Cliffbee.com: Transmetal Ravage Toy Review

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Name: Jaguar (Ravage is his English name, but it's a Japanese toy)
Series: Beast Wars Metals
Allegiance: Destron
Function: Intelligence/Demolitions
Alternate Mode: Metallic Jaguar



JAGUAR MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 18cm Width: 7.5cm

   A black Transmetal that's an extensive remould of Transmetal Cheetor, Jaguar's main body is a chrome black, his head, neck, forelegs and lower hindlegs are a solid black plastic and his tail, paws and upper hindlegs are a metallic bronze plastic. His head is almost entirely black, with pink small eyes and bronze stripes along the cheeks. It's a pretty good jaguar, the entire head is different, so it's no longer the cheetah this mould started out as. The black chrome is a strange colour, usually chromes are bright colours, it looks good though. Unfortunately it flakes very easily, so you'll have to be careful. Mine's flaking at the base of his tail. Flaking aside, this is an excellent colour scheme

   Based on the Ravage we saw in the Beast Wars cartoon, this toy's beast mode is not based on the cartoon, since Ravage didn't transform into a beast mode in the show. Nonetheless, there's extensive remoulding for the robot mode which alters this mode quite a lot. As mentioned, the head has been totally redone - it is in fact the robot head, whereas Cheetor's robot hands became his beast head. Jaguar's robot arms are left hanging on the underside, and are rather kibbly. They are very noticeable, but the upside is that they've got so many joints that you can move then out of the way for most poses - they'll be visible but out of the way of the pose itself. He's carrying two handguns for the robot mode, and while you can remove them, you do have a choice of where to stow them. They can attach to the robot hands, but this will add a lot to the kibble. I'd recommend slotting them into grooves on the back of his thighs - these grooves were already part of the mould - the guns have been designed to use them. The guns don't get in the way of anything on his thighs, look fine and hold firmly.

   The remoulding of the head means that it has to change orientation for his transformation - so it can move from looking forward to looking straight down. The lower jaw opens and shuts, and there's small teeth on the inside of his jaws. His forelegs are designed to stand more or less upright, the rear legs are designed to crouch, as cats do when they're about to pounce. This is a great touch, since he looks ready to strike. His tail is a solid bronze piece, that's a wavy shape rather than sticking straight out.

   Jaguar inherits Cheetor's "flight mode", which basically consists of taking out his tail, rotating it 180 and placing it back in it's socket to reveal a tailfin, and lifting up his side panels to reveal small jet engines that fold out on the end of very small wings. While it doesn't look really look capable of flight, it does look nice, and it's a fun mode. Of course, being a former Decepticon, he might be able to fly in robot mode anyway.

   Adding to the play value is good leg poseability. His front legs have rotating shoulders, hinged knees and hinged ankles. His hindlegs have ball jointed hips as well as hinged knees and ankles. These are all inherited from Cheetor, but the head and jaw movement is new to Jaguar - so despite the added kibble he's actually more poseable.

   It's a good beast mode, but that's more because they started out with a good beast mode than changes to the mould for Jaguar. Despite the poseability, this is the weaker of his two modes, since he's kibbly and has easily chipped vacuum metallised paint.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the tail, straighten the legs (there are three joints on his legs, as well as his ankles), flip down his heelspurs. Fold up his forelegs, and then lift the front of his body (including forelegs) onto his back. Partially flip the chestplate down, swing the arms to the sides of his body, move the neck down into his shoulders, bring the chestplate fully into position and fold his head down. His guns can stay on the thighs, but you might want to put them onto their deployment posts underneath his wrists.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 7cm

   This is the mode we saw in the show, and this is the mode that Takara put it's effort into. He's mainly black, his upper arms, thighs and feet are bronze, and his eyes are pink. There are some red painted details on his waist, groin and thighs.

   I know I keep comparing to Cheetor, but I feel it's necessary to point out just how significant the retooling is. The robot mode, the head is entirely different, as are the arms and the chestplate. Not only does the head make him taller, but the entire feel of this toy is different now.

   The remoulded parts are more robotic and less organic than Cheetor's were. While Ravage was never labelled as a Transmetal in the cartoon, the reason for this is probably more to do with the fact the Beast Wars Metals line (Transmetals) sold nowhere near as well as the original Beast Wars toys - so Takara likely tried to avoid making him quite so Transmetal. Takara actually went in an entirely different direction from Hasbro - while Hasbro moved onto the Transmetal II line, Takara went back to organic beast modes in Beast Wars Neo & Beast Wars II - so it makes perfect sense that Jaguar tones down the Transmetal look.

   Jaguar's hands are moulded open, roughly in the position to hold a cup of energon. Inside his palms are spring loaded posts that can fold away under his wrists, onto which you can attach his pistols. These are a vast improvement on the whip, mainly because they give Jaguar ranged weaponry. He cannot hold the whip in his hands, incidentally.

   The poseability in this mode is great. His shoulders and hips are ball joints, his elbows are hinges with two sets of swivels each, so are better than ball joints. His head can look up and his waist rotates 360. His knees, ankles and heelspurs are all hinged, and since the backpack is kept very close to his body, he can stand in a wide variety of poses. The limbs hanging off this backpack are far enough back they don't get in the way of his arms at all. The end result of all of this is very good poseability - although his head joint is fairly limited, the arms and legs are flexible and he'll stand in almost any pose you can think of, thanks to the heelspurs.

   Adding to the play value, his chest plate opens up to reveal circuitry with a sticker as the central feature. By default he comes with a Predacon insignia sticker, but you can add a Decepticon insignia, or a picture of G1 Megatron's face. Yes, that's right - he comes with a sticker sheet. The sheet also comes with G1 Decepticon insignia foil stickers - one for each shoulder, as well as Predacon stickers. I have on of each on each shoulder.

   The colours work, the moulding is quite complex and the poseability is great. This really looks like the Ravage from the show, which is a bonus. They started with a good robot mode and retooled it to make it better. The stickers and opening chest really give you a feeling that they put thought into this toy. If only Hasbro put this much effort into repaints.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although Transmetal Tigatron from BotCon 2001 is a repaint.

OVERALL

   The beast mode has some problems, but the design focus is clearly on the robot mode, which is excellent. The colours work, the changes made to the mould give him a feel all his own, and it's clear they put a lot of effort into this toy. I'd recommend him to any Beast Wars fan, even if you have Transmetal Cheetor. Really, the beast mode kibble and flaky chrome paint are his only flaws - but his robot mode largely makes up for them - 9/10



Want more on this toy? Read Goktimus Prime's Jaguar Review

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