Cliffbee.com: Catscan Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Catscan
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Medic
Alternate Mode: Technorganic Cheetah



CHEETAH MODE
Height: 10cm Length: 18cm Width: 8cm - exact dimensions depend on pose

   A white cheetah with red limbs, a red head and some black highlights - most noticeably the tail. The claws, neck and spark crystal on his back are a darkish transparent red, his front ankles and the socket in which his spark crystal sits are painted metallic blue. It's a good colour scheme, but I do kind of wonder what it is about medics that dictates their being red and white. An addition to the paint mask not present on Night Slash Cheetor is a glow in the dark paint, applied to the left shoulder (in two places) and right hip. It's just visible on the red plastic but blends into the white. It's a good colour scheme, and the best thing about it is that Catscan doesn't _look_ like Cheetor.

   This is a pretty good choice for a BotCon toy, it was the third attempt at a cheetah in the BM line, and was the first one that really worked. Thanks to a combination of rigged shoulders at the front and tight joints at the back, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a way to stand this cat up. The front shoulders are swivels on springs, which is a robot mode gimmick. The elbows are hinged and the wrists ball jointed, however the ball joints are restricted, only allowing his wrists to rotate or bend inwards. The neck is more or less immobile, the tail can lift up and down. The hindlegs are where all the action is, with ball jointed hips and ankles, two hinges per knees and hinges below the ankle joints.

   Unfortunately, the restricted wrists at the front really limit what you can do with this toy, since all poses need to accommodate them. There is a lot you can do with the hindlegs, but in the end the front legs have to be crouching, so Catscan ends up low to the ground, almost in a crawl. Considering that cheetahs are cats that run down their prey, a hunched, ready to pounce pose isn't really natural for this type of cat. The lankiness is retained, although this toy is a lot more angular than the last two, which were pretty much devoid of corners. There's a jetpack on his back, it's highlighted with a black paintwash, and sits on a hinge allowing it to point up, which fits in with the angular look of this toy.

   The colours look good, and while they don't really fit a cheetah, they work for an exclusive repaint. The play value isn't really what you'd expect of a Beast Machines toy, which is really because it's all been saved for the robot mode. Having said that, play value isn't quite as important as display value for a BotCon toy, and this toy displays well, with a colour scheme that's more G1 than Beast Machines.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pretty simple, and like a lot of quadrupedal Beast Machines Maximals, it's pretty much stand him up and straighten the limbs. More precisely, you stand him up, flip out heelspurs, extend the knees, rotate the hands and fold down the thumbs. The chest and back panels open, allowing you to rotate the head away and rotate out the robot head.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 7.5cm

   Mainly red now, thanks to red limbs and a transparent red chest panel. The head and torso are actually white, but his face is mainly dark grey with red eyes and a metallic blue lower jaw. The waist is black and the ankles and wrists metallic blue, the bridges of his feet and kneecaps are silver. The crest of his head is transparent red but there's no lightpipe which is disappointing, although this was also the case for Night Slash Cheetor. As with the cat mode this colour scheme works quite well and differentiates Catscan from Cheetor, but an overabundance of red sullies it a little.

   The defining feature Beast Machines Cheetor, both the toys and in the show, is the double-knee feature. This feature actually works, unlike the early BM Cheetor toys. So Catscan stands quite easily - the ankles on mine seem tighter than on Night Slash Cheetor, too.

   The limbs' poseability is essentially the same as the beast mode, with the addition of hinged heelspurs and the loss of wrist motion. As mentioned, the ankles are a little weak, but with two joints and the jointed heelspurs, the end result is that Catscan's feet are quite versatile. The arms aren't all that poseable, which is understandable since both his gimmicks involve the arms.

   The first of these gimmicks is a set of inbuilt black machetes, deployed by switches on the outsides of his shoulders. When deployed, they spring down so that the handles end up in his hands. While these swords aren't removable they stow well and look great in his hands anyway. The other gimmick is activated by the spark crystal, now on his back. Pressing the spark in causes the arms to swing up and down out of phase with each other, giving Catscan a two-handed slashing attack (or a double punching attack if the machetes are stowed).

   The transparent red chestplate has a lot of detail on the inside, which is a relic of Cheetor. The darker plastic makes this moulding redundant now, but Catscan has an Autobot logo stamped very subtly in red on his left breast. The facial sculpt is excellent and the dark grey facial paint fades back to a silver in places, giving his a worn look. There's a gold chrome dish inside his chest that looks like a radar dish, when you press the spark crystal (and the arms flap) the central post will turn back and forward. There are white stripes on it, the white reflections create the illusion of the the entire dish spinning. While this is a nice addition to his gimmick, it's odd that they went to such effort for a feature that's hidden so well by the dark chest. The choice of white stripes make it even less relevant - they may as well have left it unpainted.

   G1 fans will find this robot mode bizarre in shape, but this mould is actually unusually angular for Beast Machines, and the colour scheme really belongs in G1. As a BotCon repaint, this was a good choice since it's one of the better BM moulds and this robot mode has been well adapted. The gimmicks work too, and while they restrict the poseability a little, this is still a great display piece.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Being a single run toy, I doubt there are any.

   I usually don't talk too much about packaging in my reviews but I should point out that Catscan has a very complex and detailed yet fragile box, so if you have a Catscan with a box in good shape, you should consider yourself lucky. Mine was quite dog eared before I even got it.

OVERALL

   A thoughtful repaint of a good mould, at a time when there weren't too many toys in the line worth repainting. The gimmicks and engineering of this mould make Catscan a fun toy, and he displays well. The glow in the dark paint is a nice idea, and while it fails to really impress, I'm glad they tried. The thing that impresses me the most about this toy as a repaint is how distinctively different it is from the original - 8/10

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