Cliffbee.com: Scarem Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Scarem
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Ground Commando
Alternate Mode: Beetle



BEETLE MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 7.5cm

   With a green body, ochre legs and chrome blue wing covers and pincers, Scarem's colours would have to be make him one of the more unusual insects in the forest. The green and ochre plastics are both metallic, and metallic ochre plastic looks pretty trippy, and has a great sheen to it. There are some fluorescent red paint applications on the green plastic and some green plaint on the blue wingcovers. There are red eyes on the head, and some red on the thorax and abdomen. The colours work quite well, and while I could have done without the bright red, the dark colours over light legs is well thought out.

   The head, thorax and abdomen are poorly defined, with the latter being little more than a green chunk underneath the wingcovers. The pincers stick out to the sides with giant inwards curving blades, making this one rather sinister beetle.

   As with all Transmetal IIs, there's a crapload of sculpted detail, and lots of asymmetry in that sculpt. There's a mix of organic and mechanical detailing, including a buzzsaw and a post that looks uncannily like an Armada hardpoint. The left blade edge is serrated and the right smooth, the latter really looks like a blue machete.

   While there's quite a lot of articulation here, most of the leg jointing is part of his transformation and the six legs have to sit more or less in place if Scarem is going to stand. The pincers are on ball joints, and can twist or lift up and down - sadly they don't close on prey.

   There's not much realism here, the bodyshape isn't great and the colours are rather distinct (although by no means impossible - there are some fantastic beetle colours in nature), while the sculpt is of course a mix of organic and robotic. The Transmetal II theme is very much present, making this a visually complex beast for a basic, but there's not much play value which for me holds Scarem back. I don't dislike this beetle mode, but with a compromised body shape I would have expected better poseability.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Rotate the rear tip of the abdomen which will drag the rear two pairs of insect legs back, flip out the pincers to the sides. Swing the wingcovers out, fold the beetle head underneath the toy, revealing the robot head. Clip together the rear beast legs to form the robot boots, position the pinchers as robot arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10cm Width: 10cm

   Again chrome blue, green and orange, with the blue on his forearms and shoulderpads, the upper torso and head are green while the lower half of the body and upper arms are ochre. The shoulderpads are actually the wingcovers while the forearms are the pincers, giving Scarem giant icepicks rather than hands. There are hints of the bright red plastic (including small beady eyes) and some brown paint on the torso. The colours probably work better here now that much of that bright red is on his back.

   I really like the shoulderpads and icepick hands - the positioning of the chrome looks good and they make interesting features. Granted, the arm poseability is hampered, but his giant icepicks look good in most positions. The clever formation of his boots explains the limited leg motion in beast mode, and while it also limits the knees here, he stands upright without any trouble, and for a basic I'm happy with the cleverness of the transformation as a trade off.

   His head is ball jointed, and can turn and fold backwards (looking skyward), while the shoulders, hips, knees and elbows are ball jointed (the last two sets of joints are restricted). The waist rotates and there are heelspurs making Scarem easy to stand. There's another facet to the play value here - his chest folds down to reveal a purple Predacon spark crystal, the cavity it rests in is painted brown. This chest panel is well integrated, and it would be easy to miss this feature.

   Despite some limited motion this is a good robot mode. The colours are well used, the shoulderpads and icepick hands look great. He has built in weapons with nothing that can get lost, while the spark crystal is well integrated. The poseability is pretty good for a basic, and while it's not as good as most Transmetal IIs, the ambitious transformation is worth the limited movement.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Scarem has clever use of three distinct colours and some great sculpted features, especially the pincers in robot mode. The sculpt is what we'd expect of a Transmetal II and while the articulation is below par for that subline, the ambitious transformation works. His beetle mode is a little malformed, making the robot mode the stronger of his modes. The detailed sculpt and bright colours aren't going to please everyone, but if you can appreciate the Transmetal II concept, Scarem is one of the better basics amongst that set - 7/10

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