Cliffbee.com: Sky Lynx Toy Review

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Name: Sky Lynx
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Lieutenant Commander
Alternate Mode: Transforms from space shuttle and transport platform into bird and lynx, as well as a combined beast mode.



SHUTTLE MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 28cm Width: 19cm

   One of two component vehicles, the shuttle half is a big white space shuttle. The cockpit has wraparound gold windows, running along the sides and on the tail are gold stickers with a lattice pattern, to match the cockpit. On the back are five thrusters, two small ones at the top and three larger ones, one in the middle and two at the bottom. This is the actual thruster configuration for the NASA shuttles, although I'm not sure if the spacing and sizes are correct since I don't have a reusable launch here to compare.

   Sky Lynx has large (3cm tall) Autobot symbols on his wings, on gold stickers - there's no doubting who he flies for. Aside from the gold stickers and the thrusters, there's not really much else to look at, but then it's a space shuttle - they're about 90% white anyway. There is a lot of detailing in the mould, mind you - he has all sorts of paneled details, including flaps, nosecone seams and fuselage section seams. Mine has the somewhat dubious addition of teethmarks on the tail (I didn't do it, some kid in New Brunswick did). There's really no kibble to speak of, incidentally - unless you turn it over in which case you'll see bird legs tucked under.

   There's not a lot of play value here. You can open the cargo bay, revealing a big shiny gold block of plastic, which looks like it's meant to be electronics of some sort. I get the feeling the guy who designed Sky Lynx likes gold - he must be a Wolves fan. The real play value in this shuttle is in it's combination with the transport platform (and subsequent transformation). It's a shuttle - it's big, white and plastic. That's really all it's meant to be.

TRANSPORT PLATFORM MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 20cm Width: 12cm

   More of a giant piece of kibble than anything else, this vehicle is basically a large blue block with red and white sides. It's covered in mechanical detail, to pull off the illusion of it being a tray to transport the launch on. Whether or not it resembles any real platform I've no idea, but it serves it's purpose for Sky Lynx's needs.

   The electronics are contained within the platform - underneath is a black battery cover and two red switches. Slip in two AA batteries, flip him to "ROLL", turn him on and this platform will move across the table. That's all it does, and really, that's what this platform mode exists for. There's three posts on top to attach the shuttle onto.

COMBINED VEHICLE MODE
Height: 15cm Length: 298cm Width: 19cm

   This is what we usually saw Sky Lynx transform into in the cartoon, although they greatly reduced the size of the platform so it wouldn't look like a space shuttle with something stuck on the bottom whilst flying. Anyway, it can still roll in this mode, and to be honest, there's more point making the transport platform roll with something on it.

TRANSFORMATION FROM SHUTTLE TO BIRD

   Fold down the legs, flip out the feet. The thruster panel lifts out and folds to starboard (the right), allowing you to grasp the tail and pull out the bird tail, which extends to be as long as the fuselage, and this allows you to close the thruster panel up again, which is nice and neat. Swing out the blue wing extensions, so that the wings look like bird wings, not shuttle wings. Lift the cockpit out to form the head and extent the neck. Open the lower jaw so the head actually looks like one.

BIRD MODE
Height: 23cm Length: 39cm Width: 30cm
At least, that's how tall and long he is on my desk ATM - the dimensions will vary according to his pose.

   The white of the shuttle mode is broken up by the red legs, tail and neck. The tailtip is white, being the shuttle tail, and there's white fuselage sections along his neck. The wings extensions are blue. His gold cockpit windows is now an eyestrip, and inside his mouth are teeth (they look like fish teeth) and a red cannon, the latter is a pretty nice addition.

   This bird mode looks more like an Archaeopteryx than a bird. Archaeopteryx is an extinct reptile, a precursor to modern birds. The tail is quite long, the body rather long and he has a snaking neck, along with the teeth these all contribute to the Archaeopteryx look. Yes, I know various birds exhibit traits he has, but the combination leans itself towards Archaeopteryx. The neck and tail extensions are very mechanical in their moulding - they remind me of Zoids toys, in fact, being angular with lots of joints (well, simulated joints). They also contrast quite noticeable with the smooth surfaces of the shuttle parts.

   Sky Lynx essentially looks the same as he does in the cartoon, although the animators got his proportions wrong more often than they got them right (after all, we are talking Season 3 animation). For what it is, this bird mode looks pretty cool. The size alone is impressive, but the colour scheme works.

   The poseability here is pretty good - his tail has four joints, the neck has three, his lower jaw opens and shuts and his legs have hip and ankle hinges. Granted, these joints are all there for the transformation, but they do allow a lot of posing - Sky Lynx can stand upright or crouch, as well as kiss the ground (not that he'll ever be Pope).

TRANSFORMATION FROM PLATFORM TO LYNX MODE

   Swing each leg down and fold the feet down. You'll notice next to each hip and shoulder joint there's a small red button. To transform him back, you have to hold the button it - this is so that you detach the internal gears that drive the motion (and avoid snapping anything. Extend the tails (yes, tails), flip out the neck and head.

LYNX MODE
Height: 13cm Length: 24cm Width: 19cm
Again, depending on the pose.

   A stocky, blocky, blue cat with red legs, white shoulders/hips, red tails and a gold head, Sky Lynx is purely mechanical in this form - there's no smooth shuttle surfaces. The head is covered in that gold chrome the designer seems so fond of, surprisingly it looks pretty good. The body is wider than a real cat's, and the head narrower, but considering it's formed from a brick, that's not really surprising. This is the more show accurate of the components, though, since the animators usually got the proportions right for this half.

   There's an Autobot symbol on his forehead, on a gold sticker, of course. The twin tails stick out and slope down slightly. I'm not entirely sure why he was designed with two tails, but I suspect it was so the bird's tail can hang down in combined mode. This mode looks okay, the colours work and the sculpt is detailed, although it's not really anything special on it's own.

   Flip the switch on the bottom to "WALK" and turn him on, and now you can watch him slowly walk across the table. If any of the internal posts or gears are broken, he'll have trouble, since all four legs are needed for this to work. Mine actually came with broken post inside his left hip joint, and while I fixed it with a nail and a piece of red plastic that's the right shape, he doesn't quite walk right. It's a nice gimmick, and certainly increases the appeal of this half of the toy. The legs and ankles do pose, but posing is limited since there's gears controlling the positions of the legs.

COMBINED MODE
Height: 23cm Length: 39cm Width: 30cm
Again, depending on the pose.

   This can be formed in two ways. The first is to fold up the bird's legs, stow the lynx's head and tails and then clip them together. The second is to transform all but the above mentioned parts and not separate the two halves. Neither is difficult, it realty depends what you've started with. Actually, nothing about the transformation of this toy is difficult, although the red buttons on the lynx are important.

   This mode looks like an Archaeopteryx on four legs, which shouldn't come as a surprise. The bird tail drags along the ground by default, but can be raised above it, if yours has tight enough joints in the tail - mine does not. Since the shuttle cockpit is up being the head, the platform extends further forward than the bird's body does - it's possible to flip out the lynx head, but this looks ridiculous. He only needs one head when combined, since he's meant to be the one mind in two bodies.

   This beast mode is the one most often depicted in the show, although the shape of it's head was often distorted by bad animation. That aside, it's very show accurate. Being composed of two red, white and blue components, it has a unified colour scheme, although the top half is largely white and the bottom largely blue.

   The major feature of this mode's play value is the walking mechanism, which is functionally the same as the lynx mode's walk. It has the same poseability of the components, minus the bird leg poseability, since they're stowed.

VARIATIONS

   Earlier releases of Sky Lynx had a single hinge connecting the thruster panel, the later release had a double joint allowing better clearance for the tail. The 2008 Encore reissue is practically identical to the latter (original) version, save for the addition of a TakaraTomy stamp on the copyright info.

OVERALL

   Perhaps the biggest thing in Sky Lynx's favour is his uniqueness - there's nothing else in the Transformers toyline that's similar, and he was never repainted or retooled. That's not to say he doesn't have anything else going for him, but he certainly stands alone. The play value is good, since he's got the walking mechanism, as well as two independently transforming halves that combine into a transforming whole. The colours work, the character gets a fair bit of airtime in Season 3 of the cartoon, which will increase his appeal to G1 fans. He's easily better than some of the later toys that lacked robot modes - such as Che and Mechatron of Beast Machines and Armada Laserbeak. Whether or not you should grab Sky Lynx really depends on how much you like the concept, but if you do, then he's good for what he is, so I'd recommend him - 7.5/10

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