Cliffbee.com: Night Slash Cheetor Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Cheetor
Series: Beast Machines
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Nocturnal Warrior
Alternate Mode: Technorganic Cheetah

Thanks to Goktimus Prime of Planet Sabretron for the loan of Night Slash Cheetor.



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

   A midnight blue cheetah with transparent orange claws and neck, grey tail, shoulderblades and rear knees. The legs sport splotches of light orange paint, while the face is painted with a tasteful metallic gold paint and the front ankles with equally tasteful (if random) metallic green paint. It's nice that they've finally made a Cheetor that's not just some variation on yellow, and a Beast Machines Cheetor that's finally stable (more on that in a moment). There is a transparent orange dome on his back with a green spark crystal in it, which looks really nice (and kind of explains the wrists). On the whole it's a great colour scheme, even if the blue appears black under most lighting conditions.

   As mentioned, this cheetah mode is stable, unlike the Mega or Supreme Cheetors. 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 Cheetor 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 black (not blue) jetpack on his back, on a hinge allowing it to point up, which fits in with his angular look and gives Cheetor a far more robotic looks than his other two BM forms.

   Still, the colours work well and the fact that it can stand at all make this cat mode the pick of the Cheetors BM offered - at the cheapest price point, no less. 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. In the end, I'm not worried because this is one of the few Beast Machines Maximals that looks really good in beast mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pretty simple, and like the two preceding toys, this is 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

   Again midnight blue with the transparent orange feet and hands, Cheetor now features a transparent orange chestplate. This robot mode's colours are in sharp contrast to any previous Cheetor toy's, and the striking contrast is unusual for Beast Machines. His waist is painted with a metallic blue, the ankles and wrists are metallic green while his face is blue with a green lower jaw. There's a large transparent orange panel on top of his head, which I suspect is meant to feed the eyes, but if this is meant to be a lightpipe it fails utterly. This is a pretty minor blemish on a great colour scheme, though. What really impresses me is that even the supporting colours (the metallic paints) add to the colours rather than detracting, as is often the case in Beast Machines.

   The defining feature of Cheetor in Beast Machines, both the previous toys and in the show, is the double-knee feature, and Night Slash Cheetor retains this signature. It took the designers three attempts, but this time I'm happy to say they got it right. His ankles are a little weak but this toy stands quite easily, and can actually be posed, with a little ankle work.

   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 Cheetor'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 grey 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 Cheetor a two-handed slashing attack (or a double punching attack if the machetes are stowed).

   The transparent yellow chestplate has a lot of detail on the _inside_, although the outside is smooth. It's a nice mix of cheetah spots and mechanical stuff. This is the sort of level of details that is typical of Beast Machines, and I should point out that the facial sculpt is also excellent - his mouth is slightly open in a grimace, and he has moulded teeth inside (why not, after all he's technorganic!). There's a 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 red stripes on it, the red 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 chest detail.

   Aside from the weak ankles, I can't really fault this mode. It's one of the few examples of a _good_ technorganic robot mode - a lot of them just look like a mess of organic parts but Cheetor is a great blend of the robotic midnight blue bits, orange and subtle organic details. The gimmicks restrict his poseability but they _work_, so the sacrifice isn't in vain.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although Catscan is a recolour of Night Slash Cheetor and he was recoloured in the Transformers: Universe line.

OVERALL

   It took three attempts to get it right, but this toy takes the somewhat bizarre concept of Beast Machines Cheetor and makes it work. There are some flaws, such as the weak ankles and bad front paws in cat mode, but the colours are great, the gimmicks work and with twin machetes and poseable feet, this toy is made for action poses - 8/10

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