When the possibility began to rear its ugly head that we would not receive a Hasbro release of Prime Smokescreen, the temptation to purchase the TakaraTomy repaint of the Knock Out mold was tremendous.
I sympathize completely with those that went ahead and bought him. There was no guarantee — especially after the Breakdown ordeal — that we would ever see him in Hasbro markets; despite the facts that he remains a major character on the show and really deserved his own mold. Hasbro then unintentionally added fuel to that fire by announcing that a new mold Smokescreen would indeed get a release, but as part of Beast Hunters.
Many were afraid that this meant we would only get a spiky, bulked-up, and weathered-looking Smokescreen out of Hasbro without ever seeing a representation of his standard, second season robot and alt modes. However, Hasbro was on top of it. His newly acquired “Shadow Quill Armor” (a cool, if somewhat non sequitur name) is a heavily-molded piece of flexible plastic and can be removed altogether.
The Shadow Quill Armor piece can also be added to his robot mode. Now, this is the part where my inner-twelve-year-old boy starts to giggle. See, for anyone that doesn’t know; a stretchy, usually vinyl, usually aftermarket piece added to the front of a car is called a car bra. So, to take that piece and then stretch it across Smokescreen’s chest. Heehee.
Apparently the Germans, Swedes, Danes and Dutch all use the acronym “BH” for women’s bras which means, respectively, büstenhalter, bysthållare, brysteholdere and bustehouder. Gives a whole new meaning to BH Smokescreen…
Ok, I’m done, I promise.
As for Smokescreen’s unencumbered robot mode, it suffers only slightly from pieces — or kibble, or whatever you want to call it — hanging from the backs of his lower arms.
Obviously not as visually smooth as his cartoon model, but it definitely doesn’t get in the way of dynamic poses.
The other thing that is not screen accurate is the particularly irksome decision to paint his head details in blue rather than red.
Why go to all the trouble to give us such a screen accurate head and then apply paint mostly in the wrong places and in the wrong colour? He also comes with an Electronet launcher for all that beastly hunting of beasts.
Speaking of beasts (how’s that for a subtle seque?): Ripclaw.
No… really. Just… Ripclaw.
Easily up there with the best Transformer releases in recent history, the new Prime Predacon Ripclaw is an amazing toy. She — yes, SHE — puts her fellow Predacon Lazerback to shame. While both have good detailing and design in alt mode, Ripclaw adds in a goodly amount of articulation. Combined with her segmented tail ending in a clawed stinger and you can get some great shots.
You can remove the claw from the end of her tail and the handle is recessed enough that placing it in her hand make it look like a natural extension of her harm rather than a handheld weapon.
Pivoting the tail down removes the tension on the rubber piece inside by producing enough slack for the segments to move. The end result is that the tail can then lay loose behind her.
From the moment I saw the solicitation images of her, the first thing I thought of was one of my favourite Marvel supervillians, Annihilus.
Errrr, surely we’ve got a better image of him around here somewhere…
Ok, I think this comparison is getting away from me. Let’s try something a little further back in the archives.
Ah! Yes, that Annihilus. Although, with his colouration, he looks a little bit more like Ser-Ket than Ripclaw.
Introduced in the recent Rage of the Dinobots comic book series, Ser-Ket — also female — looks exactly like the toy of Ripclaw. Naturally this has lead to many fans anticipating a repaint of the mold in a later wave. If it happens, I will buy her too, if only to have an excuse to display this mold in both modes.