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Silverhawks Ultimates
by yo go re

We see you, space cowboy.

Bluegrass is a human law enforcement officer modified into a cyborg to withstand the effects of hyper-travel through space. This grants him enhanced strength, agility, and speed. He has a hawk-like face plate that protects him during tough situations. Unlike the other SilverHawks, Bluegrass's bionic hardware includes no built-in weapons or wings, and he once complained that he would one day have to learn to fly without his ship, the Maraj. Instead of built-in lasers he uses his guitar, called Hot Licks, as both a piloting aid and as a weapon, firing blue energy notes.

Really? You're telling us he plays the Blues? Specifically, Blues guitar? Talk about a joke that would have gone over most kids' heads! I was just about to say they should have made him black, but then it occurred to me tha maybe making the one guy who lacks all the skills of the rest of the team and basically acts as a glorified chauffeur the group's token minority wouldn't be a good look? That's why they waited until later to introduce - *sigh* - Hot Wing. Okay, maybe we're giving them too much credit when it comes to cultural sensitivity.

Bluegrass is the skinniest Silverhawk of them all, and despite wearing full* body armor, still manages to dress like a cowboy: stetson hat, a red bandana tied around his neck, and cowboy boots. Armor cowboy boots. Cowboy boots built into his armor. Yes. *Although the armor covers most of the body, it's not the full body: for whatever reason, the right arm below the elbow is uncovered. Why would he do that? If you want to claim he needs dexterity to play his guitar, then shouldn't it be his left hand, not his right?

If you were worried that was all the stupid this design had to offer, never fear! Take off his cowboy hat and he has a metal mohawk under there. You know, for that famously huge overlap between fans of country music and fans of punk rock. [it's called "Cowpunk" and it's a legitimate genre; my Spotify Wrapped says so! --ed.] Maybe back when country was anti-establishment, before it co-opted by conservative losers? Maybe this isn't supposed to be a mohawk-mohawk, and is just a device to help him keep his hat on in those high outer space winds? The old Kenner toy had a hole in the hat to fit over the ridge, while Super7's just gets a notch inside.

The figure includes two alternate heads, though honestly they could have gotten away with swappable faces - it's not like any of them lose the head-stripe or the caps over the ears. The normal head is fairly neutral, while the alternates include one that's giving Dreamworks face (a smirk and a cocked eyebrow), and one that's grinning and winking.

Bluegrass gets the usual kind of Super7 Ultimates articulation, with all the joints being just this side of "loose": that is, they turn instantly and immediately; like, they'll hold any pose you give them with no problem, but not a single one of them would anyone dare call tight. There are swivel/hinge joints in the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, and shoulders; swivels for the thighs, waist, and biceps; a balljointed chest; and a barbell neck. The hat fits on his head firmly enough that you can lift the toy by it without worrying about it falling out. His neckerchief is a separate piece, so make sure you don't drop it when you're swapping heads. Not that a bright red scarf will be hard to find again.

This figure comes with a total of 13 hands, which is a lot! Maybe the most we've ever had with a toy we've reviewed here? Possibly? I'm sure there's something out there on the market that's come with more, but I certainly can't think of what that might be off the top of my head. So there's a pair that's relaxed, a pair of fists, a pair for holding, a pair both giving the thumbs-up, a pair for playing the guitar (strumming right hand that looks like it's supposed to be holding a pick but isn't, left hand holding down a chord), and then three more right hands: one flat, one with the fingers spread to hold his hat, and one to... I don't know. The fingers are all together, with the ring finger extended slightly. They do seem to line up with the strings on the guitar, maybe? Still weird.

He includes two versions of his lasso: one coiled up, the other out and swinging. It's all bundled up in the tray, so you'll need to unfold it from itself, but it's not actually bendy or anything: they just forced the stiff plastic into the available space. Not being bendy does mean that the figure can hold it so it's up in the air, but it will always be fairly close to him; you can't actually huck it at anybody. Not sure that was the best choice.

Naturally, Bluegrass includes his guitar. Yes, it's called "Hot Licks." Viewed from the right angle, it's shaped slightly like a hawk's head - unfortunately, that angle is a "Paul Simonon London Calling" overhead smash, so you'll probably never see it that way. It's white, with painted black strings and other details, and features a strap so it can hang over his shoulder. There are two blast effects included: a normal straight laser beam, that can plug into the end of the guitar, or a wavy blast of musical notes, the way it was shown in the cartoon. That one plugs on, but it doesn't really stay in place too securely; it looks great in place, but you'll need to be careful with it.

Then we get his little buddy, Sideman. All the Silverhakws had robotic bird companions, and Bluegrass was no exception. We actually get three versions here: one perched and relaxed, one with his wings spread wide, and one displaying his special ability to turn into another guitar. On the old toy, you could just do that - push the neck in and the wings would spread - but this is truer to the animation design. Sideman has a white body with a blue head and wings, and a few red designs for contrast. Both bird versions have a swivel head and can grip the figure's forearm with a little effort, and the guitar has its own strap. The two straps in the set aren't identical, But you should be able to figure out which one belongs to which guitar based on where the attachment points are.

As a kid, I only had three Silverhawks toys: two good guys and a villain. One of those good guys was Bluegrass, so I'm glad he's getting an update that puts that old toy to shame.

-- 07/09/23

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