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

Tread Bolt is a ghost. Though he is an aerial ace, his real talent lies in stealth. Special sensor-refractive armor renders him invisible to all but the most sophisticated detection technology. Silent, super-precise lasers let him take out enemy spotters before they can shout a warning. More than a few Decepticons have been blown to pieces before they ever even heard him coming. He has alienated a lot of his fellow Autobots, because when he's not sneaking up on Decepticons, he creeps around scaring the heck out of anyone he can find.

Prelude: He started out as a Micromaster in 1990 as part of the Air Patrol. Then he acquired a new chassis which was previously used by Classics Jetfire and Henkei! Henkei! Skyfire. Then he painted it in his classic G1 colors (with a little influence from Dirge, it would seem) and stepped up as part of the 2008 Universe line-up. So here we have him, Universe Tread Bolt, all grown up and ready to fight. I have reviewed this mold twice already, but the last time was ten years ago, so I guess we can go another round. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Considering that the mold of this figure is already 15 years old at the time of this review, it’s still pretty amazing how good it is. The articulation is (mostly) awesome, as Tread Bolt has nearly a full range of movement. Twisting wrists, head on a ball joint, moving feet, pretty good. The only thing he doesn’t have is a twisting hip, but apart from that: very good. The legs appear rather short in some poses, this is due to the joint where the leg connects to the hip being below the actual hip. The figure’s one minor flaw in my book.

The basic robot mode is pretty close to the G1 Jetfire figure’s design, though with a more angular look to more closely resemble cartoon Skyfire. The blue color with the orange/beige highlights brings out the details a lot better than the mostly white color of Jetfire/Skyfire, I think. Side note: none of the stock images I found of this figure ever show his head without the helmet. Of course it’s the same head Jetfire had, but again: the different colors make a world of difference in my mind. Tread Bolt looks really great.

Tread Bolt comes with a whole arsenal of extra parts. There is the aforementioned helmet, with ears that can swivel forward as additional guns. There are two missile launchers for the arms. There is his his grey rifle, which can split down the middle into two smaller guns. And finally there is the big backpack / booster unit on his back. The two pylons can swivel forward and unveil two flip-out guns to round out his arsenal. Very nicely done.

Overall, still one of my all-time favorite robot modes. It has aged very well, the only thing I would improve are the legs, which could do with a higher-set hip joint (throw in a twisting hip while you’re at it) and some ankle tilts, but that’s pretty much it. So bottom line: two thumbs up for the robot mode.

Alternate Mode: Tread Bolt transforms into a Cybertronian jet that resembles the old F-14 Tomcat (which was the inspiration for Robotech’s Valkyrie, aka the original G1 Jetfire toy). Here, too, the blue color brings out the details better in my opinion and the jet just looks awesome. It has a fully functional landing gear, too, so no complaints on that front.

All of Tread Bolt’s extra parts can connect in this mode, too, giving us a truly heavily-armed flying machine. See the pictures for the whole glorious military power. Interestingly enough Tread Bolt mostly retains a somewhat aerodynamic look even when fully equipped, something not many jet-formers can boast. The cockpit opens up, too, though the only thing you can see inside is Tread Bolt’s (helmeted) head. So bottom line: a superb jet mode, no complaints at all.

Remarks: Tread Bolt was a Micromaster from 1990 and never appeared anywhere, really. He can be spotted among the Dead Universe Micromasters in the IDW comics for one or two panels and has a brief one-panel appearance in the Wings Universe comics from the Transformers Collectors Club (where he immediately dies). So it’s a bit surprising that he was chosen for the Universe toy line when it was time to repaint the Classics Jetfire mold. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s just weird. Then again, quite a few Micromaster names were selected for the Universe line (Countdown, Drop Shot, Skyfall, Stormcloud, Tread Bolt)

I still am a great fan of this mold despite its (very few) limitations. I never spent much thought on getting it in other colors before, but when I saw Tread Bolt, I just had to have him. His colors make the mold pop even better than Jetfire’s, in my opinion, and his lack of media presence is not an issue for me. So bottom line: a superb version of a very good figure. Definitely worth getting, even if you’ve never heard of Tread Bolt before.

Rating: A
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