Hasbro are pretty smart cookies, it's fair to say. They were pretty smart in 1985 as well. Reasoning that kids had bought the same basic figure three times over for Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker, there was no reason to throw any money towards a new Decepticon jet figure. I mean, why bother when you can just churn out a few new wing parts for the Diaclone JetRobo mould?

Dirge was one of the trio of second series jets (colloquially known as the Coneheads) along with Thrust and Ramjet. These all basically had only their wing shapes to define them from each other with characters best described as 'thick muscle'. This was especially evident in the cartoon where they were interchangeable, while in the comic they got lost in the crush of new toys. However, they came out before the film, making them - in DW parlance - Fan Favourites. Dirge was reissued a couple of years ago by Hasbro, but no-one cared much.


Dirge's jet mode is the F-15 fuselage with a pair of delta wings with leading canards - a configuration used on the slightly later Saab Grippen and Dassault Rafale fighters - attached. The new wings are an interesting shape, but what with them being brown they fail to really blend with the rest of the jet.

It doesn't help that the fuselage mould is rather awful. There are some massive join lines (notably around the arms), the rear fuselage is split in half for no better reason than it's a cheap and easy way to get the robot legs and the new wings don't even go flush into the body. It's an awful job, despite some cute touches like the clear cockpit and the nose-wheel.


For a figure of this size, the transformation is pathetic. The main body only really has one proper movement, moving the arms out of the way and threading the nosecone though to form the robot's chest. Aside from this it's just flipping the feet down and removing and adding various parts. It's very lazy - the wings have to be removed, the fists can't be stored anywhere and have to be clipped on for the robot mode while at the same time there's nowhere really to store the nose-wheel - it can fit in the cockpit, but you're at the mercy of the cockpit joint as to whether it stays there.

The resulting robot is none too impressive either. Dirge is very rigid - the arms can move up and down a little, though the wings get in the way. The shoulder joints can't be used to move the arms around very far - at least not without making them look like they're not connected to the body. The plain black face has no personality whatsoever though the rest of the colour scheme isn't bad (bland would be a more accurate word). It's at best an average robot. Incidentally, the nosecone can be displayed as in the cartoon, but this looks ridiculous.


You could argue that everyone knows what they're getting with Dirge - he's an uninspiring retool of a mould that was aged when it was in the Diaclone range, a glorified construction kit. However, it's still worth considering just what we have here - the toy has been coloured to make it look duller than ever (in concept, the dark blue/black/light brown could work, but laid out on such a big, featureless mould it just doesn't come off) with the retool not actually structurally working. A mess, basically.