Cliffbee.com: Airraptor Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Airraptor
Series: Beast Machines
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Surveillance, Sharpshooter
Alternate Mode: Archaeopteryx



ARCHAEOPTERYX MODE
Height: 13cm Length: 17cm Width: 20.5cm

   A blue, green and yellow Archaeopteryx, with the lime green mainly on top and the yellow largely on the head and legs. Archaeopteryx is an extinct bird-like reptile, and to that end Airraptor has moulded white teeth along with red eyes. The talons on his hands and feet are painted black. It's a respectable colour scheme, and one that's realistic enough - the Archaeopteryx is long extinct. Granted, the colours are quite bright, but no moreso than many modern parrots.

   With a long neck and very long legs, Airraptor looks like a reptile that's trying to be a bird - which broadly describes Archaeopteryx. The legs are longer than I'd like, mind you - their quite obviously the robot legs. I don't mind the claws on his wings - many early flying reptiles had outstretched arms with feathers or membranes rather than bird wings. The main flaw of this mode has to be the robot feet at the top of the legs. While they've got to stow somewhere, in yellow they are hardly inconspicuous. The sculpt is pretty good, with feathers on the wings and tail and reptilian scales on his head an neck.

   The play value of this beast mode is really quite good. There's more poseability in the legs than is typical of bird beast modes - he's surprisingly stable in a range of poses. The lower jaw opens, the head turns thanks to a ball joint on the neck and the wings can lift up and down. There are buttons on the wings which cause the wingtips to extend, allowing you to fold back the claws to reveal black guns. There are two blue feather-bombs which can clip under the wings, and while there's no mechanism for him to drop them, they detach and fall without any trouble.

   While it's not perfect, this is a credible Archaeopteryx mode that has enough play value to make Airraptor's beast mode a lot of fun. The colours are bright without being garish, and are believable enough to make this beast work.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing down the robot feet, folding the bird feet behind the thighs. Rotate the legs and groin 90 to the right, straighten his legs. Rotate the head and swing down to form an arm. Fold down the tail, rotate the tailplate itself, which will lift the tail up from the arm underneath and swing a black handgun into place. Lift up the backplate, swing the wings towards the right side of the robot's body, lift the head out of his chest and face forward. Lastly, fold the wings in to form chest and black plates for the robot.

   Airraptor has a rather unusual, asymmetrical, transformation. He's actually a fan-designed toy - his Japanese counterpart, Archadis, was one of two winning entries in a competition (Mach Kick was the other).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 14cm

   A yellow and blue robot with green on the coverings that were beast parts, Airraptor looks like he's a shellformer, without actually being one. The feet, thighs, arms and head are yellow while the thin lower legs are dark blue. The chestplate is the right wing of the reptile, with the talon and wingtip extending to cover his left shoulder. The right arm wears a shield formed from the tail while the backplate sits above the right shoulder. There is some silver paint on the chest (under the plate) and head, while there's a red flying mask around his yellow eyes. The colour scheme isn't as unified as the Archaeopteryx mode's, since there's a clear distinction between the robot and beast parts, but it's still reasonably good. The red doesn't really fit, which is my only real gripe.

   Airraptor's robot mode is very asymmetrical, with only the legs matching one another. The left arm is the beast head and the right the tail, while the armour plates on the upper body are irregular. Stylistically, this isn't going to please everyone. The swept over wing looks nice but gets in the way of the left arm - it gives him a chiefly look, but at a cost.

   I don't like the lower legs, which are not only slender but curved backwards - they look awkward, worse than the hollow thighs. Still, the more distinctive upper body stands out more, so you might not notice the legs so much.

   Poseability is good in some ways and bad in others. The right arm is quite poseable, with the shoulderpad able to move out of they way when needed. The gun is more or less fixed, but looks good in his hand anyway. The left arm is less poseable and restricted by the panels that obscure it. The head and waist turn, the latter isn't of much value. The hips and knees swing while the ankles are ball jointed. The top heavy nature of the toy limits what you can do with his legs, and the flexible ankles are a good thing, since you have to get the centre of gravity in the right spot for him to stand.

   An interesting robot mode with a very distinctive feel about it - which makes sense when you consider that Airraptor wasn't conceptualised by Hasbro or Takara. The play value has it's highlights such as the cleverly contained gun, but the poseability suffers in many ways. I like the robot mode, but mainly as a showpiece. How much you like it will depend on whether you see the chestplate as an asset or a liability.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although Airraptor is a fairly minor repaint of BW Neo's Archadis. With an allegiance switch.

OVERALL

   An unusual beast Transformer, for the simple reason that the entire concept was dreamt up outside of the usual Hasbro-Takara mob. Airraptor is the only Archaeopteryx mould we've seen in the line, which gives him another reason to be different. The beast mode is fairly good with some nice play value, while the robot mode looks good but has poseability problems. His transformation is amazingly asymmetrical, which will appeal to some. For the sheer novelty of the mould, I recommend Airraptor - 7/10

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