Sunday, 25 July 2010

Revenge of the Fallen Skystalker

Scout Class is generally the poor cousin of any TransFormers line. The smaller size normally means less detail, less articulation... generally less. For the first movie, the vast majority of Scout Class was made up of repaints from Energon and Galaxy Force that really didn't suit the movie. Revenge of the Fallen, however, went to a bit more effort - not just new molds, but a good selection of G1 reference characters that probably wouldn't have been worth doing at a larger size.

Vehicle Mode:
Skystalker is something else entirely - it's a new, unique mold (so far, but there are blue and white/orange repaints on the way), it's not referencing anything (except, subtly, Smokejumper from G2/Machine Wars). It's also one of the most impressive aeroplane molds (actually more of a drone that a true plane) outside of the Masterpiece line - its silhouette is incredibly slim and realistic considering how it all folds out. His feet (and, to a lesser extent, his hands) are protruding from the rear, but they don't stand out too badly.

This is also one of those rare molds where the robot's head is quite visible in vehicle mode, but is supposed to be, and it works very well - being a drone, it's expected that there would be some sort of 'eye' or camera. That little red dot is just perfect.

Another impressive thing is that Skystalker has landing gear... sort of. He has a front wheel but, at the rear, just balances on a pair of pegs which plug into the top of Voyager Class Mindwipe. Not quite the elegant combination of Smokejumper and Dreadwind, but not bad.

In vehicle mode, Skystalker is mainly the same drab, dark greenish grey, with touches of silver and white details on the sides of the fuselage and on the wings. Very plain, very military... Possibly some kind of unmanned Steath spyplane.
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Robot Mode:
Strangely, I wasn't going to bother with Skystalker originally because of the awkward layout of his legs but, seeing it in person, I changed my mind... and may even end up buying another, if I can find one. There's something eerily similar to Ratbat about this character. The red dot may be Skystalker's eye, but he has two details just below the darker-coloured portion of the head that could just as easily be repurposed as eyes. The red used fits Ratbat as well, so I'd just need to find something to match it to paint the other parts.

But let's focus on Skystalker. Aside from the misaligned knees, it's a very effective model. With his large - spring-loaded and yet very stable - feet, he's able to pose very easily - even managing to pull off some karate moves with a bit of patience.

He comes with a matching pair of weapons that are some kind of axe, and which form part of the wings that otherwise just hang from his shoulders on ball joints. They can appear either like some kind of cape, or as wings for his robot mode. Strangely, because of the way the attachments work his lefthand weapon is on the right wing, and vice versa. Not necessarily bad... and it would certainly look dramatic for the robot to reach over to its opposite wing to retrieve its weapon... shame the toy can't do that, though.

More colour breaks through in robot mode - he's almost two shades of olive, and that 'Ratbat' burgundy... quite an effective colourscheme, and closely matching his larger partner, Mindwipe. There's also a lot more molded detail in this form - not just because his limbs are visible, but because there's molded cabling and other such details on the undersides of his wings.
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Transformation is fairly simple, but very effective and satisfying - he folds up incredibly well, creating an almost seamless alternate mode because the seams are so cleverly placed. He might have benefited by a clear plastic canopy over the eye in vehicle mode, but looks perfectly good without one. I am very keen to find another Skystalker to add to my list of customising projects that I'm not working on yet... but I think I'll also need to make a decision on whether or not I want Mindwipe, and whether I might prefer to get the Japanese exclusive blue version that looks suspiciously like an Earth-mode Soundwave with a Cobalt Sentry version of Ratbat... Despite its awkward appearance the Skystalker mold has impressed me with its potential.

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