Cliffbee.com: Landshark Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Landshark
Series: BotCon Exclusives
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Snowplow

Thanks to fatbot for lending me Landshark for this review.



SNOWPLOW MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 27cm Width: 10cm

   An army green half track with black treads at the rear and a black cowcatcher at the front, Landshark is a repaint of Energon Landmine. He has transparent blue windows and some copper blue elements here and there. The colour scheme is quite unified and while it's dull, that befits a military vehicle. There is some silver detail painted on the cowcatcher and some copper around the windscreen and a red Autobot logo on the roof, with white relief. He's a lot duller than Landmine, which works in his favour since Landmine has some colour clashes - that and the military theme works well.

   While this vehicle isn't all that realistic, he improves on Landmine thanks to the better colours. With the giant treads at the back and a copper missile launcher on the right rear side, Landshark is a little overdone, but still carries a military theme. The front half of the vehicle is essentially a longnose truck, but there are some really awkward gaps behind the plow (less prominent on the darker colours here) and the rounded cabin doesn't feel right.

   On the upside, there is some play value here. The front wheels and smaller wheels underneath his treads will roll on carpet, although he tends to slide on a harder surface such as a table. There's a turntable on the back which serves as a base for his missile launcher and a much larger towing arm. Both can swing up and rotate side to side, although the black panels on the sides tend to get in the way here. The towing arm looks pretty good - there's even a false pulley wheel at the front end (near the base). The hook itself can be pulled out (about 15cm) on a white nylon cord, pressing a button on top of the arm causes it to rapidly retract. There are dead hardpoints on the sides of the arm, at the hook end. The turntable can only rotate 45 left. As is often the case with BotCon repaints, the electronics have been gutted here.

   He's not trying as hard as Landmine was - the colours turn what was a gaudy overdone vehicle into a souped-up vehicle. This is still a busy snowplow mode, but it looks a whole lot better. The gutted electronics are a step backwards, but it's worth it, since the two action gimmicks on the back work well enough and there's a coherence here that was missing on Landmine.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the rear section, leaving a sort of chibi truck at the front (which even has rear tyres) - this section is destined to become the robot. The rear section is a sort of drone now, and becomes armour later on. Unclip the flue blocks at the back, swing out to the sides as arms. Unclip the sides of the plow from the central section, swing the centre up onto the hood forming a groinplate. Pivot the fenders down to form legs and extend. Flip up the plow edges to form feet. Fold the rear tyres underneath, swing down the shoulderblades, flip up the panel covering his head, fold out his head and flip that panel back down. Slide out the fists and pose. While it's not a simple transformation, it's more fiddly than clever, with lots of little aspects on a simple idea.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 10.5cm

   An green robot with grey elbows and thighs, Landshark black fists, hands and a black groin. His forearms are copper while his head is silver with a red face and a prominent transparent blue eyevisor. Landshark now sports the red Autobot logo on his chest and there's also a spark crystal there, which is duplication to an extent but both look good there. The colours are a little more varied here but still quite subdued, and again there's a distinct difference between him and the brighter Landmine.

   The robot shape is pretty good, but you'd expect that on a robot that folds up to become half a vehicle with a big chunk of add on at the back. The transparent blue eyevisor is actually a sort of battle mask and the exhausts of the truck mode form nice black features on his shoulders. Landmine's big, pointy, wedged feet look unusual, but at least they fit in with the black pointed groinplate - both are parts of the plow. There are posts on top and bottom of his wrists, which don't do anything in this mode but make for nifty features.

   Landshark's poseability is quite good - again something you'd expect from a robot that can use a chunk of kibble to form the rest of the vehicle. His head turns while the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides, his elbows bend and rotate, his wrists, ankles and waist are fixed while his hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees bend and rotate. Okay, the waist isn't completely static - it tends to come apart in a way that you don't want it to, giving Landshark the splits. While his feet don't move they're big and he has heelspurs so stability in posing isn't a major problem here.

   The back of the half track splits into three pieces which become his battle armour. The treads split off into giant armguards, they clip onto the underside of the forearms and become giant claws. The forearms effectively rotate, but the elbows can't adjust so he ends up in a tough guy pose. The rest becomes a fairly awkward backpack, the missile launcher deploys over his left shoulder and the tow arm over his right shoulder. There are grey panels swing up as wings. The over shoulder weaponry is a good idea, especially since the launcher fires a missile, although they overwhelm his head somewhat, and the wings are a little inelegant. I don't mind the claw arms, even if they're not as poseable as I'd like, but the treads make for very long forearms and combined with the wings, they give him bad proportions.

   A pretty simple robot mode with decent poseability overall, Landshark really focusses on being a base for the armour to attach to and that armour isn't all that impressive. The colour scheme is quite nice, and works well for a somewhat brutish toy as this.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of Energon Landmine, as mentioned. He also shares the mould with Energon Landquake. Landshark was available exclusively at BotCon 2009, and as such was likely limited to a single production run.

OVERALL

   The robot mode has some interesting play value and there's a lot happening here, but it's a fairly forgettable mould, really. The colours do make the most of this mould - they do a lot to improve the vehicle mode, especially. While he's a good repaint and we get a new character here, it's a pretty expensive repaint so I'll stop short of recommending Landshark. As with most BotCon toys the electronics have been stripped, but they didn't offer a lot in Energon anyway. A decent display piece, but there are many better BotCon toys - 7/10

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