Robotmasters Toy Review: Air Hunter

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Machine Wars, Robotmasters

Robotmasters Transformers

General Information:
Release Year: July 2004
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $15 (Depending on Import Retailer)
Accessories: The Sacred-Cut Sword Armorkiller (Blade Weapon), Chromium Shot (Rifle)


Robotmasters is a line mostly made up of redecos. And it seems that whenever Takara decides to do redecos, they try to use good old "stand by" molds. The Spychangers are a great example of this. In recent time, another set of molds has been reused as well: Machine Wars molds. When Machine Wars was released in 1997, it introduced four new molds. Each was given two different decos to serve as two different characters. One of these molds was used for both Megaplex and Megatron in that line. Later, it would go on to be
released in Beast Wars the Second as Thrust. Following that, it appeared in the Robots in Disguise line as Wind Sheer. Now the sculpt is back as a new Destron warrior: Air Hunter.

Tech Specs (Translated by Doug Dlin):
Name: Air Hunter
Function: Swordsman
Profile: A noble warrior who values preserving the morals and regulations of the military. Insists on sharing his energy with his many teammates. An expert in the "Illusion Master" sword technique, he never neglects his\training.

Weapon(s): The Sacred-Cut Sword Armorkiller, Chromium Shot

Rank: 8 Power: 8 Defense: 8 Stamina: 9 Speed: 9

Robot Mode:
No matter how many characters Takara and Hasbro have tried to turn this sculpt into, whenever I see it, I can still clearly see how this was meant to be Megatron. It really has nothing to do with the body of the toy, it's all in the head design. The head is a very Megatron-inspired "helmet" over face design, but the helmet part is simplified and streamlined, but its shape is definitely the shape of G1 Megatron.

The mold itself is a really nice one. Sure it's the standard "jet front as body" design, but it has some cool details worked into it that keep it from looking plain. These include zig zag type lines on the central body (the "cone" of the jet). It's also important to note that this little guy has nine points of articulation, which even to this day is considered pretty good for a basic sized figure. This allows for all sorts of neat poses and makes the toy more dynamic.

Not content with just giving the toy a new deco, it also comes with an melee weapon in addition to its rifle. The melee weapon is a short staff with a blade at the end. Its official name is "The Sacred-Cut Sword Armorkiller" (hey, I don't make this stuff up). It combines with the other Destron weapons to form the "Arsenal Force" which any of the smaller Destrons can wield. The weapon is made out of translucent green plastic, which looks really nice against the mostly black Air Hunter.

Having seen this mold in several forms and color variations, it's nice to see something different done to it. Air Hunter is mostly black and gray with orange details. All the black parts (including the head, lower arms and lower legs) are translucent black. His eyes are translucent yellow plastic (allowing for light piping) while orange is used on the center of the main body and details on the legs. Gray is used for the uper arms and upper legs, blending nicely into a unified color scheme
with the black.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Take the rifle and split it into its two pieces.
  2. Fit the halves into the rear of the lower legs.
  3. Straighten out the arms.
  4. Pull the cockpit/main body piece up and snap it into place over the robot head.

Vehicle Mode:
Air Hunter is an F-22 Raptor fighter jet, one of the most advanced in the world. To this day I still love this alt mode for a Decepticon jet. It's so appropriate, making these "newer" jets the spiritual descendents of older jet Transformers like Starscream and Thundercracker who became F-15's. It's also a very sleek and powerful looking form. Detail wise there isn't a lot here, but rather just enough to make it interesting. The details are all basic shapes and line designs, but it's nice
to see how multi-layered the sculpt is. Towards the middle of the jet, it sinks in a bit, indicating layers to this machine.

In this mode most of what we see is translucent black plastic. On top of this is a high contrast color, orange. Not a neon orange or anything, just a basic orange. This is used on the nosecone, wings, rear fins and even around the Decepticon symbols. The edges of the orange designs on the wings are red. Overall, this is a very simple, yet nice looking deco. It's also kind of neat how you can see right through the translucent parts into other sections of the jet. It gives the toy a fairly mysterious appearance.

For those curious, this toy bears 2000 trademark/copyright dates, indicating it is in fact derived from the molds used for Wind Sheer. This also probably means that the molds have forever been changed from their original Machine Wars releases, which listed 1996 trademark years.

Final Thoughts:
Air Hunter is a neat redeco of a figure that has seen quite a bit of action over the past few years. Fans who have already purchased this mold over and over may be understandably reluctant to invest in it again. But if you've missed this mold in any incarnation previous to this, it's worth your time, especially since it comes with an additional weapon. Recommended.