Cliffbee.com: Beast Wars Sandstorm Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Sandstorm
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Covert Ops Commander
Alternate Mode: Scorpion

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Sandstorm for this review



SCORPION MODE
Height: 15cm Length: 30cm Width: 12cm

   A metallic tan scorpion with brown legs, Sandstorm sports metallic orange on his stinger pinchers. The metallic sheen on the orange is very noticeable, and offsets well against the duller tan and brown colours. The eyes are green, which doesn't really fit into the Earth tones here but they're small enough that the green isn't a liability at all. While it's a simple colour scheme, the colours work very well together and give Sandstorm a very different feel to Scorponok - the original version of this mould.

   Sandstorm is one of the better Transformer scorpions out there. There are few flat surfaces - he's covered in curves and soft lines. There are some robot mode hints, but no obvious kibble or awkward angular bits. The eight legs are no more than two single brown pieces on either side, but he lies flat on his stomach so things work out okay. I'm not sure that the colours are typical of scorpions, but I can believe that a scorpion would use Earth colours as camouflage.

   The claws are large affairs and have subtle wart-like bumps moulded onto them - a realistic enough texture for a desert arthropod. Both have serrated teeth inside the clamps, and each sports a different gimmick (which I'll come to in a moment). They swing at the base and at the 'shoulders', and each has two hinges between these two swivels (and _another_ swivel tucked away in there), giving the claws great poseability.

   There are five joints in the long tail, which can stretch back or stand up. Three joints have springs and there's a lever on the back, allowing you to push the tail forward - doing do will cause the stinger to strike forward (thanks to the springs). Adding to this weapon are two firing mechanisms in the claws. The left missile shoots a bee while the right claw shoots two brown missiles when you open it. The missiles will easily fire across the room while the bee might go a foot or so, slowed down by the fact it springs open.

   The bee is a small drone-like thing with orange and black stripes on the abdomen, black painted eyes, silver mouthparts and the top of claw as wings. It's quite impressive considering it's nothing more than a single gimmick of a larger toy, and one that has to hide as part of a claw.

   Sandstorm's scorpion mode is pretty good, with enough realism to keep me happy and colours that work really well, despite the fact that they're not as realistic as those of Scorponok. The three gimmicks are all quite cool, and while I don't expect much poseability of a scorpion mode, the gimmicks easily make up for that. The bee is great, the missile launcher is fun and the stinger is a nice touch.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Hard to describe since stuff moves around relative to other body parts, but the beast head splits to become the robot feet (with the legs stowed underneath), the claws become the robot arms, swapping sides as they go. The head is stowed underneath the tail, which sticks up behind the robot head.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 23.5cm (11cm of which is the tail overhead!) Width: 12cm

   A tan robot with the giant orange claws as forearms, Sandstorm has orange boots and an orange head with silver face and a blue eyestrip. The mutant head is simply the covers for the robot head (which have to opened to reveal the robot face), and this head is tan with bronze detailing and green eyes that match the scorpion eyes. Again the colour scheme is striking and attractive. I prefer the mutant head despite the addition of bronze, since it allows more poseability, but both heads are well painted.

   Sandstorm's body is no bigger than that of most deluxes, but the giant claws and tail that sticks up behind the head make him more massive that your average deluxe. The three gimmicks are still available in this mode, which really impresses me, considering how much of the beast mode is geared to make them work. This is a tribute to a clever transformation that keeps the gimmick pieces in useful locations as it goes.

   The great advantage in his mutant head is poseability. Since revealing the robot head requires opening out panels, you end up pushing two panels out into the cavity around his head and blocking the ball joint in his neck. While the head movement is still a little limited, his head is almost immovable with the robot head visible.

   The limbs are very poseable - the shoulders swing, the forearms rotate and there are two hinges and a swivel per upper arm - the forearms themselves are giant launchers that don't have poseability as such but the upper arms have five joints each. The hips are ball joints while the knees are hinged as are the feet and heelspurs (which can only find down). The hips have a wider range of motion that most ball jointed hips, giving Sandstorm great poseability for a toy with hinged knees. The downside is that the legs pop off quite easily - but then they reattach easily.

   With all three gimmicks available here and the poseable arms ensuring Sandstorm can aim the missiles (and the bee!), the play value here is great. The colours work well and again they're very different from those used on Scorponok. His mutant head looks great while the regular head also works well. Sandstorm has a great robot mode, which is rare for Beast Wars megas.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although as mentioned he is a repaint of Scorponok. Since Sandstorm was sold exclusively at BotCon 1999, he is most likely limited to a single production run, making variants unlikely.

OVERALL

   A great repaint of a good toy, Sandstorm uses one of the strongest mega moulds from Beast Wars - fans who remember the Beast Wars era will remember that this size class proved to be the black sheep in that family. The mould is still impressive today, since it focuses on a good transformation and poseability. Yes, the gimmicks are worthwhile but they've built into the periphery of this mould. Sandstorm has a different feel to Scorponok, using vastly different colours, which work very well visually. As with most convention exclusives, Sandstorm's supply is limited and prices are inevitably high, so I can't recommend him as such, but if you have the money and desire, this is a rewarding toy - 9/10

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