Cliffbee.com: Sonar Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Sonar
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Aerial Reconnaissance
Alternate Mode: Bat



BAT MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 11.5cm Width: 14cm

   A grey bat with chrome dark red on his head and rump, Sonar has silver outbursts on his wings and some solid silver areas on his back His claw-like feet are bronze while there's some subtle brown paint on moulded fur, which is mainly along the front of his wings and on his shoulders. Sonar has grass green eyes and fangs, along with some green on the chrome red rump. I don't think much of this colour scheme -the chrome red and grey is okay but with silver, bronze and green it ends up garish. The paint mask is quite complex, as you'd expect of a Transmetal II, but the effect is lost here, sadly.

   Along with a detailed paint mask, Sonar has a complex sculpt which is a mixture of mechanical and organic detailing. Most of the organic detailing is brown fur, although there are some random blood vessels on the outstretched wings and the right claw is organic. I'm not really sure why he has claws - bat wings are giant hands with webbing between the digits, so with claws at the top of his wings, Sonar effectively has compound hands. The feet, hanging out the back, look more like claws that bat feet, and are completely mechanical. The robot feet are clearly visible below the bat feet, in the form of two grey panels.

   There's not a lot of play value here - although I don't expect a basic bat mode to have much poseability. The feet at the back can wiggle and lower jaw opens, although the jaw is little more that a loop so opening it reveals a gaping hole. The left wing has a blade that swings out (the outer edge of the wing), which is nice in theory but there's nothing securing this blade in place, so it'll swing out when you don't want it to. There's a panel on the rump which lifts up to reveal a green spark crystal, but you can only open it around 25 before the hinge is impeded by his back. The most annoying aspect of his limited play value is the fact that Sonar doesn't lie flat on the table - he sort of slaps himself down and will basically be level if you're lucky.

   As you can probably tell I'm not a fan of this bat mode. The robot feet are unnecessary kibbly - he would have been been better just using them as bat feet than have twos sets of feet visible. The colours don't really work, the play value hasn't been thought out well and the horribly unrealistic claws bother me - why put in all that detail to ruin the realism? The sculpt is great, but there are better beast modes amongst the Transmetal II line.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not even going to bother trying to explain this one. The wing edges become arms with the claws as hands, the rump becomes the chest and the legs fold out from inside. The transformation is complex and ambitious, but it's also incredibly annoying. The legs have to rotate through the chest and this is not an easy thing to do - the hips and ankles aren't too firm, you'll find they pop off more often than not. I usually just unclip the legs and reattach them.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 13cm

   The colours get worse in robot mode, if anything. The chest is the chrome red rump while the head, wings, feet, arms and left leg are grey. The bat feet (which are over the shoulders) and his right leg are bronze. While I don't mind asymmetry, the bronze leg is hopelessly random and looks awful. There are two big screws on his hips, along with a green outburst on the left side, ruining the chrome chest. His eyes are green and he has no proper mouth, although he has giant bat ears.

   Sonar's bat ears and wings look good - the wings stick up and out to the sides, and have mech detailing visible. The arms are unposeable things with laws at the front, while the feet on his shoulders are kibbly. There are loops hanging off either side of the waist - another part of his transformation that gets in Sonar's way.

   Neither the articulation or poseability are impressive. The head is on a ball joint and while the shoulders are ball jointed there are no elbows or wrist joints, so the arms can't do much posing - especially not with the blades hanging off the back. The left arm is a little more movable since that blade swings - although it's not much use as a slashing weapon here. The hips and knees are ball jointed and the ankles hinged, but Sonar's wings and arms make him top heavy - even with the large feet he's not really stable unless he stands to attention. The feet and legs pop off easily anyway. The only upside is that the spark crystal on his chest is now fully accessible.

   Like the beast mode, Sonar's robot mode doesn't really work. At least in this case there are engineering reasons - the transformation gets in the way of his limbs. The bat ears and wings are nice, and there's a hint of a good bat theme, but the chest and arms look awful. The spark crystal is probably the highlight of the robot's play value - which isn't a good thing.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   On the one hand, there are few highlights here. On the other, Sonar fails because he's trying to do much, unlike Optimus Minor (who was in the same assortment) who failed through doing too little. The beast mode has some silly flaws - the claws and robot feet for example, while the overly fiddly and ambitious transformation gets in the way of a robot mode that does have a nice bat theme. Better colours would have done a lot here - the overall look is quite ugly - and while they wouldn't have solved all the problems here they might have made them easier to deal with. Unless you really like bats, Sonar's not so good - 3.5/10

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