Dungeon Reviews: Blitzwing (1985)

Decepticon Ground/Air Commando

“Destroy first, think later.”

Blitzwing was released in 1985 during the second year of The Transformers toyline, and was one of two Decepticon triple changers released that year. This post covers the original 1985 release of the figure.

Jet Mode

Front View

Blitzwing was adapted from the Diaclone toyline. His basis was known as “Triple Changer Jet Type,” and had a more grounded military-style color scheme. In Transformers, he sports a tan/purple scheme that I’ve always found very appealing.

As a triple changer, Blitzwing features two alternate modes. His aerial mode is a  Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 fighter plane. The shape of the jet is abstracted due to the toy’s engineering, with really only the nosecone resembling the toy’s basis. This blocky abstraction was interpreted very literally into the character’s animation model.

Though quite small at only about four inches long, Blitzwing is fairly heavy thanks to the gray die-cast parts in the jet fuselage, the rear fins, and the forward landing gear.

Rear View

Many details are highlighted by foil stickers, particularly the rear thrusters. Elements from the tank mode are obvious here, like the wheels, the treads, and the cannon. The horizontal fins at the rear are easy to forget to flip out, and indeed were apparently left retracted on the toy used as a reference for the cartoon, as they aren’t present.

The pointy bits at the tips of the wings are easily breakable, and you can see mine is missing one – likely from a shelf-dive.

In flight

Despite the jet’s abstractions, it still makes for a dynamic silhouette. I find the obvious hinges appealing – there’s nothing wrong with a transforming toy looking like it can transform.

Underside

Less appealing is the underside of the jet mode. I mainly took this photo to highlight how the two round nubs on the top of the tank turret function as rudimentary rear landing gear in jet mode.

Launcher gimmick

Like many Diaclone and Microchange toys, Blitzwing’s original model featured spring-loaded missile launchers, in this case mounted on the wings. The Transformers version of the figure included missiles, but the springs are weakened or non-functional. The firing button is located under the wings.

Even if not functional, I appreciate the inclusion of this gimmick. Without them, Blitzwing has no obvious weaponry in jet mode. It’s easy to imagine him dropping these like bombs on a platoon of unsuspecting Autobots.

These missiles were evidently left off of the toy used as an animation model reference – the launch tubes are visible but have no missiles in them.

Comparison

Shown: Transformers Generations Thrilling 30 Blitzwing

Quite a few versions of Blitzwing have been released over the years. The only one I have with alternate modes is the Thrilling 30 release, which took a more sci-fi approach with the character.

Tank Mode

Front View

This mode represents a Type-74 battle tank. If you’ve done your homework, you know that means Blitzwing converts from a Russian plane to a Japanese tank. This mode is far more evocative of the real-world vehicle than the other.

Rear View

The animation model artists erroneously interpreted the rear of the tank as the front and drew the folded-up nosecone sticking out under the tank barrel.

Even if wrong, there’s still something I like about an obvious airplane component on a tank. I do think the G1 figure manages it much more cleanly than some other, later versions of Blitzwing.

Side View

The tank turret can rotate freely, though the gun cannot elevate. The cannon can retract a bit thanks to the transformation.

Side View

The painted gray tread components add a lot of visual appeal to the tank mode.

Comparison

The size of G1 Blitzwing is at odds with most of his media portrayals. Kup, for example, being almost twice the size of this toy, definitely can’t re-enact his cannon-wrangling scene from Transformers: The Movie.

Blitzwing is still big enough to feel threatening to mini-vehicles, but he tends to seem a bit shrimpy even compared to the Autobot cars.

Robot Mode

Front/Back View

Blitzwing stands a little over four inches tall in robot mode.

The telescoping joints in the legs as well as the swivel joints for the stabilizer fins tend to wear down over time, meaning many G1 Blitzwings can’t stand up.

I like the look of the gray thighs – along with the red eyes, they add a bit of visual pop to this mode.

Front View

Though he’s pretty small, Blitzwing’s wide shoulders and back wings at least give him an air of strength.

Head close-up

The head is tiny, featuring oversized red goggles and a painted yellow helmet. It can’t rotate, although it can look down just a bit thanks to the transformation joints. The head was interpreted fairly accurately into the animation model.

Comparison

With: Super 7 ReAction Figures Blitzwing

Blitzwing was one of several G1 figures for which the animators did not have a toy in-hand to reference, so the back of the animation model is not based on the toy. This humorously resulted in Blitzwing’s tank cannon sticking out of the top of his head. The Super 7 figure also includes other elements from the cartoon model, such as the jet pack in place of where the tank turret should be.

Accessories/Articulation

With weaponry

Blitzwing included a purple “gyro blaster” and “electron scimitar,” as well as the small purple missiles that fit on his wings.

The two hand weapons peg into the insides of Blitzwing’s fists. The rifle can only be held in the right hand, but the sword can be held in either.

Blitzwing’s articulation is limited entirely to his shoulders, which can only raise to about a 45 degree angle.

Pointing rifle

It’s enough for him to point his rifle at a foolish Autobot and little more than that. The arms leave a noticeable gap in the insides of the wings. Overall, Blitzwing’s robot mode is pretty awkward compared to most of the other Decepticons released in 1985.

Other Comparisons

1985 Triple Changers

With: Transformers Vintage Series Astrotrain

Though the Diaclone toyline included two Triple Changers, the other one – a jet/helicopter – was not incorporated into Transformers, instead being replaced by a new figure that became Astrotrain.

Blitzwings

With: Super 7 ReAction Figures Blitzwing; Robot Heroes Blitzwing; Generations Thrilling 30 Blitzwing

As of this writing, two other Generations Blitzwings have been released or announced beyond the one pictured here – one I had and sold, and the other has yet to be released.

Blitzwing: Conclusion

“Tell me where your friends are hiding!”

Blitzwing was one of the first G1 figures I ever saw, handed to me by a neighborhood kid. That toy was missing its tank turret and was probably broken in several places, but I loved it immediately.

At the first Botcon I ever attended, in 2000, Blitzwing was one of a couple figures I was able to buy in the dealer room. I loved seeing him in the cartoon, particularly when he deserts the Decepticons in “Five Faces of Darkness.”

The figure, in a vacuum, is a messy artifact of a simpler era in toy design. He barely functions as an articulated action figure. And designing a successful figure that can change into both a sleek jet and chunky tank is apparently pretty hard – nearly every Blitzwing figure since the original is almost as messy as that first one.

I won’t give up on the guy, though. For me, he’s an essential part of my Decepticon army. It’s likely just the nostalgia talking, but I can’t wait to try out the next iteration of the ground/air commando.

One thought on “Dungeon Reviews: Blitzwing (1985)”

  1. As a guy who is generally not impressed by most vintage Transformers, I will say that this goofy dude has some charm leftover from the old days! I doubt I would have liked it when I was a kid, but who’s to say.

    I like his his arms work, as weird as they are, and I like how the sword pegs into the side of his hand. It really allows him some extra attitude, which was just complete luck with vintage transformers. One way or another, it’s obvious why this one made an impression on so many fans.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: