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Series: TFC Toys
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2013

Prelude: Legal stuff first as always. AV-88 Harrier II is not a figure released by Hasbro or Takara-Tomy and thus not an official Transformers toy. It's from third party provider TFC Toys and an obvious homage to the G1 Aerialbot Slingshot (it even says 'S5HOT' on his rear fin), but for legal reasons it can't be called by that name. Still no answer as to why TFC didn’t give these guys proper names.

Robot Mode: AV-8B Harrier II is of the same basic design as his fellow “arm-bot” F-4 Phantom, being somewhat more slender and slightly taller than the bulkier “leg-bots” F-16 Falcon and F-15 Eagle. Most of him looks different, though, and that’s not just the different paint job. Considering the price tag, one would expect more than a simple repaint, naturally.

Harrier’s chest design includes opening missile launchers, much like those found on F-15 Eagle. Like the other Uranos bots he carries two missiles as handguns, which he can either wield separately, together, or attach to his forearms. The head design is somewhat similar to that of G1 Slingshot’s cartoon model, though there are quite some differences as well. Articulation is very good, no complaints here at all, though some of the joints are very, very stiff.

That’s pretty much it, really. All in all Harrier is a pretty good jet robot, no complaints. Much like I already said with the other Uranos members, though: you’re not buying this guy for the robot mode, though, neat as it is.

Alternate Mode: The AV-8B Harrier II is the second generation of the Harrier aircraft class, the first functional VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) fighter jets in the world. Originally created by the British, the Harrier II was co-developed with the Americans and is still in use in the US Marine Corps, as well as the Italian and Spanish Navy. This type of aircraft might be best-known to non-military types from the movie “True Lies”, where Arnold Schwarzenegger used it in the movie’s final showdown (and performed quite a few manoeuvres I’m sure the aircraft is not capable of).

In jet mode Harrier looks sleek and, to my untrained eye, quite realistic, too. No visible robot bits to be seen here and while the jet does have a bit of an underbelly, it’s a far cry from other jet Transformers. Harrier has the dubious distinction of being the only Uranos jet with a back-up landing gear. Apart from the long landing struts under the wings (which are standard for the Harrier) he also has additional wheels in the robot knees on the underbelly of the jet. Not sure why, but it means you can have him rolling on five wheels instead of three if you want or remove the long landing struts from the wings if they bother you.

Not much else I can write here. I like the Harrier style aircraft a lot, so from choice of models Harrier here is my second favourite of the team (sorry, but the SR-71 Blackbird still wins hands down) and he makes for a good jet overall, too.

Combiner Mode: Harrier forms the left arm of the Uranos combiner. I’ll do a separate review for him later.

Remarks: Yeah, so... Slingshot. One of the G1 Aerialbots. And... yeah, I got nothing beyond that. Slingshot is one of the Aerialbots. That’s it. According to his tech spec he is a loudmouthed jerk, trying to overplay his insecurity for being the smallest and weakest Aerialbot. While he did feature in a number of G1 cartoon episodes and comic books, it was always just as one of the team. The most memorable scene he had was in the cartoon episode “Aerial Assault” where he was forced to briefly switch out his chest plate for that of a Rolls Royce.

In many ways Harrier shares Slingshot’s fate. He’s the fifth Uranos member (sixth if you count the chestplate guy). You buy him to complete the combiner. That’s it. The first thing I did when I unpacked him was not transform him into jet mode or play with him in robot mode, no. I transformed him into an arm and completed Uranos. And now I’m getting this review over with so I can start on the one for Uranos, too. So bottom line: Harrier is up to snuff compared to the other TFC Uranos figures, no flaws worth mentioning and a cool alternate mode, too. Still, you buy him because of Uranos, not for himself. He’ll have to live with that, I’m afraid.

Rating: B
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