"Age of Extinction" One Step Changer Steeljaw Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Decepticon, One Step Changer

Age of Extinction

Steeljaw General Information:
Release Date: November 2014
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images and text below from Amazon.com:
Steeljaw is back, and he's tougher than ever! This Steeljaw changer fights his Decepticon enemies every time he can, and he converts so fast they'll never be able to keep up. Spin him to convert him from mighty robot mode to savage beast mode in just 1 step, then convert him back again when the battle calls for it! The Decepticons will never be able to handle your fast-changing Steeljaw figure!

  • 2-in-1 Steeljaw changer converts from robot mode to wolf mode
  • Figure converts in 1 step
  • Spin to change
  • Includes figure

Note: This bio is odd as it references Steeljaw's enemies as the Decepticons even though his affiliation is that of a Decepticon on the packaging and figure. The bios on both Hasbrotoyshop and Amazon.com use the same text so it is not a site specific error.

At a critical point in the "Age of Extinction" film, the Autobots go on a rescue mission onboard Lockdown's gigantic space ship. To run and guard this ship, Lockdown rules over a crew of varying designs. Among them were a pack of techno-organic looking creatures that resembled wolves (but partly mechanical and creepy). While these creatures were never called by individual names on screen, they did inspire this One Step Changer action figure. Technically the Decepticon affiliation of the character is apocryphal since Lockdown and his crew were technically serving the interests of the "Creators", but it makes for an easy dividing line in the toy lineso the use of the Decepticon affiliation is understandable. Also, the creatures never transformed on screen. If they could transform at all, they remained in beast mode for the length of their appearance in the film.

Beast Mode:
During the brief appearance of the "wolves" in "Age of Extinction" the creatures were moving pretty quick and didn't really spend a lot of time on screen striking poses. Still, some details were fairly obvious. They all had a mane of hair around their head and neck area, they had some organic stylings (including flesh colored areas around the chest) and they had a very pronounced snout with some scary looking teeth and claws.

The designers of this figure took this rough description and worked it into this figure, but don't expect an exact replica of what appeared in the film. Among the differences are the design of the hair around his neck (here it is less pronounced than it was in the film) and the chest on the beast mode looks more robotic than organic (whereas in the film it looked very organic, down to having flesh colored skin). Still, the "spirit" of the design is there. The snout is angled since it's mechanical, but then it leads to a head/neck/back area with fur designs on it. This fur leads all the way to the tail, which is sculpted to look like it has layers of hair. The legs each have an organic looking section on top and a mechanical looking section towards the bottom. While the sculpt may not be "movie accurate" to some degree, I have to say that I like it. The design looks savage and dangerous, just the way the creatures were portrayed on the big screen. I've also felt the "Transformers" line has been a bit light in beasts lately, so file that under "Ben's personal bias".

The early prototype of this figure shown at Botcon 2014 had a much different deco than the final release. That version was purple with silver paint. This version is mostly dark blue and black plastic with black, silver and green paint applications. I'm not sure what drove the color change since neither color scheme actually resembles the grey/black/flesh tone color scheme of the creature from the film. I will say that the black paint on this figure is gorgeous. It's not just slapped on the figure in a heavy handed fashion. Instead, many of the black sections are painted on with a nice spray pattern that fades into the blue. You'll find this on the top of his legs and the neck/chest area and it looks fantastic. The eyes are painted green which really makes them pop visually. The teeth are painted silver and a bit more silver is used for a Decepticon symbol on the right shoulder. For a One Step Changer, this is a really nice deco and it's certainly distinctive among the Decepticons in this toy line.

Steeljaw has four points of articulation in this form. His front legs can move up and down and his front paws can be moved around. This articulation exists largely to facilitate his transformation to robot mode, but it also save shim from being a statue in this form.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
The key to Steeljaw's transformation is the left front leg of the beast mode. Rotate it back and the beast mode head swings down to form the robot chest while the rear legs swing back to form the robot legs. You can then rotate the front paws around to form the robot mode hands. Rotate the arm back the other way to reverse the transformation. This works really smoothly and it looks neat, creating some of the transformation "magic" that Hasbro has mentioned in several interviews about the One Step Changers. A friend mentioned that there could potentially be issues with the transformation since articulation was worked into the arm that also controls the transformation. I have two Steeljaw figures and this hasn't happened on either one, but keep this in mind.

Robot Mode:
Steeljaw (or the wolves if you prefer) never actually transformed in the film, so this robot mode is more a result of a designer's imagination than something seen in the movie. In many ways, this robot looks very much like something we would have seen back in the "Beast Wars" era. Steeljaw's head design looks like a flatter, robotic version of his beast mode head - complete with a head of hair in the helmet area and a "snout" with sharp looking teeth in his mouth. The beast mode head becomes part of his torso (a common feature on "Beast Wars" toys) and his hands and feet have claws (another common feature on "Beast Wars" toys). There are some extra mechanical parts revealed here including the thighs, waist and the sides of the chest. Steeljaw's shoulders are fairly wide compared to the waist/hip area giving him a strong appearance. Coupled with his claws and snarling face, he looks like a potent force to contend with in this mode!

This mode features the same colors as the beast mode. This includes black on the face and green eyes. The inside of each thigh section is black plastic. Some of the nice spray ops from the beast mode are key parts of the robot mode including the shoulders and chest. He looks very cool and consistent with the beast mode.

There are six points of articulation in this mode. These are focused in the arms, which have three points each: the shoulder, elbows and claws. I did find myself wishing there was a port somewhere to attach a 5mm weapon, but then again the wolves were shown using their teeth and claws in the film, not weapons so it makes sense Steeljaw doesn't have this feature.

Final Thoughts:
In a line that is sorely lacking in "bad guys", Steeljaw is a breath of fresh air. Not only is he a distinct sculpt, but he is also not Lockdown, Galvatron or Stinger who appear in a myriad of other forms in the toy line (though I still want a Deluxe Stinger with his own original sculpt dangit). On top of that he is a beast-based Transformer, something we don't get as often as we used to. I like this figure a lot and he is fun. Recommended!