Aerialbots

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The Aerialbots (called Airbots in Japan and Aérobots in France) are a group of Autobots that transform into aircraft and combine to form the giant robot Superion.[1] They were introduced into the Transformers toyline in 1985 and sold as a Superion gift set, and then sold separately in 1986 in most department stores (e.g., Toys R' Us, Sears, Kay-Bee Toys).[2] Their archenemies are the Decepticon car team the Stunticons.

Transformers: Generation 1[edit]

Superion
Superion studioox.jpg
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Aerialbots, Gestalts
Function Air Warrior (Hasbro), Union Soldier (Takara)
Rank 5
Motto "To live is to fight; to die is to stop."
Alternate Modes Silverbolt, Air Raid, Slingshot, Fireflight, Skydive
Series Transformers: Generation 1
Transformers: Generation 2
Transformers: Universe
English voice actor Frank Welker (1st Time), Ed Gilbert (2nd Time)
Japanese voice actor Tomomichi Nishimura

The Aerialbots are the Autobot's second "sub-group" to be introduced to the animated series (the first sub-group being the Dinobots). The Aerialbots consist of five jet planes. This gives the Autobots a team specializing in air power for the first time, something that had always been reserved in the past by the Decepticons. Aerialbots were created to counter the Stunticons, a newly created Decepticon sub-group that would give the Decepticons mastery of the roads, something that had been reserved by the Autobots in the past.

The Aerialbots would also be the Autobots first "combiner" team of the series. When the Aerialbots merge, they become one giant robot known as Superion,[3][4] a "Scramble City" combiner, or scrambler for short.

Superion has one leader who is able to form the body and four smaller limbs, which can form either an arm or a leg. While the four members who make up the limbs are interchangeable with each other, in various Transformers fiction, Superion is traditionally portrayed with having Fireflight forming the right arm, Slingshot as the left arm, Skydive is the right leg and Air Raid is the left leg. In the Marvel Comics and Superion's original and Generation 2 instructions, the positions of Fireflight and Slingshot as arms and Air Raid and Skydive as legs are swapped, with the latter making up the arms.

Superion is considered a powerful combiner, being the only known combiner in the animated series to defeat one of Cybertron's guardian robots, which are a bit larger and heavier than a combiner. However, Superion can only stay merged for 7 minutes.

Aerialbot members[edit]

  • Superion
    Superion has two simple goals that dominate his every action: one, to destroy the Decepticons and two, to protect others. His thoughts are a combination of all five Aerialbots distilled to their respective cores, with anything not relating to his primary function being suppressed. Because of his single-minded attitude, the other Autobots find Superion to be distant and unfeeling. In reality, he acts this way because he cares so much about his mission that he is willing to sacrifice everything else for it.
Superion utilizes combiner technology to merge all five Aerialbots' bodies and minds into a single super-robot. He is able to fly at speeds of 800 miles per hour for a distance of 5,800 miles. Immensely strong, a single blow from his fist can crush a full-size battleship. He carries Silverbolt's electrostatic discharger rifle, which emits blasts of 150,000 volts of electricity. He is resistant to most Earth and Cybertronian artillery.
The seams where the five Aerialbots merge are Superion's primary physical weaknesses, while his stripped-down thought process makes it difficult for him to think creatively or adapt during combat. His only other weakness is the ability to stay merged for only 7 minutes.
  • Silverbolt
    The leader of the Aerialbots. He transforms into an Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde jet. He forms the torso of Superion. He is afraid of heights, because he was built from a low-altitude transport, as opposed to the spacecraft his comrades were made from. Optimus Prime gave him command of the team so that his concern over the well-being of the others would take precedence over his irrational fear. As a result, it was a while before the others accepted him as their leader. His motto is: Don't look down, look straight ahead. He is voiced by Charlie Adler.
  • Skydive
    He transforms into an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet. He forms the left leg of Superion. A theorist who would rather research and study battles than fight in them, though he is the fastest and most skilled flyer among the Aerialbots, and one of the most skilled flyers among all Transformers. He is arguably the most qualified of the Aerialbots to lead, and serves as an unofficial second-in-command. His motto is: Only by studying the past can we win the present. He is voiced by Laurie Faso.
  • Fireflight
    Known as Firebolt in Japan, he transforms into an F-4 Phantom II jet. He forms the right arm of Superion. He is a reckless flyer who pays no attention to the safety of others as he can get easily distracted by the vistas he sees below while in flight. His motto is: When I'm flying, no enemy is safe - nor friend. He is voiced by Jeff MacKay.
  • Slingshot
    Known as Sling in Japan, he transforms into an AV-8B Harrier II jet. He forms the left arm of Superion. He is a self-centered, loud-mouth braggart who likes to take credit for others' work. It is his way of compensating for his severe confidence problems due to being the smallest and slowest of the team. His motto is: I'm even better than I think. He is voiced by Rob Paulsen.
  • Air Raid
    Known as Air Rider in Japan, transforms into an F-15 Eagle jet. He forms the right leg of Superion. The most impulsive member of the group, he likes to fight Decepticons right up close. His motto is: If you look first, you may not leap. He is voiced by Rob Paulsen.

Marvel Comics[edit]

The Aerialbots also appeared in the accompanying Transformers comic by Marvel, although they had a lesser role. They originally appeared in the UK Marvel Transformers comics in a very odd way - as part of a dream sequence. In previous stories, Optimus Prime had transferred part of the Matrix to Buster Witwicky. During a mission, Soundwave detected this and used one of Bombshell's cerebro-shells to tap into his mind. Buster's vision showed the future of the Transformer race - the combiners. The Aerialbots and Protectobots battled the Stunticons and Combaticons in their various combined modes with Shockwave and Prime looking on. This set the wheels in motion for more combiner teams on both sides.

They appeared in the main continuity in US issue #21, having been created by the power of the Matrix to replenish the recent Autobot losses on Earth. However, when the Insecticons attacked a dam, the Aerialbots were dispatched to investigate, despite the fact that Wheeljack had only completed Silverbolt's mind. They ended up battling Dirge, Thrust and Ramjet. While they emerged victorious after merging into Superion, Silverbolt forcibly disassembled them when they threatened a human under Megatron's control.

When Skids was threatened by the newly created Stunticons, the Aerialbots arrived to save him, and the two teams battled in their combined modes. However, when the mentally unstable Transformer hating Circuit Breaker arrived, the Stunticons made it appear as if they were protecting Skids. Circuit Breaker attacked and disabled Superion, allowing Menasor to easily defeat him.

They were then captured by Circuit Breaker and her Rapid Anti-Robot Attack Team, taken to her lab and then dissected After capturing the Aerialbots she encountered a new problem - the Decepticon Battlechargers Runabout and Runamuck were causing mayhem across America. Using the parts from all the captured Autobots she created a giant Autobot with herself in control, striking a deal with them that if they would co-operate she would let them go. Circuit Breaker then used them to battle the two Decepticons, who were attacking the Statue of Liberty. After defeating the Decepticons with Circuit Breaker the Autobots were released.

The Aerialbots' appearances declined after this, as more new characters were introduced. They were amongst those who battled the Underbase powered Starscream, and were deactivated by his power. They were later resurrected by Grimlock using Nucleon, and fought against Unicron, but were all killed again in Bludgeon's ambush, only to be resurrected once more by Optimus Prime and the Last Autobot. Thy reappeared in the Transformers: Generation 2 comic, battling Jhiaxus' Gen 2 Decepticons in the air above the planet Ethos. Seemingly outnumbered and outgunned, they were saved when Skywarp and Thundercracker led a Decepticon aerial armada into the fray to bail them out - something they found humiliating in itself. They were again in action when Jhiaxus discovered their secret base. In the final battle against the Swarm, Slingshot was one of those consumed, dying alongside Slag. It is unknown if the other Aerialbots survived.

Animated series[edit]

From Left to right: Fireflight, Skydive, Air Raid, Silverbolt, Slingshot.

They were created on Cybertron around the same time as the Stunticons as a countermeasure to the new Decepticon car team after the mainly land-based Autobots proved woefully inadequate as a counter. Their first appearance came in the two-parter Key to Vector Sigma, pts: 1 & 2. They were created to combat the Stunticons, after the latter had run rampant over the Autobot cars. To do this, Optimus Prime journeyed to Cybertron, with his troops rebuilding old planes and shuttles into the Aerialbots. Alpha Trion sacrificed himself, merging with Vector Sigma itself to give them life. On Earth, while the Aerialbots quickly proved themselves competent warriors, they also became overconfident and arrogant, with leader Silverbolt failing to keep them in line due to his fear of heights. After a heated discussion over whether they should stay with the Autobots, they battled the Stunticons as they tried to use the key to Vector Sigma that could turn organic matter into metal. The two teams battled as Superion and Menasor. The Decepticon combiner gained the upper hand, but was eventually defeated when Omega Supreme intervened. Silverbolt conquered his fear of heights to keep Megatron from escaping with the Key.

The Aerialbots and Stunticons squared-off again, later in the episode Cosmic Rust, where Superion defeated Menasor in a Combiner v.s. Combiner rivalry. Later on, in the episode War Dawn, they were sent back in time 9 million years ago by the Decepticons in an attempt to lose the Aerialbots forever in the dawn of time. Thankfully, Optimus managed to halt their displacement to the Golden age of Cybertron. At first, they question the motives of the early Autobots. But after a series of events, and seeing Megatron's cruelty in the past, they witnessed death of a young Autobot named Orion Pax, who was rebuilt by Alpha Trion as their leader, Optimus Prime. They become convinced, and finally accept the ways of the Autobots. A subsequent appearance saw them battling the Combaticons, and later their combined form of Bruticus, in the Middle East.

Although the Aerialbots did not appear in The Transformers: The Movie, they continued to put in regular appearances in the third season (unlike many of the season 1-2 cast, who were either killed in the Movie or phased out). In "Five Faces of Darkness", they arrived in a shuttle to save Rodimus Prime (Rodimus held the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and replaced Optimus Prime after Optimus died fighting in the events of Transformers: The Movie) and his group from the destruction of the planet Quintessa. They later went time-travelling once again, when they discovered a Quintesson time machine, and a young Autobot named A-3. Due to time distortions, Superion ended up battling alongside a second Superion, routing the Quintessons. It was then the truth was revealed - A-3 was a young Alpha Trion, and they had just won the first battle in the Transformer rebellion against their masters.

Skydive and Slingshot.

The Aerialbots had many other adventures, returning to the Middle East alongside Prime to investigate the schemes of Octane and Trypticon, thwarting a Quintesson attempt to drive the Transformers into a blood rage using a special transmitter, and going on a solo attack against Trypticon. They were among the first infected by the Hate Plague when a trap was sent for them and Ultra Magnus when they attempted to retrieve the body of Optimus Prime. As a maddened Superion, they engaged the Protectobots in a running battle, with the latter desperately trying not to get infected. However, when merged as Defensor and trying to evacuate a bridge of human civilians, Superion managed to infect them. A small group of Autobots attempted to curtail Superion's rampage, including Blurr, Bumblebee, Kup, Wheelie, and Steeljaw, but were quickly defeated by him, needing extensive repairs before any of them were operational again. Luckily, when the resurrected Optimus Prime released the power of the Matrix, the Aerialbots were cured along with everyone else.

The Aerialbots were among those who reappeared in season 4, in the three part episode "The Rebirth". When the Decepticons once again invaded Cybertron, the Aerialbots were among those who tried to stop them, the Aerialbots fired upon the Decepticons upon their arrival on Cybertron, but unfortunately Galvatron ordered his newest "one robot army" SixShot to take them out. He did so, using each of his alternate modes to defeat the entire team with ease.

The Decepticons then later on after the Combaticons had made sure they were defeated, under Galvatron's orders scavenged their parts to construct a super engine to move the planet Cybertron. It is unknown if they survived or not, though one does appear jumping up and down with Bumblebee indicating that they might have survived.

In the Japanese series Transformers: Headmasters, that replaced "The Rebirth" the Aerialbots appeared several times, more often combined into Superion and with Bruticus as opponent.

Books[edit]

The Aerialbots appeared in the 1986 story book Galvatron's Air Attack by Ladybird Books.[5]

Silverbolt appears in Transformers: Exiles.

Dreamwave Productions[edit]

The Aerialbots had a very different origin in Dreamwave comics, being a group of Autobot jets from Cybertron. In the backstory established in Transformers: the Ultimate Guide, by Simon Furman, they were part of an experiment to duplicate the combined form of Devastator. Later they came to Earth, reformatted into Earth-style forms.

Upon the awakening of Optimus Prime in Dreamwave's first Generation One mini-series, the Aerialbots were among the Autobots summoned by Optimus to rescue the remaining Autobots, who had been turned into mind-controlled weapons of mass destruction by a human arms dealer. During a subsequent battle with the Decepticons in San Francisco, the Aerialbots, merged as Superion, battled Devastator, but lost when the Decepticon Seekers, hit their weak points, forcing them to separate. They then sacrificed themselves to stop an incoming nuclear missile, launched by rogue elements in the U.S. military to eradicate both factions of Cybertronians in one fell swoop.

Later, it was revealed that parts of Superion, including his head, were recovered by the faction of the U.S. government that also recovered Devastator and Scourge, hinting that they were possibly trying to rebuild him.

Transformers/G.I. Joe[edit]

The Aerialbots also made an appearance in Dreamwave's alternate reality G.I. Joe/Transformers series, where they were reconfigured as World War 2 fighter planes. Superion was used as the spearhead of the combined Autobot/G.I. Joe attack on the Cobra Terrordrome, but was gunned down by Shockwave's artillery cannon mode.

Devil's Due Publishing[edit]

Although the Aerialbots have yet to appear in Devil's Due Publishing's series of G.I. Joe vs the Transformers crossovers, they were mentioned in the third seres, as Optimus Prime called on them as back up to stop the Decepticon attack on Capital City - before he was interrupted by Menasor.

Manga[edit]

In the Transformers Manga #5 Galvatron and his Decepticons attacked the Prime Energy Tower. Galvatron ordered the Decepticons to form Menasor, Devastator and Bruticus and attack. Rodimus Prime counted this move by ordering in Superion, Omega Supreme and Defensor. Galvatron then ordered in Predaking, knowing that Sky Lynx was elsewhere and couldn't counter them. Rodimus ordered the Omnibots to attack Predaking's legs. Tripping up the giant he fell into the other Decepticon giants, winning the day for the Autobots.[6]

Toys[edit]

Besides there being a recolor of Generation One Superion, there is a rare Generation Two Superion produced which turned into a watch (which originated in the Takara line). Transformers: Classic line contains a repaint of Cybertron Legends Jetfire painted red and named Fireflight. According to Hasbro sources at Botcon 2006 this toy was originally intended to be called Powerglide, but they couldn't get a trademark on that name at the time. In the 2010 Transformers: Power Core Combiners toy line, the Autobot Skyburst is the leader of an Aerialbot team, which consists of four aircraft drones. These drones can combine with Skyburst into a larger robot by forming his limbs.[7]

Transformers: Energon[edit]

Superion Maximus
Superionmaximus-animated.jpg
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Gestalts
Rank 8
Motto "In any age, war destroys everything, producing only sadness..."
Series Transformers: Energon
Voiced by Paul Dobson

A group of five Autobot combiner jets formed a giant robot called Superion Maximus. Although they had different names in the US, their Japanese names were the same as the Generation One Aerialbots. Here, only the combined mode was shown to have any intelligence.

  • Storm Jet (Afterburner in Japan) forms the torso.
  • Sky Shadow (Sling in Japan the Japanese name for Slingshot).
  • Terradive (Skydive in Japan.)
  • Treadshot (Air Raider in Japan, the Japanese name for Air Raid.)
  • Windrazor (Firebolt in Japan the Japanese name for Fireflight.)

Animated series[edit]

Originally Superion Maximus was one of the Guardians of the Super Energon at Cybertron's core, alongside Constructicon Maximus and Bruticus Maximus. However, they were then awoken by Galvatron. While Superion refused to join him, Bruticus and Constructicon did, and he could only watch helplessly as they destroyed the one dormant combiner Guardian - his brother. Superion Maximus then joined the Autobots to battle Galvatron's forces. His end came in battle with Bruticus Maximus and Constructicon Maximus. Although he killed Constructicon Maximus, he was at the mercy of Bruticus - until the ghost of his dead brother appeared and distracted Bruticus. Superion Maximus then assumed the blown off limbs of Constructicon Maximus, and killed Bruticus Maximus. He met a tragic end directly after the battle because his wounds were fatal.

Transformers: Universe[edit]

Superion
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Gestalts, Micromasters
Series Transformers: Generation 1
Transformers: Universe

Characters named Air Raid, Fireflight, Skydive and Silverbolt all appeared as Autobots in the Transformers: Universe series, but no direct connection is made between them and the original Autobots bearing those names. Although Silverbolt is established to be the Silverbolt from Beast Wars and Beast Machines, the others received no biography and may or may not be the same characters. Air Raid in particular is a recolor of his Generation 2 Cyberjet mold, so he may be the same character.

A recolor of the Japanese exclusive Sixwing was released in Transformers: Universe, whose new name is Superion. Many of his component Micromaster Autobots are named after the Aerialbots, except for Slingshot. In addition two other Micromasters are named Storm Jet and Ro-Tor.

The Transformers: Energon toy of Storm Jet, Windrazor and Terradive were repackaged in Transformers: Universe packaging, but no changes were made to the toys. They have not appeared in any Transformers: Universe fiction.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen[edit]

Superion
Superion-rotf.jpg
Revenge of the Fallen Superion toy
Autobot
Information
Sub-group Gestalts
Alternate Modes Silverbolt, Airazor, Air Raid, Fireflight, Skydive
Series Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

A redeco of the Energon toy, Superion was released as part of the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen toy line.

Video games[edit]

The Aerialbot name is used for a playable character who looks like Skydive in the 2009 Revenge of the Fallen video game by Activision. He transforms into an X-35 and is partners with Breakaway.[8]

The Aerialbots appear in the Transformers: Dark of the Moon video game. They are Silverbolt, Air Raid, and Breakaway. Starscream killed the Drones but did not kill the Aerialbots. It is unknown what happened to Stratosphere, possible he was killed, or since he is a large autobot he might have survived.

Toys[edit]

  • Revenge of the Fallen Superion (2009)
A combiner gift set that includes Silverbolt, Airazor, Air Raid, Fireflight and Skydive.


Transformers: Power Core Combiners[edit]

In the 2010 Transformers: Power Core Combiners toy line, the Autobot Skyburst leads an Aerialbot team, which consists of vehicle drones. These drones can combine with Skyburst to become a larger robot by forming his limbs.[9]

Transformers: Prime[edit]

The Aerialbots are Seekers who defected to the Autobots' side during the War for Cybertron.

Books[edit]

The Aerialbots appear in Transformers: Exodus. Silverbolt is the only member of the Aerialbots to appear in Transformers: Exiles, but all the Aerialbots who combine into Superion appear in the novel Transformers: Retribution. Twice during the novel they combine into Superion: first to attack and heavily damage the Nemesis, and then to fight off the Quintessons attacking both the Nemesis and the Ark.

Video games[edit]

The Aerialbots appear in Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Transformers: an adult primer // Here's help understanding toy robots, the latest rage, Chicago Sun-Times; December 16, 1986; by Patricia Smith
  2. ^ Alvarez, J.E. (2001). The Unofficial Guide to Transformers 1980s Through 1990s Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. p. 38. ISBN 0-7643-1364-9. 
  3. ^ Superion (Autobot Aerialbots, Transformers G1)
  4. ^ Transformers have history of mutations -- From TV cartoons, to comics, to fabled toys and now a movie, The Commercial Appeal (2007-Current); July 3, 2007
  5. ^ Galvatron's Air Attack. Ladybird Books. 1986. ISBN 0-7214-0988-1. 
  6. ^ http://www.tfarchive.com/comics/japanese/trans155.php
  7. ^ TFW2005.com - Skyburst
  8. ^ TFW2005.com - Official Images from the ROTF Game
  9. ^ Hasbro.com - Skyburst with Aerialbots

External links[edit]