Cliffbee.com: Transmetal II Cybershark Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Cybershark
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Ocean Attack
Alternate Mode: Shark



SHARK MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 26cm Width: 12cm

   A grey shark with extensive chrome blue on the centre of this body and on his dorsal fin and a sea green on his tail and the underside of his body. These colours are suitably aquatic, although there are some bright orange highlights which interrupt this theme - including the eyes which have black irises. I don't mind the iridescent eyes, rather the orange flecks on the tail and body look out of place. Unlike the original Cybershark toy, this is not a hammerhead species.

   As you'd expect of a Transmetal II, there's great ailing here. Both jaws have moulded teeth, and the top set are painted white. The mouth is permanently open and there are ridges inside the lower jaw which resemble formative rows of teeth, which is appropriate. Most of the sculpt here is mechanical and there's little organic sculpt, which makes sense since sharks are streamlined hunters with smooth skin. There are diodes, gears, rivets, hoses and the like all over. Having said that most of the finer detail isn't highlighted in the paint job - instead the random outbursts of orange highlight broader features - although the turbines on his sides are nice features that stand out thanks to the orange.

   The tail spins as part of his hyper speed gimmick, and two green blades fold down from the tail to give him a four-blade turbine. There's a green wheel on the right side of the tail's base, and turning it will cause the tail to rotate. There's a lock to keep the tail in place, but it relies on a peg being pushed down, and since the peg connects to his underside, there's inherent pressure pushing the peg back up - unlocking the tail. The wheel is nestled away and so the mechanism only works slowly - better off just spinning the tail directly.

   The pectoral fins are detachable and peg into panels on either side, which allows them to rotate. Unfortunately these panels themselves flop around loosely, which seriously limits the stability of the shark mode, since once they come loose he'll collapse under his own weight. The panels are meant to unfold for the robot mode but there's nothing holding in place save for the theoretical friction between the panel's sockets and the internal rods of the main body. Since the main body pegs are covered in a rather shiny chromed paint and said main body's weight is resting on the fins as a result, you're looking at an unstable shark mode.

   There's a missile launcher inside his mouth and Cybershark comes with two missiles. The launcher doesn't completely retract, rather forming his palate when not in use. Being green and angular, it's all too visible on a toy with so few flat surfaces otherwise. In fact Cybershark is moulded into a curved position, with the tail slashing to the left slightly.

   This is a pretty good idea, and as with all Transmetal IIs Cybershark has excellent detailing. But the shark doesn't hold together very well and the detail should really have been accentuated better than it was. The colour scheme is still quite good, and works well with the sculpt to create a cybernetic shark.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fairly complex and counter-intuitive, which isn't a good thing when there are so many loose joints. The lower jaw ends up becoming his feet, the chest is buried within the rear of the body, the tailfin becomes the left hand and the right arm is the underside, the dorsal fin ends up being a giant mohawk. The pectoral fins and their panels end up on his back and the rear panelling that covers his head and torso become shoulderpads. The loose claw-bar arrangement that makes the pectoral fins unstable also helps their panels top pop off, and both those and the larger panels pop off ridiculously easily. To the point where you might as well give up, they're _going_ to fall off.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19.5cm Width: 14cm

   Now mainly green and grey with the blue more or less confined to his backpack, with the notable exception of the metallic mohawk, Cybershark has a green face with orange eyes and a white toothed scowl. The facial sculpt really looks like that of a bad guy, and Takara ran with that when this mould was reused in Car Robots as Gelshark (Sky Byte). There are some dark blue highlights and dark orange spray around the aquamarine spark crystal, nicely located in the middle of his chest. The colour set is again fairly sound, but other than the spark crystal and mohawk is boring. The orange on his chest doesn't belong.

   The shoulder panels are asymmetrical, since his tail is curved and they're formed from the base of the tail. As a result the left side one curved up and the right one down - not an effect I like, since he looks mistransformed as a result. The left hand is of course the tailfin, with the two green blades now deployed. The spinning mechanism works a lot better now, too, since the gear is completely exposed, allowing better grip. The right hand can hold the detachable missile launcher as a gun, although removing it from his rump takes some effort and will most likely detach a panel or two.

   Cybershark is very articulated with hinged ankles and swivels just above them, double hinged knees, ball jointed shoulders and hips as well as the right elbow. The left elbow has both a hinge and swivel, and the head turns. Unfortunately something gets in the way of most of this potential poseability. The head is restricted by the large shoulderpads, the left elbow is weak, so his blade-hand tends to slump. The hips and ankles are fairly weak, posing the legs is out on this top heavy robot mode, sadly, since standing him upright takes a little fiddling.

   It's not all bad news, mind you. Again the sculpt is quiet detailed, even if the paint job is simplistic. The feet have heelspurs which help stability (if not posing) and the mohawk looks great. The missiles can be fired independently, the spinning hand gimmick works well now and the spark crystal is great.

   Overall, this is an underwhelming robot mode. The paint job is lacking, and with some effort this could have been a great display piece. All the ingredients are there - great centrepieces in the spark crystal and mohawk, except sculpt and melee-weapon hand. The poseability is nowhere near as good as it should be thanks to several badly executed joints, although the spinning blade gimmick has been well executed.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of although Gelshark/Sky Byte is a repaint of Cybershark (which a lot of the flaws addressed, I might add).

OVERALL

   Oh what could have been. The sculpt is excellent and the gimmick actually quite effective, but the paint job draws attention away from the sculpt and there are badly engineered joints everywhere, causing instability and loose parts that shouldn't be so loose. The basic design is a clear improvement on the original Cybershark, without the kibbly extras of that toy, and a much more imposing robot mode. This toy is a great idea, but the engineering feels unfinished. If you like the idea, you'll probably like Sky Byte and find Cybershark frustratingly disappointing - 4.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.