Cliffbee.com: Bantor Toy Review

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Name: Bantor
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Jungle Warrior, Demolitions Expert
Alternate Mode: Tiger-Mandrill fusion



BEAST MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 12cm Width: 6cm

   The first thing I should say is that the tech specs incorrectly claim this is a baboon-tiger fusion, which is incorrect - baboons don't have blue cheeks, mandrills, their close relatives, do.

   Anyway, it's a pretty ambitious fusion, and for the most part they've pulled it off fairly well. He has the head of a mandrill, tapering into a slim, striped, tiger's body, tiger tail and rear right paw, the rear left paw is a mandrill's. The front paws aren't really either - they look like bear paws, and are too large to really look quite right (this is because they're also the robot feet).

   The head and tail are brown, as are the tiger stripes on the rear of his body, which is orange, along with his legs. The head (and ears in particular) have gold paint highlights, to emphasise the fur moulding, which runs down the length of his body, while the tiger fur towards the rear is from ground to sky. His cheeks, as mentioned, are blue, his nose is red, his eyes green and his lower jaw is orange. The upper jaw has little teeth, the grooves that a mandrill has in the cheeks are present, which is a really nice touch.

   Poseability is kind of hit and miss. The rear legs have ball joints at the hips, but the actual poseability is limited by the pre-posed feet, which are in different poses (since one is a tiger and one a mandrill foot). The front legs have full poseability, being the robot legs, but they're a little restricted by the rear legs. The funky bit is the lower jaw, which is hinged. It's actually one of the robot mode elbows, so closing it brings the robot fist into view, but if you grip that fist to move it, it looks pretty cool. Of course, this means static poses are out since you have to hold the jaw, but it's cool to fidget with.

   It's a weird combination, but they pulled it off pretty well, really. The scuplt and paint job really make this beast mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Rather unconventional. Unclip and swing down the forelimbs, clip them together to form the robot's lower half, which rotates 90 to the left. Rotate the feet 180. Lift up the mandrill head to form the right arm, unfold the forearm. Slide up the robot head, unfold the tiger rear to form the left arm.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: ~8cm (depending on what you do with kibble)

   Thanks to the unorthodox and inventive transformation, you now have a very asymmetric robot mode. The boots, chest and head are orange, along with both forearms. The thighs, waist and upper arms are brown, while the kibble, on the left forearm and right upper arm, is a mixture of these two colours. The head has a blue mask with green eyes, and the face looks very organic, with teeth and all, although it's not especially tiger or mandrill like. If you look closely, you'll see an abandoned lightpipe gimmick.

   The price of the well executed beast mode is a lot of kibble in this mode. The beast head actually forms the right shoulder, but sticks out a long way, being bigger and taller than an upper arm should be. They've justified this somewhat, by including a spring loaded punching gimmick. Pressing a button on top of the shoulder will cause the entire arm to fire forward about an inch, and it's quite powerful, putting a basic in the firing line will knock down that basic (I just tested it on poor MW Skywarp, who just fell over and slid a couple of inches!). Yes, it's kibble, but at least they did something fairly cool with it.

   The other large chuck of kibble is the tiger rear hanging off his left forearm, and this time there's no real gimmick to justify it. The tail is meant to be some sort of slashing weapon, but it's too far back to really work - I get the feeling this weapon was more an attempt to justify the kibble than a result of any engineering. The tiger kibble is actually removable, but doing so will leave a large hole in his forearm, which isn't really any better than having half a tiger dangling off it.

   Kibble aside, he has fairly good articulation. The hips, knees, ankles and left shoulder are ball jointed, both elbows and hinged, the head rotates and there are two swivel joints on the right shoulder, although one is limited by the kibble. The giant feet make him easy to stand, which is nice since there's a lot of kibble that could potentially make standing this toy a pain.

   This is easily the weaker of Bantor's two modes. While the kibble on the right arm is well used, that on the left really hurts the look of this robot. The face looks kinda silly, and the torso doesn't look that great (although there's nothing wrong with it as such). While it's not an awful robot mode, it's nothing on the beast mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Sure, it's a strange combination, but the beast mode fusion is quite well done, combined with a good a sculpt and good paint job, it makes for a good beast mode. Unfortunately Bantor really falls down in his robot mode - 6/10

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