Cliffbee.com: Hammerstrike Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Hammerstrike
Series: Beast Machines
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Tracker, Ocean Attack
Alternate Mode: Technorganic Shark

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Hammerstrike for this review



SHARK MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 16cm Width: 7.5cm

   A tan technorganic shark with metallic cobalt blue on his fins and the upper fluke of his tail, Hammerstrike has some transparent orange on his fins and tail. The front edge of his hammerhead and the eyes are also transparent orange - these are the same piece of plastic. There is some chrome dark orange on his head, just behind the hammer, and a royal blue spark crystal above this. His teeth are white, although this doesn't really add to the overall colour scheme since they're underneath the hammerhead. There is some white on the side, however, in the form of a Maximal logo (an unusual feature for Beast Machines). This set of colours works well visually, although they're not terribly shark-like. Both orange and transparent plastic are common in Beast Machines, and while I don't care for the transparent plastic, Hammerstrike uses orange better than many in Beast Machines.

   Why is it that most Transformers sharks are hammerheads? I don't have anything _against_ hammerheads, but there are only 9 species amongst the 300 plus shark species. I'm not complaining - the odd detailing makes the body fairly indistinct, so the hammer really does establish this guy as a shark. What does bug me is his function as an 'ocean tracker'. I'm pretty sure there aren't any oceans on Cybertron. Of course, this leads to the inevitable question of why we have an aquatic Beast Machines Maximal. I'd accept the excuse of the shark mode being akin to that of the flying Sky Byte, but the ocean function just can't work.

   The detailing here is complex with the odd random detail for that technorganic look, with a few relevant details. There are gill slits above the pectoral fins (those on the side) and the fins have organic sculpts. There are pelvic fins (lower, mid body) as well as an anal fin and second dorsal fin (the fins just before the tail), giving Hammerstrike a fairly accurate set of shark details, if not colours. There's an annoying gap above the pelvic fins, which really hurts the look from either side.

   There isn't a lot of play value here. The pectoral fins can flap down, which is essentially part of the transformation. The transparent orange piece in the head can be "fired", the trigger is his spark crystal. It doesn't actually fire, rather it spring out around 1cm - as in the photo above. It doesn't really offer much in this mode - the teeth would be a more effective weapon. The lower jaw opens and shuts.

   I like the combination of colours here, and while Beast Machines' obsession with transparent plastic is evident here, thankfully Hammerstrike doesn't have a lot of that. The sculpt is good even if the gap above the pelvic fins looks bad. The play value is dismal, but he does display well - and looks less forced than many BM Maximals.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the dorsal fin and lower jaw, unclip the sides and pull the out to form arms. Detach and set aside the shark head. Split the tail through the line of the spine and split the legs. Rotate the waist 90, fold down the chrome area to form the chest, with the spark crystal casing becoming the robot head. Rotate the boots so that the longer flukes of the tail become feet, swing the lower jaw halves forward to become hands, swing up the orange panels on his shoulders. You can attach the hammerhead inside the left arm as a sort of handheld weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9.5cm

   A skinny tan robot with a dark orange chrome chest, transparent orange feet and arms, a blue head with hard to discern orange eyes, orange shoulderpads and white hands. There's some asymmetry on his thighs - the left thigh has the pelvic fins on the outside while the right features blue paint on the outside. The Maximal logo is now on his right shoulderpad. The colour scheme is fairly similar to that of the beast mode, although the white on the teeth is now prominent on his hands and there's a lot more transparent orange - I prefer the colours in beast mode.

   Hammerstrike's robot mode can best be described as unusual. The feet are arching half-fins, his arms and hands curve inwards, the head merges into his chest and the face sits under a sort of hood. There's essentially no kibble in beast mode, and this mode pays the price for that. The hands... are barely hands, the feet look strange and the head is awful. The shoulderpads look nice enough and the chrome is well placed on his chest, but these elements aren't enough to save this robot mode, I'm afraid.

   The poseability here is very poor by BM standards, and far from impressive for a post-G2 Transformer. The head is fixed, the shoulders are restricted ball joints while there are no elbows ands wrists that rotate up and down. His waist turns, the hips are ball jointed while the knees are hinged with rotators in his shins allowing the feet to point outwards. The hammerhead weapon doesn't really offer much, since it's difficult to attach to his hand, and the arm doesn't have enough poseability for him to wield it as weapon, anyway. The trigger is now a small tan bump on one side, and while the orange part makes for a nice blade, it's not much use if he can't use it.

   A poor robot mode with weird features, too much transparent orange and awful play value. The poseability beats a lot of Armada toys, but it's shocking by Beast Machines standards. The head and arms looks bad, and while there's no kibble in either mode, this robot mode really suffers for that.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Hammerstrike has a surprisingly good beast mode, even if it doesn't really fit into Beast Machines. There's good shark detailing and a nice colour scheme, and no kibble. The robot mode is an unfolded shark with too much transparent orange. The poseability, weapon and features are all poor - making it a very forgettable robot. Hammerstrike is better than many BM Maximals, largely on the strength of his beast mode, but the robot mode is largely a write off, I'm afraid - 5/10

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