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Skyhammer

Transformers DOTM
by yo go re

Back on Cybertron, Skyhammer was a highly decorated Autobot aerial assault commander. He was tasked with personally advising Optimus Prime in countless skirmishes with the Decepticons. Skyhammer is surprisingly nimble given his size and weapon payload. He is an expert with projectile weapons, but also excels in hand-to-hand combat. He carries an Energon blade bestowed on him by Optimus Prime as recognition of extraordinary courage and heroism in battle.

We were all set to say that Skyhammer is that rarest of Transformers, one who doesn't homage anything from previous generations. The fans love throwbacks, and Hasbro loves giving them to us, so new characters are few and far between. But apparently some people think Skyhammer is inspired by the Beast Wars-era character Air Hammer, so-named because he turned into a combination of a bird and a shark. Yeah, we can kind of see it, but it's a vague parallel at best.

The head is strongly influenced by the movie aesthetic. It has lots of superfluous points and layers, where if it was a G1-inspired sculpt it would be blockier and smooth. He has a silver forehead crest and "wings" angled back from the temples, a clear yellow visor over his eyes, and a narrow blue face that drops down to a very pointed chin.

Skyhammer's body looks more detailed and complex than a "normal" (ie, animated) Transformer, but he's not as crazy and animalistic as a lot of the early movie TFs were. Basically, he looks like a detail-added version of a character that would have been at home in any other continuity. There are sculpted pistons and such sculpted on the insides of his elbows and his thighs, and several areas that look like vents. The way his altmode's blades wrap around the chest is really innovative and makes for a cool design. Overall he looks powerful, yet speedy: a combo that fits him well.

Skyhammer comes with a Mechtech weapon, and no, it's not a hammer. The packaging calls it a rifle, but it looks more like an engine block with two gun barrels sticking out the end. Press the lever on the back and it turns into an "Energon sword," whatever that is. he can hold the weapon in either hand, or have it plugged into the back of his arm.

The instructions for Skyhammer are slightly confusing - they show things that aren't possible, and leave other things frustratingly unclear. Two things to note: first of all, despite what Step 3 shows, the blades cannot be removed from his chest - they're permanently attached; secondly, in Step 6 when it says to rotate the chest panel, it neglects to mention that the only way it will ever move even a millimeter is if you pull the rotor forward first.

Skyhammer's altmode is an attack helicopter, very similar to Tomahawk. He has the same "stair step" canopy over the cockpit, and wings out the sides. There are removable missile pods under the wings, and retractable landing gear. You can spin the rotor blades, of course; the metallic blue wires on the top of each blade add a touch of visual flare, and are matched by the leading edge of each wing. You can also plug the MechTech weapon under the nose, if you want to for some reason.

Judging by the questions we've gotten about Skyhammer since his release, a lot of people were on the fence about him - which I guess means we really should have reviewed him sooner. Our bad! The figure is very good. The altmode is nice, there are a few cool quirks in his conversion and the robot looks pretty boss. The Dark of the Moon figures are still hanging around shelves, but who knows how much longer that will last? Better to buy Skyhammer now than to decide you want him later and have to pay aftermarket prices.

-- 01/17/12


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