Cliffbee.com: Fox Kids! Transmetal Cheetor Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Cheetor
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Robotic Jungle Patrol
Alternate Mode: Metallic Cheetah



CHEETAH MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 18cm Width: 7.5cm

   A repaint of Transmetal Cheetor, Fox Kids! Transmetal Cheetor is a metallic red cheetah with chrome gold on his back and rump. As with all Transmetals, he's robotic albeit with curves rather than straight lines. His paws, rear thighs and tail are a dark green. This colour scheme works very well, although it's not even close to that you'd find on a real cheetah.

   The original Cheetor mould was always a bit too bulky for a cheetah, which I suspect had to do with Tigatron. The Transmetal mould doesn't need to be both a tiger and a cheetah, so it's a lot more slender. Yes, it's still a tad bulkier than your average cheetah, but the fact is it's too slender to work as any other large cat. He has a long neck and small head, making this very much a cheetah.

   His head is permanently pointing downwards, meaning Cheetor is looking down at the ground ahead of him, rather than directly ahead. While you can swing it up a little, he'll only ever look forwards, never up. His lower is green while there's a black mask around his bright red eyes. The combination of eyes and mask work really well - it helps that the mask is actually moulded as well as painted. Both upper and lower jaws have sets of green fangs, giving him a "ready to bite" look. His forelegs are designed to stand more or less upright, the rear legs are designed to crouch, as cats do when they're about to pounce. This is a great touch, since he looks ready to strike, and it works with the mouth. His tail is a solid green piece, that's a wavy shape rather than sticking straight out. When chasing prey, cheetahs rely heavily on their tail for balance, it points out more or less straight back, but swings around a bit to help them maintain balance, so having a tail that's waving out there again helps sell Cheetor as a cheetah.

   Cheetor has a "flight mode", which basically consists of taking out his tail, rotating it 180 and placing it back in its socket to reveal a tailfin, and lifting up his side panels to reveal small jet engines that fold out on the end of very small wings. While it doesn't look really look capable of flight, it does look nice, and it's a fun mode. As with all Transmetals, Cheetor has his name stamped on him, just in front of the front left shoulder.

   Adding to the play value is good leg poseability. His front legs have rotating shoulders, hinged knees and hinged ankles. His hindlegs have ball jointed hips as well as hinged knees and ankles. His head barely moves, but head movement is very unusual for beast modes throughout Beast Wars.

   While the downwards facing head is notable, it doesn't really hold this mode back - since he can still look forward. It does a good job of selling him as a tracker, and gives Cheetor a very dynamic look. The colours here are great, the deep metallic red is a great shade. Sure, the colours don't really look like those of a cheetah, but he's robotic anyway so I wouldn't say it affects the realism.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the tail, straighten the legs (there are three joints on his legs, as well as his ankles), flip down his heelspurs. Fold up his forelegs, and then lift the front of his body (including forelegs) onto his back. Partially fold down the head and separate the halves into his robot arms. Fold out the robot head and the fold the chest and arms down completely. Swing the arms back so his shoulder joints are in place. Pose and give him his tail as a handheld whip, if you feel the need. It can also stow in the gap between his backpack and torso, or even stay attached to it's beast mode socket, although it looks silly there.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 7cm

   While there are no spots on the beast mode, the organic robot mode is covered in them. His chest, inner thighs and forearms are painted silver with black spots. The chest is actually red plastic, with silver sprayed over the top. His groin, forearms, thighs and feet are dark green, his lower legs are red and his upper arms silver plastic. His head is green, with silver painted on the back of his head and bordering his face. His mouth and eyes are painted blue along with his crest. Again this is a great colour scheme, if not especially representative of the character. Ironically it's closer to that of a cheetah, with the spots - although the snow leopard is probably the best match, really. The dark red and silvers work very well together, and while the overall concept is similar to that of the original, the end result is markedly different to the original.

   Aside from just the spots, there's a lot of organic detail in this mode. His mouth is open, showing teeth (that are painted blue, so it's easy to miss at first glance). The back of his head has moulded fur, along with his chest, forearms, upper arms and inner thighs. He has abdominal muscles on the bottom of his chestplate.

   The poseability in this mode is nothing short of spectacular. His head, shoulders, elbows and hips are all ball joints, his knees, ankles and heelspurs are all hinged, and his waist rotates 360. The backpack is kept very close to his body, so it causes no stability problems. The limbs hanging off this backpack are far enough back they don't get in the way of his arms at all. The end result of all of this is very good poseability - although his head joint is fairly limited, the arms and legs are flexible and he'll stand in almost any pose you can think of, thanks to the heelspurs.

   The colours work even if the silver fur doesn't really typify the cheetah, the red and silver work together well. The sculpt is quite complex and the poseability is great, not just for a deluxe of the time, but for any Transformer. It's obvious that someone put a lot of effort into Cheetor's robot mode, and the end result is a fantastic robot mode. Unlike some of the Fox Kids! repaints, the colour scheme here is classy.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of the original Transmetal Cheetor as mentioned, but no variations of this version as far as I know.

OVERALL

   A really good repaint of an excellent toy. I wouldn't recommend this figure in place of the original, however. While there's not enough yellow here for a cheetah, my main hesitation is that the original is simply what was portrayed in the the cartoon. As repaints go, this toy is fantastic - the colours are attractive and sensible (which wasn't always the case with the Fox Kids! repaints). If the idea of this repaint appeals to you, I'd recommend it - aside from the colours this is a solid mould with good poseability, a nice flight mode and just plain good engineering - 9/10

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