Cliffbee.com: Sharkticon Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Sharkticon
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Space Ship (that happens to resemble a shark)



SPACE SHIP MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 18cm Width: 7cm

   A black, silver, lilac and yellow space ship, Sharkticon's front is mainly black with silver paint while the back is lilac and yellow with navy blue tailfins. There's a large Decepticon logo stamped on the bow, some bronze paint just in front of the ail and a white bridge sticking out on top, complete with transparent green windows. It's not the most coherent colour scheme, but nothing quite manages to clash, either. Having said that, I don't see why this toy has yellow on it.

   From what I've heard Sharkticon is meant to be a homage to the G1 Decepticon ship, the Nemesis. Someone obviously decided he was very shark-like, hence the name. There are winglets that resemble pectoral fins underneath the body of the ship but no eyes or gills - the shark semblance is pretty obvious, but without the eyes Sharkticon makes for a pretty dicey robotic shark. The bridge and a total of four gun units don't help, although they sell the ship quite well. I guess the bridge is close as we're going to get to a dorsal fin.

   As mixed up as his colour scheme and identity is, Sharkticon's vehicle mode has some very nice touches. There are two yellow guns on top of the hull, in front of the front and two larger lilac ones on the sides above the winglets. All four have twin cannons made of a soft grey plastic, and they can rotate while the cannons raise and lower, as on a naval battleship. The bridge is quite detailed and the mechanical sculpt on this toy is only broken by the smooth bow. Just behind the bridge there's a lilac socket containing a backwards facing Spark Crystal.

   Along with the moving guns, there are sockets on either side of the bridge and two more in the middle of his tail, allowing you to plug in Energon weapons (although Sharkticon has to borrow, not coming with a gun of his own). There are powerlinx ports on the outsides of tail, between the lobes of his tail.

   There's also an "attack mode", which is formed by pulling out the sides of the bow. This reveals two fixed-in-place purple missile launchers that shoot green missiles - I guess you'd call them torpedoes if you take this to be a submarine, the launchers' location reminds me of torpedo tubes.

   The underside is fairly obviously the robot legs, but the feet are shaped so they look like a shark's lower jaw, which is a nice touch. The yellow lower legs and top of the ship don't sit flush though, so there's a pretty obvious gap if you're looking directly side-on. Despite this and the unnecessary yellow, this is a pretty good ship mode, thanks partly to the attack mode but mainly to attention to detail - the guns, bridge and attachment points make a good vehicle mode out of a relatively weak concept.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the tail halves out to the side, unclip his legs from underneath and swing back, clipping his waist together. Fold the entire bow section down to form his backplate. Fold up the shoulder joints, clipping his arms to the torso, bring the arms down to the sides and straight the legs, Flip up his feet and you're done. Simple mainly because half the ship simply folds up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   Now a mixture of silver, yellow and lilac, most of the black is now on his back. By the number, his head, upper arms and thighs are lilac, the shoulderpads, forearm guards and lower legs yellow while his torso is painted silver (with some yellow, bronze and red highlights) and the forearms black. The navy blue pectoral fins sit on his knees while the tail lobes are on the back of his elbows. Close quarter combat with Sharkticon is _not_ recommended. Despite being a lot brighter, I prefer the colour scheme now - the loss of black makes things a little more unified. Of course the yellow and lilac now dominate. It's not quite G2, but he's bright all the same.

   Taking a leaf out of Car Robots' book, Sharkticon's head is sculpted with a dorsal fin and gill slits on the top of the helmet, which is painted red. His face is an angular black mouthplate and green eyes, with a working lightpipe. Add the shark-themed head and profusion of visible fins and the name is finally justified - although still somewhat mismatched and not quite right for an individual toy.

   Perhaps my favourite aspect of this toy is the bodyshape in robot mode. This is a very well proportioned robot mode with nice shoulderpads, a well formed torso and well shaped limbs. Considering that the arms and chest are visible in ship mode, they've done a great job of making such a nice robot form. The spark crystal is central on his chest and while the Decepticon stamp is no longer visible, the spark crystal is a nice centrepiece. The dark face even makes this bright toy seem like a dark, evil character.

   The poseability here is great - the head turns, the shoulders rotate while the arms can lift out to the sides and the upper arms rotate, helping the hinged elbows out. The waist turns - impressive when you consider it snaps together during transformation - the hips are ball jointed with swivels below them (again helping the hinged knees). The feet are hinged with useful heelspurs, making sure than the considerable backpack doesn't become an issue. The backpack itself sits quite close to the toy without restricting poseability, so despite being half the ship mode, it's not a liability. The end result is a very poseable and _stable_ toy.

   Despite lacking a hand weapon, Sharkticon is not unarmed - as mentioned he has a total of six fin lobes which make great melee weapons. You get two side mounted weapon options. You can lift the arms up and rotate the side-cannons for small under-arm guns, or pull out the bow sides which very conveniently rotate to form giant hip-mounted missile launchers. Whoever designed this toy gets full marks - all angles have been covered it seems. The only aspect they've missed is that the missile shafts are too narrow to be handheld - but then with the fin weaponry, I doubt he'd miss that.

   I personally like the combination of yellow, silver and lilac here, and I believe it looks better in real life than the somewhat bleached photography around seems to suggest. I initially passed on the toy based on photos I'd seen but picked it up on sale after seeing the robot mode myself in a friend's collection. I'm glad I did because this is a great robot mode with excellent play value & poseability and some really clever design elements.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. BotCon Sky Byte is a retool of Sharkticon.

OVERALL

   A lot of Transformers bug me because the idea itself was good but the designers got lazy (TMII Cybershark springs to mind). Sharkticon is the complete opposite - a somewhat underwhelming concept done very well - the vehicle mode is odd but aside from a muddled colour scheme it works well, the robot mode is simply excellent. Admittedly, not everyone's going to like to robot's colours as I do, but the design is so strong that I'd recommend him no matter what you think of the colours - 9/10

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