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Series: Universe 2.0
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Ultra
Year: 2008

As the leader of an elite group of Autobot warriors known as the Aerialbots, Silverbolt shoulders a great deal of responsibility. He is a careful planner who never risks the lives of his men, unless it is absolutely necessary. All his care, however, hides a deeply insecure nature. Optimus Prime actually put Silverbolt in such a stressful position largely to district him from a paralyzing fear of heights; a weakness he hopes the other Aerialbots never discover. He is a capable leader nonetheless, and has honed his Aerialbots into one of the finest Autobot units in the universe.

My Review:

Robot Mode: As an Ultra-class robot Silverbolt is pretty tall, but slim and posable-looking. Not just looking, either, he is pretty posable. Knees, elbows, the works, he can move pretty freely, though I''m missing twistable wrists. The look is pretty close to that of the G1 original, even though the colours are a bit off. Why include purple here? I have no idea. But apart from that he looks pretty cool. Silverbolt carries a black rifle that looks a bit different than that of his G1 days, but pretty good nonetheless. I''m not sure if it''s intentional, but the wrist guard of the rifle looks a bit like a flying wing, almost like a stylized version of Silverbolt''s own wings.

Speaking of wings, the one big complaint I have about this figure can be summed up pretty quickly: His transformation is still the same as in G1 days, at least mostly. Meaning he doesn''t so much transform into a plane, but rather he carries the plane on his back. Pretty much the whole of the jet sits on his back as a big rucksack. It doesn''t unbalance him, but it''s still a bit cheap. If you go about redesigning a figure, you really don''t need to stick so close to the original that you carry over its flaws. Silverbolt would have deserved a better transformation that didn''t leave him with his whole alternate mode on his back.

Apart from that big complaint, though, there is very little wrong with Silverbolt''s robot mode. He looks good, he can move well, he has a nice weapon, so all in all: Pretty good.

Alternate Mode: Unsurprisingly Silverbolt transforms into an airplane. Not a Concorde this time, but rather a XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber (or something looking very much like it without having to cough up licensing fees). The jet looks pretty cool from just about any angle, though the colour scheme is a bit dull. Granted, military airplanes are usually not that colourful, but the grey could have used a bit more realism or maybe a coat of white or silver over the grey plastic.

The one angle where Silverbolt''s jet mode doesn''t look that great is looking at the underside. Because what you have here is pretty much a jet with a folded-together robot strapped to the underside. Okay, you don''t actually see any of the robot bits, but that still leaves you with a big undercarriage. Now the Valkyrie does have a pretty big engine strapped underneath it, but the look isn''t quite the same. Silverbolt does feature a fully functioning landing gear, though, and the jet engines look pretty cool, especially when they light up. Silverbolt also features electronic sounds. Pretty much the same sounds that were used for Powerglide, but whatever.

All in all, a cool-looking jet mode, but a better coat of paint and a better-designed transformation would have made it much, much better.

Remarks: Silverbolt was the leader of the Aerialbots in G1 and one of the more rounded characters among the so-called special teams (those that could combine into giant robots). His main characteristic was that he was afraid of heights, which is kind of a problem for a flying robot. He overcame that fear, though, and the Aerialbots turned out to be among the most powerful and effective units among the Autobots. Silverbolt returns for Universe in a much bigger size class. He now stands almost as tall as Superion did in G1 and without combining with anyone.

As a toy Silverbolt is a mixed blessing. He looks pretty good in both modes, but just like his G1 predecessor he doesn''t actually transform. He''s either a robot with a folded-up plane on his back or a plane with a folded-up robot beneath it. It doesn''t really hurt either mode all that much, but I think a much better job could have been done here. Also, why include purple on his chest in robot mode? A more G1-accurate paint job came out for the Japanse version of Silverbolt, by the way. So bottom line: Not a bad toy in any way, shape or form, but nowhere near as good as it could have been.

Rating: C+

And for a second opinion, the review by Tobias H:

Prelude: Everyone among you who has been around long enough to remember the Generation 1 days will also probably remember a special group of Autobots that was quite a bit different from the others and offered new opportunities to the heroes of our childhood.

We're talking about the Aerialbots. Those Autobots who helped ensure that the Decepticons would no longer be the sole rulers of the skies. They were also the first Autobot combiner, Superion. The leader of the Aerialbots was called Silverbolt and he was not just their leader, he was also the soul and the conscience of the team.

When a remake of this great G1 characters was announced for the Universe toyline, I was, of course, very much excited, being a big G1 fan. Now that I have the figure in hand it is time to do a review about this reincarnation of Silverbolt.

Robot Mode: The first thing one notices about Silverbolt's robot mode is his nicely-done detailing and the great resemblance to the G1 version of the toy. Even details like the red panels and the little wings on the shoulders have been retained from the original. And just like his ancestor from the G1 days Silverbolt is doomed to carry a big part of his alternate mode on his back.

As a member of the Ultra-class Silverbolt is correspondingly tall, too. He carries a well-made weapon and offers sound effects in this mode as well. Pushing the little button on his back causes a machine-gun-like noise. And finishing his transformation from alternate to robot mode is rewarded by the old-school transformation sound.

All of which doesn't sound all that bad, does it? Well, as nice as things were so far, there is one thing that drags Silverbolt down quite a bit. Quite a large bit, to be precise. It's his posability. Silverbolt can move his legs at hips and knees, and the arms at shoulders and elbows, and turn his head. That's pretty much it.

From a current figure, especially a figure of the Ultra-class, which is of considerable size, I do expect a bit more than that. Wrist joints are often found in Voyager-class figures already and a twisting hip would have been expected from a figure this size as well. Especially since none of the above would have impeded his transformation or alternate mode in any way. Quite a few opportunities were wasted here and that's ticking me off quite a bit.

Alternate Mode: Silverbolt's alternate mode is, just like in the good old days, an airplane. To be precise it's a kind of supersonic stealth bomber. The jet is a combination of elements of existing airplanes. The front and the basic shape are taken from the Lockheed SR-71, a supersonic jet. The rear and the engines resemble those of a a stealth bomber called Northrop B-2.

The airplane is coloured a light grey, which looks a bit poor on details at first glance. Upon closer inspection, though, you can find quite a few. There is writing on the side, the blue-tinted cockpit, and the symbols on the wings. There are also tiny little LED lights near the nose, which are meant to resemble weapons. They light up when you press the button on top of the jet. A machine-gun sound accompanies the lights, the same one we heard in robot mode.

This is but one of three sound effects you can hear upon pressing said little button. There is also a "whooosh" sound, which is not accompanied by lights, as well as howling engines, which is paired with a lighting up of same. Silverbolt's alternate mode also offers a fully functional landing gear, something I do not take for granted. His weapon can be stored underneath the plane, where is looks pretty fitting.

All of which sounds pretty nice as well, doesn't it? But Silverbolt's alternate mode also has a bad side. His underside, to be precise. Because here you find in full view his entire robot mode, the legs folded to the sides, trying to be inconspicuous. I don't think it would have been asking too much for that thing to be hidden somewhat or integrated into the jet mode, but nothing of the sort. Only the robot head has been 'hidden', more or less, in a fully-visible hole beneath the rear end.

I don't think I need to say anything more about the alternate mode.

Conclusion: Silverbolt leaves me pretty torn. On the one hand his robot mode looks pretty cool and even his alternate mode isn't bad, as long as you look at it from above. But on the other hand Silverbolt is a bit of a sham, because he promises a lot more than he delivers and contains a lot of small and not-so-small flaws that drag him down, which is a pity.

This Transformer could have been extraordinary with a bit more effort involved. But no, apparently this wasn't possible here. A bit more posability would have redeemed the robot mode. A better design for the alternate mode would have made a great jet.

Which leaves us where? Barely average, that's where.

Rating: I award Silverbolt a (barely) deserved C.
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