Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Sky Claw with Smokescreen Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Beast Hunters, Cyberverse, Playset, Prime

Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: January 2013
Price Point: $24.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missiles x 4, Blaster

General Images:

*Images with asterisks* and text below in italics from The Official Transformers web site:
With Predacons dominating the skies, the Autobots need a vehicle that can strike where the enemy is strongest. The Sky Claw, piloted by Smokescreen, is the ultimate supersonic, stealth-striking spy jet! Autobots take heart, because this super-powered Sky Claw vehicle is a 2-in-1 threat for the Predacons! With your Smokescreen figure in the cockpit of this awesome Sky Claw machine, he can go on stealth recon missions when it's in super-stealth spy jet mode. But when the time for stealth is over and the time for attack is here, the Sky Claw converts to intense assault fighter mode! The jet's engines convert to gunnery stations, the 2 missile launchers deploy and the capture claw rotates into position to get a grip on the enemy. You can fit up to 3 Cyberverse figures (other figures sold separately) in this flying fortress, so get the battle started against the Predacon menace with the Sky Claw vehicle! Vehicle does not convert to robot. Vehicle comes with figure. Legion Class Series 3 001 Smokescreen Ages 5 and up. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

The Cyberverse is not just about Legion and Commander Class figures. It includes playsets and vehicles, one of which is the Sky Claw. This vehicle appears to be based on the starship that the character of Dreadwing used to get to Earth. Included with this new vehicle is a redeco of Legion Class Smokescreen. The vehicle mode review will be detailed, but my look at the Smokescreen figure will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Smokescreen Review

Images:

Robot Mode:
SmokescreenIt's important to start with Smokescreen himself in this review because the Sky Claw vehicle's color scheme is based on his. In this case, things get a bit meta, with this "Beast Hunters" Smokescreen having a deco inspired by Alternators/Binaltech Smokescreen. Like that version of Smokescreen this figure is mostly blue plastic with some gunmetal colored plastic used on smaller parts such as his shoulder hinge piece and waist area. Also inspired by Alternators/Binaltech Smokescreen he uses yellow paint on several sections of the figure including the chest, the wing/doors on his back and his feet. The design on the chest features dual stripes, but the design on the doors is curved on the top somewhat shaped like the paint job on the doors of Alternators/Binaltech Smokescreen. Another give away that Alternators/Binaltech Smokescreen is the inspiration for this figure is the number "7" on the wing/doors. Binaltech Smokescreen had two variants, one with the number "7" on the doors. In the center of his chest is a red Autobot symbol while silver is used on the headlights and face. A final touch is added by gunmetal grey on the legs. It's a really great color scheme for the figure and I love the homage. It's not an obvious one (that would be making him red, white and blue like G1 Smokescreen).

Smokescreen includes the same weapon as the Legion Class release cast in silver. All his joints are still nice and tight so no worries there.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if attached.
  2. Push the feet together.
  3. Swing the back panel up so it covers the head.
  4. Swing each half of the chest up.
  5. Swing each arm back behind the doors/wings.
  6. Swing the doors/wings together, connecting the arms.
  7. Swing the legs up and swing the feet up.
  8. The weapon can be attached to the roof of the vehicle or the sides.

Vehicle Mode:
Smokescreen's colors and details all come together in this form really nicely. The homage to Alternators/Binaltech Smokescreen continues. Most of the vehicle is still blue plastic with gunmetal grey used for the wheels. His yellow stripes run from the top of the vehicle to the front. This is a design unique to Smokescreen, perhaps partially inspired by the solid blue line on the character's CG model in the show. The silver headlights and red Autobot symbol on the front of the vehicle look fantastic. The curved details sweeping back on the doors and over the rear wheel wells are directly inspired by the design of the details over the same area on Binaltech/Alternators Smokescreen. I really love the homage and the colors are really bold and come right out at you visually.

The weapon still attaches nice and tight to the vehicle's three attachment points and the silver color contrasts nicely against the blue.

Sky Claw Review

Images:

Super-stealth spy jet mode:
As mentioned above, this vehicle appears largely based on the design of Dreadwing's ship. That ship had a curved front end, big wings that swept up at angles and wings on the bottom that sweep forward to a point. In between each of these wings is a large booster. Using this cool base design, extra elements were added in and the proportions were altered a bit, all to add play factor to the vehicle. The most obvious change is the sheer huge size of the cockpit section, which now takes up almost the entire front half of the ship. You can swing the top panel open to reveal a really wide cockpit section. It's generally best to put Legion Class figures in there, but you can definitely cram certain Commander Class figures in there (and I mean squish). The boosters remain boosters (complete with the thruster designs in the back). The one on the right has a few tabs on the side that allow you to attach one of his missiles, mostly for storage. The left booster is completely different with a large pointed piece in front that acts as the barrels for three missiles. While the proportions are a bit "big" compared to how the vehicle appeared in CG, it still looks cool and it does strike me as the type of flashy looking ship that Smokescreen would pick to fly.

The vehicle is mostly cast in dark blue plastic to match up with Smokescreen himself. Other parts are yellow including the front of the left side booster and some of the smaller parts such as the tab on the back (which activates the transformation) and the bar and claws on the bottom that vehicle into its transformation. The cockpit cover is translucent plastic. The boosters themselves are a combination of silver, gunmetal and yellow plastic, helping them stand out against the dark blue on the rest of the vehicle. The missiles are also cast in silver. It may not look like it at first but there's actually a lot of paint on this figure. Blue and yellow paint are used heavily on the cockpit cover to fill in details that match up with the rest of the vehicle. Yellow paint is found on linework on the back and vertical wings. There are red Autobot symbols on each lower wing. Altogether the colors work out really nicely and they have a great visual continuity with Smokescreen himself.

The Sky Claw is fairly chunky in a good way, meaning you can easily grasp it and kids will have fun whooshing it around the living room. In this form the figure has five points where you can attach Cyberverse weapons. One is on top, two are on the front stabilizers and the last two are in the back. Truth be told, most of the functionality winds up in the "Assault Fighter Mode" so there will be more on that further down the review.

Transformation to Assault Fighter Mode

  • Slide the tab on top back.
  • As part of the transformation, the boosters will swing out to the sides and the claw on the bottom will swing out.
  • On the left booster, swing the handlebars up.
  • On the right booster, swing the top panel back, then press it down and the missile launcher will swing around to point forward.
  • Also on the right booster, swing the handlebars up.

Assault Fighter Mode:
Much of the vehicle looks the same in this form. It's basically gained width and length. You can also see a lot more of the silver, gunmetal and yellow colors (even the lighter yellow at the end of the missile launcher barrel on the right side). The left side booster makes for a good stand for a Commander Class figure, mostly due to its height. Rotate the thruster in the back and the missiles will fire. The right side booster is now a seat, which most Legion Class figures can slide into fairly easily. It's a bit awkward, but some Commander Class figures can squish into the slot too and hang on to the handlebars. On the right side of the cannon barrel is a yellow tab. Push it and the missile will launch. Two more weapon connection points are revealed in this form on the lower wings (these were previously covered by the boosters). The biggest feature of the vehicle is the gigantic claw in front. You can swing the claw halves all the way back to reveal a silver cannon barrel. If you push that cannon barrel in the claw closes in on its target. The space between the claw halves is big enough for it to grab a Legion or Commander Class figure.

Final Thoughts:
A lot of folks balk at the idea of shelling out $25 for a toy like this. However, I think it's a matter of perspective. If you're more of a "Generations" guy who wants to focus on show accurate representations of characters or modern updates of classic figures, this isn't for you. However, if you want a fun playset with some nice homage material worked into the mix this will satisfy for sure. I also like the idea of basing the ship on one that appeared in the television show. Recommended, but for a very specific audience.