Cliffbee.com: Transmetal Cheetor Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Cheetor
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Robotic Jungle Patrol
Alternate Mode: Metallic Cheetah

   Interesting to note that the original had a function of 'Jungle Patrol' - they simply added 'Robotic' this time around. It's a shame the cheetah is a savanna animal.



CHEETAH MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 18cm Width: 7.5cm

   From a yellow cheetah with black spots, Cheetor has become a chrome gold cheetah with no spots. It's not entirely realistic, but then he's meant to be metallic in this mode and organic in robot mode, so it makes sense. His body is chrome gold, his head, front legs and lower hind legs are a grey with a slight metallic sheen, his paws, rear thighs and tail are a metallic green. This colour scheme actually works quite well. The chrome is well positioned, preventing him from being overwhelmingly shiny.

   The original Cheetor was always a bit too bulky for a cheetah, which I suspect had to do with Tigatron. This time around, there's no need to try and make the mould both a tiger and a cheetah, so it's a lot more slender. Yes, it's still a tad bulkier than your average cheetah, but the fact is it's too slender to work as any other large cat. He has a long neck and small head, making this very much a cheetah.

   His head is permanently pointing downwards, meaning Cheetor is looking down at the ground ahead of him, rather than directly ahead. While you can swing it up a little, he'll only ever look forwards, never up. His lower jaw and ears are green, as well as a mask around his eyes, which are bright red. The combination of eyes and mask work really well - it helps that the mask is actually moulded as well as painted. Both upper and lower jaws have sets of green fangs, giving him a "ready to bite" look. His forelegs are designed to stand more or less upright, the rear legs are designed to crouch, as cats do when they're about to pounce. This is a great touch, since he looks ready to strike, and it works with the mouth. His tail is a solid green piece, that's a wavy shape rather than sticking straight out. When chasing prey, cheetahs rely heavily on their tail for balance, it points out more or less straight back, but swings around a bit to help them maintain balance, so having a tail that's waving out there again helps sell Cheetor as a cheetah.

   Cheetor has a "flight mode", which basically consists of taking out his tail, rotating it 180 and placing it back in its socket to reveal a tailfin, and lifting up his side panels to reveal small jet engines that fold out on the end of very small wings. While it doesn't look really look capable of flight, it does look nice, and it's a fun mode. As with all Transmetals, Cheetor has his name stamped on him, just in front of the front left shoulder.

   Adding to the play value is good leg poseability. His front legs have rotating shoulders, hinged knees and hinged ankles. His hindlegs have ball jointed hips as well as hinged knees and ankles. His head barely moves, but head movement is very unusual for beast modes throughout Beast Wars.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the tail, straighten the legs (there are three joints on his legs, as well as his ankles), flip down his heelspurs. Fold up his forelegs, and then lift the front of his body (including forelegs) onto his back. Partially fold down the head and separate the halves into his robot arms. Fold out the robot head and the fold the chest and arms down completely. Swing the arms back so his shoulder joints are in place. Pose and give him his tail as a handheld whip, if you feel the need. It can also stow in the gap between his backpack and torso, or even stay attached to it's beast mode socket, although it looks silly there.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 7cm

   Remember how I said the cheetah mode isn't spotty? Well, the organic robot mode is. His chest, inner thighs and forearms are painted yellow with black spots. The chest is actually grey plastic, with the yellow paint sprayed over the top. His groin, forearms, thighs and feet are green, his lower legs are grey and his upper arms yellow plastic. His head is green, with yellow painted on the back of his head and bordering his face. His mouth and eyes are painted aqua. The abundance of yellow is in contrast to the abundance of gold in the beast mode - this gold is now limited to the sides of his waist.

   Aside from just the spots, there's a lot of organic detail in this mode. His mouth is open, showing teeth (that are painted aqua, so it's easy to miss at first glance). The back of his head has moulded fur, along with his chest, forearms, upper arms and inner thighs. He has abdominal muscles on the bottom of his chestplate. Something I never noticed on Cheetor himself but picked up on Armada Cheetor is that there's an abandoned lightpipe gimmick - his eyes and the central panel behind his head are a distinct piece of plastic.

   The poseability in this mode is nothing short of spectacular. His head, shoulders, elbows and hips are all ball joints, his knees, ankles and heelspurs are all hinged, and his waist rotates 360. The backpack is kept very close to his body, so it causes no stability problems. The limbs hanging off this backpack are far enough back they don't get in the way of his arms at all. The end result of all of this is very good poseability - although his head joint is fairly limited, the arms and legs are flexible and he'll stand in almost any pose you can think of, thanks to the heelspurs.

   The colours work, the moulding is quite complex and the poseability is great, not just for a deluxe of the time, but for any Transformer. It's obvious that someone put a lot of effort into Cheetor's robot mode, and the end result is a fantastic robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   The Fox Kids! Version is largely a colour substitution, red and silver instead of silver and yellow. Transmetal Cheetor was also repainted and resold with a Minicon in Armada, and was the basis for Transmetal Ravage. This mould was reused, again as Cheetor, in Armada.

OVERALL

   As you might guess, I'm a fan of this toy. Aside from the restricted ball joint on the robot mode, there's not much wrong with this incarnation of Cheetor. It's my favourite Cheetor toy, and is in my opinion one of the best Transformers ever made. Both modes are well thought out, the play value's great and the colours work - 10/10

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