Way back in 2000, my third BotCon, we got two exclusive toys. The first was Apelinq, Wrecker Commander, and the second was Shokaract, cruel lord of all time and space. Once a lowly near-nameless Predacon grunt, the Hunter found the Dark Essence of Unicron buried on Earth and was awarded the Matrix of Conquest. Now he was Shokaract, rule of Cybertron's future, powerful beyond measure, speaker of hilariously over-the-top Simon Furman villain dialog. But since time travel exists, he guarded the Dark Essence zealously. Of course, his own paranoia led to his downfall, and Shokaract's reign was erased from existence.
There's no way there'd ever be a toy of the Hunter! That'd be just crazy!
Well, sometimes crazy works, and here we are fourteen years later with a danged Hunter toy. Very recently we got a new toy of Beast Wars Rampage as this year's club membership exclusive toy, which mounted a very very very tiny new head on the body of Deluxe Transformers Prime Megatron. A great idea with a kind of hilarious noggin. Don't get me wrong, the thing is beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. But that tiny, tiny head. (It has to be, to fit in vehicle mode.) Since Shokaract was originally a redeco of Rampage, folks clamored for a Shokaract redeco of him. I did not. I didn't think it'd be what I wanted. Shokaract should be huge, not a deluxe. Why would I want a tiny Shokaract? It's not like they'd designate him his pre-Shokaract Hunter form. And once we learned Club Rampage had a tiny head, that was another nail in the coffin as far as I was concerned. Did not want!
Well, old me was dumb. I love this thing. It's probably my favorite toy of the whole set. Somehow, amazingly, in these different, darker colors, Shokaract's head doesn't look so puny. I'm not sure how. Maybe it's just the color scheme creating an optical illusion. But it's surpisingly okay. And the toy itself is astoundingly pretty. Shokaract was always pretty, so it shouldn't be that surprising, but still here we are. And, yes, the goddamned thing is officially the Hunter, pre-finding-the-Dark-Essence. It's like a toy just for me!
Plus it comes at a pretty opportune time, since the original Shokaract is covered in blue chrome that does not survive well decades past his production. The chrome on mine was falling off like autumn leaves just by picking him up and moving around -- and that's without all the dusting I had to do to make him presentable. I was dabbing lightly with a cloth to keep from scraping his surface off too much. Oof. Some day I will just have to bite the bullet and send the thing to Cheetimus to scrape and repaint the blue. It won't be chrome, but it'll be something I can friggin' transform again. It sucks when you can't handle one of your favorite toys which is super expensive to replace.
Anyway, the new one doesn't have chrome and so it's something that can actually be played with. It's very, very welcome. As of this writing, he's still available (with his fellow pirate Brimstone) on the Collectors' Club website and on Big Bad Toy Store.
Slash is a Transformers velociraptor with feathers. *points to review title*
Yeah, some folks don't like this thing. It has some faults. But it's a friggin' feathered dinosaur. *points to review title again*
I mean, he's not, like, a great feathered velociraptor, by which I mean it's not terribly accurate to what we currently think dinosaurs like that looked like (for example, the totally made-up forelimbs), but it's a damn sight more accurate than those fancied-up lizards from Jurassic Park! I'm lookin' at you, Beast Wars Dinobot.
Part of folk's problem with him is his limited articulation. Mind, he techgnically has full articulation, it's just shallow. He has elbow joints that don't really do anything because of the bulk of his arms, and he has fully-functional legs if the thighs weren't so short or constantly getting in their own way. He has a lot of stuff going on and it all wants to be going on in the same confined space.
But other than that? This dude is beautiful. The dark teal and lime green are together one of my favorite color schemes to come out of Age of Extinction's toyline so far. Part of my brain keeps suggesting that maybe he'd make a great Beast Wars Dinobot redeco, and then the rest of my brain reminds me that, dude, that'd be going from this glorious color scheme to friggin' brown. BROWN. That is a serious step down.
And, again, feathered dinosaur.
Can't understate that.
Tankor's wavemate is Rattrap, who's a Deluxe Classed version of his original 1995 Basic Class toy. Back in 1995, all of the Basic Beast Wars figures had autotransformations -- in Rattrap's case, you move his rat mode tail and he springloads roughly into robot mode. Most of these worked by cramming robot limbs up inside the altmode, resulting in a standard "robot guy with huge altmode backpack and a chest made from the head or ass or something" look across the size class. Rattrap made it onto the Beast Wars television show, so it was established that Rattrap is that guy with a rat head on his chest and everything else from his rat mode piled up on his back.
Well, now it's 2014 (ninteen years later!), and it's time to make a larger, non-autotransforming version of that same design. He definitely still has most of his rat mode on his robot mode back -- if he didn't, he wouldn't look like Rattrap -- but there is an attempt to integrate more rat parts in with his robot mode. Well, okay, only his hind legs. Those unfold and pack into the back of his robot mode legs. His rat hindfeet become his heels. The rat backpack does collapse in on itself better than the original's does, which is nice. (The show Rattrap's backpack SHRANK, which isn't exactly an option here.)
Since new Rattrap doesn't auto-transform, that means all the business of shoving his robot mode limbs into his animal shell is now your job! And, yikes, is it a job. It is a quagmire down there, with everything competing for the same spot at certain points. There's about three separate joints in each knee that need to be bent and compiled in a way Just So in order for everything to fit together as it's supposed to, and until you figure out this correct way, transforming him may take you quite a while.
That said, his rat mode is wonderful. It's got a prehensile tail (it's soft plastic with a wire running through it) and he's got somewhat poseable legs and feet. He's also got an openable jaw. But what really blows my mind is that he's also designed to stand upright if you want. There's a patch of fur-textured gray plastic you can rotate up behind his rat head so that when you bend the rat head forward while upright, there's no unsightly gap in the back of his neck. Of course, there's always going to be those robot arms in place of his rat stomach, but making the rat mode able to get on its hind legs goes a real long way towards making the toy feel like Rattrap the character. I think this is my preferred mode.
The robot mode is great, but there are some small limitations. His elbows can't bend a full 90 degrees, for starters. This limits the amount of things you can do with his arms. It'd be nice if his wrists rotated, too, and they look like they do, but it's possible this was something budgeted out at some stage. His rat ears are also pretty large and tall (as they should be for rat mode) but they get in the way of most of his peripheral vision. Photos of him need to be head on or from slightly above or you aren't going to see his head.
On the plus column side, he's got some interesting weaponry in this mode. He has a rifle that can split up into two separate guns. Open up his left forearm and you can pull out one of his sticky bombs which he used on the show.
In summary, this is a Rattrap toy with two great modes, some minor flaws, and an annoying transformation. The latter deal should be somewhat mitigated once the proper leg transformation order is discovered, but not entirely. It's a toy full of character and stuff to do.
(Like Tankor, his comic book pack-in is published with terribly out-of-order pages.)
It's Tankor! Well, the other Tankor. The Windblade comic book is currently milking the fact that there's two guys named Tankor hanging around, and their peers have -- without their knowledge -- labeled them "tall Tankor" and "fat Tankor." Well, let's hope that at some point nobody has to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons to save fat Tankor's life, huh?
"Squat Tankor" would be a better description, I think. This is one of those "conservation of toy mass" things that resulted in us getting really short Bulkhead and Lugnut toys back in Animated. Tankor here was presented as a super-massive large-ass dude in Beast Machines, and so if you want to find some Beast Machines Maximals remotely to scale with this guy, maybe try the McDonald's Happy Meal figures.
The robot mode makes me super happy! It's an amazing Tankor robot mode, both in regards to cartoon accuracy and in fun. He's just this wide slab of awesome. I love his stubby back-canted tread legs and his large meaty arms. (his forearms could stand to be more meaty, but they wouldn't fit during transformation if they were any thicker) He's got a missile launcher (the pressure-release kind the old Cyberjets had) that operates if you pull back on the cannon barrel. Or ditch the missile. It's kind of dopey-looking.
Transformation is pretty easy. You pile his arms into each other, fold his torso down, and peg his legs into his crotch. It's not terribly accurate to his Beast Machines cartoon tank mode, but that thing transformed via magic anyway, so it's not very surprising. The robot mode head ends up on top, and that's really the most important thing.
I very much like him! Especially since he's showing up in Windblade's comic these days. I think of the toy as that guy more than the Beast Machines guy.
He comes with a comic. Its pages are insanely out of order. Yikes.
Transmutate is a heroic character. She has trouble reading facial expressions, but that doesn't mean she lacks compassion. She has a strong sense of right and wrong, and she believes in justice and making things equal for all. But her lack of empathy makes achieving her goals difficult, and it gets her into trouble. Yet she perseveres despite all odds.
Transmutate is a redeco of First Edition Transformers Prime Arcee. She's in teal and a silvery gold plastic color that really likes to photograph an ugly brown. (I have done some color nudging in Photoshop.) The colors look pretty nice in person, especially with the translucent red accents to set off the neutralness of the teal and gold. The toy's face has a smile sculpted on it, which is pleasant, but Transmutate's face is usually expressionless, so that feels a little odd in context with the character. She's exclusive to the Transformers' Collectors Club, and so she comes in a medium-sized presentation box with cut-outs in the foam inside for both her and Rampage, who is the club's free-with-subscription figure this year and arrives separately.
I like the toy a lot for what it represents -- a kind of character we don't get much of, in Transformers or otherwise. At least not the nondisposable kind. She makes me happy.