is the fifth issue of Dark Cybertron I've read via toy pack ins, and I pretty much have the same opinion on it as all the others. It's boring, nothing of substance happens, and the art is TERRIBLE. Everything looks so dark and dirty, some characters inexplicably have round heads when they shouldn't, Prowl's head crest is stupidly tiny, and Rattrap looks like an inbred armadillo that's addicted to meth. The fembots' characters feel off. Windblade seems too serious, Chromia is always talking shit on her for some reason, and Nautica doesn't seem like much of the intellectual genius she is in MTMTE. The only plus side is that there are a couple of clever lines. I particularly like Bumblebee's "He had me standing here like 20 seconds to make a dramatic entrance." But otherwise, it's very meh.
Onto the toy. In alt mode, Windblade is some kind of V-TOL jet. I had low expectations for this mode from all the negative things I heard about it, but honestly, it's not that bad. The main complaint I heard was that it didn't hold together well, and maybe I just got a good one, but I'm not having that problem. It can be a bit tricky getting everything to lock in, but once I do, she's solid. Like, I can shake the jet around and nothing comes loose. Not to say the criticism for this mode is unfounded, it's flawed. The feet sticking up is the other main complaint I heard, and yeah, that's really dumb. It looks terrible, and I get the feeling they were meant to fold down, but it was budgeted out. Which is understandable, but it still sucks. Also, the body of the jet is REALLY hollow. It looks horrendous if you don't store the sword and sheath underneath, and even when you do, it still looks pretty bad. But it's not all bad, I actually like the colors. The black is nice and glossy, and I feel there's just enough red and white to break it up. The effect of going from a mostly black jet to a mostly red robot is really cool too. The fans are neat, I like that they rotate, and that you can pose them, you have options there. So, the jet mode is decent. It's a mixed bag for sure, the good and bad are pretty much balanced, but it's not terrible like I was lead to believe.
Transformation is interesting. There's some cool things going on in the engineering, I quite like how the legs work, though again, the feet really needed to be able to fold down. It's pretty intuitive, but it has it's frustrating bits. The wings are annoying at times with all the different joints, you'll be trying to turn one thing, then another will end up moving out of place. And the tabs are all super tiny. Like, when I get her jet mode locked in, it doesn't give me trouble, but getting it locked in is a chore because of how needlessly tiny all the tabs and slots are. So, like her jet mode, the transformation is a mixed bag. It has good engineering and is kind of fun, but it's also a bit annoying sometimes.
Robot mode is where a lot of the debate comes in. She doesn't match the Sarah Stone design much, she lacks the youth and innocence of her face design, for one, among various other things. But personally, I don't care. This figure is gorgeous. She's got the usual fembot proportions, with the slender and curvy frame, the boob-like chest and the high heels, so the design isn't too ground breaking, but I think it works. She has a really sleek and elegant aesthetic, she's largely kibble free, apart from her massive wings and the nosecone on her back, but the wings are part of the design and the nosecone is easily ignorable, so it's fine. The wings are connected in a weird way, with massive gaps at the base, but they're very articulate, so you have options with them. I love the face sculpt, honestly. It doesn't look THAT old to me, and the paint is gorgeously done. She has a lot of paint in general, the deco is pretty vibrant and intricate.
The articulation is amazing, her neck is a bit limited, but it moves enough. The arms have a lot of movement, as do the legs, and she even has a waist joint! You can get really good sword poses out of her that not many figures can do. Unfortunately, it does have it's drawbacks. The wrists are scarily tight to rotate, at least on mine, and the heels suck. They look pretty good, but they make her balance shit. You can get her to stand in a lot of poses, but it takes some work sometimes. I dig how the thrusters are back there too though, I can imagine her flying in robot mode with those.
As for accessories, they're really unique. She has her "Stormfall Sword", as the box calls it, which is possibly one of the coolest sword designs I've ever seen. I love the fan in the hilt and the wavy look of the blade. It looks like energy flowing through the wind, which is a badass effect, and fits her name. I love the color of it too, the translucent purple transitioning into clear at the tip. It's big too, she can hold it two handed, or plant it into the ground with ease. And it has a friggin' sheath! That's such a cool addition. Unfortunately, it barely pegs into her thigh worth crap, it's ALWAYS falling off, which is a shame. And lastly, she has the removable fan in her "hair". It's held in there tight, it was scary to get out the first time, I was so scared of breaking it, and it DID get a stress mark. Thankfully, pulling it out the first time loosened it up, and while it's still very tight, it's easier to get it out now. It's a really neat little bonus, she poses well with it. I love that and the sheath, it's so cool to get non-weapon accessories for once.
Windblade was a bit of a surprise for me. I went in expecting a heavily flawed toy, and well, she is, but I ended up loving her regardless. It's a gorgeous toy with some unique features, and again, we made her, so she's special. It's always nice to get another fembot. Can't wait for Chromia, and bring on more, HasTak!