Cliffbee.com: Sabreback Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Sabreback
Series: Beast Wars Neo
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Camouflage Warrior
Alternate Mode: Stegosaurus



STEGOSAURUS MODE
Height: 10cm Length: 18cm Width: 6cm

   A very dull green dinosaur with olive green plates in his back, some dark grey here and there with purple and mid blue stripes across the back and tail. The dark grey is actually the robot mode peeking through, it blends into the background and matches the plates closely anyway. The blue and purple stripes are quite welcome, since this stegosaurus is actually quite bland otherwise. The dull colours are most likely quite realistic - although we have no way of knowing. The stripes are less likely to be realistic, but they add a nice flavour to this colour scheme, so I'm happy with them.

   Being firmly in the realistic theme of Beast Wars, Sabreback is markedly different from the far more stylised Snarl, with wrinkled skin, distinct toes and a smallish head. The tail has spines at the tip, there are nostrils moulded on the snout, adding to the realism. The main detraction here comes in the form of two dark grey "skis" stowed behind the hindlegs, which don't ruin the look but are visible - although they blend away fairly well.

   There's a sort of attack mode, which basically involves flattening the beast, flipping up the tail and forming a flower. As with most BW Neo attack modes, it's bizarre. The flower tail comes into its own as a robot mode weapon though - so I view this flower as a bonus and nothing more.

   Since Sabreback's a shellformer, there's not a lot of poseability here. The hips can move around on all four legs, and the front legs can bend, allowing for walking poses. There are no gimmicks available in this mode. The beast mode looks pretty good, but I can't help but wish there was some respectable play value here - most deluxe beasts have more in this department - even amongst BW Neo.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the tail, lift up the tail and spine (with plates), so it hangs loose. Detach the side plates, swing them forward, which will reveal the folded up robot. From here it's largely a case of unfold and clip together the robot mode, turning the sideplates around to form shoulder armour. The tail can hang as a tail, at the end of the spine (which attaches to his head), or handheld as a weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 10cm

   Much of the robot mode is now dark, although there's just as much of the dull green here. The shoulder armour, forearms, ankles and outsides of the legs are green. There are yellow and red paint applications on the head, groin and chest, while the face is grey with vermillion eyes. The yellow and red are the focus of this mode, since the rest is dull enough to become a backdrop, and this works fairly well. While I'm not really a fan of such dull colours, the paint job makes them work for Sabreback.

   There's a skull-piece on his chest, done in white with black eye sockets. This is complimented by an Amerindian chieftain head-dress on his head (which is red and yellow). The theme works quite well although the white looks a little strange surrounded by the dull green.

   As with most shellformers, Sabreback has a few panels hanging around. The sides of the dinosaur mode stick up from behind the shoulders - and while I call them shoulder armour, they're quite obviously kibble that's been dressed up. Granted, they look good, but are still easy to pick as kibble. There are two more armour plates, which hang off his hips, and stand out far less - to the point where you don't really notice them.

   The poseability is pretty good - Sabreback's shoulders and hips are ball jointed while the knees and elbow are hinged. There are rotators above the elbows and the head turns, although the latter is restricted a little by the spine hanging off the back. The hip and shoulder armour stays out of the way for the most part, while the skis on the bottom of the feet prevent the ankles from moving. Lastly, the waist turns. The weapon, which is formed from the tail, is a flower-like claws. Pulling on a dark green lever will cause the tail to spread into three pieces, revealing an intricate yellow pattern inside, with a red flowerhead in the centre. The lever can be pulled back to click open, making sure the weapon can be displayed as well as played with. I really appreciate the last aspect - the display value of this robot mode is much better than it would be if he was only able to hold the tail.

   A good robot mode, thanks to a fairly involved transformation once you open the shell pieces. The colour scheme is a little incongruous, but still works quite well. The chiefteam theme is quite cool, and the kibble is quite well dealt with. This robot mode is pretty good for a shellformer.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although Beast Machines' Striker is a repaint of Sabreback (and a later TFU repaint as well). TFU Snarl is also a repaint of Sabrebeak. Striker does not feature the attack mode - although it's still possible to create it, if you know it exists.

OVERALL

   A satisfying toy with two good modes - although for different reasons. The attack mode isn't really much to get excited about, but Sabreback has enough happening anyway. The Dinosaur mode is quite realistic, the robot mode is a lot of fun. I prefer the brighter colours of the easier-to-find Striker (and only picked up Sabreback by chance), but certainly wouldn't recommend against Sabreback - there's not much between the two - 7.5/10

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