Cliffbee.com: Depth Charge Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Depth Charge
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Aquatic Forces Commander
Alternate Mode: Manta Ray



MANTA RAY MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 40cm Width: 32.5cm

   A big blue manta ray with a long, thin grey tail and a chrome head. The head is champagne gold - a whitish-gold chrome. There are some purple and yellow accents on the wings, some blue on the head and yellow eyes. The colour scheme is quite attractive and has a somewhat naval feel about it, which is appropriate. The chrome is quite subtle really, since it's a very neutral colour that's overshadowed by the stronger blue, giving Depth Change a slightly different feel to most other Transmetals.

   At this scale, Depth Charge would have looked odd with strong, mechanical lines. The seams and detailing are mechanical but there are a lot of curves - especially on the head and edges of his fins. He's still mechanical, but not really what you'd call robotic. The tip of the tail looks somewhat organic but otherwise there's mainly mechanical lines here. The level of detail isn't fantastic for an ultra since manta rays are generally fairly sleek creatures, but we have obscured gills and vents on the fins, proving the designer wasn't just cutting corners.

   There's not really a lot of play value here, since Depth Charge's beast form doesn't lend itself to poseability. The tail tip swings from side to side while the fins are concave, sloping upwards to their tips. There's a small dorsal fin which acts as a trigger - pulling back causes yellow discs to fly out of his mouth. The launcher is powerful and quite impressive, and Depth Charge can store five discs. Depth Charge's robot mode missile launcher clips on underneath and doubles as a shark-drone, detaching to form a little blue sidekick, complete with yellow eyes and a complete set of fins. The drone can of course store and fire its two yellow missiles. As with all Transmetals, Depth Charge has a vehicle mode, in his case you simply flip out the fins as Tie Fighter style wings for a jet mode. The jet mode is okay, it doesn't really add much nor does it create any problems.

   A good manta ray mode with as much play value as we could realistically expect, nice colours and a fairly good Transmetal theme. Granted, his Transmetal thing isn't as pronounced as on some others, but this is still a good mechanical manta ray. Manta ray Transformers are unusual anyway, so I'm simply happy that Depth Charge is a convincing ray period. The shark drone and disc launcher bring some play value to a nice looking beast mode, rounding out a solid mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fairly complex and a little tricky at first, but easy once you know what you're doing. There's too much torso contortion for me to describe here, but the eye sockets fold down to become his boots, the gills his thighs. The mouth becomes the robot chest, the fins fold up to form a set of cape-like wings, somewhat similar to those on the G1 Seekers. The tailtip becomes a handheld cutlass while the drone becomes a handheld missile launcher.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 23cm Width: 28.5cm

   Now largely grey, Depth Charge's head, groin, shoulders, forearms and cape sails are blue while his shins, fists outer thighs and shoulderblades are chrome. His inner thighs, upper arms and supports for his cape are a grape purple. The grey chest has yellow manta eyes on it, and while it might not be immediately obvious, these are false eyes - the real beast eyes are on his ankles. There's some aqua paint at the top of the sails, each of which has a chrome Maximal symbol both painted and sculpted. This is a great colour scheme with a simple yet well thought out paint mask. His face is yellow with gills in place of a mouth and red eyes.

   The organic theme here is strong in places that weren't visible in Depth Charge's beast mode. His face, fists, sails and much of the torso are organic, with the head being the most organic aspect here. The arms are mainly mechanical as are the large spines on his knees (you don't want this guy kicking you). The facial sculpt is quite distinct and looks good, as does the sculpt on his sails, which is basically underneath the fins in beast mode. The sails are set well back from his torso, with a distinct gap. The main shaft of the tail hangs out the back, giving Manta Ray a third leg for posing - and since it's a neutral grey he doesn't looks so bad with the third leg in play.

   Depth Charge is quite poseable, his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend and there are swivels above his elbows. His head turns as does his waste (although the latter is really for his transformation). The hips are ball jointed while the knees have two hinges each and both the feet and heelspurs are on hinges. The end result is a very poseable robot with a third leg for action poses. With wings set back so far, Depth Charge is quite back-heavy, but his heelspurs are equally sturdy so he doesn't have any trouble standing. At any rate, the more challenging poses can get help from the tail, so you're not really limited by the weight.

   The cutlass and missile launcher are both useful weapons, both are well proportioned and allow Depth Charge to look well armed and powerful. The missile launcher is a little sensitive, but so long as you don't bump the triggers on either side of the tail the missiles should behave. The disc launcher on his chest still works in this mode, giving Depth Charge three launching mechanisms and a total of seven useful projectiles. Add in the impressive wingspan, cutlass and kneecaps of doom and this is one bad mofo.

   A great robot mode with only some minor weight distribution issues counting against it. The wings and weaponry make Depth Charge a rather mean looking Maximal, and his poseability helps him fulfil the promise. The colours are quite nice and the sculpt is appealing, with a subtle manta ray organic look. A good robot mode that manages to overcome its only real shortcoming.

VARIATIONS

   None as such although Depth Charge was repainted and reissued in the TFU line.

OVERALL

   With two strong modes, good colours, a nice subtle Transmetal theme and some great weaponry, Depth Charge is a very good toy. The robot mode's combination of poseability and great weapons make it a lot of fun, while the shark drone and disc launcher are equally useful in beast mode. The vehicle mode is a bit of a non-event but it's more incidental than bad. An ass-kicking tough guy in the cartoon, recommended for Beast Wars fans - 9/10

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