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Series: Revenge of the Fallen
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Voyager
Year: 2009

When the Autobots need to be delivered to the front lines fast, they rely on Stratosphere. His cargo bay has enough room for an entire Autobot strike team, and his engines have enough power to get them all the way to the other side of the world in only a couple of hours. High altitude weapons allow him to deliver a punishing barrage against Decepticon targets on the ground as his comrades move in for the finish.

Robot Mode: As a Voyager-class robot Stratosphere is bigger than your average ROTF figure and, depending on how you position the wings on his shoulders, he can easily reach the height of a Leader-class figure. That is his toy-scale, of course. If Stratosphere were built in the actual scale his alternate mode suggests, then he'd easily be the tallest figure of the entire Transformers franchise, dwarfing Fortress Maximus. In a real-world setting he'd probably be taller than Devastator (though not nearly as wide). So the bottom line is: Stratosphere is really tall.

The next thing you notice is how big his feet are. Stratosphere might well be the origin of the expression "gunboat feet", for his feet are truly the size of boats. They give him a very stable platform for all sorts of poses, but don't really lend themselves to any kind of dynamic ones, such as running. Then again when you're a robot as tall as a medium-sized skyscraper, you don't really need to run, so that's fine. Stratosphere is very posable and hindersome bits such as the wings and tail fins can be folded in various ways so as not to encumber his movements. Nicely done.

Two things I must mention, though: Stratosphere does not have a weapon (he nearly had one, see below). Now I'm always a bit put off when robots built for war come without weapons. One might imagine the engines on his wings as missile launchers, but that's pretty much the end of it. What he does have, though, are very intricate hands. Nicely sculpted, individual thumbs. I'm a sucker for nice hands, so he gets bonus points for that. Too bad he's got nothing he can hold in those terrific hands.

The second thing is Stratosphere's head, or rather the head of my very own individual stratosphere. The missing speck of silver on his brow is not supposed to be there. Now I'm not the kind of guy who goes and exchanges a toy because of such a tiny error in production, but it does annoy me a bit. Since it's not a general problem with this figure, there'll be no points deduction, but still: It annoys.

All in all Stratosphere's robot mode has no obvious flaws except for the lack of weapons. Very nicely done.

Alternate Mode: Stratosphere's alternate mode is, or so I read, not based on any single plane, but rather an amalgamation of no less than three: A C-17 Globemaster III (body), a C-5 Galaxy (cockpit), and an Antonov An-225 (tail). Not being a plane groupie, I can only tell you that Stratosphere transforms into a military-style transport plane and does a good job of it. The plane looks big and sleek, there are no robot bits visible, everything fits together pretty well.

The plane even has a working loading ramp in the back and enough room to store a tiny little Optimus Prime truck (see below) inside. A working landing gear is included as well. The only slight downside I've found to this mode is the design of the tail fins. Yes, they need to be hinged in order to fold them away properly for the robot mode, but couldn't they have included some sort of mechanism to make them stay in proper place when in vehicle mode? They're not loose, mind you, but getting the left and right tail rudder into identical positions isn't the easiest thing int he world and a slight touch suffices to make everything skewy again. Apart from that, though, no complaints. A nice, solid vehicle mode.

Partners / Add-Ons: To showcase how big Stratosphere would be in real life, he is accompanied by an in-scale version of Optimus Prime. The tiny little figure transforms from robot to truck and fits inside Stratosphere's belly in vehicle mode. In robot mode this version of Optimus is even smaller than the Legends version and its posability is limited to swiveling its arms at the shoulders. That's okay, though, as this Optimus here isn't meant to be a toy in its own right. As an add-on, he's okay. Looks good and properly brings across Stratosphere's scale.

Going back to the lack of weapons I mentioned above, Stratosphere was originally meant to include a second (or possibly alternate) add-on, a space shuttle for his vehicle mode, which would double as a missile launcher for his robot mode. The space shuttle would plug into the hole between his wings, simulating a real-world shuttle transport. This development made it as far as the test shot (See a picture of it here), but was dropped from the final product for undisclosed reasons. Too bad.

Remarks: Stratosphere is one of those figures that didn't actually appear in the movie accompanying his toy line, but can at least pretend he did. He transforms into the same type of aircraft that dropped Optimus Prime into Shanghai during the opening battle of Revenge of the Fallen. Sadly that plane didn't transform, as Stratosphere would easily have dwarfed pretty much every other Transformer in the movie, but them's the breaks.

As I've mentioned elsewhere the Revenge of the Fallen line has broken with the usual Transformers trend of reserving the best figures for the Deluxe class. In ROTF it's the Voyager-class that produces the best figures and Stratosphere is definitely a good example for that. He isn't the best of the lot, but he's a good figure with a good alternate mode, no flaws except the lack of a weapon, and the fact that he would be the tallest Transformer of his entire line if he were in scale only adds to his appeal. If they'd left him with that space-shuttle / missile launcher thing, I might have given him an A. As things stand, he gets a very good...

Rating: B+


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