Cliffbee.com: Tripredacus Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Tripredacus
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Battle Master
Components: Cicadacon, Ram Horn & Sea Clamp

Name: Cicadacon
Alternate Mode: Cicada



CICADA MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 15cm Width: 9cm
The wingspan extends to 27.5cm if the wings, with extensions, are spread.

   A green cicada with colourless diffused wings and black legs, Cicadacon has orange wing extensions and eyes. The extensions are actually Tripredacus's missiles, and are really only stored in this mode. The colour scheme here is fairly simple, with the green laying the foundation for a credible colour scheme. I'm not so convinced about the orange on his wings, but at least the orange simulates veins.

   Cicadacon is a reasonably convincing cicada, even if the wing extensions don't really belong. His body is quite stout but the wings are spot on - once you remove the extensions. There are two sets of wings, larger primary wings which sit over smaller secondary wings, which anchor further back on the body. All four wings can swing out to the side on ball joints, but the abdomen of this insect is the robot legs, so I'd recommend leaving Cicadacon in a resting pose rather a flying one. The sides of the head don't actually clip in to place here, instead they rely on tightness of joints to stay put. The left side on mine sags a little and there's nothing I can do fix it, since the offending joint is riveted.

   The poseability is fairly minimal, with the four wings on ball joints and the front legs able to move up and down a little. I'm not really worried about the leg movement, since all this guy needs to do here is look like a cicada. Yes, Cicadacon lies on his belly, but he gets away with it since cicadas don't stand far off the ground.

   A passable cicada which works well in some aspects such as colour and overall appearance but has some shortcomings such as the wing extensions and a rather weak abdomen. While it's not fantastic, this is pretty good for the central piece of a gestalt.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   The side panels open, allowing the feet to fold out and the legs to straighten. These panels then close, while the underside flips out to the sides forming the robot arms (taking the rear four beast legs with them). The head folds over to form the robot chest, while the backplate opens to reveal the robot head. Once the robot head is out, the back folds up again. The primary wings stand up, forming wings for the robot mode.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15.5cm Width: 17cm
11.5cm & 7cm if you ignore the wings

   While Cicadacon is mainly green again, we now get some purple and white. His head, forearms and lower legs are white while the groin, upper arms and face are purple. I guess he's a Milwaukee Bucks fan. While the green and purple are both quite bright, Cicadacon somehow gets way with his colours. His face is black with small orange eyes.

   The beast head is clearly visible on the chest while the wings are obvious on his back. Adding to these prominent beast elements, the front insect legs sit on either side of the body while the other four are on the outside of the forearms (and hug his arms quite well). The limbs have a fairly generic insect-sculpt about them, even if the robot limbs aren't really prominent in the beats mode - which is a nice touch.

   Cicadacon is very poseable, with a ball joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. There are hinges on his ankles and knees (yes, as well as ball joints), and the ankles are tight enough to support the weight of his torso - which is good since Cicadacon is actually quite top heavy. The wing extensions aren't really used here, although they can loosely sit in the holes on his hands as clubs.

   Aside from the weapons that aren't designed for him, this is a good robot mode. The insect theme carries over nicely and the colours somehow work, while Cicadacon has good poseability. This robot mode is well laid out, making it visually appealing.

VARIATIONS

   Recoloured in Japan as DJ, who was sold separately. DJ is a mustard yellow colour with grey for white and brown for purple.

CICADACON OVERALL

   A pretty decent basic, although in truth Cicadacon is a little larger than a basic (though not a deluxe). The beast mode is fairly good, the robot mode acquits itself very well and the overall play value is good despite the crappy weapons which are tacked on purely so Cicadacon can carry part of Tripredacus's weapon - 7/10
Name: Ram Horn
Alternate Mode: Rhinoceros Beetle



BEETLE MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 10cm

   A metallic brown rhinoceros beetle with green eyes and grey legs, Ramhorn is about 85% brown, 13% grey and 3% green. While the colour scheme is very simple, it works since the beetle shell (i.e. the wing covers) is smooth and rounded, as it should be. The metallic sheen is a nice touch, and matches the gloss on many beetle shells. The end result is a very believable colour scheme.

   Since most of the robot mode (and Tripredacus mechanism) is hidden underneath the wing covers, this is a damn good beetle mode, really. The detailing is a little low, but the shape is great. Ram Horn has two horns and the shape of these horns is quite specific. The legs are barbed, with the rear pairs trailing backwards (as they do on beetles) with the front set facing forward. There's a little bit of robot visible at the base of the rear legs, but not enough to ruin the illusion. The three bodyparts are all here - the wing-cover concealed abdomen, thorax (including one horn) and the small head with large horn.

   While this beetle is very simple, it works really well. There's no real poseability, but unlike many Beast Wars insects, Ram Horn will happily stand on his legs - and I'm happy with that, especially in the context of a figure that has to combine to form a gestalt. Despite its simplicity, this is one of the better BW insect modes.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pretty straightforward. The rear legs detach, and the bases of these legs become his robot boots, which rotate down into place. The arms pull out from underneath the shell while the thorax covers split and swing down to form his chest. The front pair of beast legs swing onto his back while the head rotates to become the robot head, with the brown shell of this head splitting to reveal the robot head proper. There's a compound sickle weapon (which is really part of the combined weapon) concealed within the shell. The shell itself forms a large backpack.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 7cm

   Again mainly brown, although Ram Horn's thighs and (short) upper arms are Decepticon purple, along with his lower jaw. The rest of his head is milky white with purple and yellow eyes. The grey beast legs stick out of his shins rather awkwardly - but they somehow manage to not get in the way. The brown and purple isn't really a good idea, but you tend not to notice this thanks to his rather distinctive face. As one reviewer put it, Ram Horn looks like an evil Guy Smiley. The mouth opens (the upper half is on a hinge) and reveals serrated teeth which really remind me of Trapjaw, the Masters of the Universe character.

   There's quite a lot of kibble here, but most of the visible kibble actually enhances the look of Ram Horn. The horn on top of his head looks decent while the claw hands fit into the theme of his horns. The insect legs on his shins don't look so good at first, but since they don't get in the way of his poseability, they form an unusual if awkward feature that helps define this robot mode. The backpack is quite significant since much of the (rather elaborate) transformation into component mode is stuffed inside. The heelspurs aren't that long, so you might need to lean Ram Horn forward a little to get him to stand.

   The poseability is pretty good, other than the backheavy nature of this toy. The upper jaw is ball jointed along with the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. His ankles and wrists are hinged while the compound sickle can plug into the claw-hands, and these hands look surprisingly good - I don't miss hands at all on Ram Horn.

   Yes, it's awkward but there's an eccentric charm about this robot mode. Ram Horn still has the weakest robot mode of this set, but considering that this toy basically unfolds into a giant U-shape for Tripredacus, I'm happy enough with the robot mode. The purple is misplaced and the weight distribution is annoying, but in context this robot mode is pretty decent.

VARIATIONS

   Repainted as Motor-Arm in Japan, who was sold separately. Motor-Arm has red claw-hands and shins while the purple plastic is bronze and the beast legs indigo.

RAM HORN OVERALL

   A good if simple beetle mode and a robot mode that makes an admirable effort at trying to find a decent robot mode, considering how much Ram Horn has to do when he combines. While he's by no means an excellent toy, that this guy works at all is an achievement. A weak toy on it's own thanks to the simple beast mode and some robot mode flaws, but worthwhile as part of the set - 6/10
Name: Sea Clamp
Alternate Mode: Crayfish



CRAYFISH MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 23.5cm Width: 8cm

   A slightly transparent metallic purple crayfish with some straight purple here and there, Sea Clamp has charcoal legs and antennae and green eyes. While Sea Clamp uses two purples, they are markedly different shades, with the majority colour tending towards maroon. This colour, used for the shell of the animal, works quite well and is a perfectly reasonable colour for a shellfish.

   This is probably the best beast mode of this set, with a very good crustacean shell sculpt. The claws and body have bumpy skin while the tail ends in a fan and has moulded segments. There's virtually no kibble - Sea Clamp does have a few joints and the like, but nothing that really gets in the way of this beast. The tail hides the robot legs underneath and while they look like part of the tail, there's nothing clipping them in place - but this is only a minor issue since when he's lying flat there's no way for them to detach.

   While Sea Clamp lies on his belly, it's not really a liability for him since the small legs wouldn't be able to lift him far off the substrate. The four legs on either side are moulded as singular pieces which wouldn't hold his weight even if they were shaped to do so, since the centre of gravity is behind the legs. There are two ball joints on the claw arms and hinges where the arms meet the claws themselves. The claws open and reveal hooked extensions, which fold out for an attack configuration of sorts. So there's not much play value here, but he looks nice.

   A realistic if rather static crayfish with good detailing and colours. The colours might be a little bland, but they make sense and really help put the emphasis on the excellent sculpt, while the claws are poseable enough to make this a decent beast mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the head out to the sides (taking the claws and legs with it) to form shoulderpads, swinging the claws down to the sides to form robot arms. The legs fold up behind the head halves. Rotate the waist, split the legs, rotate the boots around and fold up the feet and heelspurs. Lastly, open the chest, flip up his head and close the chest again.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 12cm

   Again based around purple, with the solid purple becoming slightly more prominent on his upper arms, groin and thighs. The bulk of this robot mode is still transparent purple, mind you - even the face, which sports a white mouth and green eyes. As with the beast mode, Sea Clamp's colours are very straightforward, which again places the focus on the mould. The two purple are something of an odd fit, but since the colour scheme is simple with the solid purple being a very minor aspect, this colour scheme works.

   Much of the sculpt here is carried over from the beast mode, with some robotic sculpt on his collar and groin. Even the head is organic, keeping a consistent theme here. Sea Clamp's shape is fairly distinct, with the arms attaching to the outside edges of his shoulderpads and ending in the large crayfish claws. The large arms work, defining Sea Clamp's robot mode fairly nicely.

   Sea Clamp's poseablity is very good - the head, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are ball jointed while the feet, heelspurs and wrists are hinged. There are hinges between the arms themselves and the shoulderpads, along with rotators - effectively this means two universal joints in each shoulder (one on either side of the shoulderpads). The heelspurs aren't quite as long as I'd like, Sea Clamp's leg poses are limited by stability. The arms have no such problems mind you - they're very poseable, and the claw extensions inside the claws can again be deployed. Sea Clamp's contribution to Tripredacus's compound weapon cannot be used by Sea Clamp himself - it's a white block hidden behind his thighs.

   A good robot mode, probably the best of this set. While he's deluxe sized, Sea Clamp's robot mode is generally less complex than most deluxe beast robot modes, but lacks any real flaws. I would have preferred some sort of handheld weapon here, but the claw extensions (and the claws themselves) are useful enough. The arms are really poseable, the legs slightly less so, while Sea Clamp is visually appealing.

VARIATIONS

   Released separately as Gilmet in Japan. Gilmet is red with silver in place of the solid green.

SEA CLAMP OVERALL

   The best Tripredacus component, Sea Clamp seems to be all about the individual toy without any real hint of compromise for the combined mode. In truth this figure does about as much as Cicadacon, but far less than Ram Horn. Sea Clamp is slightly larger than his teammates and would be a pretty decent deluxe if sold on his own, or a very good basic. As you can probably tell, this is my favourite of the three components - 8/10.

Tripredacus Combined



Height: 23cm Width: 17cm

   Sea Clamp forms the legs and groin, his long arms becoming legs and the claws opening up to become feet. Cicadacon forms the torso and head, his wings sitting on the back as wings for Tripredacus. While these two undergo relatively minor transformation for this mode, Ram Horn completely unfolds, with the shell, front beast legs and head becoming the left arm while the robot mode body and limbs end up as the right arm, with a central beam between the two now nestled inside Cicadacon.

   The resulting robot isn't quite as strong as most gestalts, and is weaker than Magnaboss, but uses all three components equally, whereas Magnaboss relies heavily on one component doing all the work. The arms are Tripredacus's weak spot, really, since they're a mess of Ram Horn bits, relying on claw-like ends rather than real hands.

   The weaponry combines to form a compound missile launcher, using Cicadacon's wing extensions as projectiles. Ram Horn's slashing weapon clips onto the launcher although its blades are shorter than the missiles, so it's really only for show. I can't say I'm too impressed with this weapon - especially considering that the piece aren't much use for the constituent robots.

   Tripredacus has both good and bad visual aspects. While all three robots share a purple plastic, this doesn't really come through since all use it as a minor colour. Instead Tripredacus is green, brown and purple with a while head. His face has a goatee and orange eyes and a rather distinct spine on top. The cicada wings which stick up from his back look good, as do the legs. The arms are probably the biggest shortcoming here, since they look messy and disjointed.

   The poseability is fairly good, with the feet and heelspurs allowing for a while range of poses. The head isn't as poseable and the shoulders aren't quite as poseable, and the right arm in particular is tricky to pose since it just doesn't hold together. The weapon clips into the claws of his right hand, and while it looks okay there, it doesn't add much to the figure.

   An admirable effort in many ways, especially the ambitious attempt at integrating all three components into this layout. The colours aren't unified but they don't clash either, and there are some nice visual elements such as the wings and the legs. As a combined robot Tripredacus is by no means the best combiner ever, but is certainly an interesting concept.


SET OVERALL

   A good set overall, even if the combined form has its flaws. Cicadacon and Sea Clamp are both solid toys, with Sea Clamp probably the strongest component of the Beast Wars combiners. Ram Horn is also fairly good, although with some eccentricities arising from just how much he gives to the combined form. The combination is quite ambitious, and while there are some flaws in the combined mode, there's something to be said for the innovation here. On the whole this is a rewarding set with two good components, a decent third component and a interesting combined form - 7.5/10

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