Cliffbee.com: Armada Laserbeak Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Laserbeak
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Video Camera/Gun/Bird (no robot mode)

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Laserbeak for the purpose of this review.



VIDEO CAMERA MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 10cm

   A bright orange hand-held video camera with some grey, black and silver here and there. There's a red Autobot logo on the back and a long (25cm) black polyester lanyard attached to the top right rear corner. There's a silver pick-up mic on top, some silver false buttons (zoom, power, etc) and a couple of splashes of blue. There are three _live_ buttons on top - two grey and a black - which I'll come back to. For all the detailing, Laserbeak was always going to be stick-your-face-in-a-fan ugly with the profuse amount of fluorescent orange present here.

   There's a grey panel on the left side, it unfolds to form a LCD screen, and there's a deliberately grainy picture of Optimus Prime on the screen. There are more false buttons underneath - these ones are unpainted orange - representing various tape controls (play, stop, etc). The grey button at the back makes two sounds, which alternate. One is a fairly clear screech (some sort of bird of prey) while the second is a short laser fire sound. The front grey button alternates between a shutter sound and a weird sound that I think is trying to emulate a cassette mechanism of some sort - but it doesn't really sound like anything distinct. The LCD viewfinder is nice, and it rotates up and down, but none of the four sounds really any add anything here. Sure, two are clearly designed for other modes, but one is indistinct and the last one belongs on a _still_ camera. The black button comes into play later.

   An ugly camera thanks to the overuse of orange, and while the viewfinder and lanyard are nice touches, the sound gimmick was wasted by a designer who can't tell the difference between a video and still camera. The sculpt is generally pretty good, but against a backdrop of fluorescent orange you really have to look for it.

TRANSFORMATION TO GUN MODE

   Ensure the LCD viewfinder is stowed, pull down the blue handle.

GUN MODE
Height: 10.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   The colour scheme is essentially the same - not much changes compared to the camera mode, really. The handle is grey with blue painted grip. US toy gun laws mandate that any toy gun - no matter how realistic - must have a fluorescent orange tip. So Hasbro went and painted the vast majority of this toy in a blinding orange. For the sake of a lame intermediate mode, no less.

   There's really very little to this pistol. The handle is about right for a 5-7 year old - far too small for an adult hand to grasp properly. There is no trigger, and the double-lens of the camera makes for a poor barrel. The laser fire sound is now of some use, although the play value it brings is hampered by the fact that you have to play the screech between every blast. Such a bad way to do the sounds. Considering how little this really looks like a gun, the sounds needed to be done right.

   A very half baked gun mode, since it's a camera with a handle. There's no trigger, barely a barrel and all of the sculpting is camera like. The lanyard very much doesn't help, either. The laser fire sound is okay, but having to alternate it with the screech really kills the play value of this gun mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO BIRD MODE

   Fold the handle up. Press that black button, releasing the double lens section to form the head. Unfold the sides up to form wings, fold out the blue wingtips. Swing down his blue legs and fold out the feet. Stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Length: 14.5cm Width: 19cm

   A bright orange birth with largely blue wings, blue legs, a grey chest and a long black lanyard-tail. Laserbeak's colours are still an affront to good tastes, but at least he manages to look birdlike, whereas the colours really do kill the gun mode and do a lot of harm to camera mode. It's no means a realistic bird, but is readily recognisable as one, at least.

   This is probably his bets mode, purely because it's better defined than the other two. This is a win by default - it's not a fantastic bird mode. The head does work surprisingly well for a set of lenses and the feet are well formed. The lanyard again really just detracts, but it still makes far more sense than in gun mode. There's not too much poseability, the hips and ankles are hinged and that's it - the rest is on spring loaded hinges. Again the sounds aren't so useful, because the alternation sounds are still in place.

   Identifiably a bird, but Laserbeak is much, much brighter than any bird I've ever seen. The camera-lens head really gives him a drone-like feel. If this bird was wasn't so bright I would probably like it, but as it stands I'm not a fan despite the relatively clever bodyshape.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A toy which is more significant for its uniqueness than anything else, Laserbeak takes the orange toy gun laws and goes way too far. The bright orange really does dominate this toy, and the gun mode is nowhere good enough to justify this. The camera mode is okay, aside from the wildly unlikely colours and the bird mode is actually fairly decent - colours aside. The less said about his gun more and his sound gimmick, the better. Only recommended if you're completing the Armada line - 4/10

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