Cliffbee.com: Beast Wars Sky Shadow Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Sky Shadow
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Camouflage Expert
Alternate Mode: Lizard/Dragonfly Fusion

Thanks to kup for loaning me Sky Shadow for this review (I have since acquired Sky Shadow).



BEAST MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 19cm Width: 16cm

   A grass green lizard with cobalt blue lower legs, a cobalt blue head and neck with slightly transparent orange wings, a transparent orange crest on the back of his head and bright red spots on his back and head. Sky Shadow would want to be an expert at camouflage, because he's going to stand out amongst a pack of M&Ms with these colours. I don't so much mind the blue and green together, but there's no transition between the - just a hard edge. The spots should have been something far more subtle, or even orange to match the wings - although I would have preferred them to be less distinct as well. Sky Shadow has yellow eyes which don't really stand out amongst his bright colours.

   Ag first glance this is a lizard with wings, but the tail section is a dragonfly's tail and the wings are obviously dragonfly wings. This fusion looks bad, but the colours are the reason he looks disjointed, rather than the beast elements. Sure, the two beasts are very different and hard to gel, but the sculpt is pretty good and there are no jarring changes in skin pattern.

   There's some play value here, all four legs have ball jointed hips, knees and ankles while the lower jaw opens and shuts - it can be tricky to open with nothing to grasp, but it does open. There's a green missile buried underneath the tailtip, if you push a trigger at the back of his tail backwards, Sky Shadow will fire on an enemy approaching from behind. It's a ball-socket mechanism, so you have to grasp the toy quite firmly to fire, it'll travel about 50cm across the desk. The upper pair of wings swing back and forth as you move a slider on his back, providing a flapping gimmick of sorts.

   An ugly toy that looks like a bad fusion, but Sky Shadow is actually a decent Fuzor, in mould at least. The jarring transition between green and blue, along with the downright stupid decision to add bright red paint, really ruins this beast mode. The poseability is good and both action features work as intended. If the designer had put some real effort into the colours, this would have been worthwhile.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   A complex and asymmetrical transformation, which I'm not going to go right through, because it's hard to describe properly. The tailtip becomes his head, the hindlegs become the robot legs while the head and back form robot arms. The lower wings sit on his torso, sprouting from the waist and covering the shoulders, in a similar manner to Jetstorm.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 10cm (width will vary with pose)

   A green robot with blue boots, a blue left hand and orange wings on his torso and right hand. The face is red with green eyes and blue mouthparts while the beast head which has become his left hand also carries some red. There are spatterings of red on the chest as well, but it's not so prominent now. The colour scheme is still bad, but Sky Shadow does look better now, since he's not trying to gel two distinctly different ideas together. Ironically, the green torso actually needs more colour, but I'd rather all green than more red, so I'm not complaining.

   The layout of beast parts here is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, the integration of beast elements into robot mode is nice, but some do get in the way. The head for a hand is a little awkward because the wrist is the base of the beast's neck. The wings on the other arm make for a decent claw, so I have no complaints here - it's a good way to utilise what would have been otherwise obtrusive kibble. There is some junk on the back, but it stays out of the way. The wings on his torso add some colour to the green upper body and most stay out of the way, although some straight-forward arm poses are affected.

   The missile launcher is now his mouth, and the shaft of the missile hangs out the back of his head. His lower jaw protrudes far more than it should, since it's trying to conceal the missile in beast mode. So his head looks like a squashed insect head, which means it looks pretty ugly. Still, the missile launcher gimmick is retained here and the flapping wings make a great giant claw on his right arm. Adding to this, his poseability is great with ball joints in the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles. The left wrist is hinged and there is some movement in the waist, which rotatres as part of his transformation. The heelspurs are small but anchor Sky Shadow's poses well.

   A well engineered if ugly robot mode, Sky Shadow is burdened with some kibble but makes a good attempt to use it rather than just wear it. The colours do again hold him back, even if the visual impact isn't so negative now. The poseability and play value are good, rounding out a good attempt. I just wish his head looked better and the colours weren't picked from the edges of the RGB colour palette.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although he was repainted as Drancron in Beast Wars Neo. Drancron suffers from the same jarring edges between colours, but the choices of colour are a lot better.

OVERALL

   The mould itself is decent, and works well as a Fuzor, with well integrated dragonfly aspects on a lizard base. The play value and poseability works in both modes, as well. Sadly, the colours dominate the toy - in a bad way. While Drancron does a better job, it's not that much better and he's quite elusive, so this mould just doesn't live up to its potential. He's ugly in a design sort of way, as well as a reptilian kind of way. The latter I can live with, the former really hurts. Sky Shadow _is_ good to play with, but he does not display well at all - 4/10

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