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Series: Rise of the Beasts
Allegiance: Maximal
Categories: Deluxe
Year: 2023

Prelude: In the run-up to the Rise of the Beasts movie and toys, we saw leaked pictures of not one but two different Airazor molds. One was clearly a retool (or at least shared the basic design) of Kingdom Airazor, the other appeared to be an entirely new mold. Eventually it was revealed that the new mold was, weirdly enough, not a part of the more collector-oriented Studio Series, but rather of the mainline Rise of the Beasts toys. So here she is, Rise of the Beasts Deluxe Airazor. Can the new mold edge out the old one? Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Let us start by remembering that Airazor sadly never transformed into robot mode in the movie before her death, so there is no point in debating screen accuracy for this mode. There are probably some concept designs to be found somewhere, but those don’t really matter. So we shall judge this robot mode solely on its own merit.

Look-wise Airazor is relatively close to her classic look. She’s got a similar headsculpt, the falcon head on the chest, and the falcon claws on her wrists might well be a call-back to the original Beast Wars Airazor’s toy weapon. The general look is techno-organic and the coloring varies from (painted) grey to a bronze-gold color. The figure’s green eyes really stand out. There are feather details on the shoulders, the back, and the lower legs, giving her an almost regal look.

Articulation is quite good, though a bit short of it’s Kingdom predecessor. No ankle tilt or twisting wrists, but otherwise there are no restrictions. The wings (or rather, the wing parts) on her back can move sideways and up/down, so whether you like her to have visible wings in robot mode or not, Airazor can accommodate. Overall the figure is a tiny bit shorter than Kingdom Airazor, but not by much.

For weapons Airazor carries two swords, which are stored in the wings on her back. She can either wield a sword in each hand or combine them in one hand, end to end, for a big double blade (much like Optimus Primal can, too).

Bottom line for the robot mode: very nice. Articulation could have been improved slightly and maybe a few more painted highlights, but otherwise: I like it.

Alternate Mode: The first thing Airazor’s transformation reminded me of was Energon Divebomb, because the robot legs become the falcon’s wings. A far more innovative transformation scheme, if you ask me, than that used by most winged-animal Transformers (wings on back, robot body folds in, done). The resulting falcon looks a lot more bird-like in its proportions (no big underbelly) and just generally looks pretty cool. The sculpted details really pop here.

We do have quite a bit of screen accuracy in this mode, though there are differences as well, of course. No big Maximal symbol on the chest, for example, though I think this could have been accomplished by putting it on the back of the robot head. Anyway, the falcon has fully articulated bird legs (the robot mode arms), and while you can see the robot fists at the heels, it isn’t really much of a thing. Sadly the wing articulation is restricted to flapping the (fully extended) wings up and down, so no poses with folded-up wings are possible. Also, the head is immobile, not even an opening beak for a fire-breathing pose.

So bottom line for the falcon mode: very nice to look at, great proportions, but in terms of articulation there are some minor drawbacks.

Remarks: The first time the Autobots met a Maximal in the Rise of the Beasts movie, it was when Airazor saved their skidplates from Scourge and his Terrorcons. Airazor emerged as easily the most complex character of the movie, which made her untimely demise all the more tragic (especially since not one but TWO Autobots got resurrected with a bit of techno-magical handwaving). We never even saw her transform into robot mode. Still, the scenes between Airazor and Optimus Primal were easily the most extensive non-combat interaction we’ve seen between two Transformers (with no humans involved) in the entire live-action franchise.

As a toy Airazor is a good Deluxe-Class figure. In comparison with the Kingdom version she has some advantages and some disadvantages, so I wouldn’t really call her better or worse, just different. Personally I am happy that she is a new mold and the fact that her transformation holds similarities to one of my all-time favorite Basic/Scout-Class figures doesn’t hurt, of course. So bottom line: a nice Deluxe-Class figure. Whether you prefer this one or Studio Series Airazor for your Rise of the Beasts cast is really a matter of personal taste.

Rating: B+
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