Monday, 21 October 2013

Review: Transformers Prime: Beast Fire Predaking

When I was a kid, more than any other media incarnation, I loved the Marvel UK universe of Transformers. The box bios I never once read, the cartoon was annoyingly split up on Wack-a-day to ensure one episode lasted all week and the US comics...Well, those just weren't as good as the UK-created stuff used to 'fill in' while waiting for the next US story to reprint.

One of my favourites was a story featuring the Predacons and the Dinobots. In it Swoop, the Autobot pterodactyl fought with Divebomb, the Decepticon Vulture who'd long ago 'stolen' Swoop's old name. Riveting stuff for a young boy, and still so today. The Predacons had the ability to join together to form the mighty Predaking, a toy I never owned as a child (but thankfully managed to buy as an adult just before all the prices shot up).

This Predaking has absolutely nothing to do with the character from the 80s, except, I suppose, the colour scheme.

I've only seen one episode of Transformers Prime, an episode that came free with one of the toys I picked up from Home Bargains, which, now and again, gets leftover US stock (the DVD's never appeared with the UK toy releases). Hence my knowledge of TFP is limited and my specific knowledge of TFP Predaking almost nonexistent.

But I do have the toy.

Two, in fact, since I first bought the Voyager scale version, which was reduced in Tesco. It's a bit pants, which is why I then bought this larger one from Kapow Toys.

It's much better.

Predaking turns from robot (well, duh) to dragon. The robot is rather large, as you'd expect from the price tag. He's a big, chunky guy and, unlike the movie-verse toys in this scale, much sturdier and stronger. His joints are all clicky and strong, for the post part, however he was very weak wrists and they have difficulty holding up his sword (aka his tail). The sword is very heavy and the wrist ball joints are loose, and when combined together you have one droopy sword. He comes with 2 missile launchers which can be attached in various locations around his body.

As for a lot of beast-shaped Transformers, the transformation is very quick and simple and is essentially bending the robot down onto all fours. It reminded me a lot of G1 transformations from back in the day, which was actually quite nice after some of the frustrated wrangling involved in movie toys.

Despite the simple transformation, dragon mode looks nice, far nicer than the Voyager scale toy which is simply due to the small amount of paint on the wings. Weird how such a little touch can make such a big difference. There's a lever on his neck which causes the head to bow and jaws open. If you insert batteries (the battery compartments are nicely hidden away under the wings-body attachment area) then his head will light up.

The legs are fully poseable and the wings have some, limited, posability. It's not great, but then putting extensive joints into plastic wings is always going to cause a problem.

As I mentioned, I haven't watched any episodes of TFP starring Predaking, but from what I head the larger, leader toy is much more in scale with what is seen on TV compared to the standard deluxe figures.

After being disappointed with the Voyager toy I wasn't expecting much from this one, but I actually really like it. I'd have been annoyed paying the full RRP of £50 but he's reduced at most places now to the £35 region which isn't bad (sadly Kapow Toys have now sold out of their bargain £25 ones). Both modes look good and transforming him was a nice moment of nostalgia.

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