G1 Whirl is a member of the “molds I would like to have in my collection but don’t have the inclination to hunt down at a reasonable price and in decent enough condition ’cause he’s really just kind of a nondescript, mono-eyed, clamp-handed, articulation-less, thin, not-very-Transformers-looking dude that I mostly forgot existed until IDW’s More Than Meets The Eye series” club.
Granted, membership in that particular club is somewhat limited, but thanks to his prominence in More Than Meets The Eye he got something better than a reissue; a Generations update.
In an only slightly surprising but delightful (at least to me) move, what we received was far closer to the original toy than the IDW model that most likely spurred his creation. A beautiful piece of art has very recently shown up on Brian Shearer‘s Facebook Art page as his “Today’s Warm Up” image. It depicts IDW’s Whirl and Scud the Disposable Assassin. As a majorly huge fan of both of those things, I can imagine it brought a joyful tear to the eye of my fellow Robots in Cahoots podcaster and Robots with Coffee admin, Paul of The Gassy Autobot. Along with being amazing artwork, it might be the cleanest picture of IDW Whirl’s robot mode that exists.
Some are unhappy with the decision for the Generations toy to veer so far away from his IDW comic book depiction, but I couldn’t be happier with the result. The inclusion of the entirety of his G1 toy’s arsenal — Null-Ray Module, “Paralyzo” box, Shell Cannon, and Photon Beam Rifle — is a nice bonus too.
One of the things that initially annoyed me about this mold was the arms; they flopped around, completely unable to hold up his weaponry given the spindly connections to his shoulders. That was before I learned that his instructions are missing a vital step and I wasn’t transforming him fully. His shoulders actually collapse into his body.
This vastly improves his robot mode arms. Speaking of appendages, something he definitely inherited from his IDW incarnation, along with his less-boxy headsculpt, are his digitigrade bird legs.
If the odd octagon-in-an-octagon connection — which makes folding the knees out very difficult, if not potentially dangerous — makes you nervous or if you just prefer a look more in line with the original toy, you can turn the legs around and give him normal knees .
At first I was unsure which configuration I liked better. If it were possible to give him better looking feet, I might go with the more G1 look. Minus that and combined with the fact that the bird legs lend themselves better to his overall look — that mono-eyed, clamp-handed look that he inherits from his G1 toy’s pre-Transformers origin (more on that later) — means I’ll probably transform them as intended.
Another thing that doesn’t appear to be mentioned in his instructions but seems pretty obvious to me, the piece his top rotor is connected to can swivel up to connect the two halves of his engine cowling and have his rotor hang in the middle of his back in robot mode.
After having begrudgingly accepted that I was tremendously enjoying the non-murder-ific parts of IDW’s Transformers comics, I began to really enjoy the back-and-forth happening between Whirl and Cyclonus. Though he is one of the worst offenders of the IDW “Hoist Rule” (which I have so named because of Hoist’s awesome rant on the subject) Whirl’s nutjob-with-a-fondness-for-weaponry nonetheless sticks to the spirit, if not the letter, of his G1 Transformers Universe bio,
“An attack of insanity can be just as effective as an attack by a proton bomb,” says Whirl
Not much can be said about his alt mode, he does a good job of mimicking his G1 toy’s AH-1 Cobra-like helicopter.
Another annoyance that I was definitely not expecting was the sticker sheet included with Whirl. Ugh. Freaking stickers. I only choose to put the Autobot symbols and red stripe stickers on ’cause, ugh, freaking stickers. All of his weapons can be attached using c-clips to outfit his alt mode to properly rain death from above.
Of course, the alt mode part of the toy vs. comic struggle was always going to go to the toy side of things. I am fuzzy on the timing of the IDW comics universe, but Whirl doesn’t have an earthen alt mode though his (ever-changing) alt mode in the comics does tend to keep to a dual-rotor aircraft look.
Whilst on the subject of the comics, a slight sidetrack: up to this point, I have purposely steered away from addressing IDW’s concept of “empurata“. I find it remarkably silly, coming off as a ham-handed attempt to explain something that doesn’t really need explaining, but as it is just as easily ignored when it comes to Whirl, it doesn’t annoy me as much with him as it does with the whole Shockwave plotline.
Almost as surprised as I was to find stickers (Ugh. Freaking Stickers.) I was also surprised to see the blurb on his box that read: “3 Modes!” Purposefully included were a tab and hinge for folding and securing his tail and a slider to move his legs further up his body to allow him to transform into a Gerwalk-ish mode called “Heloped Mode”.
Where the inspiration for this came, I’m not sure, but as an official recognition of the usually fanmade Gerwalk alt modes it’s pretty cool.
After his G1 incarnation there was a Cybertron Whirl as a repaint of the G1 Turbomaster Rotorstorm released in the Universe line. Following that we’ve received two movie–verse Autobot toys, but neither can really be considered homages to the G1 character. The Revenge of the Fallen character bio depicts a master of the “ultimate fighting art – Metallikato” and Dark of the Moon Whirl’s bio states that he “prefers to observe what occurs around him and base his strategy on the information he gathers.” The Dark of the Moon toy really only has “Whirl” and a helicopter alt mode.
Revenge of the Fallen Whirl adds to that a very obscure (and therefore awesome) homage to the original G1 Whirl toy. His deco is taken straight from his G1 Whirl’s previously mentioned pre-Transformers existence, the VH-64 MR Gazzette piloted by Louise Ovelon (mostly like “Oberon”) in the 1983 anime and toy series Special Armored Battalion Dorvack.
To further cement the homage, Revenge of the Fallen Whirl’s tail number is “N073A0”, which can be turned upside down to spell “Ovelon”. Incidentally, Special Armored Battalion Dorvack is also the series of origin for the toy that would become G1 Roadbuster, who likewise will be getting a Generations update this year. It may have taken some time for Whirl to get his proper attention, but it definitely feels like it was worth the wait, let’s just hope the same turns out to be true for Roadbuster.