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Sky Lynx

Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Why is it when toy companies can't get a phantom series into stores, it's never something like "Optimus Prime, but his legs are black instead of blue" and is almost always something really interesting?

Sky Lynx often talks about himself as one of the most accomplished Autobot warriors. Now that he has mastered the power of combination, he really has something to brag about. His new combined form, Sky Reign, is a ferocious Combiner beast!

Originally intorduced in 1986, Sky Lynx was actually two toys: a white space shuttle and a blue-and-red crawler transport that turned into a white dinobird and a blue-and-red cat (or combined into a four-legged red, white, and blue birdcat). Since the fiction generally defaults to the birdcat, that's all this toy turns into.

The modern toy does look quite a bit like the old one. Part of that is the choice of colors - bright blue and red, pure white with gold accents - but it's also the shapes. Yes, there's a lot more detail sculpted on the surfaces now, but the way the neck angles and the specific shape of the head are totally reminiscent. It's even more animalistic, though, thanks to a dip on the nose that looks like nostrils, and two little winglets on top that could serve as ears.

When Sky Lynx was first revealed, it looked like he was just going to be an extensive retooling of Silverbolt. Turns out he's all new! He rests on four thick, square legs that terminate in two-toed blue feet. He has white wings with blue tips, and a long, pointy tail. There are a lot of generically "tech-y" details molded all over the place, but nothing that really screams its kibble origins (other than the head).

The articulation is about what you'd expect from a figure like this. He moves at the elbows/knees, biceps/thighs, shoulders/hips, has a hinged jaw, and there are three hinges and a swivel in his neck. A few joints even let you raise or lower his tail, because maybe Sky Lynx is feeling happy or sad today. It's up to you! On my figure, the rear ankles were too loose to support the weight of the toy, but thankfully, they're just held in place with screws, which means they were able to be tightened easily.

As mentioned above, Sky Lynx's altmode is a space shuttle being carried on a transport platform. In the '80s, those were two separate items, but thanks to the way "Combiner Wars" works, today they're just one. There is a part that's distinctly a shuttle and a part that's distinctly a transporter, but the two don't separate.

The heavy detailing carries over to this mode, which does leave us with a shuttle that looks very "busy." Accounting for scale, the panel lines on this bird ("flying machine" euphamism, not actual bird [a distinction that must be made when talking about Transformers in general and Sky Lynx in particular]) would be big enough gaps to fit your arm through, which doesn't seem like it would contribute much to the structural integrity of the craft. There are smaller stabilizers on either side of the tail fin, and they point forward. Beneath the sled are two small sculpted wheels, but they don't seem like they'd be larger enough to move this monster around. Sky Lynx's tail becomes two swords that neither of these modes can use, but they can be stored under the plane's wings or on the sides of the platform.

As a Voyager Class "Combiner Wars" figure, Sky Lynx of course turns into a torso. And like Nova Prime, since I'm never going to buy the limbs necessary to make Sky Reign (aka "Lynx King," or "Lynxmaster" in Japan), let's look at what we've got.

Sky Reign's torso mode is definitely different from what we saw of Sky Lynx. White is now just the accent color, rather than being dominant, while red and blue take over. We still get plenty of gold, and maintain the aviation feel thanks to the way the shuttle's engines become the robot's chest plate. The connectors for the combiner arms sit higher than expected, but it's not a terrible look. The two swords that Sky Lynx had no hands to use can combine into one longer sword that Sky Reign could definitely wield.

The real standout here is the alternate combiner head. Taking a cue from the absent G1 mode, Sky Reign gets a golden robotic cat head. It kind of makes him look like Voltron, just without the human face in the kitty's mouth. It's a really nice robot-cat sculpt, complete with what looks like a speaker in the throat. Or maybe a vent? It seems like the top half of the head should be hinged, but it's not - all we get is a swivel for the neck so he can look around.

Sky Lynx is a really fun Transformer, even if you choose to ignore his "Combiner Wars" mode. It's just a shame you'll have to pay secondary market prices for him, because Hasbro couldn't get him into stores. Or rather, because stores couldn't make room. Don't wildly over-pay for him, but get him if you can.

-- 01/17/17

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