Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Smokescreen (2014) Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Prime, Prime

Beast Hunters

Smokescreen General Information:
Release Date: March 2014
Price Point: $15-30 (Depending on country and retailer)
Retailer: Limited Release (Primarily in Asia and Europe)
Accessories: Axe weapons x 2

Images:

As part of the last wave of "Beast Hunters" action figures, several toys from the Legion Class were "upscaled" into Deluxe Class figures. This was a bit of an experiment, to see if there was market appeal for "Transformers" figures with simpler transformation schemes. A similar philosophy was applied to the "upscaled" version of the Commander Class Optimus Prime figure as a Voyager Class figure. Smokescreen was one of the Legion Class figures that received this treatment. I do recommend reading Legion Class Smokescreen's review before this one since it will cover the figure's design in depth. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release (which go beyond the size and color).

It should be noted that distribution of these figures was somewhat limited due to them being sandwiched between the Christmas season of 2013 and the upcoming "Age of Extinction" toys. These figures were found in various places including the UK and parts of Asia. My particular set came from Singapore courtesy of fellow fan Brandon Masagung. BWTF thanks Brandon for his efforts in getting me these figures.

Robot Mode:
When it came to upscaling Legion Class figures from "Beast Hunters", it seemed at first the Autobots were not the ideal candidates for this treatment. Smokescreen had plenty of good detail for a Legion Class figure sure, but for a Deluxe? Not so much. Instead of adding new details to this figure, the designers decided to enhance a lot of the pre-existing details. It would appear this involved some redesign of parts. Here's a breakdown:

  • The robot head appears to be a similar, but different sculpt than the Legion Class figure. The give away are the small horn/antennae like structures on the sides, towards the back of his head. They stick up a lot more in this figure than they did on the Legion Class.
  • The shoulder joints are on a hinge, held in with a metal pin instead of the ball joint used on the Legion Class figure.
  • Like the shoulder joints, the joints that connect the legs to the hips are also hinge joints held in with a pin instead of a ball joint.
  • The lower legs on the figure have design elements that don't exist on the Legion Class figure. The Legion Class has fairly smooth lower legs whereas this figure has additional details such as a triangle right under the knee armor.
  • The knee armor on the Legion Class figure is smooth and curved, but here it's more sharply defined with parts that come to a point on the sides.
  • The bottom of the robot feet have additional tread-like details on them that are absent on the Legion Class figure.

I appreciate the designers trying to bring in extra detailing on the figure and it really does look better with those details brought out and added. If they had simply "upsized" the Legion Class figure a lot of the sections like the knees would look muddled.

Unlike his original Legion Class figure's "non show accurate" colors, this version of Smokescreen aims to emulate the TV show model. The main plastic color is white, with some black parts here and there on sections such as the shoulders and waist/hips. Blue is used on several sections including the feet, chest and head for detailing. Red is used for a large Autobot symbol on his chest and lines on the head. Black is used for armor on the knees. Finally orange appears on his chest on the vehicle mode headlights. Overall it's a simple, yet attractive color scheme. He could definitely use more paint (the legs in particular look kind of plain) but given that this is an attempt at a "simpler" Deluxe Class figure, the sparse deco in this mode is not a shock.

Like the Legion Class figure, this version has three ports that allow you to connect weapons. Instead of 3mm, these are 5mm. These allow you to attach weapons from the rest of the "Prime" line (and his own of course). Two are located on the sides of the feet and one is in the back. His hands can also hold 5mm peg weapons.

Instead of the blaster included with the original Legion Class Smokescreen figure, Smokescreen comes with two axe weapons, perhaps in an effort to add some value to the figure. These are not identical weapons. One axe has a short, straight edge on one side, a spike on top and a smaller curved blade on the back. The sides have 5mm pegs (which interestingly, can also accomodate Mini-Cons). The other axe is a more traditional looking one, with a large, curved blade on one side with spikes with a spike on top. There are also two 5mm pegs on the sides of the weapon, also capable of attaching a Mini-Con.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if connected and set it aside for now.
  2. Push each of the feet up.
  3. Connect the two lower legs together.
  4. Swing the door/wings back.
  5. Swing each of the robot arms back and rotate them around.
  6. Connect the arms together.
  7. Swing all three panels on the chest up over the head.
  8. Swing the windshield/windows panel over the arms.
  9. The doors tab into the rear wheel well section.
  10. The weapons can attach to the ports in front of the rear wheel wells.

Vehicle Mode:
Much to my surprise, there are actually details on the Legion Class figure that were eliminated for this Deluxe release. On the Legion Class version the front grille has some line details inside of it. On the Deluxe version those details are absent. I did notice however that the headlight details are slightly more angled and seem sharper than those on the Legion Class version. All the other details are the same, just larger.

The weapon connection points near the rear wheel wells are different than the ones on the Legion Class figure, not just in size but design. Each port has a small, raised circle around it, most likely to give it some added strength. The connection point on the top of the figure is the same, a hex shaped port.

This deco is more accurate to the television show than the original Legion Class figure. The base color is white and the wheels are black. The windows have been painted black all around except for the rear window. A blue, triangular line runs down the center of the hood while twin stripes go from the top of the cabin section to the back. The blue wheel well also has dark blue over it. The most intricate detailing is found on the doors. Each has a combination red and blue checkerboard pattern with the number "38" on it. The deco looks great, but it's missing a couple colors here and there. The spoiler and the rear section in particular would need to be painted, but overall the figure does look good (and to be honest, I had completely forgotten about the spoiler colors until I looked again at the CG model).

Final Thoughts:
I find myself liking this figure despite some of its flaws. It's not terribly articulated in robot mode, it needs more paint deco in robot form and I wish they had added some more detailing to the sculpt (though I appreciate the refinement of existing details). I think part of me really appreciates the deco in vehicle mode which looks great. There is also something appealing about the simplicity of the transformation at this scale. In retrospect (now that I've reviewed a good number of the "Age of Extinction" figures) this was an interesting preview of the direction the "Transformers" line would go in - but for simplified segments. As an experiment, I believe the figure succeeds. All that said, this figure is really for the hardcore collector. Because of its rarity, it costs far more than it is worth (if it was just $10, I'd recommend most folks pick it up).