Cliffbee.com: Darksteel Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Darksteel
Series: Movie Tie-ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Corvette Stingray



CAR MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 6cm

   A charcoal open top Corvette with some metallic teal paint on the sides & hood, Darksteel has a wraparound transparent window along with transparent red head & taillights. There's some mustard coloured paint inside his open passenger cabin & painted silver on the grille & hubcaps. Black tyres round out a fairly simple colour scheme, which lacks any sort of Decepticon logo. While it's not so obvious in this mode, these colours are a tribute to the Beast Wars character Quickstrike. The colours work quite well, even if there's a distinct Takara "black" repaint feel here.

   Darksteel's sculpt is fairly detailed - as is the norm for movie toys. There's a small Chevy logo on his hood along with some vents while the grille is very detailed. There are soft plastic side mirrors (and I'm happy to report that the shade of plastic matches the rest of the toy perfectly). There are two seats in the open cabin along with a (left hand side) mustard steering wheel. There's a distinctly hollow floor around the sides, which looks rather odd - especially if you have him on a light coloured table (or whatever).

   There's some play value here, as is the case with all Mechtech deluxes. Darksteel has two blade weapons, which can plug into holes on either side & a third just in front of this spoiler. These holes even close up automatically when there's no weapon inserted. The blade weapons can also combine into a 21cm long combined weapon which can plug into any of these holes (although it works better on the sides). The wheels turn of course, although he doesn't roll all that well.

   A solid vehicle mode although the colours aren't especially realistic (since the colour scheme is essentially put together for the tribute prevalent in robot mode). The play value is good thanks to the weaponry & the sculpt good. There's nothing spectacular here, and I don't like the gappy floor so I don't especially like this mode, although it's not a bad vehicle by any stretch.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach & set aside the weapon(s). Swing down the blades at the bottom of his doors, pull the doors out unclipping the rear fenders. Pull out the rear fenders, forming the legs. Straighten his legs, fold back the fenders (which actually form his heelspurs) and fold out his toes. Swing up the arms, lift up the hood & fold down front of the car to form his chest (revealing his head), folding out his abs as you go & clipping them in to his groin. Swing the arms down, flip out his fists & position the doors as wings behind his shoulders. Reattach the weapon(s) and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 18cm Width: 8cm

   A charcoal robot with mustard, gold, teal & transparent red elements. The torso is largely gold while the lower legs, groin & forearm are mustard. Darksteel's heal is largely confined to the knees, waist & face while the red appears on the wings & eyes - the latter feature a rather weak lightpipe. There's no Decepticon logo here - which means he's totally faction-less. I wonder if this is because he's a tribute to a Predacon (Quickstrike) & so the designer opted to leave the faction symbol out totally. The colours work well together visually, I guess black & teal do go well together. There's not enough yellow here to make the tribute that obvious - I suspect the gold & mustard colours are meant to be the same colour - the head is the main aspect that really solidifies the Quickstrike tribute here. The colour scheme do look good, and while he relies on a lot of charcoal & teal, he doesn't feel like _another_ black & teal repaint.

   As with most movie toys, Darksteel is quite a detailed toy. He wears large spines on the outsides of his forearms, tall wings behind his shoulders and the headlights on his chest. The head sculpt is based on that of Quickstrike as seen in the Beast Wars cartoon (although it's darker as his head is charcoal). There's no hint of a cobra or scorpion here, but he's certainly quite spiny, which fits the rather spiny & lanky BW toy. I wouldn't say this is a strong tribute, but there's distinct effort & the main aspect that gets in the way is the fact that Darksteel is largely charcoal while Quickstrike has a much lighter colour palette.

   Darksteel's play value is based on his combining weapons. He can wield both as either swords (well, slashing weapons) or guns - the sword hilts double as barrels. They also combine to form a long slashing weapon, although it doesn't really fit into his hands easily as the giant blades on his arms get in the way. I do somewhat question why a guy with massive blades on his forearms needs a compound slashing weapon - he'll get in his own way & does so if you try to place it in either hand. I'd recommend keeping them separate in this mode. Darksteel's poseability is very good & he's surprisingly stable standing on his small feet. The neck, shoulders & hips are ball jointed though it feels like he has more. The elbows are hinged with rotators while his knees have two hinges each (and hinges on his kneecaps!) & are supported by rotators below the hips. His ankles and heelspurs are hinged, which is why a toy with small feet is so stable.

   A good robot mode even if the tribute isn't quite as strong as it probably should be. I don't think much of the combined weapon but the sculpt is good, the colours work & there are some excellent visual elements (like the face which tributes Quickstrike well). The poseability is a highlight & his individual weapons work well.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. He's a retool of MechTech Sideswipe.

OVERALL

   A good movie toy although not a great one. The vehicle mode is well done save for the happy floor, the robot mode has no real flaws & is easily his better mode. The weapons work well enough although to be honest the blades in robot mode outshine his weapon (which isn't a good thing). The colours work well but the tribute doesn't quite hit the spot. Still, I like the idea of tributing a less "obvious" character & this alone makes him appealing. I'm not sure I'd recommend him over movie-featured characters & there's enough sports car guys in the movie lines, but for what he is, Darksteel is a well designed toy & worth the price of entry - 8/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.