Cliffbee.com: BotCon 2009 Skyquake Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Skyquake
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: F-22 Fighter Jet

Thanks to fatbot for loaning me Skyquake for this review



JET MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 16cm Width: 11.5cm

   A menthol green white F-22 with transparent green on the edges of his wings, his canopy and the large weapons hanging under the wings, Skyquake also sports gold on his rear stabilisers black on the tip of his nose. There are raised purple Decepticon logos on his wings, which are painted a metallic menthol green. The "battle damage" found on the portside wing of this mould is still there - and now it's painted red just to make it annoyingly prominent. I suspect it's meant to look like blood, which is silly and unnecessary. He's a repaint of the uglier Energon Starscream, using the colours of Predator Skyquake. This is a bright colour scheme, but it's more subdued than that of the original, which also had bronze & a very prominent pink (which is now limited to some crimson on his air intakes). There are raised purple Decepticon logos on his wings.

   There's a battle damage theme on this jet - including that aforementioned damage on the portside wing, also on the starboard air intake and portside thruster. I don't see why this was never tooled out after the first usage of this toy (where Starscream was undead). Aside from this, the plane mode itself is fairly good, although the rear stabilisers are too low, since they rest on the robot shins. There are black missiles that can sit in the launchers under his wings, and hang out the back of his wings.

   There's quite a bit of play value, he has two long energon weapons that can attach under the wings. One is a cannon and the other has a silver-painted blade on it. While he doesn't need more transparent plastic and the missiles would have been enough, he's a repaint of an energon toy, and so he come with the clear weapons. They're detachable anyway, so if you really don't like them it's easy enough to leave them aside. The Decepticon spark crystal is in a block just behind the cockpit.

   The missile launchers aren't as well designed as I'd like. The missiles secure quite firmly, but annoyingly there's no way to fire them in the standard configuration. If you fold down the wings, you can fire the missiles, but the whole idea of a wingless fighter just seems self-defeating. The wings don't clip into place as firmly as I'd like, so they often wobble around without quite sitting right - and on Leozack they pop off quite easily.

   It's possible to fold in his landing gear and rest him on the table (or whatever), although he looks better with the front wheel down while resting. The moulded front wheel folds up under the nose as you'd expect. The rear wheels are unusual in that they're moulded onto small panels that fold over, rather than on the end of posts.

   A good jet mode with deliberately (and suitably) garish colours, making this a good repaint. The battle damage is his main flaw here, and while I can't say I love this mould, this is the first time I've seen in done in a way that makes proper use of the transparent plastic. It represents Skyquake very well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold up the wheels, grab the legs underneath the jet and swing them forward as far as they go. Push down on the tailfins and the arms pop out the bottom. Swing the arms out to the sides. Turn the nose & legs around 180, then fold this assembly up between the shoulders to form the robot and reveal the head. Swing the tailfins out, swivel the tailwings up to his shins, fold out the feet and heelspurs and rotate the lower legs.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 12cm

   Again menthol green with gold and transparent green, Skyquake has a menthol green on his torso, feet and ankles while his forearms, boots and left shoulder are gold. The tip of his groin and his thighs are black, along with his head and collar. Skyquake's face is gold with a useful lightpipe in his transparent green eyes. The spark crystal sits above the transparent green canopy on his chest. The robot colour scheme is garish but that suits the character, and it actually works on this mould.

   There are some really cool features here. The shoulder towers look pretty good and pay an interesting homage to G1 Starscream, who does link to Skyquake, through his Machine Wars incarnation - funny how things have come full circle! The wings make a great cape, as mentioned, and the central spark crystal looks really good. The wings can swing up and deploy as missile launchers over the shoulders, although they can't quite reach horizontal and get in the way of arm poseability. It's still a good idea, and the missile launchers work pretty well so this adds to the play value.

   I'm not really a huge fan of energon weapons but the transparent plastic works for Skyquake, so I can live with them here. The sword and pistol are both fairly good and are probably sturdier than the notoriously brittle Predator launchers. They can combine into a really long sword, but it's heavy and looks awkward, so I say leave them separate. You can attach the weapons onto the missile launchers over his shoulders, if they're deployed, and look fairly good on Skyquake (although they look poor on other versions of this mould, since they add a garish element).

   Poseability is probably the best feature of this robot mode, and indeed the toy. His head rotates, the shoulders rotate and the elbows have hinges and swivels. The hips are ball jointed, the knees bend as well as rotate, and the feet and heelspurs can fold down making him pretty stable. It's just as well too, which these big heavy weapons he has, not only can he wield big ass weapons like an Actionmaster, he can stand upright at the same time - something the Actionmasters could never achieve. This poseability is better than that of his G1 counterpart, which is to be expected.

   Good poseability, actually good play value in general, and a pretty fitting choice of character for this toy mean this robot mode makes the most of a limited mould. The heavy use transparent plastic on this mould works for a character like Skyquake, and while he looks ugly - he's _meant_ to and so there's a charm here.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, he is a repaint of Energon Starscream. He shares the mould with BotCon 2009 Leozack and Energon G1 Starscream.

OVERALL

   I've never liked this mould, but this is the bets incarnation of it yet - partly because the transparent plastic actually make sense here, but also because the colour scheme has a distinct theme and because it's a better toy than the original Skyquake. The battle damage is still an issue, and while the garish colours won't suit everyone, but Skyquake succeeds in tributing an obscure character. It helps that the original toy suffers from Gold Plastic Syndrome - since this toy is more durable (despite, somewhat ironically, featuring battle damage). It's still a somewhat flawed mould, but this is the version of the mould I'd recommend if you only choose one, and it's a worthy Convention repaint - 5.5/10

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