Zob's Thoughts on the CHMS Unlicensed "Rainmakers" (Generic Decepticons)

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Zobovor

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Jun 9, 2012, 6:08:47 PM6/9/12
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Father's Day is the 17th of June, but I expect to be taking care of a
five-day-old baby girl by that point, so we switched the schedule
around a little bit and I got an early gift this year. Well, three
gifts, actually. I specifically mentioned that I wanted the trio of
Classics-style Decepticons available on acestoystore.com, identified
as the "Rainmakers" due to the nickname Bluestreak gives them in their
debut episode, "Divide and Conquer," which is also the only episode in
which they appear.

Now, I imagine that most of you know that I am in love with the
generic, nameless characters of the original Transformers cartoon.
Almost none of them have ever been officially recognized (and I
imagine that fully half of them were probably created by accident),
but they're a valid, canonical part of the show and I take great
delight in discovering new ones and assigning names and personalities
to them. Some of the most prominently recognized nameless Decepticons
are the three rainbow-colored guys from "Divide and Conquer," since
they're actually fairly more significant than just background
characters—they're addressed directly by Megatron and become integral
to the story when they pour acid rain on the four Autobots trying to
retrieve a vital component for the dying Optimus Prime. They're
memorable due to their bright, monochromatic color schemes, and one of
their number, the green one, was the basis for an official Hasbro toy
named Acid Storm. The Acid Storm toy was only loosely based on the
character from the episode, though (much in the same way that the
various incarnations of Sunstorm really don't match the character on
which he was supposedly based, either) but these guys are much, much
closer to the Decepticon trio who actually appears in the cartoon.

CHMS makes some knockoffs that I would categorized as very good, but
not quite meeting the standards of true excellence that Jhong Zin has
managed to achieve with their unlicensed G1 reissues. These toys are
great, but you can tell they're not official Hasbro products. Between
the three of them, they suffer from a variety of problems including
flash that needed to be trimmed from the plastic, uncooperative
missile launchers, an odd menagerie of parts that are too loose and
too tight, and in one instance, a misassembly that completely
prevented a full transformation to robot mode. Despite this, I still
love these toys, since I am willing to overlook small flaws if it
means I get to own plastic incarnations of a handful of generic
Decepticon jets to add to my collection. (I previously bought the
purple "Air Warrior" and a version of Starscream's ghost, as well as
an edition of Starscream coated entirely in gold vac-metal, which I
choose to believe is the "Golden Lagoon" version that's covered in
electrum.)

I assigned names to these characters since none of them had official
identities when I first took interest in them. I call the yellow one
Goldwing; the blue one is Blue Moon; and to me, the green one is
Limelight. I will use these names for the sake of convenience, and
because these are the unofficial names I've always used to reference
them. They are entirely of my own devising, though, and while I would
love it if the official sources chose to adopt them and validate them,
so far this has not happened.

LIMELIGHT

I call him Limelight because, in my little world, this character
craves recognition and infamy. He's all about being popular, and the
more well-known he is, the more successful he feels.

Limelight's toy is cast almost entirely in a fluorescent green, even
brighter than the original Constructicon toys, and the color is very
accurate to what we see in the show. They took a cue from the
Sunstorm toys and gave him white boots and gauntlets, which isn't
quite accurate to what we see in the show (each of these characters is
entirely one color, except for their heads, cockpits, and wing
stripes) but I can totally accept the desire to improve the aesthetics
of the toys by adding some secondary colors. The white gauntlets
actually work on all three toys in a way that a lot of other colors
probably wouldn't.

Limelight actually had a major assembly error, which made me a little
upset considering that my wife spent $74.99 on this set for me.
There's an internal knee assembly that slides in and out of the lower
leg, which includes a spring-loaded piston that allows the leg to lock
in place when it's in its fully extended or fully compressed
position. Well, both of his legs had a left knee assembly installed,
which meant that everything was facing the wrong direction and his leg
wouldn't transform at all. The part is completely square so it was
still the right basic shape, but I had to cut a hole in the other side
for the spring and cut off the tabs that prevented his upper leg from
sliding entirely out of his lower leg and reattach them in the right
spot. It was a little bit of work, and I'm disappointed that it was
necessary in the first place, but at least I possessed the necessary
skill and tools to accomplish it easily.

Limelight's thermoset plastic parts (the more resilient, so-called
"unpaintable plastics") are just slightly more yellow than his ABS
plastic pieces, and it's noticeable because his shoulder connectors
and upper legs and wing connectors are a distinctly different shade of
green. (They're the same parts that end up as silvery-grey on the
version of this mold sold as ghost Starscream, presumably because the
ABS plastic, even a modern formula, is still too brittle for the load-
bearing parts.) His guns are made of white plastic, too, but they're
painted almost entirely in flourescent green paint. Again, it's not a
great match, but the end result is that he's decorated in several
thematically similar shades.

GOLDWING

I've decided that Goldwing is a cowardly tag-along who is incapable of
functioning independantly, relying almost entirely on other
Decepticons like Blue Moon and Limelight to guide his decisions and
actions.

Not surprisingly, Goldwing is yellow in all the places that Limelight
is green. They get the same factory-applied paint deco, though, so
each of them has the same color tail rudders in jet mode (white with
red stripes) and wing stripes (red and white, the same deco applied to
the "Air Warrior," which in turn was borrowed from Universe
Starscream). Like Limelight, he's also got some silver trim in robot
mode, on the knees, wrists, pelvis, and chest. Like the others, he's
got white paint applications on his missile launchers and pelvis and
the chevrons on his shoulders; I like that the three have the same
paint operations, since it really helps to convey a sense of unity and
enforce the idea that these guys are a team. (I can't imagine
choosing to buy just one of these toys but not the other two.)

Goldwing has a little trouble with one of his launchers (you have to
jiggle the trigger a little to get the missle to stay in place) and in
a bizarre oddity, it seems that the triggers for his launchers are
actually made of Limelight-colored plastic (there's a small unpainted
spot on the trigger and it appears to be green plastic; the photo of
Goldwing on the acestoystore.com web site has the same green splotch,
suggesting perhaps that they spray-painted the parts first and then
cut them off the sprue).

His different yellow parts are a much better match with each other
than the color matching on Limelight, and I didn't have any assembly
problems with this one. (I've had those types of problems with
official Hasbro and Takara toys, too, so this isn't an occurrence
that's exclusive to knockoff toys. I would think that Hasbro would
generally have better quality control, though.)

BLUE MOON

In my little world, Blue Moon is a Decepticon scientist who spends all
his time in his laboratory, cooking up new types of weapons for them
to use. We usually don't see him because he's a bit of a recluse.

I would say that Blue Moon is probably the most attractive of the
three toys; Goldwing and Limelight are obnoxiously bright, but he's a
little more subdued, with a muted color scheme that works well, and I
think that he could theoretically have been released as a Hasbro toy.
(In animation, he actually appears in darker shade of blue than the
toy. There are so many Decepticon jets in varying shades of blue and
purple that this subtle distinction becomes important, but I
understand the desire to not make him too dark, after which he would
appear to be a cheap knockoff of Thundercracker.)

These toys are actually closer to being knockoffs of Henkei toys than
of Classics/Universe/Generations toys, since they all feature the
vaccuum-metalized parts for which the Henkei series is so well known,
often to its detriment. In this case, the barrels of the launchers as
well as the thrusters for the jet modes are shiny and reflective, with
the thrusters being a darker color by merit of being coated with a
colored varnish. So many of the old G1 toys had shiny chrome parts
that really helped to sell them as metallic-looking robots, something
the toys have largely fallen away from since that time period, so it's
nice to see it again in some form.

Blue Moon's different types of paint and plastics are a better match
with each other than on Limelight, and though he suffers from a
contradictory affliction of too-tight and too-loose parts (his hands
tend to flop around in their sockets a little, and yet his elbows are
nearly impossible to pose), he's still a solid facsimile and second
only to the Jhong Zin toys in terms of quality. His tampographs are
vibrant and clean, his Decepticon symbols (on the front and back of
each wing) look good, and his parts fit together the way they're
supposed to when he transforms.

I don't know if these guys would be worth $25 a pop to everybody, but
they certainly are to me. (The genuine Hasbro version of Acid Storm
is going for more than that on eBay right now, and he doesn't even
look like the dude from the TV show.) If I had any complaints at all,
it's that the acquisition of these toys makes me want to celebrate
these characters further by taking pictures of them and writing
TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE style profiles for them, and I really don't have
time for that right now!


Zob

Velvet Glove

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Jun 10, 2012, 10:10:35 PM6/10/12
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On Jun 9, 6:08 pm, Zobovor <zm...@aol.com> wrote:
> Father's Day is the 17th of June, but I expect to be taking care of a
> five-day-old baby girl by that point, so we switched the schedule
> around a little bit and I got an early gift this year.

Sounds like congratulations are in order? I assume you've got a
scheduled delivery for Tuesday, so I wish you the best of luck!

> Well, three
> gifts, actually.  I specifically mentioned that I wanted the trio of
> Classics-style Decepticons available on acestoystore.com, identified
> as the "Rainmakers" due to the nickname Bluestreak gives them in their
> debut episode, "Divide and Conquer," which is also the only episode in
> which they appear.

I was looking into these guys recently, actually, vaguely playing
around with them for fic-purposes, which got me wondering about their
individual personalities, just in case I ever want to delve further
into them. It's fun to hear your take.


> Now, I imagine that most of you know that I am in love with the
> generic, nameless characters of the original Transformers cartoon.

Yes, yes we do. But background characters need more love!

> I assigned names to these characters since none of them had official
> identities when I first took interest in them.  I call the yellow one
> Goldwing; the blue one is Blue Moon; and to me, the green one is
> Limelight.

The only quibble I have with these names is that they don't sound
particularly destructive nor do they have anything to do with their
function. I know that not all Decepticons follow that pattern, but
you'd think one of the trio would have something relating to rain in
their names... That said, they're perfectly good name taken on an
individual basis, and a lot better than many of the canon ones!

I did enjoy your character sketches, which certainly make the trio a
lot more interesting! Especially Blue Moon... I always like a
Decepticon who's cast as a scientist.

Velvet Glove (recently discovered that the green Autobot from Search
for Alpha Trion has been given the canon name of Greenlight...
Limelight's a better name than that)

Zobovor

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Jun 12, 2012, 1:53:25 AM6/12/12
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On Jun 10, 8:10 pm, Velvet Glove <goo...@kernowgirl.co.uk> wrote:

> Sounds like congratulations are in order?  I assume you've got a
> scheduled delivery for Tuesday, so I wish you the best of luck!

Your assumptions are correct. I'll be gone for a few days, so
everybody behave while I'm away!

> The only quibble I have with these names is that they don't sound
> particularly destructive nor do they have anything to do with their
> function.  I know that not all Decepticons follow that pattern, but
> you'd think one of the trio would have something relating to rain in
> their names...  That said, they're perfectly good name taken on an
> individual basis, and a lot better than many of the canon ones!

Transformer names are almost always either a description of their
function or personality or special ability or physical appearance. In
this case, all three characters' characters' names reflect both their
colors and personalities (Goldwing is yellow and is a coward;
Limelight is green and craves the spotlight; Blue Moon is blue and he
only ventures out of his laboratory on rare occasions; i.e., once in a
blue moon).

My unspoken rule with background characters, particularly ones who
only make a single appearance, is that there has to be *something*
about them that prevented them from becoming valued, full-time members
of their respective teams. I'm sure some of them were destroyed, but
others are, I imagine, saddled with major personality flaws or some
other type of problem that severely limits their usefulness to the
cause. In other words, there's a reason that Megatron didn't pick
these guys for the Nemesis crew. Their lack of destructive capability
might be one reason. Their personal hang-ups might be another.

Regarding the issue of one or more of them having the "rain" prefix in
their names: Some other fan out there somewhere (sorry, I don't
recall who, now) took a cue from Hasbro's name for the green guy (Acid
Storm) and named the other two Lightning Storm and Thunder Storm. I
like the symmetry of the names together, but characters from the canon
don't always get matching names. I didn't want to get too cute in
giving them matching names, or names with an obvious reference to the
"rainmaker" attribution given to them by Bluestreak.

I don't have pictures ready for them yet, but here are the
TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE style profiles I've written for these guys:


BLUE MOON
ALLEGIANCE: DECEPTICON
FUNCTION: TECHNOLOGICAL WARFARE
FIRST APPEARANCE: "DIVIDE AND CONQUER"

"Resistance is useless!"

Profile: Blue Moon is a scientist at heart.  Dedicated to his cause,
he prefers to work behind the scenes while other, more powerful
Decepticons perform on the front lines to fight the war with the
Autobots.  Blue Moon is reclusive, spending most of his time in his
laboratory, which is dedicated exclusively to developing new types of
weapons, armor, and other technological innovations in order to more
easily defeat the Autobots.  When he does venture out of his lab and
into the real world, it is extremely rare, and it is usually only long
enough to secure some raw materials or confirm a theoretical
hypothesis. Afterwards, he immediately returns to his work.  Blue
Moon is one of the single most significant contributors to the
Decepticon cause, but very few of them are even aware that he exists.

Abilities:    Blue Moon specializes in modifying the weaponry of the
other Decepticons for even greater destructive potential.  He has a
working knowledge of all basic types of weapons and is skilled at
altering them and improving them.  As a Cybertronic jet, Blue Moon is
armed with two crater bombs that detonate with the equivalent force of
an asteroid slamming into a planet, causing craters half a mile in
diameter.  In robot mode, he uses two acid cannons of his own design
that can disperse a special metal-eating compound over a four-mile
radius.

Weaknesses:   Blue Moon's reluctance to leave the safety of his
laboratory sometimes results in his unwillingness to field-test
weapons himself.  Some of his greatest theoretical inventions remain
unrealized due to his strong desire for seclusion.

STR: 5  INT: 10  SPD: 6 END: 8 RNK: 5  CRG: 7  FPW: 4  SKL: 8


GOLDWING
ALLEGIANCE: DECEPTICON
FUNCTION: TROOP SUPPORT
FIRST APPEARANCE: "DIVIDE AND CONQUER"

"Leave the thinking to others and you will never go wrong."

Profile: Goldwing is a cowardly, nervous robot who has been thrust
into a war which he has little desire to fight.  Indecisive and
insecure, he relies on others to tell him what to do.  He will stand
in the middle of a battlefield, his armor clanking as he trembles,
until he is given proper directions.  He doesn't like to act on his
own because he fears a reprimand from his superiors for making the
wrong decisions.  Goldwing best functions in a group where he can just
do what everyone else is doing and not have to think about it too
much.  Left to his own devices, he is largely incapable of making
decisions on his own.

Abilities: In robot and jet modes, Goldwing is equipped with two
cannons that spray a scalding hot acid shower in a wide-yield burst.
 While his armor is highly heat-resistant and can withstand these
types of assaults, most Autobots are not equipped to endure this
assault for more than a few seconds.  As a robot, Goldwing is very
physically adept.  More often than not, though, he uses his dexterity
and speed to flee from Autobot incursions rather than confront them.

Weaknesses:   Goldwing is a fairly effective warrior when he is
functioning as a member of a larger group, but in situations when he
has become isolated, he becomes nearly useless. His lack of courage
on the battlefield is a readily apparent trait, and can be easily
exploited by his enemies.

STR: 9  INT: 2  SPD: 8 END: 9 RNK: 3  CRG: 3  FPW: 8  SKL: 8


LIMELIGHT
ALLEGIANCE: DECEPTICON
FUNCTION: HUNTER
FIRST APPEARANCE:  "DIVIDE AND CONQUER"

"The downfall of the Autobots is the path to Decepticon glory."

Profile: Limelight announces his arrival on the battlefield and
expects immediate applause.  He acts like he's on center stage in a
Broadway show.  Everything he does, he does with the intent of putting
on a grand and memorable performance. His main interest is spreading
Decepticon infamy throughout the galaxy. He sees the war with the
Autobots as merely a means to an end, since he's convinced that
defeating them would go a long way towards boosting his reknown.
 Ultimately, Limelight will do anyting if it means boosting his
recognition and popularity with his adoring fans.

Abilities:    In Cybertronic jet mode, Limelight can fly up to Mach
2.1.  He is armed with two acid blasters that emit a powerful
corrosive acidic compound, capable of eating through a foot-thick
steel wall in less than 60 seconds.  He also carries these weapons in
robot mode.

Weaknesses:   As with all performers, a lack of agreeable spectators
will weaken Limelight's performance, since he sees little point in
putting on a good show if there's nobody watching who appreciates his
talents.

STR: 9  INT: 2  SPD: 6 END: 9 RNK: 3  CRG: 3  FPW: 8  SKL: 5


Zob

Gustavo Wombat

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Jun 12, 2012, 4:01:23 AM6/12/12
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On Monday, June 11, 2012 10:53:25 PM UTC-7, Zobovor wrote:
> On Jun 10, 8:10 pm, Velvet Glove <goo...@kernowgirl.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > Sounds like congratulations are in order?  I assume you've got a
> > scheduled delivery for Tuesday, so I wish you the best of luck!
>
> Your assumptions are correct. I'll be gone for a few days, so
> everybody behave while I'm away!
>
> > The only quibble I have with these names is that they don't sound
> > particularly destructive nor do they have anything to do with their
> > function.  I know that not all Decepticons follow that pattern, but
> > you'd think one of the trio would have something relating to rain in
> > their names...  That said, they're perfectly good name taken on an
> > individual basis, and a lot better than many of the canon ones!
>
> Transformer names are almost always either a description of their
> function or personality or special ability or physical appearance. In
> this case, all three characters' characters' names reflect both their
> colors and personalities (Goldwing is yellow and is a coward;
> Limelight is green and craves the spotlight; Blue Moon is blue and he
> only ventures out of his laboratory on rare occasions; i.e., once in a
> blue moon).

I like the name for Limelight much better than Goldwing or Blue Moon. Those two sound kind of Autobotty to me. Gold isn't the same as yellow, so you don't get the coward connotations, and "Moon" is not a Decepticon suffix.

> My unspoken rule with background characters, particularly ones who
> only make a single appearance, is that there has to be *something*
> about them that prevented them from becoming valued, full-time members
> of their respective teams. I'm sure some of them were destroyed, but
> others are, I imagine, saddled with major personality flaws or some
> other type of problem that severely limits their usefulness to the
> cause. In other words, there's a reason that Megatron didn't pick
> these guys for the Nemesis crew. Their lack of destructive capability
> might be one reason. Their personal hang-ups might be another.

Also, there might have been limited space, so some just didn't come along and are assigned elsewhere.

> Regarding the issue of one or more of them having the "rain" prefix in
> their names: Some other fan out there somewhere (sorry, I don't
> recall who, now) took a cue from Hasbro's name for the green guy (Acid
> Storm) and named the other two Lightning Storm and Thunder Storm. I
> like the symmetry of the names together, but characters from the canon
> don't always get matching names. I didn't want to get too cute in
> giving them matching names, or names with an obvious reference to the
> "rainmaker" attribution given to them by Bluestreak.

Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker didn't have matched names, nor did Dirge, Thrust and Ramjet. Why should these guys?

I've always called them Acid Storm, Golden Shower, and That Blue One.


As for the profiles... TL;DR. Just exhausted right now and it turns out I want to go to bed. Not a reflection on your writing, just on my current state of being.

Gustavo Wombat

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Jun 13, 2012, 3:56:25 AM6/13/12
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On Monday, June 11, 2012 10:53:25 PM UTC-7, Zobovor wrote:
> On Jun 10, 8:10 pm, Velvet Glove <goo...@kernowgirl.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > Sounds like congratulations are in order?  I assume you've got a
> > scheduled delivery for Tuesday, so I wish you the best of luck!
>
> Your assumptions are correct. I'll be gone for a few days, so
> everybody behave while I'm away!

I hope the little one was extruded with no complications or unwanted drama.
> BLUE MOON
> Profile: Blue Moon is a scientist at heart.  Dedicated to his cause,
> STR: 5  INT: 10  SPD: 6 END: 8 RNK: 5  CRG: 7  FPW: 4  SKL: 8

Does Blue Moon have any relationship with Starscream? Two seekers, both scientists, it seems like they should have a relationship.

> GOLDWING
> STR: 9  INT: 2  SPD: 8 END: 9 RNK: 3  CRG: 3  FPW: 8  SKL: 8

> LIMELIGHT
> STR: 9  INT: 2  SPD: 6 END: 9 RNK: 3  CRG: 3  FPW: 8  SKL: 5

I think Limelight's numbers could use some work -- he's not the coward of Goldwing in his bio.

Zobovor

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Jun 16, 2012, 12:14:52 PM6/16/12
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On Jun 13, 1:56 am, Gustavo Wombat <GustavoWom...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I hope the little one was extruded with no complications or unwanted drama.

Yeah, everything went beautifully. And I'm learning to function on
absolutely no sleep!

> Does Blue Moon have any relationship with Starscream? Two seekers, both scientists, it seems like they should have a relationship.

I would say that Blue Moon probably hides in his lab too often to
really make very many friends.

> > GOLDWING
> > STR: 9  INT: 2  SPD: 8  END: 9  RNK: 3  CRG: 3  FPW: 8  SKL: 8
> > LIMELIGHT
> > STR: 9  INT: 2  SPD: 6  END: 9  RNK: 3  CRG: 3  FPW: 8  SKL: 5
>
> I think Limelight's numbers could use some work -- he's not the coward of Goldwing in his bio.

Wow, huge cut-and-paste mistake on my part. Here are Limelight's
actual stats:

STR: 6  INT: 6  SPD: 8  END: 8  RNK: 4  CRG: 9 FPW: 6  SKL: 7


Zob

mathew...@comcast.net

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Jun 16, 2012, 4:39:12 PM6/16/12
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On Saturday, June 9, 2012 6:08:47 PM UTC-4, Zobovor wrote:
> I don't know if these guys would be worth $25 a pop to everybody, but
> they certainly are to me. (The genuine Hasbro version of Acid Storm
> is going for more than that on eBay right now, and he doesn't even
> look like the dude from the TV show.)

I picked them up on clearance in December for $30 for the set, so for that price they were worth it. No major flaws in mine either.

I like to call the blue one Icestorm and the yellow one Heatstroke. You can guess what sort of storms they can generate.

Mathew

Zobovor

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Jun 16, 2012, 10:59:58 PM6/16/12
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On Jun 16, 2:39 pm, mathewign...@comcast.net wrote:

> I picked them up on clearance in December for $30 for the set, so for that price they were worth it. No major flaws in mine either.

I like to think that the Universe bestows upon me the defective toys
because I, and I alone, possess the mad skills to repair them.

Also, you officially suck. (Thirty dollars, indeed.)


Zob

Ob1k...@att.net

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Jun 17, 2012, 12:56:32 AM6/17/12
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I don't know, I just thought PMS and menopause there.....

Prices like this are reasons I love clearance sales, I just got the HA basics that never showed in Wal-mart at the discount chains for $6 each. I'd totally buy 2 sets and slightly repaint wing details to create an army of different characters.
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