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Shadow Striker

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

Rustin recently talked about the problem with two-packs: that you tend to get one interesting figure mixed with one you already have or don't want. This set definitely fits that bill.

Bumblebee isn't easily frustrated, but Shadow Striker seems to have done the trick. Something about her personality, from her sneering expression to her constant sarcastic remarks, just gets on his nerves. Shadow Striker is a plain unpleasant robot, and Bumblebee is determined to make her regret her insults.

Shadow Striker, interestingly, gets her name not from any real release, but from a 2003 convention-exclusive character. Yeah, it's a Hasbro-approved name (which would have been "Silhouette," had that name not failed a trademark check), but it's not a character they created. It'd be like if somebody made a Shocka figure just because he'd used Ripped Willie as his avatar. Coincidentally, Kenner (now owned by Hasbro) had a toyline in 1990 called Shadow Strikers, so that's where the name originated.

Gotta love how that bio up above is all about how Shadow Striker is such an unmitigated bitch on wheels (literally) that even the generally friendly and easygoing Bumblebee wants to smack her down. That's not a reference to her 2003 personality, either - you have to think it's a nod to the origin of this mold. See, this isn't an original sculpt: it started life as the Universe Classics 2.0 Wheelie.

Wheelie is mankind's least-favorite Transformer. He was a ceaseless annoyance in G1, constantly speaking in an insipid rhyme scheme. His toy was crap, and almost entirely unrelated to his animation model. They were both orange. That's about it. The U/C2 version gave him an improved robot mode, ditched the old altmode for a new one. But since it came out at the end of the toyline, no one ever found the damn thing. Nice of Hasbro to bring the mold out again.

Shadow Striker stands about 3" tall, but the door kibble on her shoulders bumps that up another ¼". Like most Legends Class figures, she's only lightly articulated: in this case, that means balljointed shoulders and hips, with additional swivels in the shoulders. She's mainly black, with red accents. She has a Decepticon logo just above the waist, and her face is a metallic gold. There's a sculptural easter egg on her right shoulder left over from Wheelie: his weapon of choice was a slingshot, and it's sculpted in there, just waiting to be used.

The conversion has absolutely nothing to do with the 1986 toy. That's a good thing. That figure had the feet in the front and the face in the back, and this one pretty much reverses it. The original Wheelie was one of those goofball "futuristic car" designs TF loved so much after the movie, but the new version of him (and subsequently Shadow Striker) is some generic street racer, a small car with larger wheels in the back than in the front, red taillights, yellow headlights and a purple Decepticon symbol on the hood.

It really is a nice-looking vehicle, and if you like the design of this toy, it has the distinct advantage of not being Wheelie. Shadow Striker is a Target exclusive, and is still a bit tough to find - still easier than getting Wheelie, though. The Bumblebee she's paired with isn't really too impressive - it's a new one, not the same used for the first movie, so that's a plus, but he's readily available by himself (twice, with a few minor paint app changes). Getting a Bumblebee isn't as exciting as getting Shadow Striker at last. She, like Sparkcrusher, is a re-release of a hard-to-find Autobot mold, redone as a Decepticon. If Hasbro finds a way to put out Cosmos again, we'll be set!

-- 05/11/10

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