Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review: Transformers Generations Skybyte

If was likely coincidence that led to 2015 having a new release of Skybyte and Peter Spellos, the voice of the character in the Robots in Disguise cartoon, being at Auto Assembly, but it was a great coincidence. Did the presence of Spellos increase sales of the toy? I guess we'll never know.

I think it's fair to say that RiD never got a fantastic welcome from Transformers fans. It was great to see the return of vehicles, Autobots and indeed the 'Transformers' name front and centre after numerous years of beasts, but I will put my hand up and say that I gave up watching the cartoon after a handful of episodes. It wasn't that I was a Grown Up and thus not the intended audience - I'd watched Beast Wars for the first time very shortly beforehand - it simply wasn't that good.

It's interesting that one of the things that was welcomed was the bizarre flying shark. Of all the characters from RiD to remake, Skybyte makes a lot of sense.

As a shark, Skybyte looks just like his character from the cartoon (and recent appearance in the IDW comics). The tail spins via a button and a missile fires out too (you may notice I've already lost it). This makes the kind of sense that doesn't, but hey! It's a flying shark! My big disappointment is the mouth doesn't move (especially considering it does on Generations Rattrap and he's got a tiny mouse mouth!). Who wouldn't want to play with the shark eating other robots?

In a nice, but flawed, move, Skybyte comes with a hole underneath that can be used with a display stand. This is a great addition since a lot of people are going to keep him in fish-mode most of the time, but since he doesn't actually come with a stand it means a desperate search to find one elsewhere that'll fit.

I haven't got all the latest Generations Transformers toys, but they appear to follow a trend where the vehicular characters are relatively simple to transform (Roadbuster, Scoop, for example), whereas the bestial characters are more involved (Rattrap). This is true for Skybyte and there's a bit of fiddling switching between the two modes.

Robot mode is a bit...awkward. The arms, especially, are hard to pose in a comfortable-looking position and there's no wrist rotation. The legs are a bit spindly and the body pose isn't great. It looks how you'd want it to, I just think it could have been better.

Skybyte isn't going to be a toy for everyone, especially those who still have nightmares after sitting through the cartoon back in the day. If I hadn't met Peter Spellos at AA I may well have passed on him too, but for me he's not only a toy but also a memento of the day. And hey, who doesn't like a robotic flying shark?

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