Cliffbee.com: Polar Claw Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Polarclaw
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Infantry Battle Commander
Alternate Mode: Polar Bear



BEAR MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 12cm Width: 9cm

   A white polar bear with black claws, a black snout and yellow eyes. it's a pretty logical colour scheme, save for some red which peaks out on his sides and black on his front right leg. For the record, polar bears have black skin and colourless fur that refracts sunlight - so a milky white would have been slightly more suitable - but I'm happy with this slightly creamy white.

   The prototype pictures of this toy (which surfaced online before Beast Wars hit the stores) showed a brown bear, and I would have preferred to see this guy in brown (as a grizzlie or whatever) since they white really shows up the various seams and hinges on this bear - and makes the red outbursts very obvious. The sculpted fur is quite good, and is essentially all over the toy - and the white brings this out very well, which is an upside I guess.

   There's not a whole lot of poseability here, since Polarclaw has three gimmicks he has to accommodate. The hindlegs can swing back (ie he can rear up), and doing so will cause the lower jaw to open and a dark grey set of teeth pop out of his upper jaw, compete with a pair of fangs. While this is a fairly straightforward gimmick, there's a fair bit of internal trickery making it work - and it does work well.

   The front legs move a little, but not in a natural way. Both contain gimmicks, which can be both accessed in this mode, although they really come into their own in robot mode. Activating these gimmicks will affect the stability of the beast, since the feet move out of place.

   There's a fairly big belly underneath, which is the robot arms - covered in fur sculpting. The overall shape is okay but not spectacular, Polarclaw is held back his gimmicks to some extent. My biggest complaint about this beast mode is the choice of white - the seams are awfully obvious, and it really doesn't do the mode justice. While it's not a great bear, it ends up being mediocre in white, despite the cool opening jaw gimmick.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing down the hindlegs, fold the lower legs out from behind the hindlegs. Fold up the claws and flip out the feet. Pull the forelegs out to the sides, fold out the belly to the sides to form arms. Open the chest and back panels, rotate away the beast head, which will cause the robot head to rotate out. Flip out the fists, close the panels and swing the beast legs up onto his shoulders.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 10cm

   Now a mixture of white, red and dark grey - Polarclaw's upper arms and thighs are white while the groin, head and boots are dark grey. The feet, chest and forearms are red. The robot head is dark grey with red eyes and an orange face, but turn it around and he has a red mutant head with black eyes. The colours are pretty good, I don't really prefer one head over the other in terms of colour. Other than the red paint on the fists not matching his red plastic, I can't complain about this colour scheme.

   This robot mode is a tad awkward in places. The thighs are thicker than the lower legs - which is fine for a human, but not quite right for a Transformer such as Polarclaw. The black claws on his white knees look rather odd, as does the six-pack like sculpt on his groinplate. The sculpt on his chest is okay, while the chest on both heads (well, faces) is great - even if the snarling mouth on the robot face is a little disconcerting.

The poseability is better than most toys that came before Beast Wars, but slightly below the standard you'd expect of a Beast Wars mega. Polarclaw's head turns while the shoulders, elbows and hips are all ball jointed. The hips are quite restricted and act more like rotators, while the knees can fold back. His feet don't really help with posing - Polarclaw's effective leg movement is disappointing although his arms are quite versatile.    The two gimmicks in the forelegs come to the fore now - they now sit on his shoulders. There's a little trigger on the outside of the left leg which causes a double jointed attack claw to pop out. The springs are quite powerful, making it deploy spectacularly. This claw is left white and has a fair bit of sculpted detail. There's a trigger on top of the right leg which causes the front of the leg to detach and fire, unfolding to form a bat.

   The bat is pretty damn good considering it doubles as the of a bear - it has a sculpted head and decent wingtips, and has a total of three springs making it unfold. The underside is a bear's paw while the black head has eyes, nostrils, a mouth and ears along with fur sculpting. The bat cannot stay folded while loose, but it can re-attach to the firing post on Polarclaw's shoulder while in bat form. The bat can attach to Polarclaw's hand as a sort of weapon, while the stub of the foreleg can swing back and get out of the way somewhat.

   There's a non-functional button up top of Polarclaw's head which pushes in and springs back out. At a glance this seems like part of an abandoned gimmick but it's actually part of the mechanism that allows the mouth to open in beast mode.

   A mixed bag, Polarclaw's robot mode has a somewhat gimpy shape but has two fun gimmicks and good colours. The leg movement is a letdown, especially compared to the rest of the original Beast Wars toys - many of which have gimmicks that are just as good as Polarclaw's

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although the mould was repainted twice in Japan as Survive and Barbearian. Barbearian was done in Polar Claw's prototype colours (thanks to FortMax Reed for this info).

OVERALL

   A detailed toy with accurate beast colours and good robot colours, but Polarclaw has enough going against him to make him disappointing. The white really hurts the visual continuity of the beast mode and the robot mode is a little gimpy with poor leg movement. The three gimmicks are cool, and all of them are well executed. Polarclaw is the weakest of the original Beast Wars assortment, which has some very good toys. While he's by no means awful, he has a lot of niggling problems - 6/10

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