Cliffbee.com: Battle Unicorn Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Battle Unicorn
Series: Beast Machines
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Scout Warrior
Alternate Mode: Technorganic Unicorn

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Battle Unicorn for this review



UNICORN MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 14cm Width: 6cm

   A transparent blue, black and grey unicorn with transparent red on the tip of his tail, feet and horn, Battle Unicorn has an orange wash at the tip of his horn and on his flattened mane. There's an orange spark crystal on the left shoulder and silver on the tail and hooves. As with many Beast Machines Maximals, there's an awful lot of transparent plastic here. The profusion of transparent plastic, mixture of colours, lack of a real colour theme and various gaps make this a very broken up unicorn. It's not so much technorganic as just plain messy.

   For the most part, this _is_ a unicorn, not just a horned horse. The hooves are cloven, the tail is long and slender with a bushy tip, and of course, the horn is present - and helical. The billy goat beard is absent, but there's enough Unicorn here. The name is very unimaginative, and the tech specs tell us that it _is_ a character name, not just a drone description or something along those lines. Combined with the nonsensical function and disparate colour scheme, this toy has a rushed feel about it

   The head (on Tiby's at least) tends to sag. The outbursts of transparent blue on the hindlegs and sternum bother me, and the mane doesn't blend with anything aside from the horn - the latter can get away with standing out so much, the former cannot. The front left shoulder panel, which pops off really easily but is tricky to reattach, can either be misaligned (as I've done in the picture above) to give it clearance over the spark crystal during transformation, or pop on and off during the transformation. This litany of engineering issues further convinces me that BU was rushed.

   As you'd expect of a BM toy, this beast mode is quite poseable. The shoulders are hinged, the hips ball jointed. His knees and elbows are all hinged while all four feet are on restricted ball joints. The tail has a hinge at the base, allowing it to lift up and down.

   A very disjointed and messy beast mode, which is a shame since this is the only unicorn Transformer we've seen - and we haven't had many ungulates in general (and only one horse!). The colours don't blend and there's more transparent plastic than I'd like, while the poorly aligned elements (shoulder, mane) break things up further. His poseability is pretty good, but it's wasted since he doesn't display well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the rear half of the body, the tail/mane section will fall out. Rotate the rump haves around to cover the front of the beast neck, folding away the head and horn. This will line up the robot head and chest (the beast sternum), Rotate the shoulders, fold back the forehooves and swing down the forearms. Rotate the shoulder covers (and reattach the right side one, which will inevitably fall off, as might the left). Swing the feet out from within the thighs, place the mane/tail assembly in either hand as a blade with a long tail.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A mainly black. grey and transparent blue robot with transparent red forearms, much of the red is shunted to his weapon. The blade is chromed, which is more evident now than when it was a mane, since much of the mane area has that orange paint wash. His face is grey with a black helmet featuring a grey spine on top, while his eyes are a dull orange. The weapon and helmet, along with his shoulder armour, give Battle Unicorn a medieval Japanese warrior theme, and the blade also resembles the battle flags from that era. I'm not sure if he's meant to be cavalry - cavalry don't ride unicorns. The theme is cleverly done and the colours are a lot better, even if the transparent blue dominating his torso isn't ideal. Visually this is his better mode, by some distance.

   The theme saves Battle Unicorn's robot mode, but even without it, this would be his better mode. The thighs are huge, which I guess could be construed as leg armour (and this would fit into the cavalry concept), the lower legs don't clip together, but the whole thing just blends now. Sure, he's not perfect, but he's passable. The spark crystal ends up on his right shoulder. The weapon is clearly a way to use the kibble, but it does what it has to do, and hey, at least we don't have another BM quadruped with just a straight limb swap and tail becoming a whip or whip-like sword.

   There's lots of articulation here, but some kinks in the actual poseability. The neck, elbows and hips are ball jointed while the knees are hinged. The shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides and there are hinges just below the elbows, giving him good arm poseability. The groin comes apart too easily, so if you try to pose the legs you'll probably find yourself having to push the groin back together. The fee _and_ heelspurs (rear hoovers) are on ball joints, making standing BU up fairly easy, but the front and back halves of the boots don't clip together at all. Overall, the poseability is pretty good, it just needed a little more tweaking.

   This is Battle Unicorn's better mode, thanks to a more unified colour scheme, a good Japanese cavalry theme (yeah I'll go with that) and good articulation. There are still some problems here, but he's worth displaying and has a better weapon than many Maximals from this series.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   There are the foundations of a really good toy here. The theme in robot mode, articulation, unicorn concept _and_ attention paid to making him more than a horse with a horn. Sadly, the end result smacks of a rush job. The name lacks anything even resembling creativity, the colours are haphazard (although he gets away with them in robot mode) and the transformation, while refreshing, needed a little more work (shoulder panels, boots). Thankfully he no longer reaches the silly prices we saw at the end of Beast Machines, but he is still a somewhat scarce toy. If you like Beast Machines Maximals in general - with their characteristic detailed sculpt, articulation and heavy use of transparent plastic - you might like this one, but for the rest of us, the uniqueness of the choice of beast mode is the most notable aspect - but I'm not sure it's worth the price of admission - 3/10

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