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Series: Fans Hobby
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Convention Exclusive
Year: 2024


Prelude: Men, men, men, men, manly men, men, men, men … we’ve had Bossman, Marksman, Huntsman, and … well, I’ll just call him Eagle Man from now on instead of Lightning Eagle, wouldn’t want to break the trend. Anyway, here is the next Man: Wingman, aka Predator Skydive (no, not the Aerialbot), the next Predator to be released in MP-scale by third party company Fans Hobby. So, be a man and let’s say go!

Robot Mode: First thing to keep in mind here as with all the other previous Fans Hobby figures depicting Turbomasters and Predators: they are repaints. The molds were originally meant for other characters. In Wingman’s case the mold started out as their version of Masterforce Hydra / G1 Darkwing, so the basic layout of the figure is based on that character, not the original Predator Skydive (not the Aerialbot, either). That said, much like with the other figures, Fans Hobby have done a tremendous job, using a new paint job and a new head, to create as much of a resemblance to the old Predator figure as possible.

Let us start with the brilliant and awesome 1990s paintjob. Wingman is mostly purple (a somewhat lighter tone than the original) with black arms and head, as well as some green and blue highlights. The figure received a new head, closely matching that of the original figure, and the chest plate was given detailing that kind of makes it look like it could maybe be a cockpit (if you squint). Overall a pretty good job of using colors to match the G1 Predator, despite the mold being set up differently (cockpit on the back instead of as chest, for example).

Paintjob aside, the figure itself is a Masterpiece-sized robot with the appropriate level of articulation and detailing that you expect at this price point. Hands with individual fingers, all the joints you could ask for, moveable feet, the works. The only slight limitation is that, while the hip can turn, it can only go a few degrees before it collides with the backpack and can go no further. Which brings us directly to the one big downside of this figure: the HUGE backpack.

Wingman carries the entire front portion of his jet mode as a rucksack, framed by no less than three pairs of wings (big wings, tail elevators, and split tailfin) and the exhaust ports of the jet, too. Now, I have seen robots with bigger rucksacks… but not that many. Now sure, the original Darkwing figure had quite the rucksack as well, so it was to be expected, but still: that’s a whole lot of rucksack. It doesn’t impede Wingman’s balance and doesn’t really restrain his articulation, either (except the hip), but still: a biiiiig rucksack.

Thankfully that’s about the only negative thing here in robot mode. Wingman carries the same golden missile launchers as weapons that Marksmanhas, including the green missiles, nicely capturing the look of the standard weapon of the old Predators (though without the gold plastic syndrome, thankfully). So bottom line for the robot mode: great paintjob, good figure, biiiiiiig rucksack!

Alternate Mode: Wingman transforms into a Panavia Tornado GR1 fighter jet. Now the original Skydive became a Northrop YF-23, but again: repaint of Darkwing, so the fighter model is, of course, based on that figure. The transformation from robot to jet isn’t all that complicated as such, but some of the steps are a bit awkward, such as slipping the feet into the shoulder pits. Also, a lot of thin plates on hinges are involved, so I am a bit worried about the long-term endurance of this figure. Still, transforming him isn’t that difficult and you end up with a truly beautiful jet.

The jet looks great and while I doubt there are many purple jets flying around in the real world, the colors really pop. The jet also doesn’t have an underbelly like so many other jet Transformers. The only sight that we might be looking at a transformed robot here are the tubes under the wings (the robot arms), but can easily imagine them as fuel pods or some such. The jet features a three-point landing gear, too. The rear wheels are a bit of a hassle to get out (long fingernails are a plus), but otherwise it works fine. There is a sculpted cockpit underneath the canopy and lots of other details to be found.

A few downsides, too, though: one, the wings are made to flip around and peg into the sides of the jet to remain in place, but not very solidly. Sliding the wings back and forth almost inevitably makes them pop out, just like attaching the missiles (or missile launchers) to the wings. Also, when you want to turn over the wings for the combined more (see below), you kind of have to halfway transform Wingman to robot mode to have enough clearance for that. Also, the arms peg into the side of the jet as well, but again: not very solidly. Not really bad things as such, but it does rankle a bit.

Opening the panels on top of the jet gives you a slot for putting in the Power Pilot / Powermaster figure that comes with Wingman (more on that below). Personally I prefer leaving the engine out, because the opened panels look kind of out of place on the jet. Just a personal preference, of course.

Finally, Wingman can combine with Marksman in jet mode to form a superjet. It was called Dreadwing when Darkwing and Dreadwind did it (mind the “g” at the end), so we might call it… Markwing? Man-Man? Or maybe just Wingman (you know, Wing from Wingman and Man from Marksman)? Well, no official name here, so name it what you will. Combination is rather simple (apart from having to turn over Wingman’s wings). Flip up Marksman’s tail, flip over Wingman’s cockpit, flip the wings, and fold out Wingman’s air intakes. The jets combine at two points (or three rather, as both air intakes attach to the fin of Marksman) and, once you have everything lined up properly, the connection is rock-solid. Getting everything lined up properly, though, takes a bit of fiddling. Once combined you can attach all four golden missile launchers for extra firepower. Not sure about the aerodynamics of this thing, but it looks pretty good.

Bottom line for the jet mode: It looks great, wing attachments could be better, and the combined mode is a nice bonus.

Partner: Now Skydive was not a Powermaster, but Darkwing was, so this figure here also includes a Powermaster (or Power Pilot, as Fans Hobby calls them) figure. Darkwing’s Nebulon partner was called Throttle, but the figure gets no name in this incarnation. A small figure, nicely articulated for its size, and with a nicely sculpted cobra-styled helmet, too. It transforms into an engine block that can attach to Wingman in jet mode and remains on his back in robot mode.

Also included with Wingman is a new torso for the Power Pilot of Marksman. The sole difference is that the rucksack is somewhat flatter. This is to improve the combination in jet mode, as otherwise the thickness of Marksman’s engine somewhat gets in the way of the tailfin / cockpit link-up between the two jets.

Remarks: It wasn’t that long ago that I finally completed my collection of the Euro-G1 Predators by acquiring Skydive (still not the Aerialbot) and now Skydive aka Wingman is the third (of six) Masterpiece-scaled Predators being released as TFCon exclusives by Fans Hobby. Skydive, like most of the Predators, didn’t really have much in the way of media presence until he appeared in the IDW comics. Skydive’s appearance was rather short-lived, though, as he was killed by Bombshell in his attempt to create a better combiner. The investigation into Skydive’s death, however, was a major story point early on in the Robots in Disguise comic line.

It was never a question for me whether to get this figure or not, as I am a huge fan of the 1992 Turbomasters and Predators, and I adore the 1990s paintjob of this figure. That said, Wingman has a few problems, such as the huge, huge rucksack and quite a few very thin plates on hinges and a somewhat awkward transformation. So, if you are a fan of the Predators, this figure is definitely a recommendation. If you are just looking for a Masterpiece-sized Jet Transformer, though, there might well be better candidates out there.

Rating: B-

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