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Silverhawks Ultimates
by yo go re

I feel we owe Super7 an apology: in the Buzz-Saw review we said they were illegally copying the Silverhawks packaging text from a fan wiki, which isn't strictly accurate: they are copying the text from the wiki, but it's not like there's a law saying you can't; they're just doing it without permission, which isn't technically "illegal," it's simply plagiarism. Super7 is plagiarising someone else's content for commercial purposes, and we used the wrong term when we called the plagiarism that the plagiarists at Super7 did "illegal." Here's a bio we wrote, instead:

Something went wrong when Sergeant Emily Hart and her brother, Will, underwent the modification process to turn them into cyborgs capable of enduring the stress of the arduous journey through outer space to the galaxy of Limbo: perhaps it was some family genetic quirk that made their human hearts reject the process, meaning they both had to be given mechanical replacements. Now Emily's codename, Steelheart, is more literal than anyone planned.

If you feel like stopping the plagiarism, Super7, get in touch. Copywriting services are available at extremely reasonable rates.

We already told you how unusual it was that Steelwill was both the team's tough guy and the team's smart guy, but his sister is even rarer. Why's that? Because instead of being the team mom, like you might expect, she is also the team's muscle and the team's brains! Despite being "the girl," Steelheart is exactly as strong and as smart as her brother: together they can pummel down reinforced doors and build new technology to keep the Silverhawks a step ahead of the Limbo mob. Damn, way to break the mold, Silverhawks! No wonder Steelheart is absolutely one of the first characters I can remember having a crush on. It's always been about the cheesesteak.

The figure includes two unmasked heads, and they're barely different at all: there's the plain one she has right out of the box, and then another where she's... slightly more angry? They're functionally the same sculpt, it's just that one of them has the eyebrows painted on at more of an angle. Was that really worth it? Or would you rather she came with some machine she built?

There's also a single masked face, which is a little bit weird. Like the others, her mask is actually designed to look like it goes over her face rather than replacing her face - definitely the right choice, and we applaud the '80s animators for doing it, and Super7 for continuing it. But Steelheart's hair is already the same color as the rest of her body, so to set the mask apart, it's a minorly different shade than literally every other piece of her armor? Weird!

Despite the name, most of the Silverhawks were different colors. Fittingly, however, the Hart twins are both basically the same shade of blue. On the Kenner toys, that was a sort of desaturated navy blue; on the cartoon, a dark silver. Super7 has made them basically the same shade as the animation, but with a distinctly bluer shade. Not as blue as the '80s toys, but certainly bluer than the '80s cartoon. To make the twins look more twinly, she has blue bands around her left bicep and thigh, and exposed skin on her right arm, all the opposites of her brother. Also opposite of her brother? The skintone on this toy is all faded out, like so many current toys. Why is every company afraid of vibrant skin? We're going to look back on this period in toymaking with the same kind of scorn we have for the time when every movie poster was orange and blue, or every videogame was brown and grey chest-high walls.

The original Silverhawks toys had spring-loaded arms that allowed them to pop their wings out when you squeezed their legs together. That's limiting to the articulation, so the modern toys have swappable arms: pop them out of the body, and you can trade in an alternate pair that have no elbow joints, and the wings built in. The wings are shaped to line up against the sides of her body, making them look like they've directly emerged from her armor.

The Silverhawks Ultimates all have the same kind of articulation Super7 inherited from Mattel's various Classics lines: barbell head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a swivel chest (no, not a balljoint, a swivel - it only turns, it doesn't tilt in any plane), swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The chest joint is particularly annoying, since she should be able to move better there. All of them should. Because the posing is super limited when all the toy can do is turn its shoulders around. As we posited before, it's possible they did this to make sure the wings would line up with the body, but if that's truly the case, it was the wrong decision.

As we vaguely hinted at up above when talking about the heads, Steelheart doesn't come with any sort of weapons or devices to hold, meaning her only accessories (other than alternate heads, alternate arms, and alternate hands) are the two laser blasts that fit into her shoulders, because the cartoon creators realized you can't have characters hold their arms wide open and also aim space-guns at their enemies.

She does get her bird, though. Or at least a bird, since (as we pointed out in the Steelwill review) the cartoon and the toyline didn't agree on which bird sidekick went with which twin. Super7 has gone the toy route, meaning Steelheart includes Rayzor, the tomahawk. Or maybe that's "Tom A. Hawk." Ough. As with most of the figures, we get two versions: one perched, one flying.

While Stronghold's only ability was "has big feet," Rayzor gets more. First, there's a ring around his neck that's got a diamond-stud pattern, like a specialized cutting tool would have. While Buzz-Saw's Shredator spins vertically, like a top, Rayzor spins flat, like a disc. The body and legs on both birds are the same, with just the head and wings being different. No, the head on the "flying" one doesn't extend like it should, but its beak is open instead of closed. The open wings are a little flimsy, but the head can turn and the legs move, so that's something.

If Steelheart can be done with swappable wings, then so could her bird; if you're going to insist on duplicate bodies, then one of them definitely should have had the extending neck that was a feature of both the cartoon and the toy. But issues with her sidekick don't ruin the figure, at least not any more than the lack of a proper chest joint does. Steelheart is one of the characters getting a "toy deco" version (aka "chromed in blue"), but this one obviously looks better than that ever will.

-- 09/07/23

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