Cliffbee.com: Transmetal Claw Jaw Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Transmetal Claw Jaw
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Underwater Attack
Alternate Mode: Squid

Thanks to Sofaman for loaning me Claw Jaw for this review.



SQUID MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 8cm

   A metallic blue and green upright squid with fluorescent green circuitry patterns on the top of his head and frontmost tentacles. His eyes are black and red and his mouthparts silver. The blue and green plastics are both metallic and quite close to one another providing a contrasting backdrop for the fluorescent green patterns. This colour scheme is about as different from the original Claw Jaw as it could be. I should point out that this repaint isn't actually a Transmetal, rather it was sold in Transmetal style packaging.

   The eyes are dome shaped and are very distinct, with long blue mouthparts dangling below, almost like the two halves of a droopy moustache - the face almost looks human - except for the pointy head rising above it. At any rate, the head is formed from the robot legs, and while there's a slight gap between the robot thighs, it's a pretty good effort - and you hardly notice the gap on this darker version of Claw Jaw. You may notice that the insides of the mouthparts and tentacles have suction caps moulded into them.

   The rear legs are moulded into two pieces (one per side), but the front ones have "knee" and "hip" joints (being the robot arms), which means he's easy to stand up despite being tall with unposeable rear legs. There's some room for posing, although not a lot. The front legs do move around a bit, the orange mouthparts are independently hinged. The other thing this guy does is bite - literally. There's a lever on his back, which when depressed in pushes out the smaller, inner mouthparts (the silver pieces) and spreads them. The mechanism is spring loaded so they automatically retract back in, and clamp onto anything that happens to be in their way - like a finger. What's more, the spring is strong enough they'll happily support Claw Jaw's weight!

   I really like this squid mode. Sure, part of the appeal is that it's novel - but so what? Claw Jaw's cool simply because he's not another generic sports car Transformer. But even aside from the uniqueness, it's a pretty nice looking squid mode. The other cool thing is the biting gimmick - a cool idea that works as intended. As repaints go this is a pretty good one, although it's not as believable as the orange original.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the top of his head open to form the robot legs, rotate the shins forward and the feet up. Stand the robot up and rotate the top half forward. Rotate the waist 180. Swing the rear tentacles back to reveal the head a flip it up. Swing the front tentacles down to for the arms and the orange mouthparts down to form an armour skirt of sorts. Fold the lever on his back down against his torso.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 14cm (will depend on positioning the "wings")

   As in the beast mode, Claw Jaw is a mix of green and blue in this mode. His head has some nice fluorescent green swirls on it, there's some green on his boots too, left over from the squid mode. His eyes are red and there's silver panels on his chest (the mouthparts). He has giant blue "wings" pointing out and up from his shoulders formed from his rear tentacles.

   Claw Jaw has no hands, as such, instead having tentacle ends - but of course these tentacles would have suction caps - and this is achieved with holes on the insides to which you can attach a weapon. There's a blue claw-like weapon which can be detached from the lever on his back and held in his hand. I think it's meant to be some sort of slashing weapon, but looks more like a tuning fork or something, so leave it stowed, I say.

   The overall aesthetic in this mode is still very marine - the same sort of effect that was achieved in the "Snorks" cartoon of the 80s - he looks like an underwater humanoid, although this colour scheme is far more broody than the Belgian cartoon ever got. The head shape and colouring is very squidlike, and there's suction caps visible on his armour skirt. The latter aren't anywhere near as visible as on the original, of course, thanks o the darker colours. Add to this the tentacle wings and smooth lines of this mode and he looks very streamlined and marine. The blue and green are very marine even if the fluorescent green isn't.

   To be honest, the weapon sucks. But he has a ball & socket head, ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, hinged ankles and rotating wings and waist. The heels are a little short, so he does have a tendency to fall backwards, but with a little effort you can stand him in most poses. His wings can point out to the sides, or right back, but unless you've got something to lean him against the sides give him more stability (and it looks better, anyway).

   The biting gimmick can still be activated in this mode, although now he's clamping with his... breasts. But hey, it's play value, if not tremendous, it's better than the play value in a lot of BW basic robot modes.

   Aside from the killer tuning fork and minor stability problems, this is a good robot mode. Poseability, aesthetic and colour scheme are all good. The colour scheme contrasts sharply with that of the original, although it's unusually dark for a good guy.

VARIATIONS

   A limited European release, but as far as I know there were no variations as such.

OVERALL

   A good repaint of a fun toy, Claw Jaw has good poseability and funky colours, but whether or not it's worth tracking down this repaint is really a personal choice. I think it's a great repaint but considering how tricky they are to find, I'll stop short of recommending it - but if you get the chance to grab him, I'd strongly consider it - 8/10

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