Name: Snow Cat
Alternate Mode: Snowcat
Height: 7cm Length: 14.5cm Width: 6cm
Yes, that's right, Snow Cat turns into a snowcat. Which may sound silly, but it's a cool enough name and it beats some of the recent names Hasbro Marketing has applied to toys (such as the fire engine called Ratchet). The name and vehicle design are actually borrowed from Hasbro's other staple Action Figure line, G.I. Joe.
So he's a white snowcat with transparent blue cockpit, grey and maroon back, plastic grey front wheels with maroon fenders, grey rear treads (yes, it's a halftrack) and white side panels at the back. There are lots of little things done right, such as a movable wiper on the windscreen, snow frosted window (except for the path of the wiper, which is smooth!) and front headlights. There are black seats painted inside the cockpit, but this cockpit does not open. On the nose of the vehicle is a floodlight that, when you look carefully, is actually a Decepticon spark crystal. There's a small raised Decepticon symbol on the right side of the vehicle just behind the cockpit, as well.
The back half is essentially a collection of mechanical bits, which is fine since a vehicle like this is more than likely to look functional rather than sleek anyway. The top half section does have a tendency to list away from the lower section, there's no mechanism holding it all together. This isn't really much of an issue with my one hour old toy, but when the waist hinge gets old and loose, the lower section may slump. This is the only major flaw of this vehicle mode.
The back half gives Snow Cat a lot of play value. The white side panels can swing down underneath his treads, and the maroon front fenders swing down under the wheels, giving Snow Cat skis! Swinging out the white skis will reveal transparent blue missile launchers on either side, which can swing right up, but doing so leaves the rear half somewhat hollow, with only the robot head still in place. It's not really an issue, though - if you want to fully deploy the missile launchers, do so with the skis stowed, and if the skis are deployed, simply lift the missile launchers out to the sides rather than up on top of the vehicle. The missiles shoot around 30cm, and tend to skim along the ground, and end up firing around a metre.
There's a powerlinx hardpoint on top of the vehicle on a panel that can swivel around. While this doesn't really do much without a Minicon, it's admirable that he has the ability to utilise Minicons (such as the Emergency Team's weapon modes). The front wheels roll and there are small hidden wheels underneath the treads with allow him to roll rather than slide. Of course, with the skis deployed, he slides instead of rolling, but what else would you expect? Rounding out the play value is the windshield wiper. Sure, that's a pretty minor feature, but it's cool that they added it to the already impressive play value.
The Arctic colour scheme works, and makes sense, and the little details like the wiper and floodlight really help the overall look. On top of this, Snow Cat has great play value for a deluxe, making this a great vehicle mode, hampered only by the slight floppiness of the rear section.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Everything rearranges around the cockpit, basically. Swing down the lower section of the rear to form the robot legs, rotate the waist and stow the white skis behind his shins. Swing the powerlinx plate back to the left side, then split the top of the rear section and swing the halves out to each side to form the arms. Lift the head up and clip onto the top of the cockpit, which should bring the missile launchers flush against his back. Slide the fists out and swing the forarms into position.
Height: 15.5cm Width: 9cm
Given the nature of the transformation, it should come as no surprise that the torso is essentially the front of the vehicle mode. The chest is the windshield, which leaves him with a pot belly. The colour scheme of white, grey maroon is extended here, with the addition of black highlights on his shins and face, as well as purple eyes that resemble snow goggles. This purple matches that of the Decepticon logo that's now on his right shoulder. The spark crystal is now his belly button, by the way.
Probably the only aesthetic flaw of this mode is the pot belly, but it's obviously a design feature, so it's not really something I can hold against him, since it doesn't ruin other aspects of the robot mode. The fact is I prefer Transformers with identifiable alt mode parts on their robot mode, so having a torso that's the front of a halftrack is fine. The Minicon port is now on his right cuff, again allowing him to use Firebot & friends as weaponry. He has holes in his fists, even though he comes with no detachable weapons - and can't firmly grasp his missiles in his hands.
The gimmicks of the vehicle mode are carried over into the robot mode. The missile launchers are on an arm with three hinges on it, allowing them to sit flush on his back, sit on his shoulders, deploy above his head or even tower above his head on a post if you really want. The skis on his calves can flip down, along with the shinplates, giving him white skis - he's an attack skier!
The poseability is fairly good considering all the skis and whatnot. His head can turn, but with the post behind it for the launchers, only wiggles around. The shoulders swing and the arms can lift out to the sides. The elbows have two joints each, the hips are ball joints and the knees are hinged. The skis on his calves sort of get in the way of bending the knees in that they'll have to swing out very slightly if you bend his knees, but it's largely a non issue. More of an annoyance is the shinplates which can flop down to ski position when you donít want them too. It's not much a of a problem now, but some way of clipping these shins onto the legs themselves will probably come in handy once the hinges on his ankles age.
Like the vehicle mode, this is a good robot mode. The aesthetic works, thanks to good colours, cool missile launchers and the focus on the cockpit. The articulation, missile launchers and skis mean there's good play value here, and of course the Arctic colour scheme suits.
None that I'm aware of.
Snow Cat is the first... snowcat... Transformer, and is a very good start. Both modes look good and are a lot of fun. While there are some things that don't fit together as well as they should, this isn't enough to dampen my enthusiasm for what is a great toy - 8.5/10