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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

Sometimes Transformer names don't make sense. Today's review gets his name from G1, which is fine, but the guy who used to have it? Changed into a car. The hell?

Skystalker is more than happy to let Divebomb, in his new form, take fire from Scattorshot. While his partner is busy getting his wings singed, Skystalker is swooping in from behind in stealth mode, preparing to snatch the hapless Autobot and carry him off into the sky.

Say what you will about Hasbro, they know how to tell a story. The movie may be long over and swiftly fading from everyone's minds, but the bio paragraphs on the back of the packages combine to form a coherent narrative. There's no cartoon, no comics [no comics? What are you, high? --ed.], but you can tell what these guys are up to if you have even a little reading comprehension. For instance, Divebomb and Scattorshot both reference the same events as Skystalker's bio.

Skystalker is packaged in robot mode, like most Scout Class figures. He has a lot of kibble, but the interesting thing is none of it is very blatant. You can probably guess what he turns into, but it's not like one of those where a head and arms poke out of an unchanged car hood or something. He fits nicely into the movie aesthetic, with large, animalistic feet and pointy shards on his limbs. The sculpt is highly detailed, and that makes him look like an actual robotic entity.

At first Skystalker's head reminded me of Shockwave, with the single red eye on the middle of his face, and those purple antennae gave him a hint of Rob Liefeld influence. However, taken all together, the head starts to look like Briareos from Appleseed. One "eye," big rabbit ears... you have to wonder if it was an intentional homage. Certainly wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened, after all.

Skystalker does very well in the articulation department: the head, shoulder, elbows and hips are balljoints, there are swivels for the thighs and knees, a hinged neck, and the feet are springloaded, like a few movie TFs before him. Yes, he only has 12 (or so) points of articulation, but he's dynamically poseable, and that's a lot of fun. He's armed with two axes, which can plug into his palms or clip onto his forearms, depending on how you want to have him fight.

Converting Skystalker is slightly tougher than it seems, due mainly to the interaction of the balljoints and getting everything aligned properly. The instructions show a Gerwalk mode, like pretty much every other airplane TF can achieve, but this time it's official. You can officially ignore it. Skystalker's true altmode is a UAV drone similar to a few real-world designs, but distinct from them all.

The drone is black, with gray and silver detailing. It has a 6¼" wingspan, is 3¾" long, and has only a single landing gear: it's under the nose, so the back of the plane doesn't roll. Actually, that's how the real things often work, as well - they're light enough that one or two guys can lift the rear and cart them around like a wheelbarrow. There are Decepticon air force logos on the wings, and the number 808 is printed on the body, signifying that... the designer is a Kanye fan? I don't know.

In place of rear wheels, Skystalker's altmode has solid pegs. Why solid pegs? Because he's designed to plug into the previously released Voyager Class Mindwipe. Mindwipe's altmode has two holes on top, and they're space to perfectly accommodate Skystalker, making it look like the stealth bomber is delivering an unmanned aerial vehicle to some distant battlefield. The two really look great combined, and honestly, if you're planning to get one, you should really get both, just for the possibilities. And much like Mindwipe had his "bat mode," fans have come up with a way to combine Skystalker and Mindwipe in robot mode, as well.

This "being able to combine two unrelated releases" thing is a new concept for Hasbro (officially, at least), but it doesn't end with Mindwipe and Skystalker: the upcoming Sea Spray and Breacher will be able to do the same thing. It's a new "play pattern," as the companies say, and it's one that adds value to both figures. Even if you can't find Mindwipe, Skystalker is still a ridiculously fun little figure.

-- 06/22/10

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