So, it looks like the last of my blog post publishing problems has been wrapped up and things should start appearing every Thursday like they’re meant to. For anyone that missed it because of the two Gizmodo posts, I did finally get my Insecticons post to show up. Enjoy!
In the Beast Hunters line there were three toys I was looking forward to the most and one I was looking forward to the least. The first of the three was Smokescreen, the last of the three will be Beast Fire Predaking, the Ultimate Class dragon expected later this year. In the middle are the remaining two: one I was eagerly anticipating and one not-so-much.
What I found was that the one I wasn’t looking forward to at all is actually quite good and the one I was looking forward to is indeed fantastic.
I actually feel a little bad for Bumblebee at this point. He’s been done so many times that you would think that he could get a good long break from that same yellow and black look, but no. Sure, he’s gotten a couple “stealth” releases here and there, but the vast, overwhelming majority have stuck steadfast to the very strict homage. This wouldn’t be too bad by itself, but once you mix it with the sheer number of toys he received on the shelves since his front-and-center role in the 2007 movie; a tinge of animosity can begin to grow.
His Beast Hunters release had it even worse, being a retool of a previous toy. Granted he is heavily, heavily retooled. In Beast Hunters style, he is festooned with the requisite stabby spikes, but he also has new hood detailing, missile carrying racks added to both car doors, and a 5mm hole added to the car roof for mounting weapons.
More specifically — though he comes with the Robots in Disguise release’s arm guns — it’s for mounting his new “Eagleshot Bow” (not to be confused with the weapon of Beast Hunters Optimus, the “Eaglefire Missile Launchers”) for which he comes with six missiles.
He has a new “armored up” headsculpt which basically adds a cool crested helmet to his previous head and giving him a birdlike visage.
One more major retool he received is that the hinge that lets his roof fold up and tuck away better is removed. The end result is that part of the roof sticks up further in the back on the Beast Hunters release. However, this takes away from the awkwardness of the one part of his Arms Micron and Robots in Disguise releases I didn’t like; the thin panel that juts up behind his head.
So, I am glad to report that even with his yawn-inspiring yellow and black paintjob, the rest of him is surprisingly good.
Not surprisingly good: Shockwave. He is decidedly not surprising in the fact that he is beyond good, he is amazing. What is surprising, is that somehow he accomplishes this while overcoming a very serious handicap. No, not his lack of depth perception or the huge cannon where his left hand should be; those particular “handicaps” are an intrinsic part of Shockwave.
No, his problem is his alt mode. While it’s very reminiscent of Animated Shockwave, it’s a strange half-tracked, spindly suggestion of a tank rather than an actual tank.
For a voyager, I definitely don’t expect to see his arm and hand mostly dangling from the bottom of his alt mode — a problem he shares with fellow Prime Voyager-class release, Dreadwing. At least Dreadwing’s hands stick out in the back, Shockwave’s is right there in front. He definitely isn’t doing the “H-Tank” category any favours.
The other thing he shares with Dreadwing: his robot mode more than makes up for any alt mode deficiencies.
Furthering the Shockwave homage in a very clever way, one of his tank treads unwraps and attaches to this gun arm to mimic his G1 release’s cannon tube.
Also, this mode is impressively large, fitting for his character in the show, but as he towers over Megatron, not fitting for the actual scale of the show.
Though some didn’t like the Deluxe size release for War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron Shockwave, I always thought it was appropriate for his smaller “Scientist Class” size in the game itself. The difference between these two is almost like before and after shots of some sort of augmentation or upgrade.
Shockwave’s gimmick is a gun feature that expands while it spins. There is no built-in way to lock it open.
Shockwave shared Smokescreen‘s Beast Hunter feature, having his extra armor pieces as flexible, removal add-ons.
Though, like Beast Hunters Soundwave, I’m not sure why one of the Decepticons needs the Beast-y armoring, but his will go somewhere in a bin like Smokescreens as it doesn’t really add much to either mode.
Really, though, what could they have possibly done to improve on this monstrous presence?