Dreadwind – Vehicle Mode
Dreadwind’s alternate mode, like Darkwing’s, is based on a real fighter jet, in this case the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The level of detail is very similar to Darkwing’s, and Dreadwind also features a clear blue canopy and colorful foil stickers. The stickers on this figure were almost entirely gone on purchase, so I’ve decorated him with a new set from ToyHax.
Dreadwind has two air-to-air missiles attached to the tips of his wings. The missiles are molded onto the wings, but they’re painted white to distinguish them, which is a nice touch. The tops of his shoulders are very visible under the wings, but they also somewhat resemble the payload of missiles that most F-16s carry.
Like Darkwing, Dreadwind has no landing gear, instead relying on some permanently deployed wheels under his fuselage for when he’s grounded at Decepticon HQ.
Shown: Aerialbot Skydive; Micromaster Eagle Eye
Dreadwind is roughly the same size as Darkwing in jet mode. Also, his twin rifles can attach to his robot mode fists under the wings to create an “attack mode.” Since the fists are at the backs of the wings, this results in a much cleaner look than Darkwing’s official attack mode.
Dreadwind’s Nebulan is Hi-Test. Despite being functionally identical to Throttle, Hi-Test has a totally unique sculpt with a wonderfully macabre gargoyle-like helmet.
Throttle and Hi-Test share plastic colors with both of their Decepticon partners, which means it’s pretty common to find them matched up with the wrong jet guy, if you’re buying them loose. In fact, the very Darkwing in this review was sold to me with Hi-Test instead of Throttle. Fortunately I didn’t already have either!
Hi-Test converts into an engine mode very similar to Throttle’s. I believe any Powermaster figure from 1988 can be used interchangeably with the various Autobots and Decepticons who used the gimmick.
Hi-Test unlocks a tab that’s located inside Dreadwind’s fuselage, which allows for the thruster and rear fins to swing up like this.
Despite a huge and unsightly stress mark on the top tab of this piece, mine doesn’t ever get stuck in jet mode like Darkwing’s does.
Dreadwind – Robot Mode
The rest of the transformation is pretty straightforward. Dreadwind does not feature an automorphing gimmick like his bro. There are a number of precarious tabs inside the wing hinges that seem prone to breakage – one or two of mine arrived already broken, but they don’t seem to affect the stability of any of his modes.
Despite sharing plastic colors with him, Dreadwind looks pleasingly distinct from Darkwing.
He looks awkward when viewed from most angles other than straight on, owing mainly to his huge backpack and how far back his head sits on his torso. It would have been nice if the head could slide forward a little, but this likely wasn’t possible from an engineering/budget standpoint.
Despite the giant backpack, the heel struts do a perfect job of keeping Dreadwind upright in this mode.
Much like Darkwing, Dreadwind’s head is a unique standout and among my favorites of the G1 line.
Dreadwind comes with two “thermal melter” rifles that look extremely similar to Darkwing’s (but are in fact completely different sculpts). They are apparently so similar that the eBay seller I bought Dreadwind from threw in an “extra pair” of rifles – which turned out to be Darkwing’s.
Dreadwind has exactly the same articulation as Darkwing in the arms: shoulders, elbows, wrists. The shoulder position is slightly awkward compared to Darkwing.
And just like Darkwing’s, the rifles can combine into a double-barreled mode.
Dreadwind stands at about six inches tall in robot mode, right at about the same height and bulk as Darkwing.
In a feature unique to this era of G1, Darkwing and Dreadwind can combine into a large vehicle mode with its own name: Dreadwing.
Darkwing’s wings fold foward, the nosecone flips over, and the two sets of combined rifles mount to the tops of the wings. Finally, a purple fin, specifically for this mode, pops out of the underside of the nosecone.
Dreadwind’s tail fin assembly folds up, the wings slide back, and two gray fins pop out of the sides of his nosecone.
The two jets combine via several mounting ports and are extremely sturdy once fitted together (enough that I was worried about separating them the first time I did this).
I love how there are special parts that appear for this mode, and how the wings and fins come together to make something that feels like a full feature instead of an afterthought.
The whole picture is certainly a bit messy, but I dig it. The combination of Darkwing’s nosecone and Dreadwind’s tail assembly feels like it might be a warp engine or some form of experimental technology. The bios do mention that Dreadwing is capable of interstellar transit.
Throttle and Hi-Test aren’t necessary for this mode, and it’s pretty hard to keep Throttle attached to Darkwing with how close the nosecone folds against the fuselage.
In the Marvel comics, Throttle and Hi-Test rode in Dreadwing to distant planets and space stations to do dirty work for the Decepticons, which is how I would have played with this mode as a kid if I’d had it.
The underside of the combined mode looks pretty silly, as you might imagine.
These two figures are the first Powermasters to become part of my G1 collection and as of this writing, the most recent G1 purchases I’ve made. I’ve always adored these two from pictures of them, particularly for their color schemes and their combined mode.
Before now, the most recent versions of them that I owned were the Power of the Primes figures from a few years ago. Like I said, I didn’t really care for those – I disliked how they were essentially kitbashed from old Combiner Wars molds, and the Dreadwing mode was held together via a single 5mm post, making it structurally unstable and just not very fun to handle.
No, it had to be the G1 figures or nothing. And I’m glad to finally own these fellas. Beyond issues with Powermaster tabs, these are some of the coolest and most satisfying figures in the line and, so far, easily my favorite non-Pretender figures I’ve ever handled from the 1988 range. They’ve always been a little tough to find and complete, but I recommend them greatly if you’re interested in seeing what G1 has to offer past the first couple of years.