Cliffbee.com: Hellscream Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Hellscream
Series: Beast Wars Second
Allegiance: Destron
Function: General Chief of Staff
Alternate Mode: Cyborg Shark



SHARK MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 25cm Width: 12cm

   A dull blue shark whose skin fades to off white underneath, Hellscream is a repaint and significant retooling of Cybershark, representing a continuation of Beast Wars II Starscream (which is a distinct character specific to BWII). The cybernetic aspects around his head, tail and dorsal fin are a metallic turquoise colour, while his pectoral fins are blue despite being cybernetic. It's worth nothing that the organic body has more or less realistic colours while the cybernetic parts feature very unrealistic colours - there's a lot of silver and red painted detailing on the turquoise elements. I do wish the pectoral fins fit into this contrast between organic and cybernetic elements, but otherwise I have no complaints about this colour scheme.

   The tail section, which is markedly different to that of Cybershark, centres on a turbine - complete with a fan inside. There are four fins on the outsides of the turbine, so it still looks like a shark's tail. This tail section is quite big and chunky in order to accommodate the turbine. The head is also radically different - gone is the hammerhead, in place we have a razor like nose and wildly different robotic eyes on either side of an asymmetrical head. The detail on the fins is also quite good - there's a small bridge-window like red aspect on the dorsal fin, which is a really nifty feature.

   There are two small underneath the tail. These prevented Cybershark from laying flat - he tips forward. The huge tail assembly comes in handy now - Hellscream's extra weight enables him to lay flat easily. Of course, sharks don't lay flat on tables, but then they normally don't have turbines in their tail, either. The launcher incorporated into Cybershark's head is retained - pressing a black button launches his entire head. It's a fairly powerful launcher, firing it will send much of his head across the table, leaving behind a silver robotic upper jaw which has silver teeth. Both jaw actually have these teeth, but you don't really see them with the hammerhead over the top of them. For some reason you can lift the launcher (and the head/upper jaw) up 90.

   I do like the contrast between the robotic and organic elements here - it makes Hellscream a true cyborg, and helps to highlight his interesting mechanical features. The blade on his nose and the turbine in the tail are great ideas, the bridge on the dorsal fin is subtle - and thoughtful. Since there's no hammerhead here, Hellscream doesn't look like a mashing of shark elements (as Cybershark did) - it's ironic that in once sense this toy is more realistic than the 100 percent organic original.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the missile-head and the tail. Open the side panels to reveal the robot stuff - pull down the legs which will drag the robotic shark head down to form his chest, along with revealing his head. Flip up his feet, pull out the arms. Attach the tail to the left arm stub, forming a huge weapon of sorts in place of the left forearm. The head forms a handheld weapon of sorts, which is essentially a big kibbly blade.

   This guy is very much a shellformer, and while it works well enough for the most part, I'm not so much a fan of the crucial detachable parts here.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9cm

   The blue forms the base of a rather colourful robot mode. There's some rust paint inside the shark-body panels that sit behind the shoulders, his boots and right forearm are black while the head is turquoise with a silver and red face with yellow eyes. The left forearm is the turquoise tail of the shark mode, with associated silvers and reds. The right thigh is blue and organic while the left is turquoise and robotic. The head is resculpted for a more robotic look, but follows the same shark-like principle of Cybershark's head. The colour scheme here is a little muddled, but you don't really notice thanks to the huge weapons dominating this mode.

   Since everything tucks away inside the shark there's a lot of poseability here. The shoulders and hips are ball joints with swivels below them while the ankles, knees and elbows are hinged. The head is on a ball joint that's unrestricted, although the head is surrounded by shoulder blades. The feet have compact yet effective heelspurs, which is a good thing when you consider how much is hanging off his back (the dorsal fin and the side panels). The huge chunk of turbine that is his left forearm does ruin much of the poseability here, since it's so heavy. Whilst Cybershark was very poseable, you'll find this guy is limited to poses where the position of the turbine is over his feet - or close to it.

   There are two black missiles that store in his back, which can clip into the launcher now on his chest - this is probably why the launcher lifts up. I'm not really a fan of that function though - a handheld launcher would have been much cooler. Still, the missiles work very well as handheld clubs and have moulded shark mouth, eyes and gills! Hellscream only has one hand of course, but two clubs is still a good thing. The turbine makes for a nice, if overpowerful looking, cannon. The shark head blade is quite chunky and ungainly, and you can detach the head from the blade, which actually includes the post for his fists.

   FortMax points out two play features I wasn't aware of (this is what happens when you buy stuff loose!). The shark's head attaches to the back of his dorsal fin, tucking out of the way nicely. The missiles can also fire from the turbine-arm - giving me the launcher I wanted. I've added 0.5 to his score (Hellscream's, not Chris's).

   Hellscream carries a lot of kibble as weaponry, and this does introduce some problems here. The turbine arm is worth it visually, even if the shark head doesn't achieve much. The head is cooler than that of Cybershark, and represents the major robot mode change to this toy (the weapons are beast mode elements being reused). The transformation is unsatisfying, which also hinders this mode somewhat.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of.

OVERALL

   Whilst I appreciate the fact that this toy lacks the taxonomic ambiguity of Cybershark, and some other improvements - I think Cybershark is a better toy. His cybernetic aspects are really nice in themselves, but the weaponry ends up detracting from the robot mode - or bring stability issues to it. The play value is a little stunted but the colours work fairly well. I'd recommend Cybershark first, although having said that, Hellscream is still a nice toy - 7/10

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